Satan knows where your lost keys are.

No, the title isn’t the worst name ever for a horror film.  It is the thought that goes through my mind when I read things like Novena [a devotion] to Saint Anthony to Find a Lost Article –The Patron Saint of Lost and Found:

St. Anthony of Padua is invoked thousands (maybe millions!) of times daily to help find items that have been lost. This novena, or nine-day prayer, to find a lost article reminds us as well that the most important goods are spiritual.

NOVENA TO SAINT ANTHONY TO FIND A LOST ARTICLE

St. Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find [name the item] which has been lost. At least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss. To this favor, I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen.

I mean the title quite seriously.  This Anthony fellow is dead and there is no biblical support that he can hear the prayers of billions of people simultaneously in all their languages and that he then can tell you where to find your keys (or whatever you lost).

Let me break that out for emphasis.  Allegedly, he and other saints can:

  • Hear from billions of people at once and know which messages are for them
  • Understand all languages
  • Have the power to communicate back to you in some way

So having read the Bible through quite a few times I’m pretty skeptical of those claims.  Apparently people think that certain dead people can answer certain types of prayer requests.  It reminds of the line in This is Spinal Tap about St. Hubbins being the patron saint of quality footwear (see the 2:03 mark here).

But guess who does know where your keys are?  Satan and/or his demons.  I think it is much more likely that any prayer to Anthony is being “answered” by Satan, because by praying to the dead you opened yourself up to it.

I encourage people to read the Bible and just go straight to Jesus.  There is one mediator between God and man, and He is Jesus.  Do not pray to Mary or any other human being, dead or alive.  Just stick with any member of the Trinity, or any combination of the three.

Are questions better than answers?

question-mark.gifAre questions better than answers?  No.

Questions are important, but you need answers. The “questions are better than answers” theme of parts of the “Emergent church” is faulty.

Asking questions presupposes that answers are desired and that they exist.  I’m not saying the answers are always easy or what we want to hear.  But there are usually answers available.  If church leaders don’t have some of the answers or at least know where to find them then they are not well qualified. Can you imagine going to a business consultant that was proud of the fact that he didn’t have answers?

And it is fair to ask if they really want answers, or if they just want to wallow in their doubts or are avoiding politically incorrect conclusions.

Shouldn’t all these questioning “emergent Christians” be drawn to apologetics? (The defense of the Christian faith.) Think about it: There is a sizable community that loves to deal with the tough questions and defending the faith every day.  Yet they tend to be conservative, Bible-believing types.  The theological Liberals say they want the freedom to ask questions and are sad because people didn’t answer them.  Fair enough.  So why don’t they camp out at Apologetics 315, or read the Wintery Knight and watch all the debates he posts, or read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels or access countless other books and websites?  If they really want answers, why aren’t they going to those who have studied hard and worked to provide them?  Hint: Many of them aren’t as questioning as they pretend to be.  They have a firm dogma and are using a disingenuous passive-aggressive method to defend it.

I have always encouraged my kids to ask all the tough questions they want. I think that has actually strengthened their faith, because they know there are good answers available (not always from me, but somewhere).  I’m always proud of them for using critical thinking skills and considering multiple sides to any issue – religious or otherwise.

If someone is told “just believe” it usually has the opposite effect. People need to be able to have the humility to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out,” because one bad answer can undo ten good ones.  But just because we don’t have all the answers at our fingertips doesn’t mean that good answers aren’t out there.  Christians are supposed to use reason and ask questions.

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Still, as we find in Job, Ecclesiastes, the Psalms and other parts of the Bible, there are some questions we don’t get to know the answer to.  Perhaps we couldn’t understand them - just as a parent can’t convey everything they know to a 3 year old. Or for his good reasons Jesus doesn’t think you need to know, such as in this passage in John 21:

And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!

Peter had just been reconciled to Jesus (the passage where He asks “Do you love me?” three times). Then Peter asked a question but Jesus didn’t bother to answer him.  Peter had to deal with it.  In the mean time, Jesus gave “follow me” commands as bookends.  That is a great reminder for us.

Some people think that if you hold a firm position on something then you haven’t considered alternatives and that you think you have “all the answers” — even though they are often less flexible than their ideological opponents.  While that is possible, it is often their own prejudices and dogma that keep them from considering that perhaps you weighed and studied other options carefully before arriving at your current position.

If you have questions, that’s great.  Pour over the Bible.  Seek out great apologists (see the links to the right for starters).  But don’t use them as an excuse not to follow Jesus.  Eternity is a mighty long time, and eternity matters.

Who is a Christian? Who is a Muslim?

A favorite updated for your reading pleasure.

church.jpgIf I claimed to be a bacon-loving, Jew-loving, Koran-denying, Mohammad-denying Muslim, would you take me seriously?  I doubt it.

