Thursday, October 31, 2013

(UPDATED) Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure

Post by Christine Pack

(UPDATE 4-16-14: Doug Phillips' former nanny has filed a lawsuit against Phillips, alleging sexual misconduct. Our article about that can be read here. The filed lawsuit can be read here.... **warning, there is explicit sexual content in the filed lawsuit**)

  Thursday, October 31, 2013  

Doug Phillips has resigned as president of Vision Forum following his announcement of a moral failure, which according to his resignation letter, involved an "inappropriate relationship with a woman." Phillips has long been the face of a particular branch of Reformed Christianity which models very rigid family structures (led by the "Federal Head," the husband), promotes the Quiverfull lifestyle, enforces strictly supervised courtship dating for youth, and also teaches a form of Dominionism (got to have lots of babies, you see, through embracing the "quiverfull" teachings, if you're going to have any shot at taking Dominion of the world). I have personally counseled several women who have come out of this movement, and who didn't quite fit the mold for whatever reason, and whose experiences with Vision Forum leadership ranged from neglect to outright spiritual abuse.

I've also wondered at times, why the Vision Forum form of Dominionism seems to fly under the radar, as opposed to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) form of Dominionism. Probably because the NAR is so easily dismissed, with its angel feathers and gold dust silliness, while the Vision Forum crew are so theologically buttoned up as to seem to earn them a pass.

While I have long disagreed, oftentimes publicly, with many of the Vision Forum views, I have compassion in general for the body of Christ, who so quickly seem to swarm from one big leader to the next, from one hot new book to the next, and are now witnessing the fall of one of the most high profile leaders in the Reformed camp. But Quiverfull legalism and hyper-separationism are no insulation against sin, which is the great leveler of us all. May we all be sobered by this latest scandal, and cleave to our Lord and Savior all the more.

I am sorry for these circumstance for Doug Phillips, and will be praying for him.

The original Statement of Resignation can be read here, along with the Clarification Statement which confirmed that there was a physical component to the "relationship."

 Additional Resources 

Rethinking Vision Forum

Copy of Lawsuit Filed by Former Nanny to Doug Phillips' Family **Warning: Explicit content**

Vision Forum Ministries to Close

Rethinking Vision Forum

Christian Giant Sued For "Using Nanny As Sex Object"

Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object'

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)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some Thoughts on Halloween

Posted by Christine Pack

 Halloween and Death 

I grew up in a non-Christian home, and Halloween used to really be no big deal. The day or so before Halloween, we would get our pumpkin and carve it into a scary (or silly) face after cleaning out its slimy, stringy innards. On Halloween, we would throw on some homemade costume and stay up late trick-or-treating. It was a one night deal, boom, done and gone. But nowadays, Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays of the year, in some polls surpassing even Christmas, in terms of length of the season (up to two weeks and more for some), money spent on decorating for the event, and parties thrown in its honor.

When my children were small (and I was a new Christian), we did participate in Halloween for a brief season, because for my kids, it was just innocent fun: dressing up like a hotdog or a giraffe, getting lots of candy and staying up really late. But at one point, it stopped being innocent fun and became creepy, and thankfully, it was very clear to us when that was, so we stopped. We've done different things since then: we've handed out candy and tracts, we've shut the house down and gone to a movie, we've gone out of town, etc. This year, we've opted to stay home and hand out candy and tracts.

While my son and I were recently walking through our neighborhood, we observed that many of our neighbors are celebrating Halloween in macabre, gruesome and over-the-top fashion. We passed yard after yard decorated like haunted houses come to life: cobwebs, spiders, zombies, Frankenstein, vampires, mummies, werewolves, ghosts, goblins, witches, and even makeshift graveyards, complete with corpses and skeletons bursting forth from the ground. My son asked me why it is that people decorate like that, and I told him that it's lost people's way of trying to deal with death. I explained that for the Christian, death has no sting because Christ has conquered death, but that lost people are probably trying to deal with their fear of death by either glorifying it, or pretending it doesn't exist, or making a game out of it, like having Halloween parties with spooky music and eyeball punch and pretzel spiders, or transforming their front lawns into creepy graveyards. We're living in Romans 1 times, a season of spiraling depravity, and what we're seeing in the culture around us is just a reflection of the darkness of the times we're living in. But thankfully, for the Christian, we do know that Christ has conquered death.
"For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'
'Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?'
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

