sexta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2011

Is BILL JOHNSON a false Teacher?

WARNING from Andrew Strom against BILL JOHNSON and BETHEL CHURCH

ANDREW STROM
BILL JOHNSON












I am really hoping to make this the last of this type of article for a while. Some people think I "love" putting out this stuff. But I honestly wish it would all go away, so we could get on with the 'real' work of building the kingdom. 

However, Bill Johnson is doing such damage to the Body of Christ around the world that I simply cannot stay silent.

In New Zealand (where I am currently) he holds a huge Conference once a year called "Manifest Presence". This is almost certainly the biggest and most influential Christian conference in the whole country. And likewise in other nations, such as UK, Australia, Singapore, and many others. His influence is enormous.

Bill Johnson is a very charming man. He also emphasizes a number of things that I heartily agree with - such as street evangelism using the gifts of the Spirit, prophecy and healing on the streets, etc. But the problem is that he endorses and promotes an "anointing" exactly identical to the one that Todd Bentley promotes.

The "drunken glory", fire-tunnel, laughing, jerking, gold-dust, "Angel-mania"-type anointing that has done such damage to the Charismatic movement around the world - and in many cases reduced it to a shocking travesty of what it once was. 

What would Derek Prince or Keith Green think of the things these men are into - spiritual drunkenness, "portals", 'visualization', spirit-travel, fire-tunnels, angel-orbs and the like? (Found all the way through the New Age movement, but not in the Bible).

TODD BENTLEY
Bill Johnson was one of the biggest supporters of the Lakeland revival led by Todd Bentley. 

And even after the fiasco that it became, he publicly endorsed Todd Bentley's ministry again in 2011. 

But Bill does it all with such "down-to-earth" charm and wise-sounding words - "how could this be deception?" 

That is what makes him so dangerous.

His wife Beni is co-pastor with Bill of Bethel church in Redding, California. And interestingly she is even more open about the bizarre things that they are into. She even puts it in writing on the Internet, for all the world to see.

For example, in her "Life and Wellness" blog on July 6 this year, here is what she wrote in an entry called 'Love Shack Time': 

"I was talking with Ray Hughes the other day and was telling him about using a 528 HZ tuning fork as a prophetic act. Someone told me that this tuning fork is called the tuning fork of LOVE..." (Please note that crystals and tuning forks are used in NEW AGE therapy - and have nothing to do with Christianity in any way).

Beni continued: "Recently I got up to speak at a meeting and walked up to the song "Love Shack" by the B52's. I was calling people to more love. It was so fun."

I guess we are now beginning to get a sense of the strange spiritual world that these people inhabit. Another blog post that Beni wrote about 'WAKING UP ANGELS' in March 2009 was also very revealing:

"In the last couple of months, I personally have become more aware of the angelic activity in this realm. One of those times was when we were on a prayer trip to Arizona... One morning as we were driving up over Tehachapi Pass and coming down into the Mojave Desert, I began to feel angels. The closer we got, the stronger the impression felt. I could see them everywhere!..

I announced this to the group and said, "We have got to stop! We have to stop somewhere..." As we drove around a corner I said, "I think that we are going to wake up some angels here..." 

"We knew we were to turn around, get out of the RV and wake up the angels. I wish I could convey to you the energy and the quickness of how God was working. 
BILL & BENI JOHNSON

We jumped out of the RV, I blew the shofar and rang the bell, and we yelled ‘WAKEY, WAKEY’. We got back into the RV and drove off. As we drove off, hilarious laughter broke out! We were stunned at the speed  at which this all took place and were spinning from the adventure and the angelic activity.”

What in the world had just happened?! 

Heaven collided with earth. Woo hoo!! 

"Since that time, there has been a stirring in me to awaken the angels for use in this Kingdom reign that is upon us here on earth. I have shared these two stories in other places and have done a prophetic act of waking up the angels: having everybody cry out, ‘WAKEY WAKEY!’ I know it is strange but it is very effective... One of our gals who enjoys God's angels... gets pretty wacked when they are around..." 

The reference that Beni makes here to "Heaven colliding with earth" is of course directly tied to Bill Johnson's most famous teaching on "When Heaven Invades Earth". Clearly, this is the kind of thing they mean when they use that phrase. So if we get with their program so-to-speak, we too can go around "waking up angels" and getting "pretty wacked" when these 'angels' are around.

I guess the obvious question is whether they are "serious" about all this. Sadly, the answer is "Yes." When you get so completely deceived that you think "drunken glory" and 'tuning forks' and getting "wacked" are normal Christian behaviour, you are open to anything.

