Monday, September 15, 2014

Warning About Bethel TV's and Producer Darrin Wilson's New Film: Holy Ghost

Posted by Christine Pack


Producer Darren Wilson has partnered with Bethel TV (first red flag right there) to create Holy Ghost the Movie, which is being promoted by William P Young, author of The Shack (another flag). Former lead singer of Korn (Brian "Head" Welch), Jesus Culture and Michael W. Smith are also featured in the film.

Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith has done the heavy lifting of explaining the significant theological problems with this movie, which he watched in its entirety when it was prescreened about a week ago. You can listen to his show here. - Debunking the Holy Ghost Movie 

And since Bethel Church, and the pastor of Bethel (Bill Johnson), as well as many other "ministries" associated with the wild excesses of the charismatic movement (International House of Prayer [IHOP], Mike Bickle, Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, Paul Crouch, etc.) are so heavily focused on signs and wonders and alleged miraculous healings, Pastor Rosebrough has also posted a link to a really fascinating documentary ("Miracles For Sale" by Derren Brown) which details how a "faith healer" can be "manufactured" in a short period of time with just a little bit of training in crowd mechanics and the right personality. And by "right personality," I mean someone who is willing to deceive and use their personality as a weapon to manipulate others for financial gain. That's not exactly a portrait of a biblical shepherd, is it?

Derren Brown's documentary Miracles For Sale can be viewed here in its entirety, but please note that there is some vulgarity and coarse language in this film.


A few promo stills from the Holy Ghost Facebook wall:





 Additional Resources 

Justin Peters On The Dangerous Word of Faith Movement

Former IHOP Member Explains Why IHOP (International House of Prayer) Is A Cult



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Current Mars Hill Members Write An Excellent Letter To Mark Driscoll, Make Suggestions

Posted by Christine Pack

Warren Throckmorton of Patheos, who has been doing a bang-up job of reporting on the Mark Driscoll crisis, reports that some current Mars Hill members have written a letter to Mark Driscoll, which they shared with him for publication. This is such a kind, compassionate letter to a man (Driscoll) who is obviously very messed up and needs help. There are also some very wise and practical suggestions from these members for getting Mars Hill steadied.

The bottom line in this is that the church - any church - is not the property of any particular pastor. The church is the Bride of Christ, and belongs to God. Mars Hill is not Mark Driscoll's church to do with as he pleases. These members are trying to help him recognize that, and to act accordingly. I hope that he does.

From the letter, here are a few of the steps these members say that they would like to see implemented in order to put Mars Hill back in order:
- Fire the PR firm. Churches need to tell the truth, not spin it. Please tell us that members aren’t paying for the PR firm? 
- Hire an independent CPA firm. They should be experienced with churches/non profits; have them thoroughly audit Mars Hill financial records for the past 5 years. Then publish their findings in plain English so we can all read them. Forget about the ECFA endorsement; that doesn’t seem to provide much real accountability. At this point, we don’t know what to believe about the money; however there’s enough funny sounding stuff to make us feel pretty uncomfortable and not be very excited to give more money. Time to put all speculation to rest and just lay out the facts to us. 
- Scrap the current governance system. Come up with a new governance system; pretty obvious to everyone but you that this one ain’t working. 
- Report All Progress Through The Patheos Blog. You’ve made us all daily readers of the Patheos blog. Why? Because we feel ‘spun’ when we read much of the Mars Hill official stuff. Patheos may not be 100% Mars Hill friendly; however it does seem to give us more of the straight scoop on what’s going on than the official Mars Hill information channels. 
- Report monthly on the progress with the 21 former pastors/elders on Patheos. It appears that you have an independent arbitrator handling the process with the 21 former pastors/elders, which is great. Now have each of the 21 report back directly through Patheos as each case is resolved. We just want to hear it directly in their own words that “things are fixed”. We want to see progress. 
- Give up your current 6 week “stepping down” review process. Most of us average members don’t really think this review process is that independent, even the newly announced BoE (Board of Elders). Both the BOAA and the BoE are hand picked boards judging those that picked them. What happens to those who disagree in this process? Of the nine men who signed the now infamous letter, eight are gone. Eight very good men. It’s tough to trust a process where dissenters seem to just disappear. Time is too precious; stop this process so we can focus on real solutions. 
- Tell us what the Executive Elders earn. We all saw the outside of your house on KOMO TV news recently Pastor Mark. Million dollar house KOMO said, which was new information to many of us. Looking at your million dollar home, it does raise questions in our minds. You are telling us to contribute more since giving is down. That’s fine; however first show us the money trail, including all EE salaries, book deals, everything. No hiding money in special trusts or backdoor channels. Complete transparency. 
- Show us a current up to date Mars Hill balance sheet. We want to know what assets Mars Hill owns and what it owes. People are being let go and campuses closed to live inside budget. Fine. You are asking us to give more, fine. But if we have assets that can be tapped into or sold, we would like to know what they are. Sources on the internet say that Mars Hill owns real estate valued at over $10 million. If you want shared sacrifice, we need to understand the full picture of what we have to work with. Publish this on the Patheos blog for all to see; if we are walking in the light, what do we have to be afraid of? 
- Hire Paul Tripp. Let him set up a process to fix the ministry culture at Mars Hill. When Mars Hill sent us the email recently saying how angry the elders were that the 9 pastors’ letter was leaked, it kind of missed the point that we all saw plain as day: Paul Tripp thinks our church is the sickest he has ever seen and we are hung up on how the letter got leaked? Doesn’t that kind of prove Tripp’s point a bit? Don’t we all just want the truth here? Paul Tripp needs to have a secure role in partnership with a new elder board of some type to do what he and they think needs to be done, and then report back to us about progress independently. 
- Voluntarily Step Down Pastor Mark. For as long as Paul Tripp and whatever new elder board that is created think you need to. You don’t get to decide your fate at Mars Hill, they do............You’ve said you want to be at Mars Hill the rest of your life; now prove it. Have the [courage] to voluntarily step down now and submit to Paul Tripp and a new elder governance system so you have the time to get your own internal house in order. We don’t know what’s wrong with you Pastor Mark, but you and the Executive Elders seem to be the only ones who are not seeing the obvious: you need some help. No more hiding behind the skirt of self appointed internal review boards and governance rules you wrote yourself. No more PR firms. No more videos. No more explanations about how detractors are anonymous or blaming ‘negative media attention’ for our woes. We’ve had enough of that; it sounds like unmanly whining.
***The letter can be read in its entirety here, but there is some language in the letter that might cause offense***


