Tag Archives: deception

What God Hates Man Loves (and Vices Versus)

Yesterday, I wrote down a couple of short lists I had been thinking about on my drive in to work:

God in His natural state (The Spirit):
Hates
sin, injustice, unrighteousness, selfishness, dishonesty, deception
Loves
grace, justice, righteousness, selflessness, honesty, truth, order

Man in his natural state (The Flesh):
Hates grace, justice, righteousness, selflessness, honesty, truth, order
Loves sin, injustice, unrighteousness, selfishness, dishonesty, deception

In thinking about our “natural” tendencies, it is striking to note the clear opposition between God and man (the Spirit and the flesh).

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:17)

I recently got Andrew Gray’s A Door Into Everlasting Life and started reading it just last night.  Written by this Scottish preacher who died at the age of 22, I felt almost as if we were having a conversation as he expounded and expanded upon my thoughts of the day.

It is a very sad, but yet an apparent truth, that there is no creature in the world so merciless and mischievous to itself as man is. For whereas everything naturally desires, or tends to its own preservation, man unweariedly endeavors his own destruction. He becomes his own murderer and executioner, by loving vice, and hating virtue, by forsaking Christ, to follow the world, by poisoning his soul to please his senses, by leaving the safe and pleasant way of holiness, to walk in the dangerous and destructive way of wickedness. Wicked men turn their backs upon God, and are ruled by sin and Satan at their pleasure. Such profane beasts are many. They glory in their shame. Like Sodom, they carried their sin in their foreheads, oathing it, telling of their cheats, how many they have defrauded, and of their whoredoms, how many they have defiled. Alas, they have not so much as one grain of grace in their hearts, nor the least sign of holiness in their lives. Though, by the ministry of the word, they be called upon to be holy, yet the more they are called unto holiness, the further do they run into all sin and wickedness.

Yes, God’s own children make but little progress in holiness. The estate of many is a declining estate. They have lost the savouriness of their spirits, and their delight in communion with God. They are weak in resisting temptations to sin, from the devil, the world, and the flesh. They are often overcome by sensuality, pride, worldliness, envy, etc. Their heart is less watched, their tongue less bridled, and their conversation more vain than formerly. What then more needful, than to have before our eyes such arguments, as are most likely to deter us from sin, to prevail with us to loath and leave all our lusts and transgressions, and to walk humbly and holily before God all our days. May the Lord open our eyes, to see the baseness of sin, and sanctify our hearts, that we may never welcome nor embrace it anymore, but may grow holier every day than the other. So living holily, may we die happily, and after death, reign with God gloriously forever.

In order to realize this, let these following considerations sink into our hearts. We must be holy, because the Lord our God is holy. “You shall be holy—for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2). “It is written, Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). God’s holiness is the great ground and cause of our holiness, and the motive of all obedience. “Let them praise Your great and awesome Name, for it is holy” (Psalm 99:3). “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9). We are not bound to be essentially and infinitely holy—as God is holy; yet are we bound to be perfectly holy for our state, as God is holy. You call God Father, and if He is your Father indeed, you will be like Him in holiness. You will both have the same nature for likeness. You read a Holy Bible, serve an holy God, pretend to be led by a Holy Spirit. Oh, what shame and trembling then should cover you, if you be unholy! You pretend to love God, and why are you not an imitator of God? Is it not a known saying, likeness makes love? Likeness is the cause of love, and an effect of it. If you would have God to love you, you must labor to be like Him. If you remain unholy, think with yourself, how can an infinitely holy God delight in such an unholy wretch, in such an unlovely and loathsome soul, in such a vile abominable sinner? How unfit am I for His love and embracements! If unholy, you will not endure the purity and presence of God, nor will God’s purity and presence endure you. (Andrew Gray, A Door Into Everlasting Life)

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Zombie Vision: The Electric Window to the World of the Dead

Today’s post includes another interesting article I found on the effects of television.  I decided to call it Zombie Vision: The Electric Window to the World of the Dead.

If you think these posts on the harmful effects of television are getting old, or that I am being excessive in my focus on television, I want you to understand that there is a reason I am doing this.  Most people turn on the television for hours and hours a day, soaking in the worldview and the propaganda that someone else wants you to swallow.  Most people are bombarded with so much more of the message that television wants to feed you than they will ever be from someone trying to get them to break free of its influence.  It’s kind of like someone who is on drugs.  Typically, they have surrounded themselves with people who communicate a message that keeps them in bondage.  Oh sure, from time to time, someone outside of their culture and their circle of drug-abusing friends comes with a message of hope, an attempt to bring freedom.  But most of the time, the message to break free fades quickly as the addict turns back to the ones communicating the message that drugs are good to be desired. . . and he (or she) remains in bondage.