Tragically, if we look at all that these people have said and done now for years and years, we have to conclude that one of Christendom's biggest leaders (Bill Johnson) inhabits the most bizarre quasi-spiritual universe that you can imagine. And he is spreading this deceived foolishness in the Body of Christ on a mass scale. It might seem almost "funny" if it wasn't so 'New Age' serious.

One young lady named Johanna who had been a student for many months at Bill Johnson's 'Bethel' school wrote to me the following: "In August 2008 I moved to Redding, California to attend Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). I graduated in May 2009... Almost right away I began to question the bizarre behavior that is so normal there. 

"At Bethel, there are many sayings that are tossed around daily... "God only has nice things to say," "There´s no high like the Most High." There would be all kinds of distracting behavior (random shouting, laughing, etc.) during school sessions and church services. When any guest speaker came to school, students would flock to the front to get as close to the speaker as possible. 

We were taught that any anointing we wanted could be received by simply "claiming it" for ourselves. Students would rush the stage and the front of the sanctuary so the speakers could lay hands on them. 

"Among the guest speakers were Bob Jones, Heidi Baker, Georgian and Winnie Banov, Randy Clark, John and Carol Arnott... We also had regular sessions with Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson... and other Bethel pastors. The drunken behavior and questionable teachings from some, if not all, of these speakers was shocking at times. I can safely say that I never heard the word "repentance" once in any teaching. 

"I remember when the Banovs came, the whole place was complete chaos. When they touched someone, that person would jerk violently or stumble around as if they were drunk. The Banovs minister to people in trash dumps around the world... What I remember them talking about was love, joy, bliss, and the new wine. 

"Angels were often talked about. I remember Beni Johnson actually took an RV across Arizona and New Mexico to wake up angels that were supposedly sleeping. (Another one of the common phrases, "Wakey wakey"). I would always hear people talking about their encounters with angels and how they visited heaven. 

One young woman I knew said she could see angels everywhere, she talked to them all the time, and she would help her friends to do the same... God becomes like Santa Claus. Without the preaching of the true gospel, the fear of the Lord is lost."

ANDREW AGAIN: As you can see from all these reports, the ministry of Bill Johnson is highly suspect. Sadly, because the deception is not as "obvious" as Todd Bentley, people are charmed into thinking he's "fine". Charismatic leaders around the world flock to his meetings and openly endorse his teachings. For this reason I believe he is far more dangerous than Todd Bentley ever was.

The Bible says that in the last days will come false teachers and "lying signs and wonders" to deceive if possible the "very elect." And what do we see today? New Age practices and spirits are flooding the church. And it is men like Bill Johnson that have become the "acceptable face" of this 
invasion. Please, friends, steer well clear.

http://www.JohntheBaptistTV.com/

God bless you all, Andrew Strom.


If you to know more about Bill Johnson on my blog Viriato Martins - Religion & Philosophy, please click below:

Bill Johnson's 'Kingdom Now' theology

Bill's Johnson twitter comments

Third Wave, Kingdom Theology....


Would you like to know if FREEMASONRY is of the devil? Please, click below:


quarta-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2011

Does the Bible prohibit abortion?

Abortion in the Bible and Church History

 
A major part of this article is from Christian answers:
http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-abortioninthebible.html

There is a small but influential circle of prochoice advocates who claim to base their beliefs on the Bible.

Jesus Christ with little children.They maintain that "nowhere does the Bible prohibit abortion."

Yet the Bible clearly prohibits the killing of innocent people Exodus 20:13.

All that is necessary to prove a biblical prohibition of abortion is to demonstrate that the Bible considers the unborn to be human beings.


I. Personhood in the Bible

A number of ancient societies opposed abortion, but the ancient Hebrew society had the clearest reasons for doing so because of its foundations in the scriptures. The Bible teaches that men and women are made in the image of God Genesis 1:27. As the climax of God's creation mankind has an intrinsic worth far greater than that of the animal kingdom placed under His care. Throughout the Scriptures, personhood is never measured by age, stage of development, or mental, physical, or social skills. Personhood is endowed by God at the moment of creation - before which there was not a human being and after which there is. That moment of creation can be nothing other than the moment of conception.

The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament to refer to the unborn Exodus 21:22-25 is yeled, a word that "generally indicates young children, but may refer to teens or even young adults." The Hebrews did not have or need a separate word for unborn children. They were just like any other children, only younger. In the Bible there are references to born children and unborn children, but there is no such thing as a potential, incipient, or “almost” child.