 Additional Resources 

Documenting The Problems With Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]

Mark Driscoll's Failed Publicity Stunt That Ended With Him Lying About What Really Happened (with video proof)

Mark Driscoll Repents? Not So Fast, Say Phil Johnson and Chris Rosebrough

Will John Piper Publicly Address The Mark Driscoll Virus That He Unleashed Into the Church by Keynoting Mark Driscoll at the 2006 Desiring God Conference?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11: My Wake-Up Call

Posted by Christine Pack


9/11 woke me up. In fact, it awakened both me and my husband from our easygoing lifestyle. You've read articles that mention there was a massive influx in church services right after 9/11 happened? My husband and I were part of that. We began attending a nearby church, with lots of questions in hand: If our lives can be snuffed out in an instant, what does it all mean? Is there a God? If there is a God, is He good? And if He is good, why did He let 9/11 happen? Turns out, we were asking all the wrong questions.

Somewhere along the way, we heard the gospel, the WHOLE gospel, and realized that it wasn't about us living a comfortable and problem-free life: it was about where did we stand in relationship to a holy and just God, who made us and to whom we were accountable. We came to understand that we had sinned against a high and holy God by breaking his commandments, and that because of this, we deserved death. We deserved hell.

Although I grew up in the "Bible Belt" and attended church faithfully with my family, I had never heard the true gospel message. Never. How was this possible? I still wonder that sometimes, myself. How could I have faithfully attended church, year in and year out, without ever knowing what the gospel was? And yet, that is the reality. I grew up attending a church in which the gospel, the "good news," was never proclaimed. I heard about Jesus as a good person, a man who lived an exemplary life, a life that we ought to try our best to emulate. I heard that Christians should be kind, and seek to help others. These were partial truths, but these things are not the gospel message. Our church was known to have a huge mercy ministry outreach that gathered food and clothes for the poor in the community. Again......not the gospel. Kind and loving to do, but not the gospel.

What I had never heard before was that my good deeds were counted as filthy rags in God's eyes (Isaiah 64:6). I had never heard that all the "little" sins I had committed and rationalized away in my lifetime were actually offenses committed against a holy God. The times I had lied or coveted or dishonored my parents or displayed unrighteous anger, too many to remember or list, all these things were offenses against God. I had never been presented an image of a God of complete perfection and holiness and justice, with Whom no sinful being could dwell. When THIS God, the God of the Bible. was held up to me, I saw my sins in a new light. My eyes were opened, and I realized I needed a Savior. I needed Christ, and HIS perfect righteousness. Even though I had heard the name "Jesus" my whole life, I suddenly saw him in a new light. I had sung hymns about him and to him for years, and yet I had never understood why his death on the Cross was significant, because sin had never been properly explained to me.

You see, prior to hearing the gospel message rightly proclaimed, I thought of sin as something primarily "horizontal," as something I did to other people, but not as something "vertical," as actions I had committed against a perfect and holy and just God. But when I did, it was at this point that the term "good news" (which is what the word "gospel" means) had new meaning to me. The good news, the gospel, was that even though I was wretched and sinful beyond comprehension, the same God who is a Being of perfect, blinding holiness had, out of His great mercy and loving-kindness toward us, made a way for sinful creatures to be reconciled to himself. Two thousand years ago, He sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to live the life that I did not live. Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, never sinning in thought, word or deed, and then He willingly gave his life as an atonement for all those who would believe on his atoning death, and who would accept his imputed righteousness by faith. He lived the life we could never live, and freely offers it to all who will believe. This was an act of great compassion and mercy, and Jesus did this in order to act corporately on the behalf of sinners. What a good and loving God who would make a way for sins to be forgiven, and consciences cleansed! Is this not "good news"? Once I understood my own sinfulness rightly, I now saw this good news for what it was: the greatest news ever proclaimed in the history of the world. Sins could be forgiven! Only repent, and believe.

First my husband was saved, then the following year, I was. 9/11 was horrible, but I thank God for using it to open my eyes about the futility of life without Jesus. I hope that those I love and care about who have not been born again might be encouraged today to think more deeply on spiritual things.
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." (Isa 64:6)
"Then said I, 'Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.'" (Isa 6:5)
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Rom 1:18-20)
"From that time, Jesus began to preach, saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (Matt 4:17)
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.'" (Matt 5:21)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks upon another with lustful intent has already committed adultery in the heart." (Matt 5:27)
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10)
"The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30)
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt 7:13-14)
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Eze 36:25-27)
"Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor 1:20)
"Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of the world is folly with God. For it is written, 'He catches the wise in their craftiness.'" (1 Cor 3:18-19)
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-9)
"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood, to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished." (Rom 3:25)
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people." (Titus 2:11)
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8)
"Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." (1 Pet 2:24)
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." (1 Cor 15:3)
"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa 53:4-6, prophesied 700 years before Jesus was born)
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 'If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'" (John 8:31-32)
"So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." (Heb 9:28)
"(The lost) will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Pet 4:5)
"So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God." (Rom 14:12)
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:14-16)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, behold! all things have been made new." (1 Cor 5:17)
"For God says, 'In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor 6:2)
“The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life." (Rev 22:17)

 Additional Resources 

Are You Soundly Saved? (Kirk Cameron)

The Good-O-Meter

Are You a Good Person?