 Ouija Boards 

Since it's close to Halloween, it's probably the right time to again post a warning about the Ouija board. The Ouija board is available at Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc., and is marketed as a game for kids (Manufacturer's Recommended Age: 10-15 years). But the Ouija is NOT a harmless game, and should not be marketed or made available to children. Below are some of the purchaser's reviews from, some of which are truly heartbreaking. Also, note how many of the reviews are from parents or relative purchasing this product for children. (The reviews are taken from this page.)
"With all talking boards you are openly inviting the influence of disembodied entities. Be very careful what you are opening the door to. I wouldn't even consider using it without deep and sincere prayers for protection." 
"To get answers from your board it is important that you relax and concentrate only on your question. Try to clear your mind of everything else. The Ouija Board is my favorite game and I thank my aunt for introducing it to me."
"When I was about to use it I got the creeps and I thought about how this could change my life so I put it away in my garage and left it there for about 8 months without actually using it but playing around with it. I told my neighbor that I had one but I didn't use it at all. She told me if she could use it. I told her just to be careful with it. Since her cousin was there, they both used it. The next morning I called her and I could hear them laughing and saying, "Oh My Gosh."They were playing it and I asked them if it really did work. She said it's so cool. I went over her house in excitement and I sat there, watching them play and just seeing how quickly the message indicator would move across the board. I couldn't believe how accurate it spelled out everything. So we played all day long and time went by fast because we were so into it. The board told us it was a good spirit so we were okay. The next day it said strange things and creepy things so we decided to put it away and not use it for a while. It's really fun though but you just have to be careful with it. It's a must have. " 
"Brought back childhood memories! got it for my teenage daughters sleepover and the girls had a blast." 
"We tried it once at my house at about 8 pm, but there was no activity on the board. This didn't surprise me because I didn't find my house to be haunted. However, since we used the Ouija board at my house, I have been hearing footsteps in the hallway outside my bedroom and in my bedroom, as well as on the main level of the house. I hear activity in the kitchen and my parents' voices when I'm home alone. Nothing bad has happened, it's just a little freaky........Now, I'm not going to say the Ouija board doesn't work because there are entities at my house now." 
"It didn't seem to work very good. I don't think they are made as good as the older one's. My granddaughter was pretty disappointed, plus it didn't glo at nite." 
"Bought this for my 11 year old daughter at Christmas. We have fun asking dumb questions and understand that it has nothing to do with god or spirits... it's a BOARD GAME! If you're NOT ok with it, DON'T purchase the product. If you're open minded and can have fun with it, then this might be for you.....My son's girlfriend gets really freaked out, and we like exacerbating her fears, but she's a good sport. Good times!" 
"I had a Ouija Board when I was 12, so I ordered this one for my son for Christmas. He and his friends have had tons of fun 'communicating with spirits'!" 
"i bought this cause both my inlaws past away and my husband wanted to talk to them well it worked. my husband got his answer to bad it only worked the one time now we are not getting anything" 
"We didn't meet any insane, crazy, or emotional people either time it worked. Just spirits that were informative and told us the basic details of their names, age, location, & death when we asked. I guess they weren't harmful spirits. I have met a few people who have met suspicious or emotional characters, so definitely be careful when messing with these. Just because my experiences were fine doesn't mean it will be the same for you." 
"I bought this Quija board for my daughers birthday party, the girls had a blast scaring the heck out of themselves with this board. To funny, plus it glows in the dark! what more could you ask for?" 
"I got this for my 13-year-old daughter. The product itself is fine, she likes it and uses it with most of her female friends. The problem is, some of the girls are adversely affected by it. I noticed one of them was crying and several of them were attracted to the darker aspects of the "spirit world." It seems like every other 'spirit' with whom they 'communicate" committed suicide or was murdered'." 
"My sister passed away two years ago and many times we had this boad predict our futures, future surgerys, health problems, boyfriends, good things and bad things have happened, we always said a prayer and protected ourselves with crosses,if you belive its a respectful item I dont consider a toy, if you belive its a toy maybe your only asking for trouble...or fun, just have respect for something that may be made by Hasbro now but was once a respected tool for talking with those who had passed, and getting answers!" 
"Fun birthday present for my 14 year old daughter, she loved it. Cute & Fun. Glow in the dark is a great added feature." 
"It's a fairly harmless game if it is respected and not overused. I recommend not asking it the same questions over and over again because the unseen force may not like that. I also recommend praying a prayer of protection before and after using the board as a safety concern for the super religious fanatics; however I doubt that it will possess anyone as I've used it many times and I've never been possessed." 
"I have played this game before and I don't know why everyone is ranting about it being " demonic". It is a toy. It is not inhabitated by evil spirits or bewitched by Satan. It is a toy. I am 10 years old and am never frightend by it. I will admit that creepy things do happen, and that there are spirits, but they are not evil. They can not hurt you. They will not kill you. They can be nice, clever, and friendly. If you are ever bothered by anything the spirit says, tell the spirit to stop. They will listen. Buy this and you will not regret it! Great for sleepovers." 
"i was with my friend kylie and my other friend will. when we asked who the spirit who it was it said the gradmother of william so we made william get off the board, then we asked her questions that only he would know such as what he called her when he was little [nini] and what he called his grandfather [susu] when she died [1994] and other such questions. he was so astonished he's bought one and uses it all the time and has gotten to the point where he can ask questions in his head and do it by himself. it's not fake, i did it this weekend and you can definitely feel the energy pulling it." 
"At first i wasnt really into "spirits" or bringing back the dead, but after using an ouiji board, it changed my mind. When me and my 2 friends used it, we didnt do it correctly and i could tell that one of the friends kept on moving the piece. So while she was away, me and my other friend did the ouiji board correctly by sitting "indian style" with our knees touching and we balanced the board on our laps. We placed our fingers on the piece slighty and asked questions waiting for the piece to move. After about 10 minutes, it didnt move, so me and my friend were ready to just give it up. Then I could feel the piece moving on its own, and me and my friends fingers were barely touching it. We continued to have a conversion with a spirit by the nickname of "fuz" and he answered questions that i never dared to tell my friends. I was certain she wasnt moving the piece because she didnt know the answers and i didnt want to move it because i wanted to believe it was real, and it was. We talked with this spirit for a while, and he told us he was right beside us. After we were done, i felt very cold and chills going up and down my arms. I felt like i was going to pass out and i almost felt like crying, so i went to bed. The ouiji board is very real, and if your not afraid of contacting the dead, i suggest buying this because it is a........lot of fun."
Marcia Montenegro, former New Ager and professional astrologer, has written several articles having to do with Halloween, the Ouija Board and spirit contact (what the Bible calls "necromancy"). You can read her articles here:
The Ouija Board - Just A Game? 
Spirit Contact: Who Is On The Other Side?
Halloween Statement For Christians

