Since tomorrow marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season, I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone to avoid the Jesus Calling series of books by Sarah Young. These books are unfortunately massive best-sellers. If you go into a Christian book store (whether a physical building or online), you will find the Jesus Calling books prominently displayed. Do not be fooled into buying them. Sarah Young is a false prophet and a false teacher! The words she records as being directly from the mouth of Jesus are, at best, figments of her own imagination or, at worst, demonic. If you want some more information on Sarah Young and the Jesus Calling book, here is a link to my detailed review.
Monthly Archives: November 2013
I would like to encourage every Christian to spend some time and listen to the audio series recorded at the recent Strange Fire Conference. I have been absolutely blown away by what I have heard and learned from the great teachers that presented at the conference. No matter where you currently stand on the debate about the apostolic revelatory sign gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues and the healing, I would strongly encourage to listen to the whole series:
- If you do not know anything about this issue, you will learn so much and be better equipped to recognize error. This is a hugely important issue that Christians should desire to be informed about.
- If you know something about this issue and consider yourself to be cautiously open to the Charismatic gifts, you will have to force think long and hard about what you are really being open to.
- If you are already a Cessationist who believes these revelatory gifts have ceased, you will be strengthened in your understanding of the issue and encouraged to stand firm in your beliefs.
- If you are already a Charismatic, I hope you will listen not just to reconsider your position, but to ask yourself what you are doing to police the rampant excesses and lies that regularly accompany the Charismatic movement.
There is nothing I will write that would be a better use of your time than listening to those conference messages. You will hear two moving lectures by Conrad Mbewe of the destruction these teachings have wrought in Africa. I know that I have heard often of the rapid growth of Christianity in Africa. I was saddened to learn from Conrad’s lectures of what this “Christianity” really looks like. There are talks from Joni Eareckson Tada and Justin Peters – two individuals who understand first-hand the heart wrenching damage caused by presenting false hopes of healing. And so much more. Please find some time to listen to these messages.
And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7).
Is the Lord among us or not? We look back at the Hebrew people when this was recorded and think – are you serious? Imagine what they had witnessed in their recent past:
- The plagues that ravaged the Egyptians, but spared them
- They painted their door frames with the blood of the lamb on that first Passover night and then watched as the firstborn of everyone else died while their families were spared
- They saw the parting of the Red Sea and then walked across on dry ground before Pharaoh’s great army was swept under behind them
- The followed the great pillar of smoke during the day and the fire by night
- They had received the manna – probably that very day!
Yet, they still grumbled, complained and asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?” We may look back at these people and think how clueless they must have been to question the existence and nearness of God. Yet, we today have 3000 more years of evidence of God’s working through history. We have the revelation of both the Old and New Testaments. And, most importantly, we have the living witness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to make God known to us in a personal way. We have all the evidence those ancient Hebrew people had because it is recorded for us in Exodus. Plus, we have so much more.
Those Hebrews were judged by God for their unbelief and not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Then how shall we escape if we neglect the great salvation in Jesus Christ that has been revealed to us through the Holy Spirit?
I have a hard time following the current trends in environmental forecasting. First we had forecasts of the coming of the next Ice Age, then it was global warming, and now we just have generic climate change. Unfortunately, the predictions from these men and women continue to be unreliable, whether they come from scientists with multiple PhDs or gypsies with stacks of Tarot cards. As my pastor noted in his sermon last Sunday, the Bible makes it clear that intense global warming will indeed cause the destruction of not only the earth, but also the atmosphere and the universe:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12).
This is not the gradual global warming caused by people, but a roaring fire of truly Biblical proportions. And since this prediction comes directly from the God who both created and controls the universe, it will undoubtedly come true. God is not telling us about an increase of a few degrees but a heat that will consume everything! So, when you hear or read about global climate change, let it be a reminder of the coming judgment of God upon this universe and us as individuals. It should drive us all to repentance and faith before it is too late.
Last week I took my first trip to Seoul, South Korea where I saw the church building for what Wikipedia declares to be the largest Pentecostal Christian church in the world with somewhere between 700,000 and 1,000,000 members. I snapped the attached picture as we drove by one time. Coming from a little congregation that has perhaps 150 people on a Sunday, those numbers are staggering. That is at least half as many people as reside in the entire state of Idaho where I live. Unfortunately, the Yoido Full Gospel Church should be more accurately called the “False Gospel Church.” Here are a series of quotes taken from the “About Us” section of their web site. First, they proclaim the false prosperity Gospel:
All believers who are saved are set free from the spiritual, mental, and physical sicknesses that we may enjoy good health.
Secondly, they teach that our words have creative power:
Our lives will become what we say. First, proclaim the word of hope aloud. Second, unfold your faith with spoken words. Third, say something creative and prosperous.
These are the same deadly errors spread in the United States by false teachers like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and so many others. It is sad to see that the same false gospel dominates South Korea just as it does the United States. The name of Christianity and, even worse, the name of Jesus Christ are used to mislead people by promising them false earthly hopes when all they can truly deliver is an eternity under God’s wrath. It is truly heart breaking. And a sobering reminder that one of the greatest mission fields in the world is among the people who call themselves Christian, but have never heard the true gospel.
Can you imagine rejoicing in the destruction of someone’s home? Probably not. Can you imagine making a chair out of the beams so that every time you sit down you will be able to rejoice and be reminded that this person is no longer teaching and preaching their particular doctrine? Well, maybe if the doctrine was particularly heinous. In Iain Murray’s wonderful biography of Jonathan Edwards, there is a record of just such an occurrence:
When it (Edwards’ old home) was demolished to make way for a ‘modern residence’ in 1900, a local author, R. DeWitt Mallary, obtained a chair made out of its oaken beams. ‘As oft as I sit in it,’ says Mallary, ‘I congratulate the world that it has escaped the tyranny of Edwards’s theology.’
Jonathan Edwards was one of the great Christian preachers and theologians of the 1700’s. He was a key figure in one of the greatest revivals that North America has ever seen, the First Great Awakening. He is widely acclaimed as one of the United States greatest intellectuals, and one of his books, The Life of David Brainerd, inspire thousands of Christian missionaries. Yet Mallary rejoiced that Edwards was no longer preaching God’s word and fulfilling the great commission! What was that tyrannical theology that Edwards taught? The doctrines of grace. Gasp!
Now, I clearly believe in vehement debate between true Christians regarding various views that can be considered within the orthodox faith (the nature and use of the sacraments, the understanding of election, the views of the end times). But, heaven forbid that we should rejoice when God’s word and the true Gospel stops being proclaimed. As Jesus himself said, “for he who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:50).
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18).
What an incredible thought. Well, actually there are probably 1000 incredible thoughts buried in those 2 verses, but right now I am thinking of Jesus, the great God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, God being made like me. And like you. To lie in a dirty stable at his birth. To walk the long, dusty roads to proclaim the Good News of the kingdom. To heal and comfort the afflicted. To bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. To die. For sinners like me. And for sinners like you.
To be made like me and you so that He could how us mercy. To turn away the deserved wrath of God. To have empathy in our sufferings. To help us in our times of need. To mediate between us and the Father. To be our merciful and faithful high priest in serving God on our behalf. Hallelujah, what a Savior!