John MacArthur Explains The Gospel (John MacArthur)

6 Messages on the Gospel (Alistair Begg)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A, Has Passed Away

Posted by Christine Pack

Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A (1921-2014)
Awww....it's the end of an era. The founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy, has passed away. He was 93 years old.  A few fun facts about Chick-fil-A:
- The first Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant opened in a mall in south Atlanta in 1967. The first standalone Chick-fil-A opened in 1986. 
- Truett Cathy made the decision early on never to open his Chick-fil-A restaurants on Sundays. Scoffers said that his decision to close on traditionally one of the busiest days of the week for a fast food restaurant meant that his chain would never survive. His restaurant has not only survived, but thrived. Chick-fil-A is currently located in 38 states in the U.S., and is still growing. Cathy's reasons for closing on Sundays were stated thusly in this press release: "Cathy believes that being closed on Sunday says two important things to people: One, that there must be something special about the way Chick-fil-A people view their spiritual life and, two, that there must be something special about how Chick-fil-A feels about its people. Cathy believes that by giving employees Sunday off as a day for family, worship, fellowship or rest, the company attracts quality people."
- Chick-fil-A has a few specialty restaurants that bear the Chick-fil-A name, but which have more menu offerings than the traditional Chick-fil-A's. 
- One of these Chick-fil-A specialty restaurants is called the Dwarf House. There are several Dwarf House Chick-fil-As located in Atlanta, and these offer a frozen lemonade drink (which my sons love), in addition to the normal Chick-fil-A items.
- There is a Hawaiian-themed Chick-fil-A in Fayetteville, GA (called "Truett's Luau," because Cathy was apparently fond of Hawaii.....hey, who isn't?). One of the items served is a fish sandwich, which the menu describes this way: "Mahi Mahi dusted with Luau seasoning, grilled and dressed with a savory Asian slaw and a side of avocado dressing, served atop a multigrain bun." 
- The "Eat Mor Chikin" ad campaign used by Chick-fil-A is one of the most memorable and longest-running ad campaigns in advertising history. The campaign was created in 1995 by The Richards Group, an advertising agency based in Dallas, TX.
- Truett Cathy and Chick-fil-A have been targeted by gay activist groups who do not like Cathy's stand on marriage, which is that marriage was created by God as an institution that should be between one man and one woman. 
- Sherwood Pictures, a Christian company in Albany, GA that produces films with a strong Christian message, has featured Chick-fil-A in several of their films, including this scene below from their film Courageous.

Here's hoping that Cathy's children (who now run the Chick-fil-A business), will continue to uphold the same Biblical principles that their father did, including openly supporting the Biblical definition of marriage.

In the meantime, enjoy one of our favorite skits by Tim Hawkins as an homage to the addictive properties of Chick-fil-A. I think I'll treat myself and the boys to some waffle fries and lemonade today after school.



photo credit: shecodes via photopin cc

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hope For Christians Who Have Been Spiritually Abused

Posted by Sola Sisters

 What Is Spiritual Abuse? 

According to David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, authors of the classic book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, spiritual abuse occurs when those in spiritual leadership "twist Scripture to give more authority to the leadership and keep the members under their control. One example is the use of Hebrews 13:17 as a basis for demanding unquestioning loyalty and obedience to the leaders." Johnson and VanVonderen also make the compelling case that those who are being spiritually abused are often unaware of what is happening while the abuse is occurring. Why is this so? I'm not sure why, but if I had to guess, I would say that we sheep can be so desirous of solid teaching, and aware of the value of solid teaching, that we don't recognize spiritual abuse, if it is present or if it develops. Thus, spiritual abuse doesn't occur only among the weak-minded, the undiscerning, or in cults: it can also take place inside of doctrinally solid churches, and oftentimes those experiencing it are not even aware that it is taking place.

This issue is in the spotlight these days, of course, because Mark Driscoll, a high-profile pastor in Seattle, WA, has been charged by a number of former elders and members with spiritually abusive behavior. Driscoll, who was an unknown before he was a keynote speaker for John Piper's 2006 Desiring God Conference, has been hailed by his supporters as being perhaps a tad rough around the edges, but otherwise doctrinally solid. But is doctrine the only criteria for someone to bear in mind when evaluating a church? Keep that question in mind......we'll circle back to that one later.


 How Does Spiritual Abuse Manifest? 

When you think of spiritual abuse, does your mind conjure up a rigid, stifling environment in which people are expected to dress in an extremely conservative way, and adhere to certain legalistic rules in order to be accepted? While it's true that these are sometimes the marks of a spiritually abusive environment, what about a church whose members are often in true fellowship with each other? Churches where members laugh together, eat meals together, study God's Word together, bowl and bike and hike together, and swap recipes and share coffee while the kids play together? As surprising as it may seem, spiritual abuse can happen in these environments just as much as in the obviously legalistic churches. So it should be noted that a church mustn't be evaluated solely on the basis of whether or not the people are welcoming to newcomers. Many Christians who have been spiritually abused in a church can recall, often with great sadness, how warm and fellowship-filled their early days were at the church where they were abused. Spiritually abusive environments are often described by those who have fled as once having been warm, loving and welcoming to new members. (For more on this, see Jonna Petry's account of her time at Mars Hill as a former elder's wife, and Stephen Martin's online e-book The Heresy of Mind Control.)

By many accounts, Mars Hill was a perfect storm in the making, with its brash young pastor who preached edgy but solid sermons in the largely unchurched Pacific Northwest, and its throngs of young members who felt welcomed and loved and encouraged in this exciting new start-up church. But Driscoll is not the only doctrinally solid, yet spiritually abusive, pastor around: he's just the one who's been in the headlines the most recently. Spiritual abuse can mark any church, anywhere. It can be a part of a church from its outset, or it can grow slowly and insidiously, unchecked over the years until it is full-blown. It can occur in obviously rigid, legalistic churches (like the one described above), but it can also occur in churches where there is a warm, loving atmosphere. Accounts of spiritual abuse can range from the encouraging (a family flees an abusive church and draws closer to God in the process) to the heartbreaking (someone flees the abusive church and ends up walking away from the church, and God, entirely, never to return).

With all this in mind, here is a short checklist you can use when it comes to making an evaluation:
(1) Do you feel comfortable approaching your pastor/elders to ask a question about something? 
(2) Are your pastor/elders truly accountable to others, or have they surrounded themselves with only those who agree with them and rubber-stamp their plans? (i.e., family members, men who shy away from confrontation, etc.) 
(3) Does your pastor have "two faces"? In other words, does he present himself from the pulpit as humble, gentle, kind, loving, approachable, etc., but behind the scenes is domineering, angry, cold, withdrawn, etc.? 
(4) Do your pastor/elders become upset with you if you challenge or question anything they say, no matter how graciously, biblically or kindly you do so? 
(5) Do your pastor/elders label anyone who disagrees with them as "rebellious"? 
(6) Do your pastor/elders characterize those who have legitimate questions as being "gossips" or as being "divisive"?
(7) More seriously, if you are in a church that practices church discipline, do your pastor/elders threaten church discipline to those who disagree with them over non-doctrinal issues?
One or more 'yes' answers to the questions above doesn't automatically mean that you are in an abusive church. BUT, it could mean that, or it could mean that your church is subtly moving in that direction.

