On Mary

I got a really creepy email from a Catholic guy who I’ve done prison ministry with.  He actually signed off on the email “In Jesus and Mary.”  He was encouraging people to go to a site called Holy Love, which has alleged direct revelations from Mary, other dead people and Jesus.  Indeed.  Here’s a sample from Mary:

Our Lady comes seated on a Throne. She is in white with gold ornaments on Her Mantle. She says: “Praise be to Jesus.”

“Today, you honor Me under the title ‘Mother of God’. I am the Mother of God, but also the Mother of All Humanity. I am the Mother of all who esteem Me and pray to Me. I am also the Mother of all who have abandoned Me. I am the Mother of those who live in error, those far from their salvation and all who promote sin.”

“My Immaculate Heart is the Chamber of Purification where souls can face illumination and conviction in the Truth. Not believing in the Truth does not change the Truth. Conviction of heart is a great grace in any present moment, and must be accepted for conversion of heart to take place.”

“Therefore, as your Mother, I call each soul into My Heart as I tenderly and profoundly call you to realize the Truth of where you stand before God in any given moment.”

Now here is one from Jesus:

“I am your Jesus, born Incarnate.”

“No one can be saved or come into Paradise outside of God’s Divine Will. So it is, through and in this Divine Will, I come to offer the path of Truth which leads you into the Light. If you pursue the Chambers of Our United Hearts, you will live in the Truth and obey My Father’s Commandments. So it is, I offer you a roadmap to Eternal Joy – a Joy beyond all telling.”

“It is easy to disbelieve and thereby discount what I offer, but disbelief does not free you of the responsibility to discover the Truth.”

“Today, you are experiencing much snow in your part of the world. I tell you, some hearts are ‘snowed under’ by error. Holy Love must melt away the error and help them to begin their journey towards the Divine Will. Be the instrument which melts the ice.”

They have hundreds of those.  You can’t take the Bible seriously and believe any of them.  They have Jesus coming to us regularly and telling us to pray the Rosary.  Sure.

CARM has lots of great resources about Catholicism, such as Roman Catholicism, comparing Mary to God.  This is a great list to study thoroughly.  Look how often RCC doctrine is the opposite of what the Bible says.

My challenge for Catholics is to read the Bible for yourself and see how few mentions of Mary there are.  The book of Acts?  One mention, and only to note that she is in the room.  There are zero in the rest of the official recording of the early church history!  Romans?  Zero. 1 Corinthians?  Zero.  And so on, through the rest of the Bible.

We should have the proper view of Mary, which is that she had a unique role and was an obedient servant of God.  But the veneration / worship commanded by the RCC shows how false they are.  I appreciate their pro-life and pro-family views, but their Mary-worship, indulgences, purgatory, justification by works and other heretical views can’t be tolerated.

Also see What does the Bible say about the virgin Mary?

Jesus’ encouragement to churches standing up to false teachers

Note his first comments to the first of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3:

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

But don’t get smug or arrogant.  There’s more.

4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

So don’t forget the love.

Then there’s this.  So Jesus has things He hates?  Who knew?*

6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Apparently the Nicolaitans were seducing Christians with idolatry and sexual immorality — much like the theological Liberal churches today.

Revelation 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Jesus hated that and still does.

*Those who read all of the Bible.

6 reasons to write in your Bible and 1 reason not to

Our pastor made some excellent points in 6 Reasons Why You Should Write In Your Bible.  Go to the link for more details on each reason.

1) Marking up the Bible helps you see what’s there.

2) It’ll help you process what is there.

3) You’ll remember more of the Bible.

4) You can find what you found.

5) Create Your Own Cross-references.

6) Most importantly, it will help you worship God with your heart and mind.

Here’s my one reason not to: If your handwriting is so bad that it makes the Wing Dings font look legible and you can’t even read it yourself.

I wrote in my Bible once.  I’m not sure why.  This is from the Bible I got as a kid, which I never read.  But for some reason this was written in the front.  It will give you some keen insights into my spiritual condition at the time.

2014-08-08 17.15.12

So I guess there is a 2nd reason not to write in your Bible: Don’t do it if you are going to write something stupid.

This is what I’ve been trying to tell people my entire life.

writing

Whether you write in your Bible or not, just be sure to read it.  A lot.

 

 

Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” are identical to the world

This is a devastating but unsurprising summary of their views.  The data is right here.  While comparing the first two columns of numbers is illuminating, what really stuck out to me the similarity of the 2nd and 3rd columns.  Note how the churchgoing people who support SSM are nearly identical to the population average in every category.  These churchgoers are even more pro-porn and pro-abortion than the average person!  Regnerus-Graph

This is just more confirmation of one of the theological Left’s biggest lies, namely that we are just misreading the Bible on the verses about homosexuality.  But if that was the case, these “Christians” who support SSM should at least be more aligned with us than with the world when it comes to porn, abortion, divorce, etc.  And keep in mind that two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) agree with Bible-believers that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Please read this carefully and note how it perfectly describes churchgoers who support SSM: 1 John 2 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

I wish they would have added a question about whether Jesus is the only way to salvation.  That is a simple litmus test, because it is taught over 100 times in the New Testament.  Anyone who disagrees with that should not claim to be a Christian.  In my experience there is remarkable correlation between pro-SSM people and those who deny the exclusivity of Jesus for salvation.  So you can test their authenticity without even bringing up the LGBTQX topic.

