Thursday, September 29, 2011

USA Today Photographer Changed Forever By Picture

Posted by Christine Pack

The picture above is of one of the most amazing moments ever documented. Little Samuel Armas was still in his mother's womb when it was discovered that he had spina bifida. His parents elected to have a rare surgical procedure done in which the baby was to be operated on while he was still in his mother's womb. Due to the rarity of this procedure, USA Today had freelance photographer Michael Clancy on hand to document this procedure. What transpired during the operation that is still being talked about 12 years later. According to photographer Michael Clancy:
"I could see the uterus shake violently and then this little fist came out of the surgical opening," Clancy recalls. "It came out under its own power. When Dr. Bruner lifted the little hand, I fired my camera and the tighter Samuel squeezed, the harder Dr. Bruner shook his hand."
Clancy, who was pro-abortion before documenting this moment, is now a motivational speaker at pro-life events.

photo credit: F. C. Photography via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

"180" The Movie

Buy 10 Copies of "180" (The Movie) for Just $10 ($1 per copy)

Karma Just Doesn't Cut It

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Answers in Genesis FREE Weekly Download - "Why Won't They Listen?"

Posted by Christine Pack, from the Answers in Genesis website:

❝Wonder why people don’t listen any more when you present the gospel? Using clear illustrations and irresistible logic, Ken Ham shows that the answer is to begin at the beginning.….in Genesis!❞
Go here to access your FREE video download.

 Note to Readers 

I can't even begin to express how instrumental Answers in Genesis was in helping to form my biblical worldview. As a new Christian, I was still pretty evolutionary in my thinking. Then along came AIG.  I remember going through their LONG list of scientists on staff and just being amazed! And here's why: I had always been told and taught, from grade school all the way up through college, that science had "proved" evolution. Evolution was "fact." So, having had this life-long indoctrination, the first time I ever heard of "Young Earthers" as a new Christian, I immediately thought "cult!" But then several years later, along came Answers in Genesis, and here were all these scientists on staff, many of them with multiple and advanced degrees in the sciences.  In other words, it's not like these were guys with their PhDs in Literature or something, weighing in on subjects they hadn't studied. These were scientists who had studied Archaeology, Biology, Zoology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Palaeontology, etc., etc., and who, after studying the evidence, were saying, "It points to Young Earth, and here's why...." Bottom line: I just really like how these scientists, working alongside Answers in Genesis, have turned that condescending, worldly dismissal of the Young Earth view on its ear. There are no "village idiots" in this bunch, my friends. You can say a lot of things about this group of scientists, but one thing you can't say is that they're stupid. In fact, I believe that God is using the ministry of Answers in Genesis to respond to the mockers of this age:
"It is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' 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 Corinthians 1:19-20)

 Additional Resources 

Radioactive and Radiocarbon Dating with Dr. Andrew Snelling

The Grand Canyon: A Trickle of Water Over Millions of Years? Or A Deluge of Water Over a Brief Period?

Answers in Genesis

Answers in Genesis Curricula

Answers in Genesis for Kids

Answers in Genesis Articles Archive

The Creation Museum

Elephant Room 2 Features Trinity Denier T.D. Jakes As A Keynote Speaker

Posted by Christine Pack

I would love to love the Elephant Room, I really would.  Elephant Room?, you say. Never heard of it. Well, in a nutshell, the Elephant Room is meant to be sort of a roundtable discussion group for Christian brainiacs. The first Elephant Room was held March 2011, and the one I'm discussing here is the upcoming Elephant Room 2, which is scheduled to be held January 2012. Elephant Room 2 is facilitated by two members of The Gospel Coalition, a group that, according to its website, is committed to the purity of the gospel. Seriously, what's not to like about that? Coming out of the vapidness of the seeker sensitive, "doctrine lite" model of church, as I did, I was primed to love something like the Elephant Room. So what's the problem? Well, there is the ongoing issue of Mark Driscoll (who is one of the facilitators), but besides that, look at who one of the keynote speakers will be:

That's right, the very popular T.D. Jakes. What's wrong with that? Well, T.D. Jakes holds to the Oneness Pentecostal view, which is a heresy that denies the biblical view of the Trinity. From T.D. Jakes' website for his church (The Potter's House):

Yes, the doctrine of the Trinity is deep theological waters, but Christian leaders must line up with Scripture in this area (which is a foundational belief of orthodox Christianity), because not to do so is to wander into heresy, and take others there with you.
"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment." James 3:1
Elephant Room 2 might seem like a great idea in theory, but don't forget, Communism also has a way of looking good on paper but playing itself out in disastrous ways when implemented in real life. And remember, as bad as Communism is, it can only kill men's bodies, not their souls. A wrong understanding of the Trinity (as in Oneness Pentacostalism) can damn souls eternally.

What will happen in Elephant Room 2?  Will T.D. Jakes be confronted with truth and exhorted to repent from his heretical views? Will he then go to his many, many followers in humble sorrow over representing God wrongly, and teach his followers the truth about the Trinity? Or will there be a carefully nuanced discussion that will be allowed to stand, unchallenged, and which does not clarify the proper view of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

We'll have to tune in and see.