 Closing Thoughts 

Whether as a Christian you choose to participate in Halloween or not, or use it as an outreach opportunity, I'll leave you with some scriptures that address some of the darker aspects of the occultic realm:
"When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this." (Deuteronomy 18:9-14) 
"Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 19:31)
"I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people." (Leviticus 19:31)

"Do not practice divination or seek omens." (Leviticus 19:26b)
As I noted, I'm aware that Christians choose to handle Halloween differently: some participate, some do not, some use it as an outreach opportunity. This Halloween, our family elected to hand out gospel CD messages and candy. The CD we handed out included this audio message:
Are You Afraid Of The Dark? 
Have you ever wondered why the dark is so scary? Well, have you ever been in total pitch black darkness, the kind where you can't even see your own hand in front of your face? What do you think you would do in that kind of darkness? You would probably stick your arms straight out in front of you and try to feel your way around, so that you won't trip over something or walk into a wall. And you would probably take little baby steps for the same reason. It's kind of disorienting and hard to do anything in  that kind of darkness, isn't it? Even if you're just in bed sometimes, if it's that dark, that kind of total darkness we’re talking about, your mind can start imagining all kinds of things. Maybe you put the covers up over your head. But even that can be scary. But why? It's scary because you can't see. You can't see what is really around you, what's really there. You can't tell if you're about to walk into a wall, fall down a flight of stairs, or trip over something. You can't see if you are by yourself or if someone is with you. What's the only thing that can help in this situation? Light. Any kind of light. Once you have a light- everything changes, you relax because you can see. 
Did you know that the Bible talks a lot about light? As a matter of fact, the very first words the Bible records God saying are "Let there be light." God spoke this at creation. And did you also know that two thousand years ago, God sent Light into the world a second time. Why would God need to give us light again? Well, the first time God sent light, it was physical light, because the world was dark. It was the kind of light that our eyes need so that we can see. But the second time God sent light, it was for a different kind of darkness. A kind of darkness that is not about our eyes…but about our hearts. 
Just like the "eye" kind of darkness keeps you from seeing things around you as they really are, the "heart" kind of darkness keeps you from seeing the truth about God. What is it, then, that makes our hearts dark? All of our hearts are dark because of sin. Sin is disobeying God. God is the One who created you, and the world, and the light, and all things. We sin when we disobey God by our thoughts, our words, and our actions. 
So how do you know if you’ve ever sinned? Well, you can ask yourself some questions: Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you? Have you ever disobeyed or dishonored your parents? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you have sinned, because those are some of God's laws. And God is so holy and so perfect, that if we commit just one of these sins, we stand condemned before this holy and perfect God. Sin is bad because it offends God, who is good and perfect and holy in every way. Think of our sinfulness and God's holiness in the way you might think about oil and water: they just don't mix, do they? Sin breaks the relationship between you and God. Sin keeps you from seeing how good God is. This is a terrible reality. Think of it this way: as scary as it is to not be able to see with your eyes what is around you, like when you're in pitch black darkness, it is even scarier to not see God for who He really is. 
But, like I said earlier, God sent Light again. Only this time, it was the kind of Light that our dark hearts need. This Light has a name…and the name of the Light is Jesus. Jesus was not just a good man, as some believe; He was fully man and fully God at the same time. He was born into the world in the same way that you were, as a baby. He was a toddler, a child, a young man, and finally an adult, and in all the years that He lived, Jesus never sinned in thought, word or deed. Jesus lived a life of perfect, holy righteousness. Instead of breaking God’s moral laws, like we have, Jesus kept them all, every single one of them. He did this so that He could then give His own life for ours, and He did this by allowing himself to be tortured and then hung on a cross to die as a payment for our sins. We stood guilty and condemned before God, who is the holy and just Judge of all the universe, and yet Jesus paid our fine so that we could be set free. When we examine ourselves in light of God’s moral law, we should recognize our need for a Savior, and understand how amazing this gift from God is. 
Do you know what happened to Jesus? The last you heard about him, he had been killed by being hung on a cross. But guess what? Because Jesus had never once sinned in his life, He did not stay in the grave. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin are death, and since Jesus had never sinned, death could not hold him. On the third day after his burial, Jesus was raised from the dead, and many people in the town where He lived witnessed that Jesus, whom they had seen killed, was indeed alive again! They saw him, they heard him teach, they talked to him, walked with him and even ate with him. You see, God had raised Jesus from the dead, a fact recorded by many historians, as proof that Jesus’s payment for sins was acceptable in God’s eyes. 
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you have broken God’s moral laws, you need a Savior. But thankfully, God provided that Savior in Jesus, who kept all the moral laws, and then gave his own perfect life as a ransom payment for those who place their faith in him. This is called repentance. If we repent, that is, if we turn away from our sins, and turn toward God by trusting that Jesus’s payment on the Cross has the power to cleanse us from our sins, then God forgives us. Our hearts will have light and with this light, which is spiritual light, and not just a physical light like a lamp or a candle, we will see God as He really is, and we will love Him, and worship Him, and serve Him. God will also cleanse us on the inside, and will give us new hearts and new desires, desires that are pure and holy. 
The Bible calls this being born again, when we have moved from being a prisoner in the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Light. So when you're scared of the dark, it's only to show you that you need light. And when you have a dark heart, it's only to point you to the fact that you need a Savior. This is why the Bible calls Jesus "the Light of the world." 
photo credit: bbusschots via photopin cc

