Decision, decisions

Uber-apologist Wintery Knight linked to this last week so I thought I’d re-run it.

—–

Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read the Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

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

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

King David vs. the theological Left

If you ask the government to take from neighbor A by force to transfer to neighbor B, then that is not charity on your part, and certainly not something Jesus taught. He said to give your own money.  Yet the theological Left and its false teachers do this endlessly.

These people, who claim the name of Christ, should follow the example of King David when he was making an offering to the Lord: 1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

David wouldn’t even take the offerings that were given freely.  He didn’t want to just re-gift something to God.  The theological Left does something far worse than re-gifting: They advocate taking from others by force to “give” in their name.  They are greedy (wanting to keep what they have) and covetous (jealous of what others have), not generous.  Don’t let them fool you, and don’t be a part of it.

Give generously, but give your own money.

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.

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.

Rob Bell, Goldfish Lady and “hearing from God”

Did you read about the woman who claims she found a ‘sign from God’ on Goldfish cracker?  It is another in a long and sad line of people allegedly finding signs of God, Jesus, Mary, etc. in all sorts of things.  And you can totally trust them, because in a world of trillions of items you’d never find something similar looking by accident, right?  And of course we know exactly what Jesus really looked like, so we can identify his image in grilled cheese sandwiches.

It’s a fishy story, but the woman telling it believes it’s pure gold. The Florida resident says the markings she found on a Goldfish cracker are a direct message affirming her Christian faith.

“I believe that it’s a sign, a sign from God,” Patti Burke told WKMG. “He is still in our life every day, and he wants to show that to his people.”

It’s not quite manna, but in Burke’s eyes it’s a manifestation of her faith.

The cracker in question has two markings, or imperfections, on its surface. Burke says the first marking is of a cross with a circle around it. The second marking, near the head of the fish, represents a golden crown.

“When I picked this one up, I knew he was special,” she said. “Something I’ve never seen before out of all the Goldfish I’ve eaten.”

I would love to know how much she reads the Bible. If she did she’d have all the assurance she needs of what God is really like and she’d realize that when He communicates to people He doesn’t do it via ambiguous messages in Goldfish crackers (did I really have to type that?!). She is obviously not well grounded in her faith and is “saved and confused” at best.

She is an extreme case, of course, and brings much mockery to the faith. So does her pastor who supported her publicly. But there is a lot of sloppy “God talk” that is just as fact-free as her foolishness, it just isn’t as obvious. The “God told me _____” phrase — unless followed by scripture, in context — is often tied to some sort of mischief. I read of one woman who opened an abortion clinic after seeing a “sign from God” on a bathroom wall. Seriously.

And while her situation is more extreme, is it really much different than what Rob Bell, the United Church of Christ or other false teachers claim when they say that “God is still speaking” and giving them new revelations?  (Uh, even though they didn’t believe him the first time and He just happens to be giving these revelations only to theological Liberals in the West, and even then He only does it roughly 15 minutes after the Pagans have figured it out.)

A big part of the problem is that there are too many Bible Cheerleaders who like all sorts of Facebook statuses about God, Jesus, the Bible, etc. but they don’t actually read the book.

Dear Christians, please-please-please read your Bibles carefully and think before you talk or type.  With effort I’ve gotten better at it over the years and I say fewer stupid things now.  Really, the system works.

P.S. This portion of the main link wasn’t relevant to the post, but you can have fun making up punch lines.

Burke admittedly has been working from a large sample size, consuming between two and three pounds of the crackers per week. She says she eats the small crackers individually, examining each one for the optimal amount of savory coating.

hear from GodP.S.

A look at the sermon of a false teacher

Reading the sermons of wolves in sheep’s clothing so you don’t have to!

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie took a break from taking little girls to gay pride parades to preach a “sermon” about John 18:33-37.  He is symptomatic of the theological Left and their anti-Christian teachings.

I wrote previously in Heretics ‘R Us about Chuck’s abuse of John 14:6 (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”) and how Chuck’s key points were to claim that Jesus was not the only way to the Father (despite the Bible claiming that over 100 times), that other religions such as Islam should inform our view of the Gospel, and that the Bible is not accurate or reliable — specifically that the Gospel of John was written 100 years after Jesus was crucified for being such a nice guy.

