Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hollywood Actors Give Voice To Nature in Anti-Human Video Series

Posted by Christine Pack
"They exchanged God’s truth for a lie and worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Romans 1:25)
Conservation International recently released a video series (entitled Nature Is Speaking) designed to promote environmental awareness, but which also contains a strong "anti-human" bias. The series features the voices of Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Penelope Cruz, Edward Norton, and others. Listen as Julia Roberts narrates Part 1, as a "Mother Nature" who is self aware, has cognitive function, transcends mankind and can communicate. In other words, a form of Deity.

"Mother Nature" (as voiced by Julia Roberts):
"I've been here for eons. I have fed species greater than you. And I have starved species greater than you. MY oceans. MY soil. MY flowing streams. MY forests. They all can take you or leave you."

I'm a former hard-core, Militant Eco-Greenie, so I know this worldview that these actors are giving voice to from the inside. But these are scary videos!

And here is Harrison Ford, in Part 2, as "The Ocean":
"Humans? They're no different (from any other creature on the earth). I don't owe them a thing. I give. They take. But I can always take back. That's the way it's always been. It's not their planet anyway. Never was, never will be. But humans, they take more than their share.........I'm only going to say this once, if nature isn't kept healthy, humans won't survive."
This worldview, in which God-like characteristics are ascribed to nature, is in distinct contrast to the biblical worldview that our world, and nature, exist and are sustained by our sovereign creator God, and that He alone is the one who ensures that our planet continues. Yes, Christians should not pollute, and should be good stewards of the earth on which they live, but ultimately, it is God who ordains how long this earth will be in existence.

And again, note that the created thing in question here ("The Ocean") is Deified as a transcendent being who is self aware, has cognitive function, and can communicate.

There is a disdain for man that can clearly be heard in these videos. This is in distinct contrast to the biblical view of man, which is that he was made in the image of God, and is endowed with characteristics which animals do not possess, such as imagination, creativity, and spiritual longing. This last characteristic, when not properly fulfilled by knowing and worshiping the Creator, the God of the Bible, will be manifest in one way or another. Humans will worship, and in the end they will either properly worship God, or they will worship lesser things (idols), worship from which they will ultimately never derive happiness and fulfillment. When man rejects God, and chooses instead to worship lesser things, these lesser things can take many forms: nature (as shown in these videos), but also themselves, power, money, pleasure, food, nature, sex, etc., etc. The creative, God-given mind, when not properly submitted to God, will find endless things to pursue and worship.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:26)
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3-4)
Our children need to understand that when they go into the world, the worldview presented in these videos is the predominant worldview. It's pantheism. Teach them how to strike down worldly wisdom raised up on opposition to God with spiritual, not carnal, weapons (2 Cor 10:5). Train them to explain to the lost that this earth is not our home (Heb 13:14), that God alone numbers our days (Psalm 139:16), and that heavens and the earth will one day pass away, but that God's word will never pass away (Matt 24:35).

God, not Mother Nature, is the Deity who presides over human beings, the earth, our solar system, and the entire universe. He alone causes it, all of it, to hold together, and to exist.
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Col 1:17)
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind." (Isaiah 65:17)
And even more than these truths about the impermanence of this world we live in now, the lost need to be given the life-giving truth of salvation, through repentance and faith in Jesus, and his atoning work done on the Cross on behalf of sinners.

I'm writing this not as one who disdains and looks down on the lost who hold these views, but as a former Militant Eco-Greenie. I was sold out for years to this worldview of nature worship, in which creation is Deified. I was sold out, that is, until someone took the time to patiently share Christ with me. And only then was I able to exchange the worship of created things for the worship of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

(HT: Marsha West)

 Additional Resources 

A Graphic Illustration of the Gospel

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pastor Matthew Trewhella: "Tyrannicide - To Kill A Tyrant"