If you are like most people in the western civilized world, you are already being bombarded with information telling you that TV is good, that it is your friend, that it is the window into what is happening, that it is necessary, that it is useful.  Television markets and advertises itself.  The people who invest billions and billions of dollars every year in television and movies so that they can influence you– they want you to believe in its inherent good.  They want you believe in and to desire what it promises to give you.  But as the writer of Ecclesiastes says, it is all just vanity.  Emptiness.  Unlike the promises of God (which are always YES), there is nothing to deliver in the empty, vacuous promises of television.  There is only deception and discontent.  And you can see the reflection of the empty, vacuous promises of television reflected aptly in the vacant, zombie-like stare of the viewer.

Now, if you have taken the bait and swallowed the hook, you will not like what I am saying. . . not one bit.  But to see the truth of what I’m saying, you have to break away from the hypnotist, pursue knowledge (from God instead of the world) and really contemplate.  That is, you must escape the trap of superficial thinking that our technology has caused us to become ensnared by before you can see the what a little cell your mind has actually been indwelling.  It is like a person that is asleep, who in their dreams have gone a great many places, but when they wake up realize they have never even left their bed.

The next cold splash of water that I intend to throw on you, O Sleeper, is an article written by Katherine Westphal.

Before you read what she wrote, though, please read and think about what the Apostle Paul had to say to the Ephesian church and consider its relevance to our current love of television and movies in this day and age.  Read it more than once.  And contemplate.  This is the word of God.

3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Now ask yourself, how compatible is what you see when you turn on the tube and tune into what it offers with the word of God?

The Awful Truth About Television:
The Zombie Look

by Katherine Westphal

TV’s got your attention

Once your attention is glued to the screen due to the orientation response, some very strange, but subtle, things start to happen to your brain, when you watch TV. The effects can feel somewhat pleasant and relaxing, at least while the TV is on.

Zombie eyes

Look closely into the eyes of anyone who is watching TV. Most of the time they have a zombie-like, spaced-out, empty look to them. Unfortunately, there have been very few studies done to examine this phenomenon. The few published studies present a rather frightening picture of what the human brain looks like when it is hooked to a TV.

Watching TV may feel relaxing. TV has a remarkable ability to shut out the rest of our crazy world. All the world’s problems vanish as your TV program wraps you in a cozy Neverland; or so it seems.

Brain goes into hypnotic state

In fact, the brain goes into an alpha brainwave state. This state feels relaxing. Viewers become less alert and more passive. The state is comparable to hypnosis.

Surprisingly, the lowered alertness and feelings of passivity do not end after viewers turn the TV off. The culprit for this effect is most likely the cathode ray tubes in the TV monitors, which can produce a flicker that the conscious mind does not detect.

According to a Scientific American study, “survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before.

Early experiment showed children passive when watching favorite programs

Other studies have linked the passivity to the left side of the brain shutting down. The left brain is primarily responsible for logical analysis and thought. In the Mulholland experiment, 10 children watched their favorite television program, while the researchers monitored their brainwave patterns. The researchers expected that the children would show a preponderance of beta waves. This would indicate that they were involved and responding to their favorite programs. Instead, they stayed in alpha. “They just sat back. They stayed almost the whole time in alpha. That meant that while they were watching they were not reacting, not orienting, not focusing, just spaced out,” said Dr. Eric Peper.

Similarly, in the early 1980’s, researchers in Australia found that the left brain “sort of went to sleep” once TV was switched on but the right brain was busy “storing information in its memory bank”.

Scandalously, there has been virtually no follow up on these experiments. Researchers could not get funding. Aside from a few early experiments in the US and in the 1970’s and early 1980’s in Australia, the neurophysiology of watching television is relatively unexplored.

Moods are the same or worse after turning TV off

Furthermore, researchers found that after they turned off the TV, people’s moods were about the same or worse than before they turned the television on . Television may provide a quick fix for emotional problems, but it lasts only as long as the viewer is watching TV. If viewers are trying to avoid painful feelings, those feelings will return immediately when they turn off the TV.

Critical brain functions shut down

What these studies show is that the right side of the brain may be dutifully absorbing all the images from your television screen, but the left side, which does critical analysis, is lulled into a stupor by the television’s flicker. This makes analysis of the images difficult. It also makes it difficult to remember exactly what you have been watching. Furthermore, the research suggests that the left side of the brain may remain in a stupor even after the viewer turns the TV off.