photo credit: riptheskull via photopin cc

photo credit: scriptingnews via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

What Do We Do With Halloween?

The Ouija Board - Just A Game?

Spirit Contact: Who Is On The Other Side?

Halloween Statement For Christians

What Do You Mean By The Occult?

The Occult and Paranormal: What Does God Say?

Radio Interviews with Former Astrologer/Occultist Marcia Montenegro

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Strange Fire, Mark Driscoll and A Few Thoughts

Posted by Christine Pack

Now that the long awaited Strange Fire conference (Oct 16-18) has wrapped up at John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA, I have a few thoughts on the conference overall and also on Mark Driscoll shameless gatecrashing publicity stunt.

 General Thoughts 

First, some general thoughts. While listening to as much of the conference as I possibly could while homeschooling and doing housework (ahem) at the same time, I wasn't able to give the sessions my complete attention. But one thing I did take note of was a general excitement about this conference, and a joy over the seriousness of theology being deeply discussed. Social media was literally lit up with ongoing commentary and feedback about the Strange Fire conference as it was playing out in real time.

A few comments from listeners:
“I managed to find and listen to a YouTube upload of Conrad Mbewe’s general session at the Strange Fire Conference of Day 1. I thank God for him and what he ministered and preached on. He was absolutely accurate with what he shared about Charismatic chaos in Sub-Sahara Africa. And that chaos is not only found in black Charismatic churches but also in the predominantly white Charismatic churches as well. I was born in South Africa and grew up in Pentecostalism before moving into Charismaticism. I was an ardent disciple and follower of Charismatic teaching for many years. I was a “tongue-talking”, practicing Charismatic and proud of it. I’m very familiar with the Charismatic Movement and its heresies. But God by His grace and mercy removed me out of Charismaticism, I repented and was converted to Christ alone and Scripture alone in the late 1990’s. And what actually transpires in practice within Charismaticism, the chaos, the heresy, is exactly as Conrad Mbewe described it. Charismaticism is despicable and disgraceful, and an affront to our Holy God, His Gospel and His all-sufficient, all-powerful, all-divine Holy Word, the Bible. Once again I thank God for Conrad Mbewe! He speaks and ministers the truth!”
“Listening! Been waiting for this for a long time!”
“Live-streaming here too! Can't wait!”
“The music playing on the livestream is beautiful.” 
“I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!”
“Watched all of it. Great great conference, all were great teaching but personally i really liked Steven Lawson on the sufficiency of Scripture (sola scriptura)”
“JMac's voice just soothes me! I have gone to sleep many a night listening to his voice on my ipod, giving this or that sermon.”
“Oh man! I have never seen Steve Lawson so on fire! I am a big fan of Steve, and he is bringing it during his lecture.”
“The Q and A is absolutely brilliant.”
“I have listened to almost every session. I went back to listen Justin Peter's session because I missed them both live :/ His session, 'Spiritual Shipwrecked the Word-Faith Movement,' answered one of my bigger personal concerns!”
“I have to agree with JMac that Steve Lawson's lecture was epic last night.”
“I am so thankful to hear the Word preached with power and conviction. It is a privilege to be here and I am humbled to be a part of it. God's Word held high. May we all be bold to continue.”
“One thing I would have liked might have been at least a mention of Christian Reconstructionism as being sort of the conservative flip side of the wackadoodle NAR stuff. Same core beliefs (take dominion of the earth), but coming from the theologically buttoned up Reformed camp, as opposed to the gold dust and angel feathers crowd (and thus more deceptive). But that's a minor quibble, and overall, big thumbs up for all the speakers/topics.”
“Thanks for informing us. I have heard about the angel feathers and gold dust. There was a lady in my bible study who was all pumped up cuz she had just come from a retreat in I think Neenah WIS and she said the speaker was sweating gold dust while preaching. So I googled it when I got home and read something about the feathers. You think they set this all up in advance? strange.”
“Listening to Justin Peter's Session and it is excellent!!!”
“I'm soaking it up. So refreshing to hear clear, strong, preaching!! They're not afraid to speak the truth!!”
“The ones I've heard are so good. Very insightful and not at all spiteful. All those men put their hearts into bringing truth. It was filled great teachings with a plea for true born again charismatic brothers to stand up and guard against the fringe chaos that is filtering into more and more church's.”
“I wonder what would happen if guys like John Piper were to speak out against some things. I pray he will.”
“It has been so good! What a wonderful encouragement this teaching has been for me. Phil Johnson was excellent!”
“And Joni Ereackson Tada! Isn't she a gem? I love how she'll be speaking and just break out into song! Beautiful lady!”
“The problem with these modern 'preachers' is they think everything is up for discussion. Nope! Truth is timeless. Discuss it all day long, converse, talk it to death, you won't change it. The Word judges man. Not the other way around.”
“Maybe it's the beard, but something about Justin Peters makes me think of a slimmer Robert Downey Jr in Ironman.”