No-one is above being challenged, and certainly not our pastors or elders/leaders. Now obviously, we ought to have biblical guidelines in mind when challenging others, such as being respectful and kind and gracious, but questions and challenges, in and of themselves, are not sinful, and if the elders at your church regard them as such, I urge you to tread carefully and keep your eyes open for further abuses of spiritual power. An excerpt from Pastor Mike Fehlauer's article Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse, Part 3)
"In a controlling church, it is impossible to leave on good terms. Because the pastor’s sense of worth is usually based on the control he is able to exert over the congregation, when someone leaves, this insecure leader considers it an affront to his leadership. Therefore he often takes it personally. As a result, when people do leave, they are labeled rebellious, or the rest of the congregation is given the explanation that they left because they had become offended. 
In an unhealthy church, there is never a good reason why anyone should leave. Regardless of the situation, the people who leave are always the 'problem.'
This truism present in abusive churches applies not only to members, but to church staff as well. In one particular church, each time a staff member left, the senior person did his best to cast a shadow over that person’s reputation in the hope that it would destroy any chance of that person succeeding without him someplace else."

 A "Can't Talk" Rule Is A Marker for Spiritual Abuse 

While it is clear from the Bible that gossip, talebearing and idle talk about others are sinful acts, there are certainly circumstances in which legitimate questions and challenges can and should be allowed. Spiritual abuse experts Johnson and VanVonderen have noted that one significant marker for spiritual abuse is when there is a "Can't Talk" rule that is enforced within a church. This occurs when someone with questions is labeled as being "gossipy" or "divisive," and oftentimes, church discipline is even threatened to ensure that questions aren't asked. These tactics are used in order to intimidate those with questions into silence. Thus, a system in which church leaders can state whatever they like from their positions of authority, and expect that it should never be challenged or questioned, is a mark of a spiritually unhealthy church climate. But as a church elder stated to us while in the course of researching this article, "If someone comes to you with a bad account of someone else who you both know, and who is not present, you not only have a right, you have a responsibility to the one not present to go to them and hear their side."
"The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18:17)

 Accountability Is the Key 

Whether your church is governed by the Pastor Rule model or the Elder Rule model, the key component for guarding against spiritual abuse, according to most spiritual abuse experts, is accountability. Think about it this way: pride is such a common snare among pastors who govern without accountability because it's far easier for Satan to deceive and confuse and mislead just one person, rather than an entire group of elders or a congregation. Accountability is important for all of us, but it is supremely important for pastors.

It should also be noted that being in a church that is Elder Rule is not a guarantee against abuse. As you can see from some of the questions posted above, it should be obvious that sometimes a pastor can work his way around the Elder Rule model, either through overt means (being domineering, cruel, cold, angry, etc.) or by more subtle means (being "two faced," using charm or manipulation, etc.).


 The Remedy 

So, what is the biblical remedy for those who have been spiritually abused? The Bible is rich with passages describing God and his mercies. Water was often used as a device for portraying God's mercy in the Old Testament. Doesn't sound very exciting? Perhaps not to the 21st century person who can simply turn on a tap and have fresh, filtered water at his or her disposal. But think about how important a fresh, clean source of water has been in centuries past, and throughout all of history, really. This was especially important for a people who lived in a desert culture, as God's chosen people the Israelites did. The Israelites literally lived, and died, by whether or not there was water available to them.
"God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1) 
"For this is what the high and exalted One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'" (Isaiah 57:15) 
"Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert." (Isaiah 35:6) 
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them." (Isaiah 41:17) 
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." (Isaiah 58:11)
In a spiritual context, these rich descriptions of God and his mercies being likened to flowing, fresh, clean water means that for those who hold fast to Him in trials, the Lord promises, promises!, spiritual protection and care. God can and will use our past experiences with spiritual abuse to mature us, to sanctify us, and to equip us for encouraging others who have had the same struggles, IF that is, we hold fast to Him and his faithful promises never to leave us or forsake us. Spiritual abuse can be heartbreaking, but we need to remember that it is not the Lord who is abusing us: it is sinful men ensnared in pride or lust for power.
"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" (Isaiah 30:18) 
Jesus is also revealed as the Good Shepherd, who loves his sheep and watches over them,who understands their weaknesses and struggles, even to the point of becoming flesh in order to identify with them. How great is the love of the Shepherd for his flock? Let him be your Good Shepherd today.

 A Final Word 

A final word: pray for your pastors. Pray that the LORD will protect them from the common snares of "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). Pray that they will genuinely desire, and set up, accountability for themselves. Even though they are in spiritual authority, your pastors are frail flesh, and fallible (as we all are), so don't expect perfection. But, if need be, lovingly and kindly bring your concerns to them, in the same manner that you would want someone to bring a concern to you. None of us are above the snare of pride, but pastors especially need our prayers because they are held to a higher standard than the flock, and will one day be judged more strictly.
"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1)
In closing, if you have been spiritually abused, please avail yourself of the resources below, and let me encourage you that you are not alone and that the Lord knows your struggles. I urge you not to turn away from the LORD, but to cling to Him and pour out your heartbreak and your struggles to Him. He is the One who promises never to leave you or forsake you. He turns darkness into light, and makes the deserts into springs. He is the Almighty, the One who sits high and lifted up, and yet who hears the cries of his people. Run to Him, and be comforted.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'" (Lamentations 3:22-24)

photo credit: Barely via photopin cc
photo credit: 55Laney69 via photopin cc


 ARTICLES 

What Is Spiritual Abuse? (Got Questions?)