 Additional Resources 

Why Is Oneness Pentecostalism Heresy? Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (There are 30 segments in total in this excellent series, but 1-10 is a good start, and the rest can be found on YouTube)

James MacDonald Digs Deeper Hole For the Elephant Room

T.D. Jakes' Modalism is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

James MacDonald, T.D. Jakes and Postmodern Obfuscation

Oneness-Pentecostals vs. Christians

Is Nicene Christianity That Important? An historical-ecumenical note

Mark Driscoll and Pornographic Divination

Who Should I Contact At The Gospel Coalition If I Have Concerns?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"180" (The Movie)

Posted by Christine Pack

It is often said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Friends, for that reason, this recently released movie is a MUST WATCH because, for one thing, in viewing it you will come to understand that very few young people today even know who Adolf Hitler was.

Also, after you have watched this short, 30 minute movie, I want you to ask yourself these questions: Do you think the world has learned the lesson of the Holocaust? What about America, have they learned the lesson?

Please, watch this movie, and then forward it to anyone that you think might benefit from watching it.

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: Please note that there are graphic images in this movie that are not suitable for younger children.

 Additional Resources 

Buy 10 Copies of "180" (The Movie) for Just $10 ($1 per copy)

Karma Just Doesn't Cut It

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rob Bell's Co-Pastor Shane Hipps Says He Can't Know For Certain About Heaven or Hell

Posted by Christine Pack
“I have never died, so I don’t have a theological position on heaven or hell, I can only entertain theological possibilities.” - Shane Hipps
Shane Hipps, co-pastor of Rob Bell's church (Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, MI), has recently written the following blog post (entire post can be read here).

So a pastor of a church claims that he can't have an opinion on anything (and he specifically mentions heaven and hell) which he hasn't directly experienced.

This is without a doubt a very postmodern statement. And by postmodern, I mean a statement that advances the idea that truth cannot be known. The postmodern view is that different cultures at different times have had different truths which are true for them, but there is a general push back among postmoderns against the idea of subjective truth outside of us that is true for all cultures, at all times. Universal truths, if you will. Postmoderns believe that we can guess about truth, talk about truth, we can postulate, pontificate, and philosophize about what, in fact, truth is, but no-one can really claim to know for a fact what truth is.

This mindset is certainly the battlefield of our generation. But is this thinking biblical? No, in fact, this is not the biblical understanding of truth. To paraphrase Paul Washer, one of the great preachers of our day,  truth is not a what, but a Who:
 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’.” John 14:6
For those who don't know why this should matter to them, it's because our youth have been relentlessly targeted by the Emergent Church Movement, a dangerous, heretical movement that is flowing unchecked into our churches, mostly through our youth groups. Christian parents: even if you have never heard of Rob Bell (or his co-pastor Shane Hipps), just ask your kids. Because I can almost guarantee you that even if they haven't read Bell's books or watched his NOOMA videos, their friends have. And why is this frightening? Because Rob Bell is a big, big, BIG leader in a new movement sweeping through our young people today called "Christian Universalism." Yes, you read that right, and yes, "Christian Universalism" is an oxymoron (like "jumbo shrimp" or "virtual reality").  But nonetheless, with leaders like Rob Bell and Shane Hipps leading the way, many of today's church-going youth have slowly been seduced into believing this false teaching, usually using Colossians 1:19-20 (out of context, of course) as their "proof-text."

As Todd Friel of Wretched Radio/TV recently pointed out on a great video clip, Rob Bell should have never become a problem, not if our pastors and leaders had been willing to do the hard thing, and step up and name names and call out false teachers before they - and their heresies - became full-blown.  But most of them didn't, sad to say, and the result of this has been that false teachers, like Bell and now Hipps, two postmodern hipsters who have always made it their goal to be culturally relevant and thus appeal to the youth, have captured an entire generation of young people with their damning heresies. Brothers and sisters, and especially, Christian parents: Let's please try to get ahead of this one so that we will be equipped and ready to answer back to their lies.

In closing, I will point out that leaders in the Emergent Church Movement were not as straightforward about their views when they first burst onto the Christian scene 20 years ago. And due to their relentless cultural relevance and clever marketing, they rapidly became extremely popular among churchgoing youth. But let me go on the record here in stating that the Emergent Church Movement have now been unmasked. In dribs and drabs, they have come clean about their theology. They are now on the record, and we know where they stand: they believe in Universal Reconciliation (a fancy way of saying they believe that all paths lead to God), and they are teaching this to our kids. I therefore urge all parents reading this post to make sure they are taking an active role in safeguarding their kids against Rob Bell's (and Shane Hipp's) false teaching. We must heed the exhortation from Scripture not to simply hand the instruction of our children over to others but to actively take responsibility, as parents, in biblically guiding, teaching and discipling our own children:
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (Deut 6:6-9)

 Additional Resources 

How Important Is The Inerrancy of Scripture?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pastor Tim Keller Recommends A Book By A Female "Pastor?"