“A gracious rebuke of John Piper. Not a body slam or anything like that. Thank you, Phil Johnson.”
“(The African Import of Charismatic Chaos by Conrad Mbewe) was possibly my favorite talk from yesterday, simply because it shows the true damage that the Charismatic Movement has been doing in Africa, exposing the lies we've been told about all the good the movement has done over there.”
“I hope all the Christians listening to Conrad Mbewe take note of how it is that the gospel message is (wrongly) presented in so many parts of Africa. Friends, we've GOT to get the gospel right, or else we're guilty of giving life-enhancement tips with no salvific power to those who will surely perish on the day of judgement.”
“Joni's testimony really blessed me, I loved watching and listening to her break out in hymn and rejoice in the midst of her pain--what a testimony of God's grace!! What a beautiful living picture of rejoicing in suffering, being patient in affliction, constant in prayer. It was a blessing to me!”
“Joni's message blessed me greatly today.”
“What hurts me and I came from a Pentecostal upbringing, is that some think that if we don't speak in tongues then we aren't filled with the Holy Spirit. I saw my dear sweet dad try so very hard to speak in tongues and couldn't. He was a shy Native American. Looking back it breaks my heart. I've also had experiences with some people telling me what God supposedly revealed to them about me that were entirely wrong. I claimed so many things for myself and others in Jesus name. I can't think of a time that I got what I claimed. In my hunger for truth I found John MacArthur somehow. I kept listening, searching and also tuned into Steven Lawson's teachings of reformed doctrines of grace. When I heard these I literally cried my eyes out! I realized how much Jesus loves me and keeps me!!! I was free to love Him without fear of losing my salvation. But the really cool part was hearing all the wonderful works of the Holy Spirit. He not only comforts but teaches truth, He helps me live for the glory of God instead of for myself, and He intercedes for me. Romans 8:26. I love my Pentecostal family with all my heart and they love me. It is the ones that would abuse the name of the Holy Spirit that hurts me. I am not a 'has not' as compared to ones who 'have.' If the Holy Spirit wasn't present in my life I'd still be doing the same sins I did for years!!!”
“I grew up in (Pentecostalism) and it scared me some. I would see my dad go up and be "slain in the spirit" and it scared me..... He died of cancer a long time ago, and I wish he had seen or heard these broadcasts of Strange Fire...”
“I just wish pentecostals could see how much people like us do rely on the Holy Spirit and how real and powerful He is in our lives-that we are not quenching him. They have tried to usurp him and make non pentecostals shy away from the Holy Spirit which has caused much damage.”
“I wish Pentecostals could understand that we're not dry and boring and quenching the Spirit, just because we love to study doctrine. The more I study doctrine, the more I love God and others, and the more sanctified I become. And the steadier my walk becomes.”
“The resources from this conference (are) already helping and will continue to help young people avoid being caught up in the Word of Faith heresy. I can see that already. We were caught up in it when we were first married. Not enough Bible knowledge and discernment. It is priceless to be able to help young people see these errors before they waste years of their life chasing the wind, so to speak, and ultimately end up in hell for eternity. Jmac and his brothers are not perfect, but they did a wonderful job to help their brothers and sisters in Christ!! Thank you LORD.”
“Livestreamed---loved it as one that came out of this movement 10 years ago.”
“I haven't gotten to listen to all the sessions but I really appreciate Joni Eareckson Tada's testimony. Especially 'I can't wait to get to heaven and have a glorified heart!'”
“Boom! Where has Nathan Busenitz been all my life? That guy was bringing it!!”
And now for a few thoughts about Mark Driscoll and his shameless publicity stunt....

 Mark Driscoll's Publicity Stunt 

Mark, Mark, Mark......what are we to do with you?

But let me back up and explain what happened.

A minor dust-up occurred on the last day of the Strange Fire conference, in which megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll (who is a continuationist/charismatic, and thus holds views contrary to those being taught at Strange Fire) showed up at the conference and tried to hand out his books, probably for the purpose of "correcting" what he sees as the errors of the cessationist movement in general, and the Strange Fire conference specifically. To be clear: Mark Driscoll was NOT a registered participant for this event, and his materials had not been cleared for distribution. Every vendor present at Strange Fire had to go through an extensive vetting process before being allowed to set up their tables. When the GTY security team approached Driscoll and explained this to him, according to those present, Driscoll continued to give out his books. Driscoll was then very kindly told that the security team would help him carry his materials back to his car. At that point, Driscoll told the security team that he would like to give his books to Grace Community Church as a gift. They accepted this "gift," (again, Driscoll's word), and yet when they parted company, Driscoll immediately began broadcasting via social media that his materials had been seized. It was an outright lie, as the video below plainly demonstrates.