Never minding that even Liberal scholars concede a date around 100 A.D., and the case for a pre-70 A.D. dating is very strong, Chuck is now claiming that it was written 200 years after the crucifixion.  (Note that his dating is relative to the crucifixion, not the resurrection, because “Reverend” Chuck and other theological liberals don’t believe the resurrection really happened.  We have a name for those who hold that view: Non-Christians.)

Via Thy Kingdom Come:

In our on-going Sunday night adult education group we’ve come to know that the Book of John was written nearly two hundred years after the death of Jesus and far from recording historical accounts of his life it reflects theological understandings of his ministry and existence.

Well, there you have it!  Chuck now says it was 200 years, not 100 years.  So his view is that the author(s) were complete liars, because the Gospel of John explicitly claims to contain eyewitness accounts and evidence for believing that Jesus rose from the dead and is the source of eternal life.

Chuck seems to make up things as he goes along, kind of like Benny Hinn.  But even if Chuck was right, why on earth would he do an entire sermon on a book he “knows” is thoroughly fraudulent?

Sadly, as the latest of the Gospels, it also reflects the reality that by this point in history the early Christian community is becoming separate from the Jewish community that Jesus was apart of.  With this separation comes persecution of early Christians and the narratives of Jesus death change in ways that blame the Jews more directly as a people for the death of Jesus, when the Romans where truly responsible.

Knowing all this we can sit back from our vantage point and see how it was that Pilate must have been confused about Jesus.

This lowly son of a carpenter was actually wildly popular with the Jewish people and word had reached Pilate that some referred to Jesus as King.

So Chuck seeks to absolve the Jews of blame for the crucifixion, even though all the Gospels record that Jewish people were the cause of Jesus being killed.

Luke 23 18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”– 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

Chuck & Co. will claim that is anti-Semitic, but there is another more accurate term: Fact. No one claims that all Jews killed Jesus or that Jews should be persecuted.  We just point to the obvious truths of the Bible.

The church too quickly forgot the lessons of Jesus.

But wait — Chuck & Co. insist that the documents containing Jesus’ words are hopelessly flawed.  He and his (apparently former) employer the “Jesus Seminar” insist that Jesus only really said a small fraction of the words attributed to him — and of course they deny that He is part of the Trinity and on board with the entire Bible.

We spend too much time in the Christian church debating what happens to us after we die and not enough time talking about how to improve the world we live in.  Jesus was never obsessed with death and salvation the way he was obsessed with building up the Kingdom in the here and now.

Again, Chuck refers to a Jesus that he made up.  The real Jesus spoke plenty about eternal matters:

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Back to the false teacher:

We pride ourselves on being places where all points of view are accepted.

Uh, sure — views like pro-real marriage and pro-life?

But I also agree with Martin Luther King, Jr. who once preached at Riverside Church that: “…I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.”

Wait — does Chuck actually believe in Hell?

There are too many great moral issues being debated in our community today – in our state and the world – that require the attention of the church.  These issues – whether it be the coming debate over marriage equality or more life threatening issues concerning global climate change – that demand that we not be silent but take stands, not just as individuals but as a church community.

“Marriage equality” is a fiction.  “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron.  Unions that can’t produce children or provide a mother and a father to children are not equal to unions that can.

As a play on the favorite line of pro-gay theologians, “Jesus never said anything about marriage equality,” so their pet issue must not be very important.

Global climate change = made-up Leftist power grab.

What would Pilate think of us?  This is a serious question.  If we dropped Sunnyside Church and University Park Church through a time warp and into Pilate’s time would we been seen as a community that was at all threatening?  Or could we easily be ignored?

He’d probably think they were a bunch of fake Christians, especially since their #1 issue in the election was forcing pro-lifers to pay for abortions, because Chuck & Co. think our biggest problem is that not enough babies are getting killed in the womb.

We need to be marching alongside workers at Wal-Mart calling for livable wages. We need to be demanding of our President and our Congress a carbon tax and other measures to dramatically shift the way we all live to save God’s creation.  We need to be demanding of our local community permanent funding sources to create affordable housing and standing with those facing foreclosure.

“And we need to do it by taking the money of other’s by force!  Because Jesus would never expect us to use our own money!  And it would take way too much work to open businesses ourselves to compete against Wal-Mart and pay those “livable wages.”  And besides, we don’t have any business skills!  We just need Caesar to solve all of our problems!”

And Sunnyside Church and University Park Church should be the first churches to Oregon to publically endorse a ballot measure calling for marriage equality in 2014.