This has profound implications for watching news and other forms of educational TV. In some ways, it is a form of learning. At best, however, TV learning is comparable to sleep teaching. That may have some use, especially for producers of commercials. However, for subjects that require analysis and careful thought, the TV is virtually useless. It is more effective to read newspapers to learn about world events, than to watch it on a screen.

TV causes ADHD symptoms in children

Television can be especially damaging to developing minds. A disturbing 2004 study found that watching TV at ages one and three caused attention-related problems at age 7. The attention problems included whether the child had difficulty concentrating, was easily confused, was impulsive, had trouble with obsessions, or was restless. These are symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The researchers speculate that the developing brain may be more vulnerable to the over-stimulation of TV. Both the researchers and the sponsors of the study, The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that parents exercise caution in letting their children under the age of 2 years watch any television.

This particular study only looked at very young children. However, given the other effects on the brain discussed earlier, especially the effects on concentration, it is likely that the television set is causing attention-related problems in older children and adults.

What will be the effects of HDTV and DTV?

Very little is known about how the new high definition TVs (HDTVs) will affect brain function. Given that the technology involves staring at a more detailed picture, it is possible that the effects will be the same as regular TVs, but significantly stronger.

Plain digital television (DTV), which is what most people will be watching after the digital transtition in February 2009, is another unknown. With the converter boxes, the effect could be the same as normal TV. The truth, however, is that no one has really examined how the new technology will effect viewers’ brains. Viewers will basically be guinea pigs in a giant experiment.

Sources:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0005339B-A694-1CC5-B4A8809EC588EEDF
Mander, Jerry. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television Morrrow Quill Paperbacks: New York. p. 210
http://www.raphaelhouse.school.nz/index.php?pid=59

3    But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4    Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
5    For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6    Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7    Therefore do not become partners with them;
8    for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9    (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
10    and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
11    Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12    For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
13    But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,
14    for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
16    making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

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Doubt & Deception

“Doubts never sent anyone to hell, but deception always does.”

I read this quote yesterday in an excellent article written by Jim Elliff entitled “Southern Baptists, an Unregenerate Denomination”.  Well worth the read.  That particular quote (in context) comes from this section of the article:

<snip>
We must preach and teach on the subject of the unregenerate church member. Every author in the New Testament writes of the nature of deception. Some books give major consideration to the subject. Jesus Himself spoke profusely about true and false conversion, giving significant attention to the fruit found in true believers (Jn. 10:26-27; Mt. 7:21-23; Mt. 25:1-13, etc.). If this sort of teaching creates doubt in people, you should not be alarmed, nor should you back away from it. Given the unregenerate state of so many professing Christians, their doubts may be fully warranted. In any case, as one friend told me, “Doubts never sent anyone to hell, but deception always does.” Most will work through their doubts, if they are regenerate and if we continue to preach the whole truth. Contrary to popular opinion, all doubts are not of the devil. Speak truthfully the whole counsel of God. You cannot “unsave” true believers.

It is true that there may be some who are overly scrupulous and overwhelmed by such examination. But most who will be affected are those who are too self-confident, having based their assurance on such shaky platforms as their response to an invitation, praying a perfectly worded “sinner’s prayer,” or getting baptized. If they are unregenerate, they may take offense and leave. But if they are truly regenerate, patient teaching and care will help them to overcome their doubts and gain biblical assurance. Such preaching may even result in true conversion for some who are deceived. And don’t forget that the overconfident ones are not the only ones at risk. Quiet, sensitive, insecure people can be deceived also.
</snip>

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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Filed under Church, Doctrine, General

Truth and Election in America

“If you vote for a pro-abortion candidate for personal reasons (like economics) that are not more weighty than justice concerns (the wholesale destruction of children), then you are doing something profoundly un-Christian. If this happens often enough, you are either not a Christian or your Christianity completely fails to inform your political life. One wonders if it informs any other aspect of your life as well, and if it doesn’t, then by what right do you call yourself a Christian?” ~ Gregory Koukl

So, who do you vote for then, when both candidates support abortion, you earn less than you did five years ago, have children to support and a family to provide for and are losing your house because of failed economic policies? Or do we vote? As Christians, how do we interact with “the world” system—how does the body of Christ interact with the body politic without becoming stained and tainted in the process? Is this even possible?

I copied that quote above (from Gregory Koukl) from another blog post I read recently, and I intend to write a little bit about statements like this as well as many emails I’ve received over the last few months leading up to this election. I am not here to endorse either candidate, and quite frankly I don’t care who you vote for. But I would like to address a matter of concern that has been pressing upon me and share my thoughts with whoever might be interested.