Posted by Christine Pack

Justin Edwards of airō website has just recently published an excellent article entitled Christian Submission vs Belligerent Discontentment Before Civil Authorities. The article is about Theonomist Matthew Trewhella, and his views on how Christians should live under tyranny. As a side note, Theonomy as a movement within Christendom continues to gather steam and roll along, so I'm glad we have a few Christian men today who are aware of it, and are willing to publicly oppose their views. Here is an excerpt from Justin's article:
"(From Matthew Trewhella's) sermon titled, Tyranicide – To Kill a Tyrant, Trewhella states around minute 24:  
'Everyone innately knows that it’s an honest and just thing to depose a tyrant…everyone knows it’s a just and noble thing to do, except of course the effeminate, the culture in which we have in this nation now after much conditioning by the media in our country, and the government schools. And also it doesn’t make no [sic] sense to your average butt-faced Christian who’s been raised in American 20th century Christianity, now 21st century Christianity, because they have no idea '[sarcasm] how could killing, how can anything other than love, have anything to do with God?” Right? Am I right? Of course I’m right. It’s the state of Christianity we live in. But anyone who hasn’t been ruined by those two things – rotten American Christianity or American culture…knows perfectly well it’s honorable and just to kill a tyrant.''"
Contrast Trewhella's view that it is "biblical" and "dutiful" for citizens to assassinate tyrannical kings with:
▪ Daniel, who faithfully served under tyrannical king Nebuchadnezzar, who so valued Daniel that he sought his counsel and honored him (Daniel 2:46-49, Daniel 4:18), and
▪ Mordecai, who faithfully served under tyrannical king Ahasuerus, to the point of warning Ahasuerus about an assassination attempt that Mordecai overheard being plotted against the king (Esther 2:21-23), rather than joining in on the assassination plotting/attempt (as Trewhella counsels)
Wouldn't this be the equivalent of a Christian today serving under our own "tyrannical king" in the form of President Obama? Can we even imagine a Christian of today serving under Obama with such respect and kindness toward him that President Obama knew that this person genuinely cared for him, and knew that he (Obama) could seek him out for wise counsel?

After one of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which he went to Daniel for interpretation for, Daniel said to wicked king, whom he obviously cared for, that he wished this dream would happen to those opposed to the king, rather than to the king. He genuinely cared for King Nebuchadnezzar......and King Nebuchadnezzar knew it.
Daniel 4:19 - "Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while (after the king told him his dream) as his thoughts alarmed him. The king responded and said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.’ Belteshazzar replied, ‘My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your adversaries!"
I hear a lot of disdain from politically involved Christians today toward President Obama. Don't get me wrong: I'm a Republican and very conservative and I oppose basically everything that Obama does. But he IS the king/president who has been ordained by God to rule over us, and aren't we commanded to show him respect as our ruler? And above and beyond that, aren't we biblically bound to care for him as a human being who is made in the image of God?

I'm saying all this to express what I am coming to understand about how it is that Christians should live with respect to others. Should we disdain and hate them and talk unkindly about them, like so many do about President Obama? and about Muslims? Or should we live so kindly and peaceably with them and among them that they really do see something in us that is different from the self-seeking and self-gratification that they see in so many others? and they know they can seek us out for truth, integrity and wise counsel (as Nebuchadnezzar did with Daniel, and Ahasuerus did with Mordecai)?

I'll close with one last thought: how do Theonomists reconcile their views with Romans 13, which the Apostle Paul penned while living under the reign of wicked King Nero? a king so wicked and so malevolent toward Christians that he would impale them on stakes, and then line the roads into Rome with them, and set them on fire. This was to show the world what he thought of Christians and how he intended to treat them. But did the Apostle Paul advocate the assassination of King Nero? No. Consider instead that he wrote Romans 13:
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." (Romans 13:1-7)
Here is a recent Facebook discussion on this topic (2-10-15)

Note that in the Facebook discussion above, Pastor Trewhella claimed that his sermon did not "properly convey" what he wanted to say, and that he would never "go around encouraging people to kill government officials."