Posted by Christine Pack
"But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." 1 Timothy 2:12  
Why in the world would Tim Keller, a supposedly conservative reformed pastor, give an endorsement to a woman "pastor?" Since when did Presbyterian pastors of the PCA persuasion start thinking that it is okay for women to pastor churches? Or did I miss something? Shouldn't he be calling her to repentance?

In full disclosure, I will admit that the Presbyterian-PCA's are near and dear to my heart. My own father is a Presbyterian elder, and in my view they are a sister church to my own denomination (Reformed Baptist). My children attend a school which is closely affiliated with a Presbyterian PCA church. So I am truly and deeply grieved to see a Presbyterian PCA pastor (Tim Keller of The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan) moving toward what has long been the theologically liberal position about women in leadership.

 Additional Resources 

Tim Keller on Whether or Not Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews are Saved After Death

Tim Keller Recommends The Alpha Course

Former Redeemer Member Writes an Article: Tim Keller and Social Justice

Tim Keller Teaching Lectio Divina, Mind-Emptying Mantra Meditation (by mystic Jan Johnson) at Redeemer

Tim Keller's "Trained Spiritual Director" Jan Johnson Recommends Mystic Richard Foster and Mystic Ignatius Loyola

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Warning About "Jesus Is My Girlfriend/Boyfriend" Songs

Posted by Christine Pack

I woke up the other morning hearing this song when my clock radio alarm went off:

As my radio is typically set on the local Christian radio channel, my first thought was, oh dear, I've somehow bumped the radio and it's on another station. After groggily assessing the station was, indeed, accurately calibrated, I listened to the rest of the song. Some of the lyrics to the song (Hold Me featuring tobyMac) are below:
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me)
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me)
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me)
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You, the way Ya, the way Ya)
I've had a long day I just wanna relax
Don't have time for my friends, no time to chit-chat
Problems at my job, wonderin' what to do
I know I should be working, but I'm thinking of You and
Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down
That's when Your smile comes around
Oo, I love the way You hold me, by my side You'll always be
You take each and everyday, make it special in some way
I love the way You hold me, in Your arms I'll always be
You take each and everyday, make it special in some way
I love You more than the words in my brain can express
I can't imagine even loving You less
Lord, I love the way You hold me
So I did a little internet searching about this song, mainly to find out if it bothered anyone else the way it had bothered me. Sure enough, my buddy Todd Friel over at Wretched Radio had already addressed my concerns about this song. So I'll just let his comments (below) stand in their entirety:

 Additional Resources 

Monday, September 12, 2011

"God" Is Talking to Mark Driscoll Again.....

Posted by Christine Pack

For those with serious concerns about the direction Mark Driscoll is taking, please feel free to contact any of his colleagues here at The Gospel Coalition.

 Additional Resources 

Contemplative Spirituality and Tim Keller

Matt Chandler and Curious Decisions

Mark Driscoll and Pornographic Divination

Mark Driscoll: The Face of Contemplative Calvinism

Mystical Calvinists?

Personal Words From God? by Bob DeWaay (part 1)

Personal Words From God? by Bob DeWaay (part 2)

Who Can I Contact At The Gospel Coalition If I Have Concerns?

Posted by Christine Pack

With respect to our recent post by Mike Ratliff (The Gospel Coalition Needs To Set Its House in Order), which was a post written in response to one of Pastor Tim Keller's answers in an interview about the way of salvation, anyone with concerns should address their questions to any of the current Council Members of The Gospel Coalition.

For right or wrong, I just don't think men like having women come to them with these kinds of concerns. But I am more than happy to publish Mike's loving, but firm, biblical exhortation for Tim Keller's colleagues to do what should be done here, and that is come alongside Keller and exhort him to doctrinal purity. This is not about Tim Keller. This is about the gospel. The Gospel Coalition, as per their name, are all about coalescing around the gospel, right? So let's see that happen. Here are the men, their names and how to reach them. I don't think anyone is advocating for separation from Pastor Tim Keller at this point; what we are saying is that there is some concern about his appearing to waffle on his response to the question of whether or not Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs can be saved. These are Keller's colleagues, these are the men who need to be coming alongside Keller and exhorting, rebuking, correcting, etc. And really, they should be doing so in loving concern! Instead of providing cover in an article which give a response that is tepid, at best.