Mark Driscoll to the GTY personnel: "Why don't y'all just take 'em and do whatever you want with 'em......I'd like to give them as a gift." 
Mark Driscoll on Instragram, his Twitter feed, and Facebook: "Security confiscated my books."
After the surfacing of the video that showed that Driscoll had lied about his materials being confiscated, Driscoll attempted to spin the matter with an article in which he endeavored to smooth over, without taking responsibility for, his social media lies. The article, which was also an open letter to John MacArthur inviting him to sit down with Driscoll to discuss some of their theological differences), was very smooth and beguiling. But it was also absolutely inappropriate, in that Driscoll has slandered the security personnel at GTY, and he has yet to publicly apologize for that.

Just because nobody in Christendom knows the names of the GTY security personnel doesn't mean that they aren't every bit a part of the body of Christ as all the rest of us no-namers out there. In other words, it's not just the big names like MacArthur and Driscoll that are deserving of focus here. Sure, I might potentially like to see a public interaction between MacArthur/Driscoll at some point, but it surely cannot be like this, not with Driscoll gatecrashing an event at which he was not a paid registrant in order to pass out unvetted materials, and then leveraging himself up over the no-name bodies of security personnel to get what he wants. That's not right. (But of course, Mark Driscoll has in the past shown a casual disregard for the little people who don't share his vision, as we've documented here.)

A few graphics were generated in the aftermath of the Driscoll dust-up, some of which I've posted here. Please note that in posting these pictures, I'm not meaning to be flippant about what happened at Strange Fire; I'm just showing some of the funnier online commentary that came out of Christians trying to process Mark Driscoll's stunt. For myself, this is where I land: Pastor Driscoll has a very serious responsibility before the Lord and before his flock to be a sober-minded man of the Word, not a prankster or a publicity hound. He's no longer a young man who can blame the brashness of youth; he's middle-aged now, and it's time for him to grow up. I pray for him to repent publicly for his immature actions and for lying about how the Grace Community Church security team handled what happened.

Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith radio weighed in on Driscoll's gatecrashing stunt here and Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised gave commentary as well.

 Additional Resources 

Answering The Charge That Those With Concerns About the Charismatic Movement Are "Painting With a Broad Brush" (Phil Johnson)

"Is There Even A Baby In the (Charismatic) Bathwater?" (Phil Johnson)

Strange Fire Conference

Two Quick Thoughts About Strange Fire (Tom Chantry)

So Who Exactly IS The Charismatic Movement? (Mennoknight)

Adrian Warnock Buys The Strange Fire Broken Record Talk about "Painting With A Broad Brush" (Mennoknight)

Strange Fire Audio (Grace To You)

Phil Johnson Interview with Michael Brown (The Line of Fire)

 Resources Specifically About Mark Driscoll 

Mark Driscoll: A Timeline of His Downfall (Sola Sisters)

Paul Petry, Former Mars Hill Elder, Speaks Out (Sola Sisters)

An Elder's Wife Gives Her Testimony About Mars Hill Church (Sola Sisters)

Mark Driscoll's Church Discipline Contract: Looking For True Repentance At Mars Hill Church? Sign On The Dotted Line (Matthew Paul Turner)

Another Fired Mars Hill Elder (Bent Meyer) Breaks His Silence (The Wartburg Watch)

Freedom For Captives Blog (Blog of Former Mars Hill Elder Bent Meyer) (Freedom 4 Captives)

Mark Driscoll: "What do you do with someone who is rebellious, hard-hearted, stiff necked and stupid? You break their nose." (The Wartburg Watch)

Mark Driscoll Proud of the Dead Bodies Behind The Mars Hill Bus? (Sola Sisters)

See You In Seattle, Pastor John MacArthur?  (The Resurgence)

Mark Driscoll: The Face of Contemplative Calvinism (Sola Sisters)

Mark Driscoll: "Look, I had this vision. Let me tell you about it." (Sola Sisters)

Mark Driscoll speaking to demons: "I want to know who all is involved here and what we're dealing with." (Sola Sisters)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Strange Fire Audio