I have found that for many people the word “Christian” has lost or changed meaning.  It used to mean someone who was an authentic follower of Jesus.  Now it is often used as a synonym for “nice,” as in, “She’s a really Christian person,” or to describe someone who goes to church sometimes but rejects the essentials of the faith.

Theological liberals tend to get very wounded if you imply that they don’t hold Christian views.  They’ve been in theologically liberal churches so long and have such a low view of scripture that they think that is the way church is supposed to be.

Mind you, I don’t go around saying who is and isn’t an authentic Christian.  That’s God’s job.  I’m not qualified and wouldn’t want it even if I were.

Jesus did say that you will know them by their fruit, so it is fair to examine people’s lives to see if they have evidence for their faith.  But mistakes can be made during fruit inspection.  We would have probably thought that Judas was the real deal, and we probably would have thought that the criminal on the cross was not.

But it does seem fair to point out when self-described Christians don’t hold views that have historically applied to Christians, as evidenced in the Bible, countless creeds and denominational statements of faith.  That means that they are either “saved and confused” or not real Christians.

First, consider this conversation:

Me: I’m a Muslim.

Real Muslim: No, you’re not.

Me: Really, I am, and I’m offended that you say I’m not.

RM: Do you believe the Koran is the word of God?

Me: No, of course not.  It was written by a man, and has obvious historical errors like saying that Jesus didn’t die on the cross.  It was written hundreds of years after Christ, and even sources outside the Bible claim that Jesus himself died.  And don’t get me started about all the violence it encourages!  Why trust the Koran?

RM: Do you believe in Allah as the one true God?

Me: No.

RM: Do you like Jewish people?

Me: Yes.

RM: What do you think about pork?

Me: Mmmmmmm . . . bacon!

RM: You aren’t a Muslim.

Me: Yes I am!  How dare you question my faith!

Sounds ridiculous, right?  Now consider this:

Me: Are you a Christian?

Liberal theologian: Yes.

Me: Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?

LT: No.  Even though it claims to speak for God roughly 3,000 times, I think those are all made up by people.

Me: Do you think Jesus is God?

LT: No.

Me: Do you believe any of the miracles as recorded in the Bible are true?

LT: No.  Miracles can’t happen.  Writers made those up.

Me: Do you think Jesus is the only way to salvation?

LT: No.
Me: But the Bible teaches that in over 100 passages!

LT: [Pause] Uh, so what?  The Bible was written by men . . . [trails off because he didn't know that]

Me: Do you believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead?

LT: No.

Me: Do you look for opportunities to share the Gospel as outlined in the Bible?

LT: Of course not.  All religions (or no religions) are valid paths to God.

Me: Do you realize how radically different your basic views are compared to Christians throughout the last 2,000 years, especially to the countless Christians who died rather than recant their faith?

LT: Sort of . . . but we’re smarter than they were.

Me: Indeed.  But you say you are Christian?

LT: Yes.  How dare you question my faith?!

Is the first conversation that much different than the second?

I haven’t had that precise conversation with any liberal Christians, but it is a highly accurate composite.  Try it yourself.  I’m virtually certain that any of the “Jesus Seminar” members would answer the questions that way.  For example, I read a book co-authored by Marcus Borg (a member of the Jesus Seminar) and he held all the heretical views noted above, plus more.  Most of the theologically Liberal people at the Sojourners’ blog are just like that.

These people may be terrific citizens and friendly neighbors, but calling themselves Christians distorts the traditional and real meaning of the word.  Again, if I claimed to be a bacon-loving, Jew-loving, Koran-denying, Mohammad-denying Muslim, would you take me seriously?  So why take seriously those who claim the name of Christ yet mock the essentials of the faith?

Redefining grace

It is fascinating to see how self-proclaimed Christians take the most worldly behaviors and rationalize them as being “spiritual.”  There’s Something in the Air: Grace from the Sojourners’ blog assumed that because “religious” people have changed their minds on a topic that they must be right.

Moments before I left Laguna Beach to drive to Long Beach one recent Friday afternoon, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved its stay on gay marriages, giving California county clerks permission to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time in more than five years.

By the time I reached the parking garage at the Long Beach Convention Center, where the United Church of Christ was holding the denomination’s national, biennial gathering, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a gay couple from Burbank who were plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned Prop. 8, were exchanging vows at Los Angeles City Hall.

Isn’t it extraordinary how quickly history changes course?

But then “quickly” is a matter of perspective. I dare say those who have been fighting for equal rights since the Stonewall riots in 1969 and before wouldn’t deem legal and cultural acceptance of homosexuality “quick.”

Still, whether long-in-coming or fast, change has arrived.

How epic change transpires also is a matter of perspective.

It seems to me that the driving catalyst behind the transformation of social and spiritual perspectives about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues has been relationships. When you actually know and love people who are gay it is much more difficult to uphold ideological opinions that would dismiss, judge or condemn them.