Job graphically described the way God created him before he was born Job 10:8-12. The person in the womb was not something that might become Job, but someone who was Job, just a younger version of the same man.

To Isaiah God says, "This is what the Lord says - he who made you, who formed you in the womb" Isaiah 44:2 ". What each person is, not merely what he might become, was present in his mother's womb. Psalm 139:13-16, paints a graphic picture of the intimate involvement of God with a preborn person. God created David's "inmost being,” not at birth, but before birth. David says to his Creator, "You knit me together in my mother's womb." Each person, regardless of his parentage of handicap, has not been manufactured on a cosmic assembly line, but has been personally knitted together by God in the womb. All the days of his life have been planned out by God before any have come to be Psalm 139:16.

As a member of the human race that has rejected God, each person sinned "in Adam" is therefore a sinner from his very beginning Romans 5:12-19. David says, "Surely I was sinful at birth." Then he goes back even further, back before birth to the actual beginning of his life, saying he was "sinful from the time my mother conceived me" Psalm 51:5 ".

Each person has a sinful nature from the point of conception. Who but an actual person can have a sinful nature? Rocks and trees and animals and human organs do not have moral natures, good or bad. Morality can be ascribed only to a person. That there is a sin nature at the point of conception demonstrates that there is a person present who is capable of having such a nature.

Jacob was given prominence over his twin Esau "though not yet born" Romans 9:11. When Rebekah was pregnant with Jacob and Esau, Scriptures says, "The babies jostled each other within her" Genesis 25:22.

The unborn are regarded as “babies” in the full sense of the term. God tells Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" Jeremiah 1:5. He could not know Jeremiah in his mother's womb unless Jeremiah, the person, was present in his mother's womb. The Creator is involved in an intimate knowing relationship not only with born people, but with unborn people.

In Luke 1:41,44 there are references to the unborn John the Baptist, who was at the end of his second trimester in the womb. The word, translated baby, in these verses is the Greek word brephos. It is the same word used for the already born baby Jesus (Luke 2:12) and for the babies brought to Jesus to receive His blessing Luke 18:15-17. It is also the same word used in Acts 7:19 for the newborn babies killed by Pharaoh. To the writers of the New Testament, like the Old, whether born or unborn, a baby is simply a baby.

Woman with children.
It appears that the preborn John the Baptist responded to the presence of the preborn Jesus in His mother Mary when Jesus was probably no more than ten days beyond His conception Luke 1:41.


The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be "with child and give birth to a son" Luke 1:31. In the first century, and in every century, to be pregnant is to be with child, not with that which might become a child.

The Scriptures teach the psychosomatic unity of the whole person, body, soul, and spirit 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Wherever there is a genetically distinct living human being, there is a living soul and spirit.


I I. The Status of the Unborn

One scholar states: "Looking at Old Testament law from a proper cultural and historical context, it is evident that the life of the unborn is put on the same par as the person outside the womb."

When understood as a reference to miscarriage, Exodus 21:22-25, is sometimes used as evidence that the unborn is subhuman. But a proper understanding of the passage shows reference is not to a miscarriage, but to a premature birth, and that the “injury” referred to, which is to be compensated for like all other injuries, applies to the child as well as to his mother. This means that, "far from justifying permissive abortion, in fact grants the unborn child a status in the eyes of the law equal to the mother's."

Meredith Cline observes, "The most significant thing about abortion legislation in Biblical law is that there is none. It was so unthinkable that an Israelite woman should desire an abortion that there was no need to mention this offense in the criminal code."

All that was necessary to prohibit an abortion was the command, "You shall not murder" Exodus 20:13.

Every Israelite knew that the preborn child was indeed a child. Therefore, miscarriage was always viewed as the loss of a child and abortion as the killing of a child.

Numbers 5:11-31 is an unusual passage of Scripture used to make a central argument in A Prochoice Bible Study, published by Episcopalians for Religious Freedom. They cite the New English Bible's peculiar translation, which makes it sound as if God brings a miscarriage on a woman if she is unfaithful to her husband. Other translations refer to a wasting of the thigh and swelling of her abdomen, but do not take it to mean pregnancy, which would presumably simply be called that directly if it were in mind.

The woman could have been pregnant by her husband, assuming they had been having sex, which Hebrews couples normally did. It appears that God was expected to do some kind of miracle related to the bitter water, creating a dramatic physical reaction if adultery had been committed. The text gives no indication of either pregnancy of abortion. Indeed, in the majority of cases of suspected adultery, there would be no pregnancy and therefore no child at risk.