Well, sure, go ahead and make your Romans 1 Poster Children picture complete.

If we do these things and more, we can stop being the church of Constantine and start being the movement of Jesus.  We’ll be controversial.  New people will come to worship with us and others will mock us.

Yes, some people will worship (Satan) with Chuck & Co., but not many.  Just look how much Chuck’s apostate employers (the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church) continue to shrink.  Why get up early on Sunday to go hear what MSNBC tells you  for free 24×7?

Here’s the final irony of Chuck’s “sermon.”  The last line of his text — you know, from the book Chuck says was full of lies and not written by John and adopted by the early church — says this:

John 18:37 Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Chuck & Co. explicitly do not listen to Jesus’ voice, and they miss the self-parody of quoting that verse. By their own words they do not belong to the truth.

Make no mistake: If you follow people like this you are lost. You are like the people in Romans 1 who God gave over to their sinful desires. You are like Pharaoh, who continually hardened his heart until God finished hardening it for him. Get out of those fake churches while you still have time.

False teachers cheer loss of religious freedom

You’d think that they would be able to think 15 minutes into the future and see that there might be a downside to them someday, but false teachers were rejoicing that the government is trampling religious freedoms in the name of health care.  Did it occur to these phonies that if they wanted to provide these benefits they could have done it without the government forcing them to?  Oh, that’s right, they want their religious views forced on others.

Via On Your Knees, Pro-Lifers: Mainline Version:

The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, seconds the latter’s glee over the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to run roughshod over religious liberty in the interest of contraceptive orthodoxy

. . .

Take note, United Methodists: your GBCS wants the government to be able to force you to support practices, and spend money to support practices, that are contrary to your faith. Any Christian, whether conservative or liberal, who does not believe that this decision, if allowed to stand, will not come back to eventually haunt us is living in a dream land. But then, we’ve known that about Jim Winkler for a long time.

It makes me want to rejoin the Methodist church just so I can leave it again.

The false teachers from the UCC are just as excited to give up their freedom.

The Westar Wolves broke my irony meter

Wolf

The Westar Institute is home of the Jesus Seminar, the group of fake Christians who literally voted on which things Jesus “really” said in the New Testament and which He did not. Not surprisingly, the “Jesus” they ended up with looked remarkably like contemporary liberal culture — in other words, just like them.  They deny his divinity, his miracles, his resurrection and more in making him out to be an early Occupy Wall Street-type rebel.  In other words, no one holding their views should claim to be Christian.  They may have degrees but they speak nonsense, such as what Jesus Seminar member Marcus Borg said here.

Now here’s some news from their new employee Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” CurrieThe Bible Seminar Set To Increase Biblical Literacy – Just In Time.

It is hard to imagine a more ironic title.  These “Christians” can’t go three sentences without creating a god in their own image but they think they are going to increase biblical literacy?  Sure.  Just like their spokesman did a whole sermon explaining why Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation because he insisted that John 14:6 didn’t belong in the Bible but that the Gospel of Thomas did (yeah, what did the early church know, anyway?!).  And he didn’t even realize there were 100+ additional verses to rationalize away to make his point!  He insisted that the Gospel of John was written after 130 A.D., even though atheist textual critics like Bart Ehrman and others place it at 90-95 A.D.  (I think it was written before 70 A.D., but that is another topic.)

The Westar Institute – home of the Jesus Seminar and Polebridge Press – will be launching a new initiative called the Bible Seminar this month to promote Biblical literacy and the timing couldn’t be better.

I agree that biblical illiteracy is rampant.  But looking to the Westar Wolves for assistance is like asking Jerry Sandusky to fight pedophilia.  I mean, he appears to know a lot about it, but there is a difference between a cause and a cure.

You have to feel bad for White House Press Secretary Jay Carney who made the unfortunate mistake recently of attributing the phrase “the Lord helps those who help themselves” to the Bible.  It’s a common mistake.  In fact, pollster George Barna has found that 75% of Americans believe this phrase, most likely from Benjamin Franklin, comes from Scripture.

Again, let’s remember that Chuck distorts every verse he touches.  How can someone get a seminary degree and not know that the New Testament claims countless times that Jesus is the only way to salvation and that Jesus is divine?  That isn’t what makes those true, of course, but they are obviously positions every authentic Christian should hold.

Carney’s mistake isn’t very worrisome.  What is truly concerning are how many Americans, for example, would claim that Jesus is opposed to gay marriage.  Jesus never uttered a word about homosexuality as far as we know – for or against – but people will claim that he did.