Relationships destroy hypotheticals.

It’s a point of view shared by many who were busy celebrating the Supreme Court decisions on Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act when I arrived at the UCC convention in late June.

Relationships are, at their very core, spiritual experiences. Years ago I read a book by British theologian John V. Taylor called The Go-Between God. In it, Taylor argues that the Spirit of God is as powerfully presentbetween people as it is in people.

“Space has been created for people to have genuine encounters and to be engaged in actual relationships,” said the Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, the UCC’s executive and minister for LGBT concerns. “I think that’s what has really turned the tide. The degrees of separation of people who know someone who is gay have diminished almost to zero.”

A few years ago, when the first significant rumblings of change in attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality and gay marriage began in my community, evangelical Christians, I wondered aloud if the church might be on the cusp of a new era. A Third Great Awakening, if you will.

I now believe that such transformation in social mores regarding LGBT issues is merely a manifestation of a much more global spiritual shift.

This analysis might have had merit if it hadn’t committed the logical fallacy of begging the question — that is, assuming what it should be proving. It assumes that homosexual behavior and oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” is biblical but it never demonstrates it. The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

So the ways the world used to rationalize homosexuality and “same-sex marriage” may make for an interesting analysis but it in no way mean the behavior isn’t sinful or that God supports it.

Also, the “equality” language is deceptive. Those relationships are not equal. They can never produce children and can never provide a mother and a father to a child. No, you don’t have to make children to be married, but the fact that they do often do produce children is why gov’t is involved. No, we aren’t stopping them from having those relationships, we are saying there are no good reasons for the government to affirm and encourage them.

Yes, relationships have impacted how people view this topic, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing. Lots of self-proclaimed Christians were pro-life until their daughters got pregnant, then they paid to have their grandchildren killed because of “relationships.” They saw the issue in a different light, to be sure, but that didn’t make it right. And the same thing applies here. Just because your child/friend/etc. has a temptation towards same-sex attraction (SSA) doesn’t mean you get to edit the Bible.

And it is a fascinating stereotype that those of us who agree with Jesus about marriage and sexuality don’t know any gays.  How prejudiced is that?

If you really love people with SSA you won’t encourage them to indulge in the behavior. Being committed to a sinful lifestyle is not a virtue. There are many good ministries, such as Overcomers Network, that can help people out of this lifestyle. But too many people love the world more than their neighbors and friends and they seek popularity over truth.

Grace is wonderful. The Good News is that all of our sins — including homosexual behavior and lust, heterosexual behavior and lust, greed, idolatry, covetousness, etc. — can be forgiven by our perfect and Holy God. But it mocks his grace and the cross to sit in judgment of his word and to call good evil and evil good.

* 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 theological Liberals” (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.)

The Episcopals’ interesting strategy: Hire non-Christians as leaders

Diversity, not Jesus, saves says Presiding Bishop.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34 .

In her sermon delivered at All Saints Church in Curaçao in the diocese of Venezuela, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori condemned those who did not share her views as enemies of the Holy Spirit.

. . . She continued stating: “Human beings have a long history of discounting and devaluing difference, finding it offensive or even evil.  That kind of blindness is what leads to oppression, slavery, and often, war.  Yet there remains a holier impulse in human life toward freedom, dignity, and the full flourishing of those who have been kept apart or on the margins of human communities.”

That’s an odd thing for a pro-abort like Schori to say.  She denies the humanity of the unborn to rationalize their legal and taxpayer-funded destruction.

Just as the forces of historical inevitability led to the ending of industrial slavery, so too would the march of progress lead to a change in attitude towards homosexuality, she argued.

“We live with the continuing tension between holier impulses that encourage us to see the image of God in all human beings and the reality that some of us choose not to see that glimpse of the divine, and instead use other people as means to an end.  We’re seeing something similar right now in the changing attitudes and laws about same-sex relationships, as many people come to recognize that different is not the same thing as wrong.  For many people, it can be difficult to see God at work in the world around us, particularly if God is doing something unexpected.”

Anything Schori says that agrees with God is purely coincidental.  The Bible teaches the value of each human being made in God’s image.  It also teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin.

And, uh, isn’t she offended by those who disagree with her?  Seems kinda hypocritical.

To illustrate her point presiding bishop turned to the book of Acts, noting “There are some remarkable examples of that kind of blindness in the readings we heard this morning, and slavery is wrapped up in a lot of it.  Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God.  She is quite right.  She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referencing the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.

“But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness.

The poor girl was demon possessed.

Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it.  It gets him thrown in prison.  That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!,” the presiding bishop said.

She was demon possessed, and Schori puts her on par — or above — the Apostle Paul?!