 Additional Resources 

Former Redeemer Member Writes an Article: Tim Keller and Social Justice

Tim Keller Teaching Lectio Divina, Mind-Emptying Mantra Meditation (by mystic Jan Johnson) at Redeemer

Tim Keller's "Trained Spiritual Director" Jan Johnson Recommends Mystic Richard Foster and Mystic Ignatius Loyola

The Gospel Coalition Needs To Set Its House In Order

By Mike Ratliff, Possessing The Treasure, reprinted with permission
Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι. δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς γέγραπται· ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται. (Romans 1:16,17 NA27) 
For I am not ashamed of the good news, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing, both to the Jew first and to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it has been written, “But the righteous man will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16, 17 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
In the passage above, the phrase “For I am not ashamed” translates “Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι.” Οὐ or ou is expressing an “absolutely negative” statement by the Apostle Paul. The verb ἐπαισχύνομαι or epaischunomai is in the present tense, indicative mood, middle voice case. The verb ἐπαισχύνομαι means, “to be ashamed, embarrassed, fearful of ridicule” because of one’s actions or beliefs. This verb generally does not carry the connotation of being ashamed of the wrong things one has done. This verb case asserts something that is occurring while the speaker is making the statement. Paul is, therefore, telling the Romans and us that he is NOT ashamed, embarrassed, or fearful of ridicule and will, therefore, preach the good news when he comes to Rome. Now, this does not mean that he believes he will be spared persecution or ridicule or embarrassment, et cetera for being bold for being obedient to his calling. Remember my brethren; our Lord said plainly that he did not come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). Therefore, those whose mission it is to proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ are to have this same determination, this same boldness, this same willingness to take up one’s own cross and follow Jesus regardless of the cost.
In this post, I compared the interview done by Martin Bashir with Tim Keller to promote Keller’s new book The Purpose for God with the offense of the gospel. The reason I did that was that by all appearances, Tim Keller seemed to be nonplused with some very direct questions from Martin Bahsir having to do with the exclusivity of the gospel. I read one comment on another site that said that it appeared that Tim Keller was doing a poor job of gospel contextualization.

The following is an excerpt from the Gospel Coalition’s Confessional Statement:
The Fall We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his progeny—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.
The Plan of God We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.
The Gospel We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised”). This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).
Compare that with Tim Keller’s reaction under fire from Martin Bashir. Yes, Tim Keller is a member of the Gospel Coalition. This post is a call to the Gospel Coalition to put its house in order and deal with Tim Keller on this issue. Is he with you on your central tenet (the gospel) or not? If he is then what is up with this sort of behavior? I read another comment on another discussion site about this in which one fellow, taking up for Tim Keller, said, “You catch more flies with honey. He was obviously not trying to offend anyone.” Uh, what about what our Lord said and what about this call for boldness in the face of persecution? If this was a case of gospel contextualization then it obviously shows the fallacy of that. God is sovereign in salvation, top to bottom. When men play games with it, then you have sorry episodes like this.

The Gospel Coalition is attempting to portray itself as a solid base of sound theology and gospel integrity in a sea of apostate churches. If that is the case, then their house must be set in order concerning Tim Keller very soon or their credibility is nil.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 Additional Resources 

Who Can I Contact At The Gospel Coalition?

Contemplative Spirituality and Tim Keller

Matt Chandler and Curious Decisions

Mark Driscoll and Pornographic Divination

The Lordship Salvation Controversy

By Justin Edwards, airō blog, reprinted with permission

Lordship salvation continues to be a controversial topic in evangelicalism.  The battleground tends to take place mostly, it seems, in dispensational circles where easy-believism or “free grace” theology has firmly taken root.  Opponents range from those who believe the “sole requirement” for salvation is an intellectual assent to the facts about Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection to those who might consider themselves to be in the middle between the “extreme” of lordship salvation and the extreme of easy-believism.  Such is the case for Caryl Matrisciana of Caryl Productions, a “middle ground” proponent who hates lordship salvation and hates the doctrines of grace, otherwise known as Calvinism.

In Caryl’s newsletter for September 11, 2011 titled Repentance and Lordship Salvation, Brenda Nickel exemplifies this “middle ground” camp with its strawmen of Calvinism and lordship salvation and its common inconsistencies, gross misconceptions, misrepresentations, and, quite frankly, ignorance.  As Nickel’s article is such a mess of absurdity, I’d like to stick to a few brief points about her words regarding lordship salvation before I issue you, the reader, a challenge.  She writes:
"While it is true that real faith fully turns to God and yearns to please Him by obeying, no one can make promises of obedience in exchange for salvation…"
Ms. Nickel, your statement above provides evidence you believe in lordship salvation because you have just agreed with proponents of lordship salvation, who teach nothing more or less than what you have stated.  The second part of your statement is irrelevant to reality – obedience is merely the necessary fruit of saving, repentant faith.

Nickel continues:
"According to the Bible, which Mark Cahill [insert - please see Mark Cahill - Sad and Shocking News] takes his teachings from, repentance is surrender to God and turning from sin1, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost..… and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess 1:6,9). Repentance is a forsaking of sin to present the body, soul and spirit as a living sacrifice to Christ for the furtherance of His kingdom2 (Ro 12:1)…Fully surrendering to God and turning away from sin doesn’t guarantee a person won’t sin, but reveals a deep desire not to sin and to be united with the Lord (2 Cor 5:9)…"
Fully surrender? Forsaking sin? Turning away from idols to serve God? Ms. Nickel, you believe in lordship salvation.