In response to this statement by Pastor Trewhella, Pastor Phil Johnson of GTY responded thusly:
"Mr. Trewhella's statement 'It’s time for men in this nation to raise up and start killing some tyrants. Plain and simple--' is hardly an insignificant slip of the tongue. It's nice that he's sorry he said it, but it raises a fair question about his fitness for public ministry. And putting a short disclaimer in a 50-comment thread on someone else's FaceBook page hardly fixes the problem. Back in the 1990s......a theonomic Presbyterian (PCA and OPC ordained) minister named Paul Hill was using similar arguments and spouting similar rhetoric specifically with regard to government protection of abortion providers. His life story would be an instructive read for anyone inclined to give credence to Mr. Trewhella's grandiloquence. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Jennings_Hill
I'm also curious about Pastor Trewhella's claim that his statement was misconstrued, and that he would never advocate for tyrannical rulers to be assassinated. If this is the case, what then, did he mean? Consider the following:
If Matricide means to kill your mother, and
If Patricide means to kill your father, and
If Infanticide means to kill your infant,
What does Tyrannicide mean?

 Additional Resources 

The Fault Lines of Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy (Sola Sisters)

The Law of God, Theonomy, and Pacifism
 (Justin Edwards, airō website)

Brother's Keeper.....Some of the Problems With Theonomists (Fred Butler, Hip and Thigh)

Judicial Warfare: The Christian Reconstruction Movement and its Blueprints for Dominion (critique by former Christian Reconstructionist Greg Loren Durand)

Theonomy: A Reformed Baptist Assessment (Sam Waldron)

What Is Dominionism? (Derek Gilbert interviews Sarah Leslie of Herescope, beginning at 1:08:00 mark)

Moses' Law for Modern Government: The Intellectual and Sociological Origins of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement (Ligon Duncan)

Christian Reconstructionist Leader Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure [UPDATED]

Doug Phillips, Repentance and Justice (Sola Sisters)

Hall of Shame: Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (Mennoknight)

Rethinking Vision Forum (website)

How God Saves Us In Christ (And Why Legalism Can't Help Us) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)

Why The Law Cannot Sanctify (Romans 7:5-6) (Pastor Kevin Williams)

 Secular Articles About Patriarchy/Quiverfull 

When Having Kids Is A Religious Experience (ABC News)

Quiverfull: More Children For God's Army (Newsweek writer Kathryn Joyce)

Inside the Duggar Family's Conservative Ideology (Newsweek, Kathryn Joyce)

 Miscellaneous Resources 

What Is The New Apostolic Reformation? (And Why Should We Be Concerned About It?)

Signs and Wonders Training Camp for Kids? (Stand Up For The Truth)

A Tale of Two Kingdoms (Stand Up For The Truth)

Pastor Carl Trueman: Concerns With Quiverfull/Patriarchy (Sola Sisters)

In-Depth Discussions of Patriarchy with Author and Christian Researcher Karen Campbell:
⁃ Quiverfull/Patriarchy, Part I (9 radio programs) 
⁃ Quiverfull Patriarchy, Part II (14 radio programs) 
⁃ Militant Fecundity (Aggressively Raising Up A "Christian Army") vs. Seeing Children As A Blessing (4 radio programs) 
What Are The Quiverfull and Patriarchy Movements? (Got Questions?)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal (Part 4)

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

In the past few days, we've written extensively about Christians and the conspiracy theories, and the wisdom of such a focus. We want to make it clear that just because biblical history records conspiracies doesn't mean that as believers we should study conspiracies. There is plenty of evil in the world that is plain, that we already know of, that we should address. We don't need to decode Katy Perry's or Madonna's or Beyonce's song lyrics according to some conspiracy theory website in order to determine that they are wicked and promoting a wicked lifestyle. It's plain to see from what they have recorded and how they live.

With this is mind, please consider the following two examples for witnessing to the lost:
Christian to a lost person: "Did you notice what Katy Perry was singing about in the half-time show? Her lyrics encourage out-of-wedlock sex and homosexuality. God teaches that fidelity in marriage is a blessing and that homosexuality is a sin in his eyes, let me show you. 
Lost person: It does? Okay, can you show me that?
contrasted with......
Christian to a lost person: Did you watch Katy Perry's Super Bowl performance? First of all, she's the woman who rides the beast from Revelation 17. And about that costume, did you notice....(insert four thousand more words here on the costumes, symbols and hand signals of the half-time show)." 
Lost person: Zzzzzzzz (asleep)
 Romans 1 and Suppressing The Truth In Unrighteousness 