Predictable.  Of course Chuck hasn’t read where Jesus reiterated who God made marriage for: One man and one woman (Mark 10).  And yes, that statement was in response to the issue of divorce, but it still indicates God’s plan for marriage.  You can’t get away from it.

And Chuck offers no evidence and uses the “what Jesus didn’t say” argument from silence, which fails on many levels: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on this topic in the sense that they reiterated what marriage is, 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, etc.), His failure to mention bestiality, child abuse and other obvious sins wouldn’t justify them, and homosexual behavior simply wasn’t a hot topic for 1st century Jews.  Other than that, it is a great argument.

More importantly, note how this false teacher tips his hand by saying Jesus never addressed homosexuality.  Remember, the clear claim of scripture and an essential of the Christian faith is that Jesus is part of the Trinity.  Jesus is God, the Bible is the word of God, therefore the Bible is the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out exactly the way He wanted them to.  Therefore, all the verses about human sexuality turned out exactly the way Jesus wanted:

  • 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.
Also, Chuck is implying that Romans and other writings addressing homosexuality aren’t the word of God.  That’s a peculiar thing for a Christian to say.
There are three types of pro-gay theologians, and Chuck and the Jesus Seminar are in the most explicitly anti-Christian group, the one that believes that the Bible is either not the Word of God, or that most parts of it aren’t.

Our level of Biblical literacy is low in the United States.

Twenty five years ago, The Westar Institute started the Jesus Seminar to bring Biblical scholars out of classrooms and into the public square to discuss the life and ministry of Jesus in new ways.  The project largely focused then on the historical Jesus and sought to set Jesus within his own historical context and to explore the meaning of his life and death free from dogmatic constraints that had for centuries limited our understanding of who Jesus was.  For many Christians the work of the Jesus Seminar was liberating – for the Religious Right is was blasphemous.

Not just the religious right thinks it is blasphemous.  Chuck & Co. are so comfortable in their little Western Liberal religious cocoon that they don’t know what real Christians have believed for 2,000 years and around the world.  I know lots of Christians outside the U.S., and I assure you that Chuck and Westar do not speak for them.

Dr. Stephen Patterson, director of The Westar Institute and George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., notes that the mission of Westar is to “facilitate collaborative, critical scholarship and bring it before the public for the common good.  Lately, however, we have not been heard.  Our evangelical friends are well-organized and well-funded and consequently can raise their voice above all others.  Our new project, The Bible Seminar, is our attempt to re-ignite the fires of the Jesus Seminar and raise once again the voice of critical scholarship in a conversation that has veered far to the right.”

I can’t wait to see their content!

Groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council and figures like Albert Mohler use Scripture to justify all kinds of conservative causes:  oppression of women, opposition to environmental protections, support for U.S. military intervention in places like Iraq, opposition to marriage equality, etc.  But are these Biblical positions? Plenty of scholars who study the Bible would say no and argue that these are political position cloaked in religious language.

Eek!  Bible-believing Christians!  Wait . . . what do they mean by “oppression of women?”  Oh, if you are opposed to crushing and dismembering innocent but unwanted human beings in the womb then you want to oppress women . . . even though gender selection abortions are used almost exclusively to kill females for the sole reason that they are female.

“Marriage equality” = tired sound bite.  “Same-sex marriage” is not, and never will be, equal to real marriage as outlined in the Bible.

The Bible Seminar will help equip those scholars to better engage in public debate and enter into discussion and dialogue with clergy and lay Christians (and non-believers as well) to liberate the Bible from those who would misuse it for their own partisan political purposes.

Yeah, because people would never misuse the Bible to rationalize the government taking by force from neighbor A to “give” to neighbor B and calling it “Christianity,” and they would never use it to justify abortion and teaching 5 yr. olds how “normal” LGBTQ behavior is.

Like the Jesus Seminar before it, the Bible Seminar won’t answer all the questions.  What this project will do, however, is allow the questions to be asked and in the process solicit diverse voices that often aren’t even invited to the table to be part of the discussion.  We can expect the work to be controversial but always exciting.

I used to feel sorry for people taken in by fakes like Chuck Currie and the Jesus Seminar.  Now I tend to think that they get what they deserve: a false god to worship.

Westar is a poster child for Leopard Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, as well as Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling Western theological liberals and progressives.