The New Testament passage goes on to say that Paul and Silas were imprisoned for freeing the girl of her demonic possession. Presiding Bishop noted “an earthquake opens the doors and sets them free, and now Paul and his friends most definitely discern the presence of God.  The jailer doesn’t – he thinks his end is at hand.”

However, Paul now repents of his mistake in casting out the spirit of divination, she argues.  “

This time, Paul remembers who he is and that all his neighbors are reflections of God, and he reaches out to his frightened captor.  This time Paul acts with compassion rather than annoyance, and as a result the company of Jesus’ friends expands to include a whole new household.  It makes me wonder what would have happened to that slave girl if Paul had seen the spirit of God in her.”

It is fascinating how she makes it up as she goes along.  It was an evil spirit in the slave girl, not the spirit of God.

And note that the text specifically says she was a slave.  Schori wished she would have stayed that way!  It is fascinating how wolves in sheep’s clothing can’t even get the simplest passages right.

In support her argument for radical inclusion and diversity over doctrine Bishop Jefferts Schori adds that the day’s reading “from Revelation pushes us in the same direction, outward and away from our own self-righteousness, inviting us to look harder for God’s gift and presence all around us.  Jesus says he’s looking for everybody, anyone who’s looking for good news, anybody who is thirsty.  There are no obstacles or barriers – just come.  God is at work everywhere, even if we can’t or won’t see it immediately.”

Yes, just come, but on his terms: Repent and believe.

. . .

Responses posted on the Episcopal Church’s website to the Presiding Bishop’s sermon have been uniformly harsh, noting her interpretation was at odds with traditional Christian teaching, grammar, and logic. “This is quite possibly some if the most delusional exegesis I’ve ever read in my life,” one critic charged. “I’m sorry, but this sermon is not a Christian sermon.”

The reception by bloggers has been equally unkind. The Rev Timothy Fountain observed the presiding bishop had up ended the plain meaning of the text. “Instead of liberation” in freeing the slave girl from exploitation, presiding bishop finds “confinement.  Instead of Christ’s glory, there’s just squalor.”

The Rev. Bryan Owen argued “What’s happening here is the exploitation of a biblical text in service to a theopolitical agenda.  Given what she says in the first paragraph I’ve quoted from her sermon, the Presiding Bishop suggests that anyone who doesn’t buy into that agenda – anyone who holds to the traditional, orthodox understanding of such matters – is likewise afflicted with the same narrow-minded bigotry as Paul, and thus in need of enlightenment.”

That’s good news!  There is some hope for people there.

On the Wild Goat — er, uh, Goose — Festival

An annual progressive Christian festival that draws oldline Protestants and disaffected former evangelicals will feature workshops on transgenderism and “Intersex” next month.

See Wild Goose Festival Migrates through Turbulent Issues of Transgenderism, Intersex. These people claim the name of Christ.  They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  It is your basic rebellion against God.  They can play the “we’re Christians” card because weak-willed Bible-believers wouldn’t kick them out of the church years ago.

Inspired by Britain’s annual Greenbelt festival, the Wild Goose Festival brings performers, yoga practitioners, speakers and artists to a multi-day campout in the mountains of western North Carolina August 8-11. In its first two years, Wild Goose speakers promoted an assortment of liberal causes – peppered with sharp critiques of Southern Baptists and other conservative evangelicals.

Wild Goose has broached issues of human sexuality before, welcoming gay and lesbian speakers and exhibitors in 2011 and 2012. The unofficial United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network will have a presence at Wild Goose this year, and former Contemporary Christian Music artist Jennifer Knapp has brought her “Inside Out Faith” program to the festival. Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy have also spoken at Wild Goose about the church’s response to homosexuality.

In 2013, Wild Goose is apparently getting wilder. Among the workshops highlighted at next month’s gathering will be a talk by Asher Kolieboi, co-founder of the Legalize Trans* campaign, on creating “trans* inclusive faith communities.” Kolieboi’s talk will be entitled “Galatians 3:28,” referencing the verse “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If they loved “trans” people they would tell them the truth. But they love themselves and their popularity more than they love others, and they follow the world, not God. Anyone who interprets Galatians 3:28 that way should be ignored.  That is comically bad exegesis, even for a theological Liberal.

Opposites

contradiction.jpg

A favorite updated for your reading pleasure.

One of my irritations with liberal theology is that it pretends to be slightly different from orthodox Christianity while it is usually 180 degrees away on the essentials of the faith.  Please note that by “liberal theology” I don’t mean the theology of political liberals.  I am referring to people who call themselves Christians but deny the essentials of the historic faith (i.e., the kinds of things countless martyrs died for — Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of scripture, etc.).  If you want to debate the disputable matters, go right ahead.  I’m flexible on those.  But words mean things, and far too many people use the term Christian in error.

For example, claiming that Jesus is one of many paths to God isn’t a little different than saying He is the only way, it is the opposite.  There is either one way or there is not one way.  The Bible has over 100 passages teaching directly or indirectly that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If you don’t agree that it is your prerogative, but please don’t claim to be a Christian.