Mark Driscoll, Spiritual Abuse and Cultish Ministries (Charisma News)

Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse - Part 1 (Pastor Mike Fehlauer)

Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse - Part 2 (Pastor Mike Fehlauer)

Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse - Part 3 (Pastor Mike Fehlauer)

The Cult Church

What Do Some Churches and Cults Have In Common? Spiritually Abusive Systems

Confronting Abusive Church Leaders (Apprising Ministries)


 BOOKS 

Churches That Abuse (Dr. Ronald M. Enroth)

Recovering From Churches That Abuse (Dr. Ronald M. Enroth)

Exposing Spiritual Abuse (Pastor Mike Fehlauer)

The Heresy of Mind Control: Recognizing Con Artists, Tyrants and Spiritual Abusers in Leadership (Stephen Martin)

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church (David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen)

 ONLINE GROUPS 

Recovery Grace (former Bill Gothard and IBLP/ATI adherents)

Dear Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hil: We Are Not Anonymous (former Mars Hill elders and members)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Essential Oils Revisited

Posted by Sola Sisters

Class is in, so put your thinking caps on, friends. Do essential oils stop cancer? Essential oils have been widely touted as being a "natural," and by implication completely safe, way to fight cancer, and a protocol that can only help, and can never do harm.

So let's break it down.

Today we're going to look at 2 active components. These active components are derived from a number of different essential oils. The first component:


(1) PERILLYL ALCOHOL - Perillyl alcohol is derived from lavender, peppermint, cherries, sage, and lemongrass, and is the sciencey term of the active component in these products that you get after stripping away all the lovely imagery conjuring up dew-glistening fruit orchards and sun-dappled lavender fields. Let's put the pictures and romantic language about "nature" aside and look at the science. Perillyl alcohol has been tested in trials and shows no benefit in reducing tumors:
"Preliminary human trials have not demonstrated tumor regression at a four times daily dosage schedule. In addition, significant side-effects, mainly gastrointestinal, have been experienced." (online source)
And now for the second active component:

(2) P-MENTHA-1, 8-DIENE - P-mentha-1 and 8-diene are derived from orange peel oil, citrus peel oil, citrene and R-limonene. And again, if we dispense with the hyped up language and artfully photographed images of orange and lemon groves, and look at the science, this is what we find:
"An epidemiological study reported an inverse relationship between citrus peel consumption and squamous cell carcinoma, but an early clinical trial in breast cancer patients failed to support the observations. Further research is necessary to determine if D-limonene has a role in the prevention or treatment of cancer. Adverse Reactions: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Case Reports: Contact Dermatitis and asthma have been reported." (online source
__________________________________________________

OUR COMMENTS: We need to remember that clinical trials of a substance do not equate to efficacy/real benefit. If the oil in the petri dish kills the cancer cells, but also kills everything else, well, that's a problem. Some oils might kill cancer cells in a petri dish, but so might antifreeze and carbolic acid, and we're not going to be ingesting those things.God gave us minds with which to think. Let's use them.

Also, please understand that we are NOT saying that Christians who become ill with some kind of chronic or life-threatening illness should just wholesale place themselves in the hands of their doctors, and never have an opinion. Again, God gave us minds, let's use them. We need to be our own advocates and do our own research on all treatments prescribed. Also, doctors sometimes (often, even?) misdiagnose. My husband's chronic illness was misdiagnosed for two years. It happens. So we need to pray for wisdom, do our due diligence, look at all the evidence, and then make the best decisions we can.

On the other hand, we need to keep our wits about us, and not be taken in by flowery language, beautiful images, overstated promises, anecdotal evidence and mistaken ideas that "natural" always mean beneficial (after all, heroin, spider venom and ticks are all "natural").

Last thing: the alternative industry is an entirely unregulated industry, friends. No accountability. No oversight. And benefits claimed don't have to be backed up by legitimate scientific trials. Please, please, please bear that in mind.

photo credit: Chris Gin via photopin cc
photo credit: Pensive glance via photopin cc


 Additional Resources 

The Christian and Essential Oils: A Few Thoughts [UPDATED]

Aromatherapy: Biblical Path to Healing or Demonic Deception? (Chuck and Julie Cohen)

A Critique of David Stewart's Healing Oils of the Bible (Marcia Montenegro)

Are Essential Oils Safe For Animals?

How To Use Essential Oils: A Step-By-Step Guide (satire, warning: some mild language)

A Warning for Christians About New Thought (Marcia Montenegro)

No Scientific Evidence For "Chi" or "Qi" (NYU Langone Medical Center)

A Warning To Christians About Homeopathy

Natural = Better?

Man left with an inch-wide HOLE in his head after using 'quack' ointment to treat skin cancer

Alternative Medicine: A Mind Blowing Magical Mystery Tour  (Free, online e-book exposing the unsubstantiated claims [both currently and historically] made about many "natural" remedies)

Wellness: The New Age Trojan Horse In Healthcare (Sola Sisters/Marcia Montenegro)

Update: Ingrid Schlueter Interviews Marcia Montenegro and Christine Pack (Crosstalk at VCY America 4/26/11) to Discuss This Show- you may listen here

The Scientific Method and Why It Matters

The Biblical Worldview Is The Foundation of Modern Science


 Sola Sisters Facebook Wall Threads - Essential Oils 

Sola Sisters Facebook wall - February 23, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - April 24, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall -April 26, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - June 28, 2014 (general warning about essential oils) 
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - June 30, 2014 (critique of essential oils/YL by Chuck and Julie Cohen)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - July 11, 2014 (should Christians partner with companies who market their products with unbiblical spiritual concepts?)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - July 28, 2014 (discussion re: Sola Sisters' concerns about YL/alternative)

 John Ankerberg Resources and Articles 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Christian and Essential Oils: A Few Thoughts [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

photo credit: Plume Natural Perfumery via photopin cc

For those Christians who haven't heard, essential oils are big business. Big, big business. Make no mistake: essential oils are the hottest thing going since yoga invaded the church a decade ago. One of the largest and most well known of these essential oils companies is Young Living. Young Living sells its products through Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), a pyramid form of selling that works through networking. (Other MLM companies that might be familiar to some readers are Amway, Juice Plus, Pampered Chef, Herbalife and Mary Kay.)

If you happen to be one of the few that hasn't yet heard about essential oils, just wait. One day soon your Facebook inbox will blow up with invitations to this or that essential oils home party. If you choose to attend one of these parties, you might learn some useful tips for making nice-smelling homemade cleaning products or cosmetics with essential oils, but you might also be exposed to some very unbiblical concepts about sin, sanctification and illness.