Jesus warned us many times of false teachers, and He was right.  My guess is that those passages were the first ones jettisoned by the Westar Wolves.

Please note how their “biblical literacy” campaign immediately self-destructs with respect to their anti-Christ mission. Their main point in the past has been dismissing the verses they don’t like as not being of Jesus, or dismissing whole books of the Bible as not belonging.  But they can’t deny what is actually in the Bible.

For example, Chuck can try and deny that Jesus spoke the words of John 14:6, but he can’t deny that it is in the book.  So if they want to debate what the Bible really says — whether they think Jesus said it or not — they are going to lose badly.  They used to cheat by pulling out verses that opposed their made up religion, but if they are going to point to what is in the whole book then they can’t play that game any longer.  

This will be fun.  

Lost books of the Bible? Nope.

Some false teachers and skeptics claim that some books like the Gospel of Thomas were “lost” from the Bible (1).  This is still an important issue.  An agnostic employee of mine saw one of those “lost books” shows on TV and was captivated by it.  He asked me a lot of questions and seemed convinced by the DaVinci Code-type reasoning that Constantine and/or those misogynistic church fathers deliberately left out books they disagreed with.

But whether you think that the Bible is divinely inspired or not, it is bad reasoning to claim that any books of the Bible have been lost.  Greg Koukl has a great summary of this in No “lost” book:

Regardless of how you view the Scripture – as supernatural or as natural – there is no sense in which there could be lost books of the Bible.  If the Bible is supernatural – if God is responsible for its writing, it’s transmission and its survival – then God, being God, doesn’t fail.  He doesn’t make mistakes, He doesn’t forget things and He’s not constrained by man’s limitations.  God can’t lose his lessons.

However, if the Bible is not supernatural, as many will contend, especially those who claim to have found lost books – one faces a different problem.  By what standard do we claim that these are bona fide lost books of the canon of the early church?  If, from a human perspective, the Bible is that collection of writings reflecting the beliefs of early Christianity, then any writings discarded by the church fathers were not books of their Bible by very definition.

The good news is that my employee has an open mind and saw the wisdom in this reasoning.  He’s still exploring, but I’m encouraged.

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

Anyone claiming the name of Christ who believes that books were lost is, at best, “saved and (very) confused,” and most likely a false teacher.

(1) See this example where false teacher Chuck Currie claims that the Gospel of John does not belong in the Bible but that the Gospel of Thomas does (So long, John 3:16 and more!).  Of course, that tips his hand as to not believing in any real God at all, because Chuck’s “god” isn’t powerful enough to preserve his teachings.

You’d think that such a transparent wolf in sheep’s clothing would be booted out of any church, yet Chuck is a spokesperson for the UCC.

The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry has an excellent collection of articles on the supposed lost books.   You can read the Gospel of Thomas there, for example.  Note that the Bible critics and false teachers rarely quote passages like this one:

114 Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

They just use the existence of these books to cast doubt on the real Bible.  Just your basic Satan-inspired actions.

 

Decision, decisions

Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read the Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

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

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

Roundup

East Africa Journal: “Problems Facing Our Socialism” -By Barack Hussein Obama Sr. This explains a lot.  I read about this in Forbes today.  One of the President’s books is titled Dreams From My Father.  Barack is basically living out the socialist dreams of his alcoholic polygamist father that he barely knew.  The loyalty might be touching if he weren’t damaging the country fulfilling his father’s dream.

Foundry’s Civil Disobedience: Will There Be a Price To Pay?

Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC voted this week to allow same-gender marriages in its church building and to support its clergy members should they choose to perform same-gender marriage ceremonies in the future, whether at Foundry or somewhere else.

. . .

Will this vote be largely symbolic, analogous  to a state or municipality voting to ignore federal law– or will Foundry be following through with the vote by performing actual same sex wedding ceremonies? I suspect the latter, and if that’s indeed the case, then all eyes will be on Bishop John R. Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference to see whether he’ll hold Foundry accountable or look the other way.

The vote at the church was 367 to 8. Wow, what an amazingly thorough mockery of God’s word and natural law.

I hope we exercise some church discipline for once and kick them out. Let ‘em start a new denomination. These people can’t even get Genesis 2 right, let alone the rest of the Bible.

This isn’t complicated, folks. Even many pro-”same sex marriage” promoting “Christians” will concede the following (yes, some will say Christian just read the Bible incorrectly for 2,000 years, but many will concede that the Bible is clear but that it isn’t all the word of God and that Paul was a homophobe).