Claiming that Jesus isn’t God isn’t a little different than saying He is God, it is the opposite.  He is either God or He is not God.

Claiming that the original writings of the Bible were not inspired by God isn’t just a little different than saying they were inspired by God, it is the opposite.  The Bible is God’s Word or it is not God’s Word.  It makes roughly 3,000 claims to speak for God, so if liberal theologians think those are all false then why do they bother with the Book at all?

Claiming that miracles never happen (Virgin birth, loaves & fishes, healings, the physical resurrection, etc.) isn’t just a little different than saying they did happen, it is the opposite.

Claiming that marriage can be for two men or two women isn’t a little different than saying it is between a man and a woman, it is the opposite.  It is claiming that marriage is not just between a man and a woman and that “marriage” is now whatever we want to define it to be.

Liberal theology claims the opposite of what historic, orthodox Christianity does regarding the essentials of the faith.   They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but it is disingenuous and misleading for them to call themselves Christians while espousing those beliefs.

They have invented their own religion, which is their right.  It would just be less confusing if they would give it a new name.  And it would be more intellectually honest to stop taking money from people who do believe in the essentials that those denominations were founded upon.

As Total Transformation would say, they appear to worship a fictional Gandhi-Christ.  It appears to me that the most accurate description would be that of a Hindu sect (nothing personal, Hindus!).

Weekend at Bernie’s theology

A favorite updated for your reading pleasure.

I read this great metaphor at a now-defunct blog about how the false teachers who don’t believe the essentials of the Christian faith have taken over many dead churches and propped them up to suit their motives.

In the not-so-classic movie Weekend at Bernie’s, two friends prop up a dead guy to make him appear alive so they can throw parties at his house. In the same way, theological Liberals don’t believe in the essentials of the faith (Jesus is God, He is the only way to eternal life, the Bible is authoritative and accurate, etc.), so they think they have a dead church on their hands.  They don’t have faith that God can still work through his Word to transform lives and cultures.

They prop it up, though, because they like the money, the influence, the buildings and the status that comes with their leadership roles. But they are frauds. They either lied at their ordination vows or changed their minds later. Either way, if they were honest they would stop accepting payment from their members for teaching the opposite of the beliefs the church was founded upon.

Their teachings are like salt water, leaving you thinking that you are having your spiritual thirst quenched but all the while killing you.

For a better analysis, read this by Charles Spurgeon. He wrote it in 1870 but the message is still fresh and applicable.

The Bible Editors

It is fascinating to see how those most inclined to believe in the historically false notion that political maneuvers and bad men kept certain books out of the Bible (that God wanted there) are the same ones who edit the Bible today.  “Romans 1? Oh, Paul was a misogynistic homophobe who didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships, so those are OK.”

Their hypocrisy of doing what they (falsely) accuse others of doing is lost on them.  If they would study books like Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels and other apologetic sources they would realize how embarrassingly bad their dating and authorship claims are for books inside and outside the Bible.  They claim to worship a God who couldn’t get the Bible right but is perfectly accurate in telling them his new revelations.

Their premise is that bad guys altered or eliminated the original texts but that they are good guys for altering it now.  And they claim that God is moving in a new direction and, by implication, only telling Western Liberals — roughly 15 minutes after the world came to the same conclusions.  Indeed.

Whether one believes that the Bible is divinely inspired or not, there is no rational basis to claim there are any lost books.  The real God doesn’t lose things, and if it was a purely man-made creation then by definition they put in what they wanted.

If people deny the explicit and oft-repeated claims from the Bible about itself — that it is the word of God and turned out exactly as He and the human writers wanted — then they should pick another religion besides Christianity.  These people love to quote Jesus when it matches up with their man-made religion, but they ignore his views on the Old Testament — namely that He agreed with all of it and much of the New Testament.

And they assume that anything in the New Testament that they agree with is from God and that anything they disagree with is not from God.  In other word, they are the editors of the Bible and sellers of Leopard Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding and removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

The false teachers and those who sit at their feet perpetuate this nonsense.

“Marriage equality” and other wolf sayings

Here’s a recent example: Radical pro-abortionist and false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie took a break from taking little girls to gay pride parades to use his church to mock God Romans 1-style (V. 32 - . . .they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.).

First, to state what will be obvious to people who don’t mock God and common sense, same-sex unions are not equal to real marriage.  By nature and design they can’t produce the next generation and they can’t provide a mother and a father to a child.  And they don’t meet the timeless definition of marriage: A union of a man and a woman.

I am not making this up: These pagans actually have a pre-LGBTQX pride parade “worship” service, where they are worshiping the god of this world and themselves.

Here are more examples of his blasphemy, via Marriage Equality Campaign In Oregon Kicks Off At Sunnyside Church.