Over the last couple of months, I have received countless emails and read countless blog posts—some from respectable evangelicals and others from less reputable sources—decrying the character of Barack Obama. Almost all of them contain some deception, distortion, and more than a little bit of fear-mongering. The issue for me, however, is not the person and character of Barack Obama. I fully trust in God’s sovereignty, and I know that whoever is elected to office in the coming weeks will be as much a selection of God as an election of the people.

The issue for me is the character of the Christian—those of us in the Body—and my concern is this: Why are we so willing to compromise our principles and so quick to adopt the strategies of our enemy? Is this not the very tactic that the serpent used in the Garden, deceiving the man and the woman with half-truths and enticing them so that by the corruption of their hearts sin entered into the world? Should we be so quick to follow that lead, or as followers of Christ, should we take a different path? Twisting the truth to manipulate people to do our bidding might be the way of this world (or, this present evil age, as Paul has put it), but I would attest that it is not the way of Christ and it is patently un-Christian. My Savior did offend many people, but He spoke truth.  In fact, he called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and I believe to worship Him is to love and worship the Truth. Jesus did not and does not offend as a result of a deception or concealment of the truth, but because of the revelation and conviction that the truth in Him brings. The truth He spoke revealed the evil in men’s hearts to the point that they cried out for His blood.

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)

Now I will admit my ignorance up front. I do not know much about Barack Obama, nor about John McCain. I do not watch the news or follow the media coverage; in fact I rather detest the television to be quite honest. I am not big on politics, either. I prefer the Bible and a good commentary to all that. I would prefer to know my Savior more intimately than either of the two men running for office because I don’t plan on spending eternity with Barack Obama or John McCain, but with Jesus Christ.

Now having said that, I do not think Barack Obama is a Muslim or a socialist. I do think that he is black. As a person, he seems genuine enough, as does John McCain. I can’t say I like Obama’s stance on abortion, but I will address the problem of abortion in my next post. I will say this, though. John McCain is only slightly more restrictive in his practical philosophy on abortion than Barack Obama, which made him rather unpopular I think when he ran against George W. Bush for the Republican candidacy back in 2000. He, like Barack Obama, claims to be a Christian. I read somewhere that Senator McCain considers faith to be a private matter, and he prefers not to talk about it openly in a public manner. I recently heard an excellent sermon that took that position to task, and it is clearly stated in Scripture (Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 9:26, and Romans 10:9-10 are just a few examples) that we are to confess Christ publicly.

It is not my intention to criticize Senator McCain, and lest I be misunderstood, let me say I admire this man and appreciate his service to this country.  I am not trying to call his faith or his character into question.  My point is that we evangelicals are often far too quick and eager to forgive (and dare I say ‘justify’) those candidates who we’re subtly (or not so subtly) urged to support and align ourselves with, while viciously attacking with all the tactics of the enemy those we’ve been encouraged to oppose.  The problem is not that either one of these men are terribly wicked people.  Neither one of them is going to lead us into heaven or take us straight to hell.  I honestly believe that they are both men who desire what’s best for the men, women, and children who live in this country.  I also believe that they are both, like me, sinners.

But the real issue, I think, is that the church needs to quit committing adultery with the government; her heart should belong to God. To be quite honest, I do not think either party (or either party’s candidate) really represents my faith in the righteousness of Christ. I think this love affair of religion with politics is especially bad for the children, and by that I mean the children of the Living God. I honestly don’t care who wins the election, but I’m tired of seeing so-called Christians mindlessly following political party leaders as if they could (or should) be our shepherds. Personally, I am not looking to Washington–where people who are driven by their love of money attempt to make decisions to satisfy their own self-interests–to solve the problem of sin in our society. There is only one place to go for that, and that is Christ. People are sinners, and we live in a selfish, sinful society. That’s just the truth of the matter.  There are more people who love and hold on to their sins than to the promises of God and, my friends, I am afraid it has always been that way. I don’t imagine we are too different from the Israelites who, in their sins and selfishness, stoned the prophets, preferring instead people who told them things they want to hear with no regard for truth. Let us practice some discernment and distinguish between the voices we hear in the kingdom of men, and that which we hear from the Kingdom of God.

God is not going to save this nation through the election of a president. Isn’t it time we stopped acting like He will? God will continue to save His people by election as He so chooses through the person and divine revelation of His Son. This is the same manner He has always worked, and to believe that it is up to us (our vote, our effort, our involvement, or whatever) is to deny the absolute sovereignty of God.

A call to Christians–please take to heart the words of John:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Jesus did not come to overthrow a government, but to establish a Kingdom no man-made system could ever touch or tarnish. Put your treasure there, and trust in Christ lest you continually disappoint yourself by the hopes of men.