The Bible is all we need in terms of understanding why the lost are enslaved to Satan. Romans 1 stands in stark contrast to the claims of conspiracy theorists on how people become enslaved to sin, which is that these symbols, or hand signals, or corporate logos, or whatever, somehow "condition" people to accept Satan's schemes. But this is simply not true. When unconverted people stand before God at their judgment, God will not say:
"You were under Satan's spell because you looked at a symbol. It was a Satanic symbol, but because you didn't take the time to study symbols, and therefore identify one correctly, you were put into bondage under Satan."
Nor will He say:
"Remember that ad you saw in the magazine that time. Well, it had an embedded Satanic message that your subconscious mind saw, and this ensnared you in Satan's trap. Too bad there was nobody schooled in 'visual literacy' that could have pointed this out to you." ('Visual literacy' is a term that was used by a recent commenter to explain why Christians need to study symbols for occult meaning, and warn others about them.)
No....but what God will say is something like this:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:18-25)
They will be condemned because although God makes His existence self-evident and plain to men, they suppress this truth in unrighteousness.

Men love their sin.

This is what binds men to Satan.

Men are not ensnared unknowingly and unwillingly through subliminal messages or imbedded symbols, but are enslaved knowingly and willingly through denying the clear evidence of their Creator and refusing to honor Him as God or give Him thanks. They refuse to come to Him on the terms He has given (faith in His Son Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins).

That's it. And that is God's own prescription for what enslaves people.

 God's Children Marked By Love 

Given that America has increasingly cast off moral restraint, no-one is denying that there are almost certainly darker times ahead for believers. We're just discouraging the fearmongering websites that cause believers to become, in our experience, angry, paranoid, panicky and mean-spirited when biblically challenged about the wisdom of looking at conspiracy websites. We're not saying all those who frequent conspiracy websites are this way. But Christians are told by God that they WILL be marked by love. Well, many of the conspiracy theorists who have come onto our Facebook wall to debate this in the past few days have been mean, foul-mouthed, unkind, panicky and angry. Those are not the fruits of the Spirit.

 A Final Appeal 

Let me close with a direct appeal to our friends, the conspiracy theorists: please understand that our desire really is to see Christians who are caught up in conspiratorial thinking to become free from this snare. Because even if it's ALL true, every bit of it, so what? What are you going to do with all this information that you get from your conspiracy websites? Are you going to storm the doors and demand answers? They shoot people at the White House for that. You know that, right? What about the resorts where the world leaders are (allegedly) meeting to conspire evil? You can't get in there, those are gated communities, and even if you could, what would you do? Pass out You Might Be An Illuminati Member If..... pamphlets? They'd cart you off and lock you up in a padded cell.

I mean honestly, what is the point of looking at this stuff, and supposedly "educating yourself" on it all? What is the end-game for it?

What lost people need is not a dissertation on evil. They need Christ. They need the gospel message. They need to be helped to understand what sin is, and then told that they need to repent and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

Let's keep our eyes on the Christ, and make sure we're keeping our hearts pure, and making sure our time is being wisely spent on the study of the Scriptures, and not in hours of time spent poring over conspiracy websites. Let us strive to remember that this increasingly dark world is not our home, but that we can entrust whatever wickedness is here to the LORD. May we continue to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. And when souls are saved through the preaching of the gospel, those new believers WILL leave behind the trappings of the world of their own accord, because He who has begun a good work in them will bring it to completion, will He not?
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17) 
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8)
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)
"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." (Prov 4:18)
* * * * * * * *

The rest of this series can be read here:
PART 1 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Katy Perry, the 2015 Super Bowl halftime performances, Now The End Begins website)  
PART 2 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Madonna, the 2015 Grammys)  
PART 3 - Conspiracy Theories: Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus
PART 5 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response (CONCLUSION)

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories
 (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response (Part 5 - Conclusion)

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

Read the rest of our series here:
PART 1 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Katy Perry, the 2015 Super Bowl halftime performances, Now The End Begins website)  
PART 2 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Madonna, the 2015 Grammys)  
PART 3 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus)
PART 4 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal
We understand that there are conspiracy theory ministries who are doing what they think is right, and that, for them, that involves decoding conspiracies and showing Christians that symbols are spiritually compromising them and indoctrinating their children into evil.