Homosexuality is not a sin but bigotry and discrimination are.

Homosexual behavior is indeed a sin.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear.  Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Chuck & Co. meet the definition of bigotry far better than any authentic Christian: big·ot – noun - a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

And did you notice how Chuck must also consider Muslims to be bigots?  Hey, why doesn’t he call them out specifically?

Holy Scripture is used to deny gays and lesbians the most basic of civil rights protection in many communities, including employment protections, but such use of Scripture is theological malpractice.

How ironic to hear the judgmental term “theological malpractice” from a “reverend” who says Jesus is not the only way to salvation (he is so lacking in biblical knowledge that he didn’t know the Bible teaches that over 100 times — he thought it was just John 14:6 and he insisted that John didn’t belong in the Bible!).

Just a generation ago people used the Bible to oppose inter-racial marriages in the United States.

Those people got the Bible wrong, just like Chuck is doing today.  Skin color is morally neutral.  Sexual behavior is not.

Today the same theological arguments are employed to oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

No, those aren’t the same arguments at all.

But Jesus never spoke of this issue.

The wolf tips his hand again.  Chuck doesn’t believe that Jesus is divine, so he thinks he can dismiss the entire Bible.  But it all turned out exactly as Jesus wanted it to, and even the “red letters” are on record with him approving of all the Old Testament.

And the “Jesus never said anything” argument fails on many, many levels.  Short version: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus is God and part of the Trinity that inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, taxpayer-funded abortions, etc.), He didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them, and homosexual behavior simply wasn’t a hot topic for 1st century Jews.  And Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

What he did command was that we love our neighbor as we love God.  Legal discrimination against gays and lesbians is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

If you love God you won’t teach the opposite of what He commanded.  If you love your neighbors you won’t encourage them to participate in spiritually, emotionally and physically destructive behaviors.  Those advancing the concept of “marriage equality” love the world and themselves more than they love God and their neighbors.

It isn’t discrimination to point out that “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron that doesn’t require the government to sanction their relationships.

Run, don’t walk, from any false teachers playing the “marriage quality” card.  They are ravenous wolves.  And like Chuck, they don’t just mock God on this topic.  They deny the exclusivity and divinity of Jesus, they are radically pro-abortion, they deny the authority of scripture, and more.

Study the Bible and encourage others to do the same.  These fakes would have been run out of churches a long time ago if people actually read the Bible for themselves.  But they trust people like Chuck to tell them the truth!

* 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” (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.)

What was he thinking?

Update: From the “this is awkward” category, the Vatican clarified that not only do they believe that atheists go to Hell, but so does anyone outside the Catholic church.

So the Pope is taking a Second look at letting atheists into heaven?

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

The Pope made one of two mistakes. The first is really bad, the second is off-the-charts bad.

1. He was very sloppy in his use of “redeemed.” If he didn’t mean it in terms of eternal salvation, then he mislead a lot of people.  He was basically channeling Major Burns from the M*A*S*H TV show and saying, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”  It could logically lead to a conversation like this:

Pope: You, my atheist friend, have been redeemed by God with the blood of Christ!  Let’s do good works together.

Atheist: Huh?  You mean that even though I don’t trust in Jesus and don’t even think God exists that I’ll spend eternity in Heaven with him with no punishment for my alleged sins?

Pope: Oh, no, my bad — you are still going to spend eternity in Hell as punishment for your sins.  But in the mean time we’ll do a few good deeds together and your torment in Hell will be slightly less unpleasant!  When I said “redeemed by the blood of Christ” I meant _________. [Sorry, this blogger can't even think of a pretend way to finish that sentence.]

2. He ignores that the New Testament has over 100 passages noting that Jesus is the only way to salvation (it isn’t just John 14:6). That isn’t what makes it true, of course. His resurrection does that. But it does mean to claim to be a Christian means that you should hold that view. Anything else would be silly.

I don’t expect good theology from him (OK, more specifically, I expect bad theology from him), but I do like his pro-life and pro-family views.  But once again he fails on the salvation issue.

The Reformation happened for a reason. Actually, 95 of them. And they haven’t changed.

—-

Update: More from the Pope’s speech.

“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”

He appears to be twisting the passage about people casting out demons in Jesus’ name (Luke 9). But that wasn’t some random good deed that atheists might do (even though it wouldn’t be truly good if done out of self-interest). They were <em>casting out demons in Jesus’ name</em>. He implies that atheists are regularly doing that!  I shouldn’t be surprised when people like him can’t get the simplest passages right.

And then there is this:

Today is [the feast of] Santa Rita, Patron Saint of impossible things – but this seems impossible: let us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work, which is a work of creation, like the creation of the Father. A work of the family, because we are all children of God, all of us, all of us! And God loves us, all of us! May Santa Rita grant us this grace, which seems almost impossible.