Before I go any further, let me first state clearly that we are not concerned with the use of essential oils in foods, cosmetics and cleansers. We also view essential oils to be, in and of themselves, spiritually neutral. By that, we mean that we believe Christians can use them with a clean conscience and a right understanding of man, nature, God, physical vs. spiritual healing, etc. BUT, we do also want to warn that some EO companies and distributors (Young Living, in particular, which was founded by a professing Christian named Gary Young) use, sell, promote, and teach about EOs using New Age/New Thought concepts and spirituality, specifically in the areas of sin, sanctification and illness, and concepts that are clearly counter to what the Bible teaches on these things.

The area of alternative treatments, in general, is a tricky one to navigate, as we don't have any desire to throw out all alternative treatments as being bad or unbiblical. What we do want to do is give clear warnings about the dangers that we do see about how some alternative products are marketed, since many of our readers will probably come into contact with some of this thinking, given that alternative treatments, on the whole, have become mainstreamed not only in the culture at large, but also, within the Christian community (and particularly the Christian homeschooling community).

Having said all that, our primary concerns are as follows:
(1) We are concerned when essential oils (or other alternative treatments) are marketed as having spiritual benefits that should only be ascribed to God;
(2) We desire to warn about Young Living essential oils being marketed with unbiblical concepts; 
(3) We desire to give clear warnings that the alternative treatment industry, on the whole, is almost entirely unregulated, and to educate others about what the implications of this are; and 
(4) We are concerned when Christians choose to partner with, promote and sell products in tandem with companies that are undergirded with New Age/New Thought beliefs (i.e., being "unequally yoked").

 EOs MARKETED AS HAVING SPIRITUAL BENEFIT THAT BELONGS ONLY TO GOD 

Below are some Young Living essential oils product descriptions which reveal the usage of New Age/New Thought concepts and statements for the marketing of the YL Oils:
White Angelica: Promotes feelings of protection and security, and can be used to guard against negative energy.  
Balsalm Fir: may be used to balance moods, promote a sense of well being and increase spirituality. 
Douglas Fir: Used by Native Americans to enhance spirituality. 
Juniper: promotes spirituality and encourages self esteem. Traditionally taken internally for purification and cleansing. 
Ylang Ylang: traditionally used to balance the mind and emotions, this oil may also help control negative feelings such as frustration and anger.  
Abundance: Was used by the ancients to attract prosperity and magnify joy and peace. 
Aroma Life: used to energize your life force and promote heart vitality. 
Australian Blue: will uplift the spirit and purify the body. This oil is taken from a plant that is revered in aboriginal culture. 
Dream Catcher: is designed to harness the power of positive dreams and guard against clouded vision, helping you realize your desires and stay on the path to fulfillment.
(You can view all Young Living essential oil product descriptions by going to this link)
The quotes below come directly from the CEO of Young Living, Gary Young, and have direct bearing on his views and marketing strategies for his essential oils. (HT: Chuck and Julie Cohen) My commentary and notes are in blue following the comments by Young.

Blog entries by Gary Young:
Surrender Negativity and Unconscious Manipulation – 10-18-12
“Disease is nothing more than manipulation, because disease creates control and gives you power over everyone around you. So then surrender, create the energy of giving it up, surrender that attachment; surrender that control.” 
MY NOTE: this is not the biblical view of disease, which is that disease is a result of the Fall. Young's view is more in keeping with Taoism.
The Transforming Power of Frankincense – 4-26-12 
“As you are diffusing Transformation, it will stimulate the receptors in the limbic system and will open up the pineal gland. You will start to have feelings and thoughts, and maybe you will even see in a dream state ideas or visions of what can happen in your life.” 
MY NOTE: We're not taught anywhere in scripture to attempt to manipulate energy centers ["energy centers" AKA "chakras".....an occult Hindu concept] in the body [whether that's through yoga, meditation, acupuncture, application of essential oils, etc., etc.] in order to have dreams or visions about the future for our lives. In fact, this goes directly against what God says in Deut 29:29 "The hidden things belong to the Lord." All that God wants us to know, He reveals plainly to us.......chasing after hidden knowledge is akin to witchcraft, and God detests it.
Five Secrets to Having More Energy and Vitality, Part III - 12-12-11 
“As we continue through the Five Secrets for More Energy series, we come to the third chakra, otherwise known as the fire chakra. This energy center is located at the solar plexus and corresponds to our passion for life and our will, drive, and ability to express anger. When our fire chakra energy is low, blocked, or depleted, we may experience depression or boredom and lose touch with our purpose and passion. 
In our culture, expressing anger is a touchy subject. Performing polarity yoga combined with Young Living essential oils may help you unleash anger and help you reconnect to your passion. Remember: According to energy medicine principles, if your energy is not moving, it gets stuck and stagnant—which leads to imbalances and possible illness. The secret to having more energy is to keep the energy you do have moving!” 
MY NOTE: So many problems here.......First of all, these are blatant teachings of the Hindu/occult concept of the chakra system. Also, this is not the biblical model for how someone is to deal with anger/sin. Anger doesn't just get fixed by someone's "energy" being manipulated or "balanced." For the Christian, besetting sins should be acknowledged, repented of, and prayed over, while making conscious efforts to put off the deeds of the flesh and put on the deeds of the Spirit. And finally, his teaching that having imbalances of energy can lead to illness is a Taoist concept, not a Christian one. Christians don't see all of creation living in a perfect and whole harmony, with occasional energy imbalances that need to be righted through various means (yoga, acupuncture, reiki, meditation, oils, etc., etc.). That is the Taoist view. The Christian view on the other hand, is that when Adam and Eve fell, ALL of the earth was cursed. "For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now." (Rom 8:22)
In addition to these quotes from Young Living founder Gary Young, Young also cites a book called Healing Oils in the Bible. The author of this book, David Stewart, seems to equate all biblical references to "oil" with essential oils. But this idea that oils used during biblical times were essential oils is not accurate. In fact, there is no documented historical evidence for usage of essential oils during biblical times. This is because the procedure for making essential oils had not yet been invented, and would not be created for another 800 years or so. Oils and oil usage are referenced a number of times in the Bible, but these are references to regular, pressed oils (like olive oil) or infused oils, not essential oils. For an excellent analysis of the problems with Stewart's book, please see our recently published article, A Critique of David Stewart's "Healing Oils of the Bible." This article was written by Sola Sisters contributing writer Marcia Montenegro. Marcia, a former professional astrologer, is the creator of the Christian Answers For the New Age website, is seminary trained, and is also a contributing writer to Rose Publishing, a resource very familiar to many homeschooling Christians. (Please also note that Stewart has written an article [Are Chakras New Age?] affirming an eastern [and unbiblical] view of the body known as the chakra system.)