Posted by Christine Pack

Ready to get those ipods loaded up? Audio from the Strange Fire conference is now available:
Strange Fire (John MacArthur)
October 16, 2013 | TM13-1
A Deeper Healing (Joni Eareckson Tada)
October 16, 2013 | TM13-2
Undervaluing Pentecost (R.C. Sproul)
October 16, 2013 | TM13-3
Calvin’s Critique of Charismatic Calvinists (Steve Lawson)
October 16, 2013 | TM13-4
The African Import of Charismatic Chaos (Conrad Mbewe)
October 16, 2013 | TM13-5
Testing the Spirits (John MacArthur)
October 17, 2013 | TM13-6
A Case for Cessationism (Tom Pennington)
October 17, 2013 | TM13-7
A Word from the Lord? Evaluating the Modern Gift of Prophecy (Nathan Busenitz)
October 17, 2013 | TM13-8
Is There a Baby in the Charismatic Bathwater? (Phil Johnson)
October 17, 2013 | TM13-9
The Devilish Puppet Master of the Word-Faith Movement (Justin Peters)
October 17, 2013 | TM13-10
Strange Fire Panel Question and Answer, Session 1
October 17, 2013 | TM13-11
The Puritan Commitment to Sola Scriptura (Steve Lawson)
October 17, 2013 | TM13-12
Are We Preachers or Witch Doctors? (Conrad Mbewe)
October 18, 2013 | TM13-13
Charismatic Counterfeits: Do the Modern Gifts Meet the Biblical Standard? (Nathan Busenitz)
October 18, 2013 | TM13-14
Providence Is Remarkable (Phil Johnson)
October 18, 2013 | TM13-15
Spiritual Shipwreck of the Word-Faith Movement (Justin Peters)
October 18, 2013 | TM13-16 
Strange Fire Panel Question and Answer, Session 2
October 18, 2013 | TM13-17
An Appeal to Charismatic Friends (John MacArthur)
October 18, 2013 | TM13-18 
An Appeal to Charismatic Pretenders
October 20, 2013 | 80-409

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Strange Fire Conference - Live Stream

Posted by Christine Pack

(NOTE: The Strange Fire conference has now wrapped up, but audio of the sessions are now available here.)

The historical account of Nadab and Abihu, as recorded in the tenth chapter of Leviticus, is a sobering and shocking one. As Nadab and Abihu were the sons of the high priest, Aaron, their destruction is perhaps all the more shocking. What happened, very simply put, was this: as God had singled out his chosen people the Jews from among all the pagan nations, and had begun giving them very specific instructions in how He was to be approached, Aaron's son, Nadab and Abihu, disregarded these instructions and approached the Lord in a different way, in the way that they thought was fitting. God responded to this rebellion by swiftly, and utterly, destroying the men, most certainly to the shock and dismay of those present:
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying, 
‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’” 
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. (Leviticus 10:1-3)
Dr. John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in California has taken this account in Leviticus as his starting point for the Strange Fire conference (now being livestreamed), and has connected this historical account of Aaron's sons to the contemporary movement known as the Word of Faith movement. Word of Faith is a quasi-Christian movement that is literally riddled with false teaching, and unfortunately, has been exported all over the world via TBN.

Nadab and Abihu offer strange fire

For those who are interested, you can live stream John MacArthur's long-awaited Strange Fire conference here. I highly recommend this conference to anyone with friends caught up in the Word of Faith teachings (also known as the "Prosperity Gospel" and "Name It and Claim It"). (For those who miss the conference, all of the teaching sessions will be uploaded later.)

This conference is a follow-up to John MacAthur's influential and outstanding book, Charismatic Chaos. Charismatic Chaos flowed out of Dr. MacArthur's sermon series by the same title. (That entire sermon series can be listened to here.)

Speakers for the Strange Conference will include John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson, Justin Peters, R.C. Sproul, Tom Pennington, Nathan Busenitz, Conrad Mbewe, Joni Eareckson-Tada and Todd Friel.

Dr. MacArthur will also be releasing a book by the same name as the conference, available for purchase November 2013. From Amazon:
What would God say about those who blatantly misrepresent His Holy Spirit; who exchange true worship for chaotic fits of mindless ecstasy; who replace the biblical gospel with vain illusions of health and wealth; who claim to prophesy in His name yet speak errors; and who sell false hope to desperate people for millions of dollars? 
The charismatic movement has always been a breeding-ground for scandal, greed, bad doctrine, and all kinds of spiritual chicanery. As a movement, it is clearly headed the wrong direction. And it is growing at an unprecedented rate. 
From the Word of Faith to the New Apostolic Reformation, the Charismatic movement is being consumed by the empty promises of the prosperity gospel. Too many charismatic celebrities promote a “Christianity” without Christ, a Holy Spirit without holiness. And their teaching is having a disastrous influence on a grand scale, as large television networks broadcast their heresies to every part of the world. 
In Strange Fire, bestselling author and pastor John MacArthur chronicles the unsavory history behind the modern Charismatic movement. He lays out a chilling case for rejecting its false prophets, speaking out against their errors, showing true reverence to the Holy Spirit, and above all clinging to the Bible as the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and the one true standard by which all truth claims must be tested. (online source)

 Additional Resources 

Strange Fire Audio Now Available

Charismatic Chaos - entire sermon series

Charismatic Chaos

Strange Fire - Amazon

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

Clouds Without Water (formerly known as A Call For Discernment) - Justin Peters

Clouds Without Water, video preview

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Marcia Montenegro Radio Interviews


Marcia Montenegro is a former professional astrologer, now a Christian writer, researcher and public speaker. Before becoming an astrologer, Marcia was involved with various New Age, occult, and Eastern beliefs and practices, including Inner Light Consciousness, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Hindu teachings and meditation, and psychic development classes. During these years, she also participated in past life regression, numerology, Tarot cards, spirit contact, seances, astral travel, and received a spirit guide through a guided visualization.