Lastly, Ms. Nickel points out:
"Repentance is a full turning to God by faith that is willing to turn from sin, albeit imperfectly. Lordship salvation insinuates a person can’t know they’re saved until they provide a lifetime of proof through obedience."
Fully turning from sin to God, Ms. Nickel?  Here in these two sentences you show you believe in lordship salvation yet also show your ignorance of it.  I know full well that I am saved by the grace of God and I’d like to explain to you and every reader how this is the case, despite your gross misrepresentation of lordship salvation.

A few months ago I embarked on a short journey to refute many of Brenda Nickel’s familiar arguments against lordship salvation in a series titled, What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation?  As many of you follow the Bible Prophecy Blog, you may recognize the title as it was a rebuttal to Dr. Andy Woods’ article titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?  Over the next week I will be posting each article here on the Christian Research Network as an effort to reach out to the many readers who have been caught in the crossfire of this controversy.  I am aware of much of your confusion as you may have submitted to supposed teachers who claim to own the market on truth from the “middle ground” island they have constructed in their minds.  I was once a part of this island until God showed me through His Word there is no middle ground, so I understand where you are.

The challenge is this:  let’s go through these issues in a calm, rational manner examining what the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed through the Word of God.  Perhaps you have not been able to ask questions in the environment in which you fellowship because of the extreme bias and hatred toward Calvinism and lordship salvation.  Perhaps you are only directed to other biased sources and have no opportunity to discuss material from proponents of lordship salvation due to risk of excommunication.

Whether you are opposed to lordship salvation, are confused on the matter, or quietly embrace it and desire to learn more about it, I invite you to a study and discussion in an open forum.  As each article is linked from CRN, just head over to airō to post your comments under the appropriate article.  Just be sure to leave the strawmen at the door (if you own any) and bring your Bible.  This is a time to learn, study, and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, doing so in humility and love for the brethren.

Here is the first article by way of introduction:  What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation – Part 1.
"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tim Keller on Whether or Not Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews are Saved After Death

Posted by Christine Pack

Martin Bashir: Do you believe that there is only one God, and that there is only one way to approach that God? 
Tim Keller: If....yes, if.....okay, yes, if....I'm speaking as a Christian here.....if Jesus Christ is who he says he is, if he is the Son of God from heaven, if he is, uh, if he really was bodily raised from the dead, and if he was our original Creator, I mean if all that's true, that's what he says, then of course there'd have to be just one way to God, because our souls would need him, or they would shrivel eternally, just like your body needs food or it would shrivel. I mean, the fact is my body here needs food or it would shrivel, that's not narrow-minded to say, that's just the way it is. If Jesus is who he said he is, then our souls would have to get him in order to be eternally full and thrive. And if we don't get him, then we would eternally shrivel. So to seems so narrow, to claim that there's only one way to God, to say that actually precludes the possibility that Jesus is who he says he is. I mean, if he is who he says he is, then that's what we're - that's what we have to say. 
If he's not who he says he is, then of course it's narrow ..... So basically you have to sit down and ask yourself the question about the facts about Jesus' life and look at that. And not say, "I don't even want to look at Jesus, I don't even want to hear the claims of Christianity because they seem so exclusive." 
Martin Bashir:  So where does that leave the millions of Muslims, Sikhs and Jews?  Are they sadly and completely deluded? 
Tim Keller: People who never heard about Jesus, or never really got a hearing about Jesus... 
Martin Bashir: I'm not talking about them, because some of those people have heard (about Jesus). I'm talking about the millions of Muslims, Sikhs and Jews who have heard about Jesus. Where does your thesis leave them? 
Tim Keller: Where they are right now, it means that if there's never any change, they don't get Jesus. If he is who he says he is, then, long term, they don't have God. If on the other hand.....all I can always say about this is God gives me, even as a minister with the Scripture, a lot of information on a need-to-know basis. And a need-to-know basis means, "Here's all I can tell you: unless you get Jesus Christ who created you to start with, unless you are reunited with him sometime, there is no eternal future of thriving." It just makes sense. Again, I'm trying to go back to this idea that, that, if he is who he says he is, you've got to have him.  If right now a person doesn't have him, he or she needs to get him. If they die and they've never, if they die and they don't have Jesus Christ, I don't know. In other words, I have a need-to-know basis, the only thing I know is you need Jesus. I certainly know that God is wiser than me,  more merciful than me, and I do know that when I finally find out how God is dealing with every individual soul, I won't have any questions about it. 
Martin Bashir: Okay, but if this is the only way to God, and if Christians are heading for a place called "heaven," does that mean, therefore, by deduction, that millions of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, all of whom hold their faith with enormous integrity, all of them are heading for hell? 
Tim Keller: There's a lot of people who are born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and they grew up in First Baptist Church there, who are also headed for a Christless eternity. Every human being chooses an identity. It's either chosen-- it's either based on the grace of God, or it's basically based on your own performance, and your own ability, and therefore on your own self. And if a billion years from now, you've put your hope in the grace of God, you will be beautiful and happy. If you, a billion years from now, you've put your, you've based your identity on your own self and your own abilities and your own performance, you'll be miserable. In fact, you can see it even now. Self-centered people are miserable even now, not a billion years from now. So, there are plenty of people who're raised Christians, there are plenty of people who were raised in First Baptist Church, but in their hearts, have not turned toward the grace of God. People in other religions, unless they find Christ, I don't know any other way (to heaven), but I also get information on a need-to-know basis. If there's some, if there's some trapdoor, or something like that, I haven't been told about it. But I also don't know. I guess I want to know this: I want to know when a person says, "I need to know everything about how God is going to deal with, you know, all eternity, with all individuals before I can bite down on Christianity," I feel that you actually are maybe projecting your American democratic individualistic understanding of (who God is). You really want a president or a governor or a mayor. You don't really want a King, and I can understand that, because human kings, human beings, are flawed, and therefore, monarchy was not a very good approach to things. But if you have a perfect God, a perfect King, who comes and suffers in (the person of) Jesus Christ, then at a certain point, I trust him.
 Sola Sisters Commentary 