For a more in-depth analysis of the unbiblical concepts used in the marketing of Young Living essential oils, please see Chuck and Julie Cohen's excellent article, Aromatherapy: Biblical Path to Healing or Demonic Deception?


 YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS MARKETED WITH UNBIBLICAL CONCEPTS 

Abundance Essential Oil,  from theYoung Living website
Here is just one example of Young Living essential oils being marketed with unbiblical concepts. This is a Young Living essential oil blend called "Abundance," which is marketed with the idea that with this oil, the user can activate what is known as the "Law of Attraction." This is not a biblical concept. It is more in alignment with New Thought, which is what Oprah Winfrey believes. Professing Christians who are Word of Faith also believe this concept, but it is still an unbiblical concept. (You can read more about the "Law of Attraction" here, and why it is unbiblical.)

The way in which the above oil blend is marketed with unbiblical concepts is only one of many examples from the Young Living website. To see this for yourself, please visit the Young Living website - Young Living Essential Oil Singles can be viewed hereYoung Living Essential Oil Blends can be viewed here. Below are a few more screenshots of products with product descriptions.




"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons." (1 Cor 10:21) 

 THE UNREGULATED NATURE OF THE ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT INDUSTRY 

From the article entitled The Truth About Nutrition Supplements (Fitness Magazine, Oct 2009):
"According to a 2002 Harris Poll, more than half of us believe that a government agency like the Food and Drug Administration is keeping a watchful eye on the $20 billion supplement industry......It's not. The federal regulators who would normally be all over poor-quality supplements had their hands tied by a piece of legislation signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The bill was intended to make dietary supplements -- including vitamins, minerals, and herbs -- more widely available by classifying them not as drugs, like aspirin or ibuprofen, but as foods. In practice, that means supplements not only don't have to do what they promise (such as protect against disease) but don't even have to be safe.........The results have been predictable: In 2004 alone, more than 24,000 "toxic exposures" to supplements were reported, while other research showed that some supplements contain potentially dangerous contaminants such as lead, mercury, pesticides, mold, and bacteria.........No wonder some consumer advocates say that this regulatory loophole has helped create a marketplace that fails to protect consumers from contaminated, adulterated and, in some cases, deadly supplements."
photo credit: SuperFantastic via photopin cc
A recent program (Safety and Regulation of Dietary Supplements) on the secular radio station NPR (National Public Radio) also highlighted the growing concern among even the lost that the alternative treatment industry (which includes essential oils) is a largely unregulated arena. I highly recommend for anyone wanting to use, or already using, natural supplements to listen to this program. It was mentioned during the show that testing done by a group called Consumer Labs found that, on many occasions, what was on the outside label of bottles of natural/herbal supplements did NOT accurately portray what was contained within. The reason for this is because there are very few regulatory practices put into place for ensuring quality/accuracy in alternative/"natural"/herbal supplements. What this means is that a person can buy a bottle of an herbal supplement, and be getting something other than what is labeled on the front of the bottle. It could be 100% of the herb, could be 90/10 - herb/filler, or 10/90 - herb/filler, or could be all filler. Same thing with essential oils: a bottle labeled "100% Essential Oil" could be 100% of the oil you are expecting, OR, it could be comprised of 90% carrier oil (like linseed oil, almond oil or olive oil) with only 10% of the essential oil. Again.......it's an unregulated industry.

Just like there are sinful men involved in the FDA, sinful men who act selfishly and make wrong decisions, there are also sinful men involved in the alternative treatment industry. But the sinful men involved in the alternative treatment industry are entirely unregulated, meaning they do not have to meet any scientific or federal standards for the claims they make about their supplements. Both sides are flawed, but at least the FDA has some measure of accountability due to regulatory requirements.

photo credit: veo_ via photopin cc
I literally spent thousands on supplements during my decade as a New Ager without knowing that these herbal/natural supplements were (and still are) unregulated. And not only can the substance within not match up with the label, distributors of natural/herbal supplements are not held to the same standards that those in the pharmaceutical industry are held to, in terms of claiming benefits for a supplement that haven't been scientifically verified. And while the common belief is that herbals are only benign, and can only help (and never harm), this is not necessarily true. There is a reason why your doctor often asks you to list not only all medications you are taking, but also all over-the-counter vitamins, mineral and herbal supplements you are taking as well: some supplements can interfere with your prescribed medicines, and some can even work in tandem with your prescribed medicines to cause harm. For more on this, please see the following articles:
Dietary And Herbal Supplements Could Interfere With Prescription Drugs (Medical News Today) 
Herbal Supplements May Not Mix With Heart Medicines (Mayo Clinic) 
- 5 Risky Herbal Supplements: Even Though They're Natural, Some Herbal Supplements Can Be Dangerous (Web MD)
- Warning: Herbal Supplements Don't Always Go Well With Heart Drugs (U.S. News and World Report)
Those selling oils and herbs and other supplements shouldn't automatically get a pass because they are selling "natural" items. Herbs and oils are not somehow more holy than pharmaceuticals (and even though I get that there are problems with the pharmaceutical industry, including over-diagnosis of many medications, that's another topic for another day). The alternative treatment realm is an industry that makes profits in the billions. And yes, that's right up there with Big Pharma.


 CHRISTIANS BEING UNEQUALLY YOKED 
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14)
Why would a Christian knowingly sell a product that is marketed with New Age/New Thought/panentheistic concepts, and which could introduce a Christian purchaser to spiritual beliefs that are unbiblical? The obvious answer is that, a true, Bible-believing Christian probably wouldn't, IF, that is, they knew the product they were selling was marketed in that way. Obviously, we are not calling into question anyone's salvation here. Our purpose in writing this article is to give warnings to our brothers and sisters about the unbiblical concepts YL oils are marketed with, and a warning for other believers who may be innocent in this area, and do not have an understanding of what New Age/New Thought concepts are, and how they present themselves. The fact is, demonic deceptions (which New Age/New Thought beliefs are) don't announce themselves boldly or waltz in waving a flag, or wearing a label. They are subtle. Hence the warning to our brothers and sisters.