Regardless of who you vote for, or who wins this election, I pray that this nation of ours would repent and look to Christ instead of corruptible men for leadership. I pray that we would ALL begin to honor and glorify God, to love Him with all of our hearts, all of our souls and all of our strength; and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I pray that we would be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. That we would die to ourselves and live in Christ. And to stop looking to our government to either fix or blame for all our problems. Our government gives us some liberties we ought to value and protect. But it is overrun with the influence of those who love money, and the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. I pray that as individuals and as a society we will start to overcome that because I am afraid that we have become like the Israelites who, in their sin and their selfishness, stoned their prophets, turning instead to men who would tell them things they wanted to hear. I pray for repentance and I pray for forgiveness… for me, for you, and for our country. May the Lord hear these prayers as He directs His will in the affairs of men. In Jesus name, amen.

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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Filed under Culture, General, Politics, Rant

Counter-Fit Christian Culture & The Holy Spirit House Party

This is something I’ve wanted to comment on since I came across it earlier this week. I really do not go looking for this stuff. I do not have some mission to find and root out heretical doctrine. I’m just an ordinary guy–trying to study my Bible and learn more about my Savior. I have been humbled and astounded by the number of people who have come and visited my blog today. The main reason is that the Christian Resource Network actually put a link to my vain, humble thoughts on their main page. For whatever reason, God just keeps putting heretical doctrines in my path and I am trying to understand exactly what to make of it.

I left a church about a year ago that was embracing “fresh revelation” and all the charismatic buzzwords. Some of what was being taught was completely foreign to me and as a result of some searching around on the Internet for more information. All I had were a couple of phrases the pastor had used, a couple of names (Lou Engel and Mike Bickle if I remember right), and the title of a book he was reading. From there, I discovered that there was an entire body of (not real sure what to call it actually – knowledge?) commonly referred to as the Apostolic-Prophetic movement, which had grown out of an earlier “Latter Rain” movement, and I discovered the history of the movement from men like William Branham to John Wimber to Peter Wagner and so on. I was astonished at the material actually began to unravel once I started pulling on what seemed like one little thread. Someone responded to a thread I started on an Amazon discussion, and I contacted them via email. About a week later I received a binder full of information along with several CDs containing supporting material exposing the origins and outright heresy of this “movement”.

A few months laster, we started attending another church that seemed very experience and entertainment oriented. Worship service was like a concert. They had cookies every Sunday out front. Everyone dressed in their best clothes and kids went and played basketball or video games during the service. I went to the membership class (my wife was home sick) and got a free copy of the Purpose Driven life. That was my introduction to the Purpose Driven virus and Rick Warren’s teaching. We didn’t attend that church too many times after that, either.

Just a couple of weeks ago, someone from the charismatic church we’d attended sent us a copy of the book “The Shack”. You’ve probably seen some of my posts on that. I knew a little about the emergent church prior to that, which from what I can tell is a movement that seems to want make God whatever into whatever it wants to make Him more acceptable to a rebellious group of people, who then justify their distortion of The Most Holy by driving the cliche “You can’t put God in a box” six feet into the ground.

As a result of one of my posts on “The Shack”, I was introduced to Mike Morrell who posted a comment here regarding my “book review”, and who apparently is some sort of virtual coordinator for all of these disparate emergent types who can’t really agree on what or who God is–but who at least share the common thread of at least believing in a God that doesn’t live in a box, so I guess there’s some central unifying theme. Some time after replying to the comment he left here on this site, I went to take a look at his site and came across the following thread in his “Top Posts” section on his main page discussing John Crowder and Ben Dunn’s “Holy Ghost House Parties”:

Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction

I posted a couple of comments on that site in response to what he wrote (as well as some of the other comments I’d read) and was apparently the only one who was willing to say that this is ERROR. A couple days later, I went back and actually watched the video in his post, and I thought I was going to vomit when I saw how these people were acting. I don’t know how anyone can say that stuff like this is from God or attempt to justify behavior that is so rooted in the flesh. And they are so deceived that they think they are operating “in the Spirit” when in fact they are acting just like the world does (I seriously doubt people are having “house parties” and acting like their stoned in Heaven). And “toking baby Jesus”? If you haven’t watched at least the first video in the post, I would urge you to do so, but be prepared to have your stomach turned if you really love the Lord.