This response by Dr. Keller is troubling for several reasons, but for now, I'll just put this partial transcript (with my emphasis highlighted in red) "out there" for readers to ponder.  Further commentary to come soon.

 Additional Resources 

What Is A Christian Universalist?

"The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life" Not So Wonderful

By Marcia Montenegro (Christian Answers for the New Age - CANA)
August 2011

Glenn Beck and Keith Ablow’s book, The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life, alternates chapters by Beck with those by Dr. Ablow. Beck reveals a painful past struggling with his destructive alcohol addiction and his search for spiritual meaning. Ablow, in his chapters, comments on Beck’s entries, relates anecdotes from his practice as a psychiatrist, expounds on the seven wonders, and offers advice for the reader dealing with similar or other issues. The “seven wonders” from the title are courage, faith, truth, compassion, friendship, family, and common sense.

What people should know is that this is yet another self-help book based on the (unbiblical) belief that people “are inherently good” (165).

 Glenn Beck 

Early in the book, Beck states the false assumption that God is “in everything and everywhere and inside me, too” and that God “will not let me rest until I took the journey to find my pure personal truth and full potential” (58). Beck does not give a basis for this conviction except to quote Exodus 3:14 where God gives his name as “I AM.” Beck also gives a rendering of this as “He who is ever becoming what He is,” a phrase repeated throughout the book by both Beck and Ablow.

Beck writes that he read New Age bestselling author James Redfield’s book, The Celestine Prophecy, which teaches an idea called synchronicity (see CANA article on The Celestine Prophecy). This concept fascinated Beck.

Synchronicity as a theory originated with occultist psychiatrist Carl Jung, and was the name for his proposition that seemingly unconnected coincidences are in reality meaningfully connected. After reading Redfield’s book, Beck decided to look for synchronicity in his life and follow up on them. One of these trails of synchronicity concerned his friend Pat Gray, a Mormon, who, over the years, expressed his desire to tell Beck about the LDS faith (Latter Day Saints). Beck states that he was often working at jobs connected to Mormons – radio stations owned by Mormons (in Seattle and Provo, Utah), or he had Mormon coworkers. This connection with Mormons happened often enough for Beck to view this as synchronicity.

Giving in at last to Pat Gray’s invitation to attend a Mormon service, Beck visits with his family.  In a class called Gospel Principles, Beck asks the teacher, “Where’s Gandhi? He didn’t accept Jesus as his savior, so is he burning in Hell?” (Reading this evoked a flashback for me of Rob Bell’s use of this issue for his book Love Wins). Beck expected that the answer would be that although Gandhi had been a good person, he was in hell (147). So to Beck’s surprise and delight, he discovered that Mormons believe that people have a chance after death to believe in Jesus, and that there is no actual hell, only “the Hell of realizing you could have been with your loved ones and your Heavenly Father and His Son, but you’re not” (148-149). [Note: Mormons deny the Trinity so their Heavenly Father and His Son are separate, the Son being the created offspring of Heavenly Father and his wife].

Beck once again uses the “I AM” phrase to mean that one’s “path is to forever evolve into yourself; to always be striving to become the person you are supposed to be” (150-151). This begs the question: Supposed to be based on what?

Beck refers approvingly to writer Jon Kabat-Zinn as a “physician and author” (89). However, Kabat-Zinn is not a physician. Rather, he is a follower of Zen Buddhism whose mindfulness stress reduction method is unfortunately being taught and used in hospital centers across the country (see CANA article on Mindfulness).

 Keith Ablow 

Ablow also makes assumptions, such as “you are permanently, irrevocably connected to truth” and “divine power” is in everyone (71). He refers to the Bible but interprets it from a New Thought perspective. New Thought, a movement birthed with angel whisperer Emanuel Swedenborg, gained steam in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. New Thought, which claims to be Christian, teaches that every person is innately divine, that man’s problem is that his perception of God and man has been warped by traditional Christianity, and that the man Jesus came to correct this wrong thinking (see CANA article on New Thought). The New Age movement blended in large amounts of New Thought along with tenets from Gnosticism and Eastern religions. New Thought added an apparent big dose of Christianity to New Age.