We are equally passionately about our position, which we believe is the biblical one. We believe we fight this spiritual battle first and foremost by contending for truth (Jude 1:3) and by contending against arguments and vain speculations raised up in opposition to the Lord.

We also believe it is important to warn Christians against putting undue focus on things we're not commanded to. Scriptures by which we are constrained in this area are Ephesians 6:17, Colossians 2:8 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-5)
In contrast to those who believe that evil symbols have inherent power to spiritually compromise people, we believe that the Bible is clear that it is ideologies that are transmitted through words which ensnare and spiritually compromise people. Simply put, ours is a battle of ideas and truth claims.

We're not doubting or minimizing the cunning and guile of the devil. We're not saying that evil doesn't exist, and that Satan isn't real. We affirm that evil exists, and that Satan is real, and that he prowls around the earth, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

We don't deny that symbols exist. We don't deny that symbols mean certain things to certain people. But just as we cannot know why someone might wear a cross without asking them, we cannot know why they are wearing a different symbol unless we ask them. So instead of spending hours researching the possible meanings, one can simply ask. The meaning of symbols change over time and therefore aren't a fixed reference. What a person believes, confesses, and lives out is what matters. Symbols have no inherent power. Period.

Satan doesn't work his evil through symbols. He works his evil through ideas that are conveyed with words. You don't witness to a lost person ensnared in evil by giving them a dissertation on symbols and the Illuminati. Neither will you find any model or command for that anywhere in scripture. You convey to them, with words, the truth of Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.

And when a person is saved, they will leave their wickedness behind on their own accord, in the same way that as a new believer, I (Christine) gathered up 3 garbage bags full of occult materials that I had in my house and destroyed them. I didn't destroy them because they had inherent power, but because they were part of a life that belonged to a person I no longer was. I was born again, with new beliefs, and new desires. The old was gone, and the new had come.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Cor 5:17)
We urge Christians not to waste time researching symbols and their supposed connections to (alleged) secret societies on fearmongering conspiracy websites that are sensationalistic and only feed the flesh, only to reach conclusions that are already explicitly stated in scripture: people are born wicked and are in the kingdom of darkness and are the children of Satan and enslaved to him and to sin. They will remain in this state until they hear the gospel and are converted and transferred into the Kingdom of light. And when souls are saved, those new believers will leave behind the trappings of the world of their own accord.

Ours is not a battle of flesh and blood, but of truth, ideological truth, which we must use words to communicate. Simply put, we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins, and this for the salvation of souls, and to the glory of God.

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories
 (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

 Facebook Discussions 

Symbols and conspiracy theories, and the proper place for them in the Christian walk (9-30-13)

Conspiracy theory films (12-2-13)

Conspiracy theories and the Christian (12-31-13)

Warning about Now The End Begins conspiracy website (2-2-15)

Christians and conspiracy theories, the New Age, Jesuits, Illuminati (2-4-15)

Christians and conspiracy theories, Madonna, Katy Perry, symbols and conspiracy theories (2-4-15)

Christians and conspiracy theories, 2015 Grammys (2-9-15)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Part 2)

Posted by Sola Sisters

Madonna at the 2015 Grammys
Just when the folks who might have a tendency to be conspiracy minded settled down after the Super Bowl performances, Madonna got "kind of Satanic" a few weeks later at the Grammys by dancing with "a bunch of masked, horned bull-men," according to the on-site MTV reporter. And the conspiracy thinking got another boost in the Christian realm, with articles about these things showing up regularly in my social media feed.

It's interesting to note that the above was reported in a tongue-in-cheek way by MTV, but this doesn't help the conspiracy theorists, whose ability to decode Illuminati conspiracies is very high, but their ability to decode cheeky commentary is apparently non-existent. (Conspiracy theory website Now The End Begins ran with the headline Madonna Dances Over Pit of Horned Demons at 2015 Grammys.)

In reality, Madonna gave a performance that featured a matador theme, and which included horn-hatted dancers who did look something like how we might imagine Satan's minions to look.

There were also other displays of demonic/Satanic imagery at the Grammys, including AC/DC singing "Highway To Hell," which the audience rocked out to while wearing glowy, devil horn hats. These devil hats were passed out to the crowd, who were encouraged to take them home as a keepsake. Sweet, huh?