Someone tried to defend this by saying that these guys are reaching “the lost” that men wearing suits and ties just can reach. I’ve heard the same thing about Todd Bentley. I’m sorry, people that aren’t being confronted with their sin and led to repentance, but who instead are being comforted with error and led to the abyss are NOT being reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I *have* known bikers and athletes, drug addicts and prostitutes, and many other “unreachable lost people” who *have* been reached with the gospel. Here’s the thing, it’s not men who do the reaching with the gospel, it’s the Spirit of the Living God! To say that someone cannot be reached, recognize the depravity of their sinfulness, and cry out for mercy in repentance to God because the right minister of Truth wasn’t sent IS HERESY! That’s just as wrong and fallacious as any of the other heretical doctrines that seem to be so popular these days.

Interestingly, the same day that I watched that horrible video I also came across a quote on another site that I don’t think I had ever visited before. This one was on the Reformed Voices blog site and contained what I would call a real “prophetic word”. It was a quote from A. W. Tozer, taken from his book “The Knowledge of the Holy“, published some 50 to 60 years ago. This is the quote, and I think it is just as true today (if not moreso) than when Tozer actually wrote it down:

“The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic. This low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.

With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.

This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.”
-A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Is this perhaps the root of the problem–or should I say problems–that we are seeing today? Whether it is Word of Faith, Emergent Church, The Shack, or the Holy Ghost House Shenanigans, is the real problem that most people who say the believe in God and even call themselves Christian really have no idea who the God of the Bible is? Are there ideas about God too limiting… even when they say they’ve taken Him out of the box and attempted to “remove His limitations”–as if God has ever need anyone or anything to do that!!! He is the Most High. He is the ONLY One that is Holy. His name is righteousness, and His Son Jesus Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. Do these people really think that God needs a bunch of rebellious flesh-chasers to try and remove any sort of man-imposed restrictions or limitations that have been binding Him all these years and apparently preventing Him from really being known?

Or are these truly the days of deception and delusion. Here is a passage from Deuteronomy that I think is worth reading and meditating on:

Deu 32:16 “They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
Deu 32:17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.
Deu 32:18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deu 32:19 “The LORD saw this, and spurned them Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
Deu 32:20 “Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
Deu 32:21 ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,
Deu 32:22 For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
Deu 32:23 ‘I will heap misfortunes on them; I will use My arrows on them.
Deu 32:24 ‘They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague And bitter destruction; And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, With the venom of crawling things of the dust.
Deu 32:25 ‘Outside the sword will bereave, And inside terror– Both young man and virgin, The nursling with the man of gray hair.
Deu 32:26 ‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces, I will remove the memory of them from men,”
Deu 32:27 Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy, That their adversaries would misjudge, That they would say, “Our hand is triumphant, And the LORD has not done all this.”‘
Deu 32:28 “For they are a nation lacking in counsel, And there is no understanding in them.
Deu 32:29 “Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!
Deu 32:30 “How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the LORD had given them up?
Deu 32:31 “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.
Deu 32:32 “For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of poison, Their clusters, bitter.
Deu 32:33 “Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.
Deu 32:34 ‘Is it not laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries?
Deu 32:35 ‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’
Deu 32:36 “For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.
Deu 32:37 “And He will say, ‘Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge?
Deu 32:38 ‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place!
Deu 32:39 ‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
Deu 32:40 ‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, And say, as I live forever,
Deu 32:41 If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me.
Deu 32:42 ‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’
Deu 32:43 “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”

I don’t have very many answers. I have a whole lot of concerns… a whole lot of questions and I have had to remind myself often these last few weeks that God IS sovereign and in control. I do know from His word that He will give wicked people over to their wicked passions, when they turn away from what is good and pursue their wickedness to its bitter end.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Rom 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

I don’t really know what more to say at this point. I pray that God will call out His people, call them to repentance and to obedience in Christ, that our Lord may be glorified. Amen.

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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A Dimming Ray of Light

I overheard my pastor and some of the other members talking this past Wednesday night about a conference Ray Comfort had gone to speak at where a bunch of heretical Word of Faith teachers were sharing the platform. I had heard how Ingrid Schleuter had contacted him and urged him to rebuke the false teachers so that the sheep gathered there might hear the real gospel message and be edified. I heard how he turned it back on her, and then yesterday I did a little searching around on my own and found out more about what had been happening from information posted on the Apprising Ministries and Strange BaptistFire web sites. Here are some links to various posts I explored yesterday:

NO, RAY COMFORT THE ISSUE IS NOT CLOSED

RAY COMFORT MUST WARN WORD FAITH WOLVES

John Avanzini and His Talking Stones

An Open Letter to Ray Comfort

After reading more about the event and what all was being taught by some of the other speakers, I was shocked and disappointed that he would attend and not take the opportunity to correct and rebuke other “shepherds” of the flock when they are teaching heretical doctrines that are so devastatingly harmful to so many people in so many ways! I posted this on the Strange BaptistFire page last night and will post it again here. It grieves me to see how little regard even most of those who would call themselves teachers seem to have for sound doctrine any more. I am not out looking for false teachers, faulty doctrine, or other things to get upset about. But more and more it seems these things just keep coming up. I am beginning to understand I think (in just a small regard) what the prophets of old must have felt as they looked around and saw the complete disregard and utter devastation (or should that be detestation) for the true faith.