We are not all “children of God.” John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

And the article wraps up with him praying to a dead person.  In an odd way, I appreciate that the guy who is allegedly God’s #1 man here on earth is so clearly and profoundly anti-biblical.  It removes any doubt about core Catholic doctrines being false — at least for those who actually read the Bible.

Jim Wallis of Sojourners: Still a false teacher

When my youngest daughter was taking a Jr. College class on government during her last year of high school (home schooling), she asked if I had ever heard of Jim Wallis.  Apparently her textbook had an extended quote by him.  We are blessed with daughters that have outstanding discernment, so I was overjoyed but not surprised that even in a Liberal class and textbook she saw that he was a fake.

I’d say he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing but he’s so far gone that I think he took of the sheep’s clothing.  Must have gotten too warm.  In a move that should surprise no one, he just switched to supporting oxymoronic “same-sex marriage.”  He, like Rob Bell and others, waited until the precise moment that it would profit him to “change his mind.”

Of course there was no substance to his change, just blather about strengthening marriage (another lie).

“We are losing marriage in this society. I’m worried about that – among low income people, but all people. How do we commit liberals and conservatives to re-covenanting marriage, reestablishing, renewing marriage?”

When The Huffington Post asked Wallis to clarify if that meant he specifically supports same-sex marriage, Wallis answered, “yes.”

Isn’t that special?  He has taken it upon himself to do the opposite of what God said and act like he’s just trying to help marriages.  It has nothing to do with maintaining his popularity!

More about Wallis:

From a January 13, 2006 radio interview with Interfaith Voices:

Host: Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?

Wallis: Absolutely, without any hesitation.  That’s what the Gospel is all about.

Run, don’t walk, from people like Jim Wallis.

Should Christians seek to share the Gospel with Jewish people?

Of course they should, right?  What could be more obvious to believers?

Apparently it isn’t obvious to false teachers who write things like Can We Stop Trying To Evangelize Jews Now? (And make no mistake, most theological Liberals rationalize that we shouldn’t share the Good News with Jews.)

“I would argue that it inappropriate and deeply offensive for Christians to attempt to convert Jews or to misuse the Hebrew Scriptures and claim them as Christian writings.

- Rev. Chuck Currie

That’s odd, because Jesus tried to convert Jews, as did all the early Christians, including Paul. Should we listen to Chuck or to the early church and the Bible?

Does the apostate UCC and UMC, both served by Chuck, not include the Old Testament in their Bible? That’s what Chuck appears to be saying, but it is news to me. And I’ve seen Chuck (mis)quote the OT many times. I’m not sure why he is abandoning it now.

Paul was even willing to sacrifice his own salvation if it would save all the Jews:

Romans 9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ–I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit– 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

Romans 10: 1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Chuck and other false teachers go wrong when they let fallacious illustrations like this trump the Bible:

Could you honestly tell a Jewish child being forced into the fires of a concentration camp that they are doomed to the fires of hell because they don’t accept Jesus as their savior?

They stack the deck by using the vague term child.  If we take that out so that we don’t muddy the waters with age-of-accountability questions, the answer is simple: Yes, I could honestly tell a Jew that they are doomed to Hell if they don’t repent and believe.  What was so hard about that? That is what the Bible teaches over and over, such as John 8:24 (“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”).  I realize that Chuck and the other false teachers sit in judgment of God and don’t like that truth, but it is still the truth.  Just because you die a tragic and unjust death doesn’t mean you weren’t a sinner in need of a Savior.  Only a non-believer could think that (allegedly) sparing someone a little angst about Hell right before they go there for eternity is some kind of good deed.

It is only in the perverse, God-hating world of theological Liberals that it is unkind to tell people how to avoid an eternity in Hell.

It is only the truly hateful, self-loving false teachers who would consciously deny the truth to people who desperately need it — Jews included.

Saved by ____?

A friend’s Facebook status about refuting the false doctrine of purgatory reminded me of this post.  Key line from below: If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

Let’s just keep it all Jesus, all the time, OK people?

—–

book-of-mormon.jpgOne of the errors of Mormonism is in 2 Nephi 25:23, which reads, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” [emphasis added]

That sounds humble enough.  It makes it appear that we are saved by grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.  It sounds like the Bible, but there is a big difference.  Look more carefully and see what really saves you:

  1. You do all you can, and you are saved by grace.
  2. You don’t do all you can, so you are not saved.

So what is the difference between the two?  It is ultimately about what you do, not about what Jesus did.  In that case, it isn’t grace that saves you, it is your works.

The key word is “after,” and the phrasing is clear.  And after all, Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon is the “most perfect book in the world,” so that wording must be accurate, right?  And every Mormon I have talked to acknowledges that the works are required for salvation.