Citing a Vedic (Hindu) story, Ablow states that “the entire universe, according to Vedism, can revolve around one person’s inner resolve to find truth and pursue his or her destiny” (79). Going further, he refers to the “Gnostic religion” as “an offshoot of Christianity,” and states that Gnosticism teaches the value of “remembering who you truly are, not who you have allowed yourself to become” (83). He also quotes a Gnostic writing that one “who knows himself, knows the depth of all things” (84). Ablow is taking liberties in trying to make Gnosticism sound like a modern self-help philosophy. In actuality, these Gnostic statements refer to the belief that man is actually a spirit being from a remote God who is trapped in a body in the material world. The key to liberation from the material world is to know the secret Gnostic teaching that one is truly a spirit and thus learn how to escape the body. That is what “knowing who you are truly are” is about. Frankly, these ideas are not far from the New Thought worldview, so it is no surprise that Ablow is sympathetic to Gnostic thinking.

Ablow also quotes from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas that “if you know yourself then you know the Kingdom of God” (84). These Gnostic teachings are at total variance with the Bible, and thus should be immediately rejected by Christians. One does not know the kingdom of God by knowing one’s self! Jesus ushered in the Kingdom of God, and it is only through faith in the true Jesus that one becomes a part of and enters the Kingdom of God.

Ablow, in true New Thought/New Age fashion, believes in an energy that flows throughout the universe from which one can draw. He states that the reader can tap into this, that it is a “force that was inside your soul from before your birth and is inside your soul this very moment. It will never leave you. You can rely on it. It is nothing less than your connection to God” (113). In this view, God is a source of energy; He becomes merely a tool that enables you to achieve and succeed, to reach your “full potential.” This is pure New Thought.

As a true New Thought New Ager, Ablow cites a variety of religious sources: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, New Age, and others. He devotes almost a whole page to a quote from Ernest Holmes (1887-1960), a New Thought pioneer and founder of the Church of Religious Science (176-177). Clearly, Ablow is on the same spiritual wavelength as Ernest Holmes, not just due to this quote in the book, but based on what he is saying about one’s potential and innate connection with the energy from God.

 “God Wants You to Have Your Moment” 

Despite the God talk and references to Jesus, this book is all about you. You have a vast potential that has its very source in God. This remains untapped until you realize it and make use of it. “God Wants You to Have Your Moment,” writes Beck (220).

Ablow refers to “the miracle of spirit, of God, that has lived inside you from long before you were born” and you must now connect with that (85).

Misquoting the biblical statement, ”You are the temple of the Holy Spirit” as “You Are the Temple of God,” Ablow uses this to bolster his message that everyone is a temple of God, meaning that everyone has God in him and her (283). That everyone is divine and is part of God and/or has God in them is a core New Thought and New Age doctrine and is a major theme of the book. “Every single one of us has magic inside us that can transform our lives and the lives of others” declares Ablow (283).

Faith and truth are the two most distorted of the seven wonders in this book. There is nothing in the book about man’s need for redemption because man’s inner divinity is assumed, and everyone is innately connected to God and part of God. There is no message about faith in the true Jesus Christ, and it would be surprising if there were since neither Beck nor Ablow are Christians.

The term “I AM” is never clarified in context and it is never explained why it implies we are all part of God. Beck quotes the biblical story of God giving this name for Himself to Moses, and then Beck immediately begins to misinterpret and misapply it as meaning that God is in everyone. However, although God is everywhere, He is distinct from His creation. He is not part of it.

“I AM” is God’s name, not a name for man, and it has nothing to do with man reaching his full potential or having an inborn divine nature. But since Mormons believe that God was once a man and that man can evolve toward godhood, and since New Agers have a belief about being in process of uncovering their true God Self, Beck and Ablow together forge a harmonious but poisonous message. Unfortunately, this message ignores the holiness and other-ness of God, and denies man’s sinful nature and need for salvation. God is undermined and man is built up, principles that are twin cornerstones of New Thought and New Age philosophy.
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? . . . Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” Isaiah 44:6b, 9b 
[Jesus speaks] “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Revelation 1:17b-18 
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58 
[Jesus speaks] “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24

photo credit: Psychology Pictures via photopin cc

photo credit: Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

I'm Sorry, Glenn....It's Over. It's Not Me, It's You.

Potentially Millions of Evangelicals Compromising the Gospel by Joining With Glenn Beck

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rick Perry and The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)

By Justin Edwards, airō blog, reprinted with permission

There have been many warnings over the last few weeks with regards to Rick Perry's The Response prayer event in Houston, Texas on August 6, 2011.  I shared Brannon Howse's warning on the blog a couple of weeks ago, and other warnings can be seen at Sola Sisters, an extensively detailed piece from Apprising Ministries entitled IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Rights Politics, another piece from Howse titled The Emergence of The New Religious Right And Its Threat To The Church, Chrystal Witt's piece Divorcing America from Baal?, and Marsha West's response post-prayer event that offers great insight to the good, the bad, and the ugly that took place at The Response.