Please bear with me because I know you’ll probably wonder how what I have to say ties into this conversation. I will get there, but I need to give a little background first. I think you’ll understand when I do…

I attended a charismatic church for a while about a year ago. The pastor grew up Pentecostal and his wife grew up Baptist. When we first started going, it seemed *fairly* normal. Of course, my wife and I had been out of the church for about four years, so my discernment may have been a little dull.

Over the three to four months we attended the church, it just got weirder and weirder. The pastor spoke in tongues and interpreted as if Jesus Himself was speaking through him on a couple of Wednesday night services. They were anointing people with oil and healing them from illness and ailments, and then the dreams and prophecies started coming up, accompanied with signs and wonders, and about that time my wife and I started feeling pretty uncomfortable with whatever was going on there. The last two Sundays we attended the pastor showed a video of himself at some sort of prophetic conference he’d attended and was enjoying a big ego stroke.

Another attender said he had a vision of the pastor “stepping up and filling the mantle of a 12 foot Jesus” who was standing in front of the podium. I have no idea what that even means, but that was the last service I attended. Oh yeah, they showed a video of Lou Engel and the pastor mentioned some book he was reading (I think by Mike Bickle) and I started doing some research and finding out some about the Apostolic-Prophetic movement that it turns out was sort of underpinning a lot of the “unspoken” belief system up there. I started coming across terms and phrases I’d been hearing and piecing things together.

There was also a lot of Word of Faith influence in the some of the messages… granted, it was subtle, but it was still there. Just a few weeks before we stopped going, someone form the church gave us several Jesse Duplantis videos to watch. I’d never heard of him before, but I was connecting the dots with him and Word Faith group as well. I’m sure most of the folks at this church would have been horrified to find out I was reading some books by Charles Stanley and John MacArthur at the time–-and of course my Bible–-and I was growing more and more concerned by the questionable theology (if you can even call it that) that was so central to their beliefs. And from everything I could see, they were just go farther and farther away from, well, The Way. It was sort of surreal, but I am thankful to God that He brought me to and through that experience because it gave me a lot of insight I would otherwise not have had, as well as a renewed passion and interest in His word. We are now attending a little Baptist reformed church that is built on sound doctrine and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am still thanking God daily for our church.

Now, I say all that to say this. That charismatic church we’d been attending who didn’t have any problem with Joel Osteen or any of the Word Faith guys (and actually revered many of them), embraced the “prophetic” and the “prosperity gospel”, taught the basic “name it and claim it” and “sowing seed” stuff–a member of whom just recently sent my wife a copy of the book “The Shack” with a note that she would be blessed by it (as if you can be blessed by heresy)–this church was about to start another Way of the Master study group right as we left. In fact, I was supposed to go to a WOTM conference with several of the members about the time I left.

And here is my concern. This church, which was not doctrinally sound by any means and which was apparently inviting and embracing all sorts of unbiblical teaching and views felt very comfortable with WOTM. To be quite honest, it was not until maybe 3 or 4 months ago that I actually started listening to them on the radio occasionally because I figured that the WOTM teaching must have been a bit off, too, since so much of the other stuff they were drawn to was questionable. It turns out, though, that after finding out more about WOTM and their ministry over the last few months and hearing them discuss some of the false teachers and movements–-I still remembering listening to Todd Friel playing the Todd Bentley clip where he “kicked a woman in the face with his biker boot”–-I actually respected and appreciated what they were about.

I definitely would not lump WOTM in with some of the clearly heretical charismatic fertilizer spreaders out there, and I think they are generally pretty good at what they do. But seeing what has happened over the last few weeks with Comfort sharing the stage with some blatantly heretical false teachers and sheepishly shrugging off any responsibility to attempt to convict THEM of THEIR sin when THAT is what HE does… WOW! It just strikes me as hypocritical, in the traditional sense of the word… one who acts in front of others.