But my friends, and my fellow Christians, this is not Illuminati indoctrination. This is just celebrities riding the wave of the culture. They love to shock and outdo each other and be outrageous. And besides, I've always had a theory about Madonna, who was raised Roman Catholic, that at heart (besides being a sinner in need of a Saviour), she's just a Catholic schoolgirl who wants to shock the nuns.

To be clear: there's no question about the fact that Madonna lives and promotes a wicked lifestyle. But no, she is not a high level member of the Illuminati.

As Christians, we should respond to the evil that we know of (which is readily known through the content of Madonna's songs and lifestyle), and "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).

Also, a note of caution: please do not see this as an opportunity to mock or ridicule Madonna. She is a lost person, living a wicked lifestyle, but at one time "such were some of you" (1 Cor 6:11). Pray for her. Pray for someone to have access to her who can give her the gospel.

The rest of this series is linked below:
PART 1 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Katy Perry, the 2015 Super Bowl halftime performances, Now The End Begins website)   
PART 3 - Conspiracy Theories: Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus
PART 4 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal
PART 5 - CONCLUSION Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response 

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

Conspiracy Theories: Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Fix Their Focus (Part 3)

Posted by Sola Sisters

 Dark Times 

Why do people become fixated on conspiracy theories? And what is going on with those Super Bowl and Grammys and MTV performances? It’s our view that Christians become fixated on conspiracy theories because they want to understand and better navigate the world, which is increasingly dark. But we contend that looking at conspiracy theories is a wrong focus, it’s time poorly spent. For some, the study of conspiracy theories becomes almost a gnostic kind of piety, to be the person who is in the know, the one who has broken the code. But this is pride, and not becoming to the Christian. What the LORD desires for us to know, He gives to us in his Word. We are the finite, created thing; we are not the Creator, and so it is not given to us to know all things.
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Obviously, we are living in a wicked time, a time that is becoming more and more wicked with each passing year. Our culture is hyper-sexualized. Many thousands of babies are murdered every year by being aborted. There is rampant fornication and immorality and violence all around us. In short, our culture has cast off all moral restraint. There's not even a pretense of it anymore. And so, it is to be expected that the celebrities this immoral, hyper-sexualized, sensation-seeking culture chooses to build up and idolize will reflect those values (or lack of values). And they do. They sing songs with lyrics that celebrate wickedness, fornication and the latest cause du jour, normalized homosexuality. So should it really be any surprise that the performances of these celebrities at one of the most-viewed events of the year would be over the top in every way? That's what we know and can see plainly, and that's what we should be dealing with. We don't need to deconstruct costumes or hand signals in order to know that the lyrics of Katy Perry's songs are wicked. The lyrics celebrate bisexuality, and we don't need to do any code-cracking on a conspiracy website in order to know whether or not that's wrong. We can know it's wrong from God's word.

And as far as high-level, global conspiracies in the way that conspiracy theorists generally think of them, which interconnect the government, the pharmaceutical industry, the military, past and present world leaders, the banking industry, corporate heads, and even farmers?  The very idea not only stretches the bounds of credulity, but it's just simply not possible. (Listen here to an in-depth discussion about conspiracy theories, and why they are not possible as they are commonly thought to exist.) Conspiracies, actual conspiracies, don’t hold together because of human frailty: fear, conscience, pride, etc. As Chuck Colson pointed out in his book “Born Again”, the Watergate conspiracy in which he was involved, an actual political conspiracy that occurred in the late 1970s, demonstrates that conspiracies fall apart or are exposed in relatively short order.
“Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world, and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks.”

 Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus 

In the 1980s, there was a widely circulated rumor that the CEO of Fortune 500 company Procter and Gamble had publicly stated he was donating a portion of Procter and Gamble's profits to the Church of Satan. This rumor took on a life of its own, and was widely repeated and whispered about for years. During this season of slander, the Procter and Gamble logo was also widely deconstructed for evidence revealing the company's (alleged) connection to the Church of Satan. But this rumor, which continues to surface every few years, is completely false. (This article discusses the $19 million dollar lawsuit won by Procter and Gamble against a competing company, Amway, for creating and spreading this falsehood.)