The theological Left and its false teachers love the world, not God.  They have access to the truth but delight in living out the opposite, and blame others for the incredible destruction caused by violating God’s guidelines for sex.  If it weren’t for them, abortion would be illegal, Planned Parenthood would not get taxpayer funding, schools wouldn’t be teaching pro-gay propaganda, and we wouldn’t be losing our religious freedom, parental authority and freedom of speech at such an alarming rate.

Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” are identical to the world. In other words, they don’t appear to be Christians.

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* The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

  1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
  2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
  3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

I agree that it was a message from demons . . .

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Lest anyone think this is gratuitous Catholic-bashing, please note that I spend way more time addressing false teachers within Protestantism.

The Mother Mary Facebook page shared this story about how demons allegedly fear Mary and her power for salvation.  These demons also give you tips on how to be saved — but only because they were allegedly forced to.  I completely agree that the message is demonic in nature, just not in the way the author intended it.  I see these possibilities:

1. A demon really said it, but was lying because Satan wants to confuse people about Mary’s role, take away glory from Jesus and keep people in bondage.

2. Someone made it up as “evidence” of the Catholic Church’s false claims about Mary.  And we know who the father of lies is.

This is only believable to those who don’t study the Bible and/or those who are hostile to its truths.

When Saint Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone, an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. Saint Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him preach.

During the exorcism, the demon was forced to speak the following about devotion to the Mother of God: “Listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is all-powerful, and She can save Her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles. It is She who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares, and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual.

Please stop and consider for a moment whether a demon of Satan just might lie about how people are really saved. 

So we are supposed to be her servants and not Christ’s?  Mary is all-powerful?

The Holy Spirit forgot to mention any of that in the Bible when He addressed the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

“We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in Her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that She offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires, and aspirations of all the saints.
“We fear Her more than all the other saints in Heaven together, and we have no success with Her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon Her when they are in the hour of death, and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards, are saved by Her intercession.

They slip up here when referring to “our ordinary standards.”  Uh, wouldn’t that be God’s standards that are involved with the damnation question?

“Oh, if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called Her) had not pitted Her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this, and we would have seen to it that all of the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder.

So they fear Mary but not Jesus?  Interesting.

“Now that we are forced to speak, we must also tell you this: nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because She obtains for Her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins, and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.”

So we’re saved by saying the rosary and not by repenting and believing in Jesus?  I missed that part in the Bible.  Must have been right after the part about vain repetition.

For the record, I think that some people in the Catholic church are saved but just don’t know what the foundations of the religion really are (works-based justification, Mariolatry, indulgences, purgatory, etc.).  I also think that many in the Protestant church aren’t saved.

But people who believe what that Facebook page said have some wildly inaccurate theology.  The comments there were as creepy and sad as the post itself.  I beg people to read the Bible for themselves and abandon these man-made / demon-made tales.  Read the Book of Acts, the history of the early church, and ask why Mary was only mentioned once — and that was merely noting her presence a room.  Why no mentions in Romans?  And 1 Corinthians?  And 2 Corinthians?  And so on.  If the Bible was given to us by the Catholic religion, as it falsely claims, then why doesn’t it include more about Mary?

This is from another post on that site.  I don’t recall any Bible verses about this, either.

mary

You shall not steal.

I was invited to write this for the Stubborn Things blog and am cross-posting it here. 

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Stealing makes an unspoken yet clear and outrageous claim against God: “You didn’t order the universe properly, so I will fix your mistakes by taking what is rightfully mine.”  Therefore, it is a sin against God and neighbor.

Stealing is typically accompanied by other sins.  The root is the pride in thinking we deserve more.  Coveting leads to stealing just as unrighteousness anger and lust are precursors to the physical acts of murder and adultery and are also violations of the spirit of the law. Lying usually surrounds thefts, and the cover-ups are often worse than the crimes.  In the investigation work my group does I’ve noted that people who steal don’t mind lying about stealing.

We are often clever and subtle in how we take what doesn’t belong to us.  Sure, some steal the old-fashioned way.  I come across those people both at work, when investigating those who steal from my employer, and in prison ministry (it keeps my life in balance).  Most of us are more sophisticated, though, and pretend that we don’t steal because we aren’t physically taking property clearly belonging to another.  We use our spiritual gift of rationalization* not only to justify theft but to pretend that our vice is a virtue.