Now I like WOTM, and my (new) pastor likes WOTM and Ray Comfort (as do many in our church), but we were talking about this yesterday and the truth is, this HAS hurt Ray’s image in the eyes of many people that respected him. And for me personally, having seen the people from the charismatic church I attended who throughly enjoyed and embraced the “doctrine of the itching ear”, it really made me think about Ray’s responsibility in this. I agree with what Ken and Ingrid (and Dustin and others) have had to say here. Ray does have a responsibility to expose the false doctrines of the so-called teachers he shared the podium with. THAT is Ray’s ministry, and he does to people who are going about “just minding their own business” all day long without a second thought. If God has put it on his heart (which He obviously has) to save people from the fires of Hell, HOW could he possibly overlook the obvious error of associating himself and his ministry with false teachers that leading the sheep down the wide road to destruction and NOT rebuke them! It would have been so encouraging to see him take a stand and preach the gospel to the blind that are leading the blind. I think someone else pointed out here that Paul Washer–-a close personal friend of our humble pastor-–would not have let that opportunity pass.

I will say this loud and clear. Several people are already thinking and saying it, but here it is. RAY COMFORT HURT HIS REPUTATION AND HIS MINISTRY BECAUSE HE COMPROMISED THE VERY PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THEY STAND. And I’m sure he knows it, just like we know it. It grieves me that he blew such a terrific opportunity because it appears that he was more interested in pleasing men than God. I pray that God will continue to use Ray and WOTM, but I also pray that the Lord will send His Spirit of conviction upon him, but even moreso to those false teachers who are living like parasites off the lost.

Sorry for the long rant. I couldn’t help it.

Pray for the elect and preach the gospel, friends. These are the days of deception…

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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The Last Word on The Shack

Okay, hopefully this is the last post I’ll make concerning William Young’s book The Shack here on this site.  I’ve already spent more time on this than I ever wanted to, but I am concerned by the trend that I am seeing where people are so quickly and eagerly led astray.  Whether it’s Osteen’s message that God just wants to give you whatever old selfish stuff you want, or Oprah and her promotion of Echkart Tolle and A Course in Miracles, or Todd Bentley and his demonic angel emma, or The Shack with its culturally-relevant anti-establishment hip-happening-now trinity, or the multitude of other pseudo-Christian psychobabble drudge–it seems like millions and millions of sheep are bleating their way down the wide road and it just baffles and boggles my mind.  In all truth, it does more than that.  It breaks my heart.  I am not just sitting here shaking my head.  My heart is truly broken for all these lost souls being led astray.  I don’t understand it, and I struggle to make sense of it.

One of the fellows who has undoubtedly found fame and fortune by being included as the handful of endorsers on the back of The Shack left me a comment earlier today–his name is Mike Morrell from zoecarnate.com.  After I replied back to him, I checked out his site, and then looked for some additional information about The Shack on the Internet.  Other than Amazon reviews, I haven’t really spent much time looking into it.  I have to say that the majority of the posts, comments, and sites that I came across were extremely favorable toward the book and the author.  I didn’t spend a whole lot of time searching around, but I would venture to say from what little digging I did, there was probably at least 80 to maybe 90 percent positive response on the Internet.  I definitely seem to be in the minority.  Quite honestly, though, that really doesn’t concern me.

I did find this page put together by Berit Kjos pretty interesting.  I did not spend a lot of time on this site or look much into the author’s background, but I thought the comparison of themes between William Young’s The Shack and the “channeled” book, A Course in Miracles, was interesting and thought-provoking.

More than any website, review, or opinion, though, I will trust the Word of God when it comes to Truth, the Way, and the Life.  And so, in closing, here are just a few passages of scripture that come to mind as my mind drifts off and slumber comes…

Joh 3:14  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
Joh 3:15  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
Joh 3:16   “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17  “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Joh 3:18  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 3:19  “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Joh 3:20  “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Joh 3:21  “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Proverbs 12:15)

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25)

“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, That you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you? (Jeremiah 4:14)

‘This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless.  ‘For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’ (Jeremiah 13:10-11)

Eze 14:1  Then some elders of Israel came to me and sat down before me.
Eze 14:2  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Eze 14:3  “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?
Eze 14:4  “Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols,
Eze 14:5  in order to lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me through all their idols.”‘
Eze 14:6   “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.
Eze 14:7  “For anyone of the house of Israel or of the immigrants who stay in Israel who separates himself from Me, sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet to inquire of Me for himself, I the LORD will be brought to answer him in My own person.
Eze 14:8  “I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from among My people. So you will know that I am the LORD.
Eze 14:9   “But if the prophet is prevailed upon to speak a word, it is I, the LORD, who have prevailed upon that prophet, and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel.
Eze 14:10  “They will bear the punishment of their iniquity; as the iniquity of the inquirer is, so the iniquity of the prophet will be,
Eze 14:11  in order that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me and no longer defile themselves with all their transgressions. Thus they will be My people, and I shall be their God,”‘ declares the Lord GOD.”
Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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