  • 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.

Seriously, kick this church out. Treat gays like we would other sinners: Welcome them, share the Gospel with them but don’t teach the opposite of what the Bible says.

Once again I’m on the “Methodist ledge” and wondering why I bother with this denomination.

Found a good blog via the previous link – another one of those almost-extinct evangelical Methodists. Loved his comment on this lame commercial:”What if a church actually proclaimed the Gospel for the forgiveness of sins? Would you come?”

The UMC needs to rethink church, alright.  They need to think about what the Bible says about it for a change.

From my other blog — Surprise! Another UCC false teacher — False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie found another false UCC teacher to praise — see CNN: UCC Pastor Carlton Pearson Speaks About Eddie Long.

Geithner Cornered On Tax Hypocrisy – He vastly underpaid his taxes but wants to raise them for others.  Check.

I love this song by Brandon Heath — “Give me your eyes.”

It isn’t like I expect good theology from Pearls Before Swine, but it is ironic how the goat unwittingly does the same thing that so many Christians and non-Christians do: Hypocritically judges others for judging.  Of course, if they read Matthew 7:1-5 in context then they wouldn’t make this mistake.

Saw this on my daughter’s Facebook page.

The UCC “Bouncers”

The UCC “Satan is still speaking;’” theme (yeah, they use the word “God” but we know what they really mean) and their accompanying “bouncer” ads are sort of comical considering how fast they are losing membership each year.

Now why could that be?  I mean, they are telling the culture exactly what they want to hear: “No changes required folks!  God doesn’t want to change anything about you!  None of that radical right-wing “repent and believe” stuff here!”

Churches like the UCC are utter failures. It is the spiritual equivalent of not being able to sell ice water in a desert.

Should churches welcome sinners?  Of course!  Who else could join?

But should they welcome as members those who come shaking their fist at God and who steadfastly refuse to change and who teach the opposite of Jesus?  Of course not.  That would be like saying the Democrats were evil “bouncers” for not letting Glenn Beck have a voice on their platform.

Should churches bounce false teachers?  Absolutely!  The fact that they deny that is just more proof that they don’t take the Bible seriously.

When these fakes claim that the Holy Spirit is providing continuing revelation to them — and that revelation just happens to be the opposite of what the Bible says — you should turn and run away.

Run, don’t walk, from the UCC

Welcome visitors!  Please be sure to read Whaling on false teachers in less than 5 minutes! for more background.  God gave many lessons about the importance of sound doctrine.  The false teachers that sent you here mock those passages.  Eternity is a mighty long time, so don’t follow those fakes.

—–

False teacher ChuckJesus is not the only way” Currie referred to this United Church of Christ (UCC) announcement in his comments on this post to justify his support for oxymoronic “same-sex marriage.”  Read it to see why this denomination is apostate.

Theological and Biblical Foundations

The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted.

Yes, but the UCC gets the Gospel wrong.  The Gospel is that Jesus died for our sins and rose again and that by trusting in him we get forgiveness and eternal life (see 1 Corinthians 15).  You won’t find that in this UCC gobbledygook.

Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion.

Inclusion?  Sure, but on what terms?  Is everyone included even if they don’t repent and believe?  No.  Notice how they don’t mention anything about repentance.  The only “sin” for them on this topic is not being pro-oxymoronic same-sex marriage.

The biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God’s community is ever-expanding – from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco- Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus’ ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God’s people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.

That’s odd, because Chuck and the UCC are pro-abortion.  They deny the human personhood of the unborn.  They won’t protect the unborn from being crushed and dismembered but shake their fists at God in support of perverting his ideal for marriage.  But they care so much about “human personhood” that they must bless what God has called sinful?

The Bible is very clear:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing 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.

The biblical call to justice and compassion (to love one’s neighbor as one’s self) provides the mandate for marriage equality.

That is a non sequitur.  Using that logic it would mandate “marriage equality” for humans and animals (see Leviticus 18 verses 22 and 23).  Why doesn’t the UCC use their same logic to overturn v. 23 while they are at it?

Justice as right relationship seeks both personal and communal well being. It is embodied in interpersonal relationships and institutional structures, including marriage.

That is just gibberish.

Justice seeks to eliminate marginalization for reasons of race, gender, sexual orientation or economic status.