And to go a step further, from a Christian perspective, for Christians to repeat information such as this without verifying it, is to bear false witness (transgression of the 9th Commandment). As we say often here, truth is important, because God is the author of truth. Truth is important to God, and so it ought to be important to us. This means that we have an obligation to verify whether things that we repeat are true or not.

Yet studying symbols, deconstructing hand signs and poring over conspiracy theory sites which put out all manner of outrageous speculation, are a staple among conspiracy theorists. Just put "Illimuniti" into a Google search engine, and see what you get: 45 million stories in a split second (0.25 seconds, to be exact), that's what you get. That's a rabbit hole from which a person might never emerge. But is this where God wants us to put our focus and spend time?

A theory is just that: a theory, a guess, a speculation about something for which there is no proof. By contrast, truth is what we know to be true, and as Christians, we know that God is the author of truth, and also that truth is centered upon the person and work of Christ. Therefore, truth is important.
“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) 
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) 
“But the word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:25)
So what do conspiracy theories have to do with truth?

Yes, conspiracies, actual conspiracies and not theories, exist, and the Bible itself mentions conspiracies in several places. Lest we forget, there was a conspiracy to kill Jesus. But the conspiracies mentioned in scripture are only mentioned in passing, and nowhere are Christians exhorted to study them. Please take note of this distinction we’re making between conspiracies (real, mentioned briefly in passing in scripture) and conspiracy theories (speculated about, but not proven).

Where conspiracies are directly addressed in scripture, this is what we are told:
"For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 'Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.'" (Isaiah 8:11-13)
As the passage from Isaiah points out, the Lord of hosts, God, should be our focus.

The Gospel of Matthew also gives us an account of the disciple Peter stepping out of the storm-tossed boat and beginning to walk toward Christ on the water... until he began to sink after taking his eyes off Christ, and putting his focus on the wind which was whipping around him:
“Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And Jesus said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Him. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’” (Matthew 14:28-32)
We also know that God is sovereign, and that nothing that is occurring around us is taking Him by surprise. We can trust Him. We can rest in Him. We belong to the One who knows the end from the beginning. God the Father will give us strength and peace in whatever trials may come. God the Son will give peace to those who abide in him. God the Spirit will give us a sense of peace and comfort.
God the Father - “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)  “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” (Isaiah 46:10) 
God the Son “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
God the Holy Spirit - “But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
What is the fruit that God the Son references in the Gospel of John? It is not the fruit of studying conspiracy theories and explaining them. It is gospel fruit. It is the fruit that comes from sharing Christ with the lost, perhaps even those trying to deconstruct alleged conspiracies as they also attempt to make sense of this world? To those people, we can bring the light and the hope of a Saviour who gave his life “as a ransom for many.” And what is the rest for our souls that is referenced in the Gospel of Matthew? It is rest in knowing that our salvation is secure because of Christ, and that we look not to this world, but toward the world to come.

 Conclusion   Conclusion 

Is there a balanced way for Christians to view conspiracy theories? The answer is yes, there is. Simply put, it involves first and foremost keeping our eyes fixed upon Christ, and then weighing actual evidence, and not just relying on anecdotal accounts or speculation or the first 10 websites provided by a Google search (or in the instance of an Illuminati Google search, the first 45 million websites). Of all people, Christians know that there is real evil in the world, and that we have a real Adversary, a real spiritual presence that is alive and well and active in the world today ("Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8). But, we also know that a sovereign Lord rules and reigns over all the affairs of man, and that what we are commanded to do is simple: keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, contend for truth, love and serve our families and churches, and share the gospel.

The rest of this series is linked below:
PART 1 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Katy Perry, the 2015 Super Bowl halftime performances, Now The End Begins website)  
PART 2 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Madonna, the 2015 Grammys)  
PART 4 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal
PART 5 - CONCLUSION Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response 

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Kingdom Now? Cultures Being Redeemed? No and no. (A Few Problems With Dominionism)

Posted by Christine Pack

This article will (hopefully) expose how Dominionism, which is a view held by some Christians, often outworks itself in ways never prescribed by Scripture. Please note that there are often very varied beliefs among Christians who hold Dominionist views. For instance, not all Theonomists will be Christian Reconstructionists, not all Christian Reconstructionists will be Patriarchal, not all Patriarchals will be Quiverfull. However, what undergirds all of these movements or ideologies is their Dominionist worldview, and because of this, there is often a natural dovetailing of ideas between these groups and ideologies. The Dominionist view almost always flows out of the Postmillennial eschatalogical view. And whenever you've got your eschatology driving your Christian walk, you've got a problem.