Exhibit A: Those who petition Caesar to take from neighbor A by force to redistribute to neighbor B and congratulate themselves on how generous they are.  That thinly disguised attempt at sanctified theft is so ingrained that people often use it to justify why they give so little back to God.  It is symptomatic of our decline that we must remind people that Jesus taught to give your money.  I submit, and the good folks at Dictionary.com agree, that taxes and giving have unique and irreconcilable definitions.

And yes, I used a political example.  God’s commandment against stealing and his admonitions to give presuppose the ownership of private property.  If it isn’t yours, there is nothing to steal and you have nothing to give.  Politics should be about the ethical use of power, so our biblical worldviews should influence our voting.  It is foolish to let our ideological foes tell us that parts of the universe aren’t under God’s sovereignty — especially when those shouting their misunderstanding of the “separation of church and state” issue only try to silence the religious people they disagree with.

Softballs aside, let’s look closer to home.

While Leftists steal jobs and taxes from those impacted by illegal immigration, crony capitalists are just as guilty of theft because they want cheap labor for themselves.

At a Sunday School party celebrating the birth of our Savior, a group of relatively conservative Christians lamented the fall of Napster because they could no longer download “free” music.  After all, those rich record companies could afford it.

Some Bible-believing Christians concede that Obamacare is bad for many, but it helps them so they support it.

Poor driving puts our neighbors at risk.  We steal some of their safety and well-being when we prioritize our schedules and convenience above our neighbors’ best interests.   We don’t actually announce, “I’m running late, so I’ll risk your health, life and property to make up time,” but our actions betray us.

When speaking about leadership to professional groups I ask, “What is it called when you take something that doesn’t belong to you?”  [Pause] Stealing, of course.  So what is it called when you take credit for your employees’ ideas?  [Uncomfortable pause] Yep, stealing.

How about stealing time from your employer?  Would it be ironic and hypocritical to write about stealing on work time, even if you make it up as necessary and meet all your commitments and more?  That’s a hypothetical, of course.

Then there are sins like stealing the joy of others via all sorts of selfish acts and unkind words, stealing purity via out-of-wedlock sex, stealing reputations via gossip, stealing the innocence and security of children via frivolous divorce, and more.

If we love God we shouldn’t sit in judgment of how He has ordered our lives.  If we love our neighbors we shouldn’t take what belongs to them.

Thankfully, the blood of the cross can cover our many sins of stealing. God adopts, completely forgives and pours eternal blessings on all who repent and trust in Jesus. By his spirit we can be conformed more to his likeness every day and begin to only desire that which authentically belongs to us.  We can also remember that it is only ours by his grace, and that when Jesus said to lay up treasures in Heaven it wasn’t marketing spin.

*Possibly not a real spiritual gift.

“Tithe for 90 days and God will bless you — or your money back!” and other scams

An old investment scam went like this: A stock tip would be sent to random people, but half the people would be told the stock would go up, and half that it would go down.  It was a free, no-strings-attached offer designed to build trust with whichever half got the correct advice.  This would go on for a few rounds until the remaining group thought they were getting advice from Warren Buffet himself, as in, “Wow, this guy has been right 6 times in a row!  Please take lots of my money and invest it for me!”  Of course that would be the last they’d see of their money.

I was reminded of that scam when I read about this:Texas Megachurch Promises 100 Percent Refund in Tithe Challenge if ‘God Doesn’t Hold True to His Promise of Blessings’.

Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by “bringing their tithes and offerings to the House.” “Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House,” reads a description of the 90-Day Challenge. “If you are not tithing already, the 90-Day Challenge is the best place to start. We commit to you that if you tithe for 90 days and God doesn’t hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100 percent of your tithe.”

Think about it: If you feel extra-blessed during the 90 days, you’ll keep tithing, so the church will win.  And even if you don’t feel blessed and they return your money, there is no net loss for them.  You weren’t tithing before, right?  And think about how few people will actually contact the church to demand a refund even if they didn’t feel extra-blessed.  According to false teacher Perry Noble’s video, all you have to do is call God a liar and they’ll return the money, no questions asked.

Why don’t they just preach the Bible accurately and skip the gimmicks?

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There was no mention of a tithe there.  The only mention in the entire New Testament was where Jesus whales on the Pharisees for tithing on their garden spices but neglecting the weightier matters of the law.

My official stance on giving is captured in Thoughts on tithing: Something to offend everyone!, where I note that if God expected the poorest Israelite to tithe and more, then maybe 10% isn’t so unreasonable to aim at.  It is a nice round number.  In fact, most of the people reading this are in the riches 1-2% of people who have ever lived.  Yet I would never want to suck the joy out of giving, so why would I be legalistic and demand a specific percentage when Jesus didn’t do so?  These guys distract from the Gospel and make the church look foolish to non-believers.

It is pretty obvious who will really be “blessed’ by this tithe campaign.  My prayer is that those being challenged with the “90 day tithe” will take 2 Corinthians 9 to heart and give joyfully based on what they have decided in their hearts to give — but that they will give it to a ministry with sound doctrine instead of these 

Hat tip: Glenn