Only in their made up definition.  And they beg the question about sexual orientation.  The burden of proof is on them to prove that it is genetic (it isn’t) and that even if it was why that would trump the clear word of God.

The language of covenant is central to the message of scripture concerning relationships and community. Both in the message of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus, covenant relationships are important, taken seriously by God and are to be taken seriously by God’s people.

More non sequitur gibberish.  They just throw the words justice, covenental, relationships, etc. as often as they can to make it sound good.

The overriding message of the Gospel is that God calls God’s people to live fully the gift of love in responsible, faithful, just, committed, covenantal relationships of trust that recognize and respect the image of God in all people. These Gospel values are at the core of the covenantal relationship that we call marriage.

They make up a definition of the Gospel and work from there.

It is essential to note that the Gospel values of covenant do not come from the practices of marriage, which change and evolve throughout the history of the biblical story.

Jesus reiterated the plan for marriage from Genesis: One man and one woman.  God’s ideal did not evolve.

Indeed, it is not possible to rely exclusively on scripture for understanding marriage today. For example, biblical texts that encourage celibacy, forbid divorce, or requirewomen to be subservient to their husbands are not considered to be authoritative because they are primarily expressions of the cultural norms of the ancient Middle East.

That works if you deliberately misunderstand the text.

At the same time, there are also many biblical models for blessed relationships beyond one man and one woman. Indeed, scripture neither commends a single marriage model nor commands all to marry, but rather calls for love and justice in all relationships.

The Bible has no issue with friendships.  It has zero examples of “blessed” homosexual behavior.

We recognize and affirm that the covenantal values that are essential to the Gospel are central to how we understand marriage in this time. We also recognize and affirm that all humans are made in the image and likeness of God, including people of all sexual orientations, and God has bestowed upon each one the gift of human sexuality.

Again, note that Chuck and the UCC offer no protections to the humans in the womb who are made in the likeness of God.  They are pro-abortion.

And just because people are made in God’s image doesn’t mean they get a free pass on sinning.

Further, we recognize and affirm that, as created in God’s image and gifted by God with human sexuality, all people have the right to lead lives that express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent and pleasure.

They are just making things up as they go along.

Is God still speaking about marriage?

The overwhelming testimonies of countless couples, regardless of gender, throughout the United Church of Christ, and beyond, say, “Yes, God is still speaking.” Couples who have chosen to exchange covenantal vows attest to the blessing of God’s abundance and lifegiving power in their relationships.

The UCC slogan that “God is still speaking” is a tip-off  This would be true provided that it meant that God still speaks through his Word.  However, they use this phrase to mean that God is changing his moral laws — and oddly enough, He is only telling westerners in Liberal denominations!

These apostates don’t think God communicated his laws in a discernible way in the first place (i.e., in the Bible), but they now think He is communicating with Swiss-watch precision to them.

Through their committed relationships, many throughout the church – parents, siblings, children, friends and others – have witnessed the liberation of the gifts of God for service in the world.

Another non sequitur.  Just because people have gifts doesn’t mean you need to sanction their rebellion against God.

Therefore, theologically and biblically, there is neither justification for denying any couple, regardless of gender, the blessings of the church nor for denying equal protection under the law in the granting of a civil marriage license, recognized and respected by all civil entities.

Actually there are many reasons.  Again:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing 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.Yes, God is still speaking through his word, and He is still warning people against bad theology and churches like the UCC.
  • Digg This

    Who is a Christian? Who is a Muslim?

    church.jpgFor 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 while rejecting 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 false-teaching churches so long and have such a low view of scripture that they think that is the way church is supposed to be.

    It is ultimately God’s job to assess who truly trusts in Jesus and who does not.  I’m not qualified and wouldn’t want the job even if I was. 

    Jesus did say that you will know them by their fruit and that we should make right judgments, 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 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 shown in the Bible, countless creeds and denominational statements of faith.  The views of theological Liberals mock the cross and the blood of the martyrs who died — and who still suffer and die today — rather than recant their faith.

    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.  A man wrote it, and it has obvious errors like saying that a body double died on the cross instead of Jesus.  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: Do you eat pork?

    Me: Mmmmmmm . . . bacon.

    RM: You aren’t a Muslim.

    Me: Yes I am! 

    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, not a bit of it.  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 recorded in the Bible are true?

    LT: Of course not.  I’m too smart for that.  Miracles can’t happen.  Writers made those up.

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

    LT: No.