Since becoming a Christian, Marcia has become a full-time missionary with Fellowship International Mission and does her ministry with the support of her church, as well as through donations from fellow Christians. Marcia's website is CANA/Christian Answers for the New Age, and is an informational and outreach ministry. Marcia has a Masters in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC. Marcia has been published in many Christian publications (including Rose Publications), and is also the author of SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids (Cook, 2006) (soon to be  released as an ebook).


Crosstalk-VCY America

Topic: "Wellness: The New Age Trojan Horse in Healthcare" (4-26-11)

Issues, Etc.
Topic: The Occult and Witnessing to Those in the Occult (11-5-2008)

The Janet Mefferd Show
Topic: The Occult (10-31-2011)
Topic: A Discussion on Panentheism (9-24-2012)
Topic: A Discussion About "Mindfulness" (10-23-2012)
Topic: A Discussion About Panentheism (11-19-2012)
Topic: A Discussion About Mindfulness in Schools (3-4-2013)

Apologetics 315
Topic: Testimony,  General Differences Between the New Age and the Occult, How to Witness to Those in the Occult (6-13-2011)

Blog Talk Radio
Topic: Discussion about the paranormal and Marcia's book Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids (1-28-2014)
Topic: Biblical Answers to Counter Occultic Activity Such as Hypnosis, Transcendental Meditation and more (7-26-2012)
Topic: Is Yoga For Christians? (11-8-2012)
Topic: What Is Wicca? Can Wicca and Christianity Co-Exist? (5-19-2012)
Topic: Halloween, the Occult, Witchcraft, Wicca, Neopaganism and more (11-1-2010)
Topic: Testimony, Caller Questions (5-12-2012)
Topic: Testimony, General Discussion About the Occult (9-16-2010)
Topic: Exorcisms, General Discussion About the Occult, Differences Between Magic in Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia (5-25-2013)

Stand For Truth Ministries
Topic: What Is Reiki? (9-7-2013)

Echo Zoe Radio
Topic: In Depth Discussion About the Occult - Part 1 (Testimony, Experiences in New Age and Occult, Spirit Contact, Divination, Astrology, TV Shows and Movies Featuring Occult Themes, Feng Shui, etc.)  (3-25-2012)
Topic: In Depth Discussion About the Occult - Part 2 (New Thought, Therapeutic Touch, Wellness, etc.) (9-22-2012)

Stand Up For The Truth
Topic: Testimony, the Paranormal, the Occult in Popular Culture (10-12-2011)
Topic: "That's Entertainment?" A Discussion about Astrology in Popular Culture (11-4-2011)
Topic: The Dangers of Mindfulness (2-24-2012)

Olive Tree Views
Topic: Marcia Montenegro's book, "Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids" (to be released as an ebook November 1, 2013) (10-13-2007)
Topic: Testimony, Differences Between Biblical Meditation and Occult Mediation (12-12-2009)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Means of Grace: The Lord's Supper

Posted by Christine Pack

Bob DeWaay and Eric Douma at Gospel of Grace Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN have just begun a teaching series on the means of grace. For those unfamiliar with this term, all of the means of grace are commanded of us in Scripture, and when we place ourselves under these means, God will work through them to sanctify us and conform us more and more to the image of Christ. The means of grace are not to be confused with the unbiblical idea of doing works in order to gain salvation, and are historically understood to be:
1) Bible Study (daily)
2) Prayer (daily)
3) Fellowship with Other Believers (regular and ongoing)
4) The Lord's Supper (regular and ongoing)
5) Baptism (one time)
The first lesson in this teaching series is on the Lord's Supper as a means of grace (and can be listened to here). I am particularly interested in this lesson because I have often heard the Lord's Supper taught as an occasion in which we need to reflect deeply on our sins before approaching the table. But isn't this something we are commanded to be doing anyway on an ongoing basis, and most particularly through our Bible study and prayer times? When I was a new believer, I would cry every time I took the Lord's Supper, because I would be so overcome by the joy of thinking about what Christ did for me, how one day He will return for me, how He has forgiven my sins, and that one day I will no longer even have any sin to contend with. But if believers are in a church in which they are constantly being exhorted to examine their sin before taking the Lord's Supper, does it not stand to reason that this joy could evaporate? Don't our sins slay us and break us down? Well, I think the means of grace teaching about the Lord's Supper reclaims that rightful joy that we can have here and now when we dwell on, and marvel over, what the Lord's Supper means for wretched sinners, and why we are to continue this practice until either we die or the Lord comes again to take us home.

Many Christians have been taught that the Lord's Supper is more about solemn, mournful examination of themselves than it is joy over recognizing and celebrating what Christ has done for them. If you find this teaching challenging, I would simply ask that you listen to this teaching, and weigh it prayerfully against Scripture.

photo credit: khrawlings via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

Gospel of Grace Fellowship

Means of Grace - Critical Issues Commentary (CIC) Radio Series

Means of Grace, God's Provision for Our Salvation and Sanctification - Critical Issues Commentary (CIC) Article