In the first section, we demonstrated the unbiblical concepts with which Young Living oils are marketed. One of our most pressing concerns about essential oils in general, and Young Living essential oils in particular, is when Christians choose to join with, promote and sell products in partnership with companies that are undergirded with New Age/New Thought beliefs (i.e., being "unequally yoked"). We would therefore strongly urge all Christians to think long and hard before yoking with a company that markets its products with promises of spiritual benefit that should only be ascribed to our Lord.

With this in mind, we've heard the counter-argument to this position that goes something like this: 
I am not going to Young Living for my theology, only for essential oils. I don't go to them for theology. How is this not a Romans 14 issue? Or a meat sacrificed to idols issue? Also, I spend money at Target, Amazon, Starbucks, and all these companies support evil and give their money to things like Planned Parenthood and Gay Pride rallies. But my disagreement with the spiritual views of the CEOs of Target, Amazon and Starbucks doesn't stop me from purchasing from them, so why does it matter what the spiritual views of the owner of Young Living are?
Our response to this counter-argument is this: Young Living markets its oils with spiritual concepts (theology), that's the problem. So you're getting theology from them, whether you want it from them or not. Buying gardening tools or books or coffee from secular, gay-affirming corporations like Target, Amazon and Starbucks is not at all the same as buying essential oils from Young Living, or even beyond that, partnering with them to sell products that promise specific spiritual benefits that come only from God. Gardening tools and books and coffee are neutral products, as oils are, and if it stopped there, we could all pack up and go home. But it doesn't stop there. The EOs at Young Living are marketed as providing spiritual benefits, spiritual benefits that should come ONLY from God, and those who partner with Young Living to sell the EOs are responsible for bringing these unbiblical spiritual views to their clients.

One more note: while Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, does occasionally use scripture and reference the Bible, this does not mean that he is a true believer. We should remember that Oprah and Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland and others use Scripture and claim to be Christian, but are far from it. Young's views on sin, sanctification and illness do NOT line up with the Biblical views of sin, sanctification and illness, and in fact, are far more in alignment with eastern and New Thought views. (For more on what New Thought is, please see the article - New Thought: A Warning To Christians)


 SUMMARY 

We have made a number of posts about essential oils (and alternative treatments, in general) to our Sola Sisters Facebook page, and it has not escaped our notice that these threads have been among the friskiest of the posts we've made to date, in terms of Christians taking exception to some of our statements. Please understand that our intent in writing about this topic is not to incite our brothers or sisters, nor is it to cause division, nor is it to cause others to stumble. Our reasons for contending so earnestly on the topic of essential oils for the last few months now is that this kind of deception, I am convinced, is spiritual at the core. We need to remember that "Satan is a hungry lion, prowling the earth seeking whom he may devour," (1 Peter 5:8) and that his desire is to "steal, kill and destroy," (John 10:10). I don't think Satan is particularly finicky about the deceptions he chooses: if they work to deceive people and shorten their lives, well then, he's all for them and will continue to use them. Remember, Satan hates all human beings because we are made in the image of God.....that's why he wants to destroy us.

Spiritual deceptions are real, and they're not just the Word of Faith kind that are often more easily discerned. The mind not only can be easily deceived, once it is deceived, that deception can have a very, very strong hold on the deceived person. As noted above, I (Christine) literally spent thousands on bogus natural/alternatives "cures" while in the New Age, including aromatherapy, reiki, homeopathy, eating green/organic/sustainable, etc.  I had an entire lifestyle built around eating and living in a certain way. Looking back, of course, I can see why (as a New Ager) I bought into all that I did and lived that way, and I can see how strong the deception was. But now, I am seeing many, many, many Christians getting caught up in the same kind of beliefs and mindset that I had as a New Ager. It's almost surreal to see it happening. I'm not saying we should all just be gluttonous and foolish and not try to make wise decisions about our health and eating and lifestyle, but I am seeing the same sort of "lifestyle righteousness" that gripped me and so many of my New Age friends, and amongst believers, of all people. Believers, for whom this world is not a final resting place, and for whom this world is just a present age passing away.

We are commanded in Scripture to "take EVERY thought captive in obedience to Christ," and to "test ALL things" (my emphasis). So I hope that my sisters (and brothers) who enjoy essential oils aren't taking offense at my desire to "test all things".... chiefly, in holding up some of the unbiblical concepts and ideas conveyed through some of these essential oils websites.

In summary, we pray that our fellow Christians will be on alert for unbiblical concepts being introduced in the alternative treatment realm, specifically in the area of essential oils. Most alternative treatment products are unregulated, and some can even cause harm when used. We also think that it is important for Christians to do their due diligence and biblically think through all partnerships they enter into, being on alert for unbiblical concepts that they might unwittingly be a partner to transmitting to others.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-5)
 "Examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil." (1 Thess 5:21-22)

 Additional Resources 

Essential Oils Revisited (Sola Sisters)

Aromatherapy: Biblical Path to Healing or Demonic Deception? (Chuck and Julie Cohen)

A Critique of David Stewart's Healing Oils of the Bible (Marcia Montenegro)

Are Essential Oils Safe For Animals?

How To Use Essential Oils: A Step-By-Step Guide (satire, warning: some mild language)

A Warning for Christians About New Thought (Marcia Montenegro)

A Warning To Christians About Homeopathy

Natural = Better?

Alternative Medicine: A Mind Blowing Magical Mystery Tour  (Free, online e-book exposing the unsubstantiated claims [both currently and historically] made about many "natural" remedies)

Wellness: The New Age Trojan Horse In Healthcare (Sola Sisters/Marcia Montenegro)

Update: Ingrid Schlueter Interviews Marcia Montenegro and Christine Pack (Crosstalk at VCY America 4/26/11) to Discuss This Show- you may listen here

The Scientific Method and Why It Matters

The Biblical Worldview Is The Foundation of Modern Science


 Sola Sisters Facebook Wall Threads - Essential Oils 

Sola Sisters Facebook wall - February 23, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - April 24, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall -April 26, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - June 28, 2014 (general warning about essential oils) 
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - June 30, 2014 (critique of essential oils/YL by Chuck and Julie Cohen)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - July 11, 2014 (should Christians partner with companies who market their products with unbiblical spiritual concepts?)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - July 28, 2014 (discussion re: Sola Sisters' concerns about YL/alternative)

 John Ankerberg Resources and Articles