If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

And while this isn’t the reason that being saved by grace through faith is true, consider which is better news:

  1. Having to rely on your efforts with no assurance of salvation (Mormonism and other works-based religions)
  2. Knowing that Jesus did it all for you and you just need to repent and believe in him (Christianity alone)

This is the truly good news.  Take it from someone who has not “done all he can!”

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Yes, I’m familiar with James 2:20 (You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?).  Of course real faith will produce real deeds.  But as the Ephesians passage makes clear, it goes like this:

  • Real faith in the real Jesus = real salvation followed by real works
  • Faith in the wrong Jesus + lots of good deeds done out of pride = still spiritually dead
  • False faith + works = still spiritually dead

Courtesy of Ms. Green, here is a list of requirements to be saved in the LDS view:

Step #1:Have faith in Christ
Step #2:Be repentant
Step #3: Be baptized by the LDS Church
Step #4: Receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands from a member of the Melchizedek priesthood
Step #5: Males are ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood
Step #6: Receive temple endowments
Step #7: Participate in celestial marriage
Step #8: Observe the word of wisdom
Step #9: Sustain the prophet
Step #10: Tithe
Step #11: Attend sacrament meetings
Step #12: Obey the church

Oddly enough, while the LDS church and Christianity preach a different Jesus and a different Gospel, on paper orthodox Christians have more in common with Mormons than with theologically liberal Christians – a high view of scripture, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Jesus is the only way, and more.

But they teach a false, works-based gospel.  I know that many will not escape from there, but I pray that few new people join.

Also see But they are so nice! and Are Mormons really Christians?  Are Christians really Christians?

 

Brian McLaren = false teacher

Levi has a thorough take-down of Brian McLaren’s “A Generous Orthodoxy.”  McLaren is even worse than I thought — and I already thought he was pretty bad.  I read that he just performed the ceremony for his son’s same-sex union.  Ugh.  One more reason to consider him a fraud.  I go between feeling sorry for his deceived followers and realizing that, a la Romans 1, God has just given them over to their sinful desires.  Here’s an observation that applies to McLaren and countless other false teachers:

 McLaren’s theology contradicts itself when he consistently claims that we should follow Jesus’ example but also denies the validity of the witness accounts of Jesus’ life and teaching. How do we follow Bob’s example when everything we know about Bob is written by men whose writings are decidedly fictional?

McLaren and the like think it is wrong to be sure of something, even though they are sure of what they claim about the Bible and they are sure that it is wrong to be sure.  Consistency isn’t their strong suit.

The Oxymoronic “Christian Left Blog”

The Christian Left Blog is anti-Christian, oxymoronic and hypocritical.  For starters, they actively advance their side of the “wedge issues” of abortion and “same-sex marriage” while pretending that we should just give up.  Unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion was the #1 theme at the Democrat National Convention and “same-sex marriage” is the #1 issue dividing denominations — and not because the Bible-believers are trying to change things.

It is highly disingenuous of them to pretend that the church was pro-abortion and pro-gay theology for 2,000 years and then these mean conservatives came along to drive a wedge.

They are so sloppy and anti-scientific in their language. “Reproductive choice” is a popular euphemism for abortion, but 100% of abortions kill unwanted human beings who have already reproduced.  Don’t let them get away with putting a positive spin on death.

Picture

Predictably, they tout “marriage equality” but same-sex unions are not and will never be equal to real marriage because by nature and design they can never produce children and can never provide a mother and a father to a child.

The Bible couldn’t be more clear.  Even non-Christians and two out of the three types of pro-gay theologians* can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

And their slogan includes a straw man as well.  No one is claiming that homosexuals aren’t autonomous and don’t have the right of free association.

They use tired, horrible arguments like these:

If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. But don’t judge others who may be in terrible circumstances that you can’t possibly understand. Especially when your judgements are based on a politically motivated and questionable interpretation of the Bible (at best).

Slave owners used the same argument: Don’t like slavery?  Don’t own one.  You could plug any crime in that sentence and it would be equally fallacious.  Every time it would ignore the victim, just like their pro-abortion reasoning does.

Those who say, “If you’re a Christian, you have to be against abortion, and therefore you must vote republican,” are simply reciting talking points from false teachers.

False teachers?!  Indeed.  It is the theological Left that denies essentials of the faith — Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of scripture, etc.

In the end, if abortion was such a grievous sin Jesus would have mentioned it.  He said nothing.

Ah, the What Jesus didn’t say argument.  I am embarrassed for people that use that.  Here are the highlights of why that argument is so bad.  Click the link for more.

  • Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy
  • Jesus is God and part of the Trinity that inspired all scripture
  • Jesus supported the Old Testament law to the last letter
  • The “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were
  • Jesus emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.)
  • He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.)
  • He didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them
  • Abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews.  They actually thought that children were a blessing!
  • And Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior and abortion, so it must be OK!

* 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” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it”