* * * * * * *

Pastor Tim Keller, author of
Center Church
Kingdom Now ideology, which is a form of Dominionism, is also sometimes buried in concepts such as those taught by Tim Keller. Pastor Keller doesn't use straight up "Kingdom Now" language, but he does talk about "redeeming the culture." But as Christians we know that it is individual souls who are redeemed, not entire cultures.

Tim Keller is a contributor to the aggressively evolutionary think-tank BioLogos (you can read about that here in Ken Ham's article, Misrepresented By Leading Pastor). His "redeeming the culture" view, which has a strong social justice/social gospel slant is espoused in his book Center Church. His article Redemption and the City is excerpted from Center Church, and can be read here. And from the Cripplegate review of Center Church:
"Throughout large portions of (Center Church).......Keller is evaluating positions and approaches to the culture.  (Keller) believes that the mission of the church must be balanced between the great commission and (a) cultural mandate to advance human flourishing.
"The mandate (given to the church) is about being witnesses, testifying to the resurrection.  The mandate of the church is about testifying to the gospel until He returns (Keller agrees).  The mandate of the church is exclusively about testifying and not about establishing ‘shalom’ or cultural renewal in some sort of kingdom sense (Keller doesn’t agree).  After receiving the commission to witness, the apostles remain undistracted......Instead of leading the church into cultural renewal, (the apostles) point to the only One who can restore the creation.  The apostolic message is repent and believe so that Christ can come and reverse the curse placed on this earth.
"Peter preached that cultural renewal was a work of Christ by virtue of His imminent return as King.  Keller, however, believes that our pursuit of cultural renewal, social justice, mercy ministry, and human betterment are based on the fact that Jesus created and redeemed body and spirit.
(Center Church and Common Grace, Cripplegate, my emphasis)
Here is also an interview by a friend of mine (Jonathan Cousar) about Tim Keller. Jonathan attended the church where Tim Keller preaches (Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC) for almost 20 years, and in this interview, he discusses Keller's views, and his attempts to talk about them with Keller.
Interview With A Long-Time Member of Redeemer Presbyterian
Here is one longish (but good) article by Sam Horn of Northland Baptist Bible College that addresses the problems with Tim Keller's "Redeeming the Culture" view.
An Assessment of and Response to Tim Keller’s Theology of the City
Here is a series of articles by Dr. Paul Elliott about Tim Keller's problematic views:
Tim Keller: Dangerously Influential (Part 1)
Tim Keller's Gutless Gospel (Part 2) 
Tim Keller's False Gospel: Changing Both the Method and the Message (Part 3)
Tim Keller's False Gospel: A 'Sandwich' Made Without the Bread of Life (Part 4)
Tim Keller's False Gospel: A Point-By-Point Analysis (Part 5)
And here is the entire Cripplegate series of articles reviewing Tim Keller's Center Church:
Center Church: Summary and Contextualization 
Center Church and Common Grace
Center Church and The True Church


 Theonomy / Kingdom Now / Dominionism 

The Fault Lines of Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy (Sola Sisters)

Christian Submission vs Belligerent Discontentment Before Civil Authorities (Justin Edwards, airo)

Brother's Keeper.....Some of the Problems With Theonomists (Fred Butler, Hip and Thigh)

What Is Kingdom Now? (Got Questions?)

What Is Dominionism? (Derek Gilbert interviews Sarah Leslie of Herescope, beginning at 1:08:00 mark)

 Tim Keller 

Tim Keller's Social Justice (Gospel Masquerade)

Tim Keller's Environmental Gospel (Gospel Masquerade)

Redeemer's Tim Keller and the Problems with Ignatius of Loyola (Sola Sisters)

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola? (Sola Sisters)

Ignatius of Loyola, an Examination of His Teachings
 (Pastor Gary Gilley)