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

    LT: No.

    Me: Do you believe that we are created in God’s image and that we should protect innocent human life?

    LT: Abortions for any and all reasons at any time are fine with God.  Jesus is pro-legalized abortion.  We get to decide who the real “persons” are.

    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.  God loves us unconditionally.  We don’t need a Savior.

    Me: Do you realize how radically different your basic views are from those of 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 so much smarter than they were.

    Me: Indeed.  But how can you claim to be a Christian?

    LT: How dare you question my faith?!

    Is the first conversation different from the second? 

    I haven’t had that precise conversation with any liberal Christians, but it is a highly accurate composite.  Try it yourself.  You may find that their views are even more bizarre.  I’m almost 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 and more.

    These people may be decent citizens and friendly neighbors, but calling themselves Christians wildly distorts the meaning of the word.  I wish the frauds would be honest for once and officially switch to professing atheism or Hinduism, which are much more in line with their views.

    Roundup

    Great post by the Wintry Knight demonstrating how scientists sometimes lie and why they do so.  (Huh?  You mean that people don’t just sin in every other area of life but in science as well?  No way!)

    Also see Stan’s piece about Lies People Tell – Christ vs Science

    Christianity started modern science. In return, moderns have lied about Christianity. Then they took up positions directly intended to eliminate Christianity. Today, science tries to supplant Christianity as the only reliable belief system in the universe. It’s not true, and Christianity (and any other thinking person) disputes it. But please don’t listen to all those lies about how Christianity and science are diametrically opposed, or that faith and reason have nothing to do with each other.

    Glenn had (most of) a terrific letter published in his local newspaper regarding the illogic of “same sex marriage.”  The haters probably won’t listen, but he did a great service by providing the middle grounders with simple and excellent arguments.

    A few UCC-ers march to support universal health care — Yeah, Jesus was all about pressuring the government to take other people’s money to redistribute in a most inefficient way.

    Rick Warren doesn’t understand the concept of unequally yoked.  It isn’t just about not marrying unbelievers, it is about not partnering with them in spiritual enterprises.  We should share the Gospel with Muslims, not do “ministry” together.

    What a bizarre world.  I can’t believe the politicians don’t read their bills and don’t care that people know they don’t read the bills, or that Liberals don’t care if they read the bills.

    Ted Nugent on gun control.  Classic stuff.  Hat tip to Tammi from Facebook (not sure if she’s still blogging)

    God is still speaking? Well, yes, but how?

    bible.jpg

    One denomination has a slogan that “God is still speaking.”  This would be true provided that it meant that God still speaks through his Word.  However, liberal theologians tend to use this phrase to mean that God is changing his moral laws.

    Remember, these are the people who didn’t believe what He said the first time around in his word.  And I’m supposed to believe that He is speaking new truths through them?!

    Some people appear to believe in Dalmatian Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  But the “God is still speaking” folks have also completed Advanced Dalmatian Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives in the West.  

    They don’t think He communicated his laws in a discernable way in the first place (i.e., in the Bible), but they now think He is communicating with Swiss-watch precision to them. 

    Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force. 

    Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior. 

    The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

    1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
    2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times. 
    3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these pro-gay theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this “new revelation.”
    4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion.
    5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
    6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles. 
    7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  Go figure. 
    8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent? 
    9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

    Other than that, she’s got a great premise.

    Church membership in the U.S.

    church.jpgYou don’t want to read too much into church growth stats.  False teachers, prosperity preachers and cults can grow and those speaking the truth could shrink if people don’t want the truth.  But if you are doing things well you should probably be growing.

    Many denominations are continuing to lose members.  The United Methodist Church dropped by 0.8% in the last year.  Sadly, cults like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are growing.  They are aggressively evangelical and do more for a lie than most Christians do for the truth.  The last figures I saw were that Mormons send the same number of missionaries out as Methodists do, even though we are 30 times as large. 

    It is so important that we become equipped to reach out to people in various world religions.

    The biggest drop by far was in the United Church of Christ (Pres. Obama’s denomination), down a full 6%.  Must be the ejector seats.  It is hard to believe that they’d be in decline with “leaders” like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his messages of love and false teachers like unrepentent liar Chuck Currie preaching sermons about the virtues of Charles Darwin (and not mentioning Jesus) and teaching how Jesus is not the only way to salvation.

    This is just the U.S., though. The Christian church is growing significantly in many parts of the world.