What, or who, exactly has Rick Perry aligned himself with?  The links above clearly show what is taking place behind the scenes unbeknownst to many conservative Christians.  Many participated or supported Perry's prayer event  last week, including best-selling author and watchman on the wall, Joel Rosenberg.  In fact, Rosenberg said in this article the day after the prayer event:
Some evangelicals were critical of "The Response." They urged people not to attend because they have serious and fundamental theological differences with some of those involved in the event. A few emailed me and urged me not to participate. I heard those concerns and I have strong disagreements with some of the participants, too. But the truth is the vast majority of organizers and participants of this prayer meeting were theologically, morally and ethically solid evangelical, Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ.
It is unfortunate that Rosenberg has not done his research and cannot see the undercurrent of deception that is taking place.  What's more, despite the "serious and fundamental theological differences" and having "strong disagreements with some of the participants," he chose to endorse the event anyway.

(UPDATE 9/9/11: Please click here to read an encouraging report about a recent conversation between Brannon Howse of Worldview Matters and Joel Rosenberg regarding The Response prayer event.)

Those whom we have serious and fundamental theological differences with happen to believe that before Christ will return to this earth, it is the church's mandate to pave the way for the Kingdom, that Christ won't return until the Kingdom has been established by Christian world domination.  This domination, according to dominionists, will occur by taking over the government and cultural landscape.  Lighthouse Trails has a recent piece titled, Will the Evangelical Church Sell Out the Gospel for a Dominionist Political Agenda? that offers the following definition:
The Gospel of Salvation [according to dominionism] is achieved by setting up the “Kingdom of God” as a literal and physical kingdom to be “advanced” on Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ.
These, then, are not merely "strong disagreements" that we can just push to the side for the sake of unity as Rosenberg has suggested.  The compromise at hand is one that is centered on the Gospel and has major implications for the Body of Christ, of which many believers are being deceived into co-mingling, or even substituting, patriotism and moralism with our mandate in the Great Commission.  As was said in this article concerning Glenn Beck and Evangelicals from last year, "we must not compromise the Gospel on the alter of ecumenical patriotism!"
With this background, I now share with you something from the secular media.  I by no means am a fan of Rachel Maddow, but she brings up some very serious concerns even though the root of her concerns are not the same for Christians.  The following video [removed from YouTube due to copyright infringement] shows just who Rick Perry has aligned himself with, and that the New Apostolic Reformation has chosen him to be their vessel to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.  After showing various clips of C. Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, and John Benefiel, Maddow closes with the following:
Rick Perry did not just do a prayer event in Texas that was a no-non Christians allowed event, Rick Perry did a prayer event that involved a specific Christian political movement, a movement that has political goals, and wants a political vehicle, and that seems to want a Rick Perry presidential candidacy to be their political vehicle.  The Texas Observer begins its story about these new self-styled apostles with a story about a visit two of them paid to Governor Perry in Austin in 2009, quote, "The pastors told Perry of God's grand plan for Texas.  A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was "The Prophet State," anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government.  And the governor would have a special role."  The New Apostolic Reformation appears to have chosen Rick Perry as their candidate, as their vehicle for their political goal, which is of course, world domination, blah blah blah.  Rick Perry is announcing his unofficial start to his presidential campaign this weekend in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa, after hosting a stadium prayer event with all of these folks, and frankly, getting away with no one in the beltway media reporting on who those folks are or why they did just this stadium prayer event with Rick Perry.


So the secular media is picking up that these self-appointed prophets and apostles are getting behind the presidential candidacy of Governor Rick Perry.  They have seemingly "chosen Rick Perry as their candidate, as their vehicle for their political goal, which is of course, world domination".  This is not just something to have "strong disagreement" with, but to accept that we indeed have "serious and fundamental theological differences" that include the Gospel itself.  As such, we have clear guidance from Scripture as to what to do in this type of situation:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,  “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
We must separate ourselves from these false teachers, and continue to admonish, rebuke, and warn our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being caught up in the deception of ecumenical patriotism.

At this point, I do not see myself getting behind Rick Perry, even if he is a born again believer.  He is clearly deceived and lacks discernment, and if his candidacy has any role in the NAR, Joel's Army, the Manifests Sons of God, Latter Rain, etc., gaining a foothold stronghold, then I want nothing to do with it and will continue to sound the alarm against it.

photo credit: eschipul via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

Joel Rosenberg, NAR, IHOP – Encouraging News

Say No to Rick Perry's "The Response" Prayer Event

Do Not Be Deceived

Potentially Millions of Evangelicals Compromising the Gospel by Joining With Glenn Beck

I'm Sorry, Glenn....It's Over. It's Not Me, It's You.

"Why I Believe Christians Should Not Participate in Governor Perry's "The Response" and Why It is NOT "Just A Prayer Event" (by Brannon Howse)

Pastor Justin Peters Explains Why the Word of Faith Movement is Dangerous and Unbiblical - Part 1

Pastor Justin Peters Explains Why the Word of Faith Movement is Dangerous and Unbiblical - Part 2

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Makes Strange Bedfellows