The Prochoice Bible Study that cites the NEB's unique translation suggests if God indeed causes miscarriage, it would therefore be an endorsements of people causing abortions. This is a huge stretch, since neither the wife, husband, nor priest made the decision to induce an abortion, nor would they have the right to do so. The passage does not seem to refer to a miscarriage at all; but even if it did, there is a certainly nothing to suggest any endorsement of human beings initiating an abortion.


I I I. Child Sacrifice

Child sacrifice is condemned throughout Scripture. Only the most degraded societies tolerated such evil, and the worst of these defended and celebrated it as if it were a virtue. Ancient dumping grounds have been found filled with the bones of hundreds of dismembered infants. This is strikingly similar to discoveries of thousands of dead babies discarded by Canaanite's abortion clinics.

Infant to be sacrificed.One scholar of the ancient Near East refers to infant sacrifice as "the Caanaanite counterpart to abortion." Unlike the pagan sacrifices, however, with abortion, child killing need no longer be postponed till birth.

Scripture condemns the shedding of innocent blood Deuteronomy 19:10; Proverbs 6:17, Isaiah 1:15, Jeremiah 22:17. While the killing of all innocent human beings is detestable, the Bible regards the killing of children as particularly heinous Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 12:31.

The prophets of Israel were outraged at the sacrifice of children by some of the Jews. They warned that it would result in the devastating judgment of God on their society Jeremiah 7:30-234; Ezekiel 16:20-21, 36-38; 20:3; compare 2 Kings 21:2-6 and Jeremiah 15:3-4y.


I V. Abortion and Church History

Christians throughout church history have affirmed with a united voice the humanity of the preborn child.

The second-century Epistle of Barnabas speaks of "killers of the child, who abort the mold of God." It treats the unborn child as any other human “neighbor” by saying, "You shall love your neighbor more than your own life. You shall not slay a child by abortion. You shall not kill that which has already been generated" (Epistle of Barnabas 19:5).

The Didache, a second-century catechism for young converts, states, "Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant" (Didache 2.2). Clement of Alexandria maintained that "those who use abortifacient medicines to hide their fornication cause not only the outright murder of the fetus, but of the whole human race as well" (Paedogus 2:10.96.1).

Defending Christians before Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 177, Athenagoras argued, "What reason would we have to commit murder when we say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God? …The fetus in the womb is a living being and therefore the object of God's care" (A Plea for the Christians, 35.6).

Tertullian said, "It does not matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. In both instances, destruction is murder" (Apology, 9.4). Basil the Great affirmed, "Those who give abortifacients for the destruction of a child conceived in the womb are murderers themselves, along with those receiving the poisons" (Canons, 188.2).

Jerome called abortion "the murder of an unborn child" (Letter to Eustochium, 22.13). Augustine warned against the terrible crime of "the murder of an unborn child" (On Marriage, 1.17.15). Origen, Cyprian, and Chrysotom were among the many other prominent theologians and church leaders who condemned abortion as the killing of children. New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger comments, "It is really remarkable how uniform and how pronounced was the early Christian opposition to abortion."

Throughout the centuries, Roman Catholic leaders have consistently upheld the sanctity of human life.

Likewise, Protestant reformer John Calvin followed both the Scriptures and the historical position of the church when he affirmed:

Biblical woman and man.The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is a most monstrous crime to rob it of the life, which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.
Modern theologians with a strong biblical orientation agree that abortion is the killing of a child. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who lost his life standing up against the murder of the innocent in Germany, argued that abortion is “nothing but murder.” Karl Barth stated,

"The unborn child is from the very first a child… it is a man and not a thing, not a mere part of the mother's body… Those who live by mercy will always be disposed to practice mercy, especially to a human being which is so dependent on the mercy of others as the unborn child."
In the last few decades it has become popular for certain theologians and ministers to be proabortion. The Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, for instance, has adopted the motto, “Prayerfully Prochoice,” and prochoice advocates point to it as proof that conscientious Christians can be prochoice.

Yet the arguments set forth by such advocates are shallow, inconsistent, and violate the most basic principles of biblical interpretation. Their arguments are clearly read into the biblical texts rather than derived from them.

The “Christians” prochoice position is nothing more than an accommodation to modern secular beliefs, and it flies in the face of the Bible and the historical position of the church. If the church is to be the church, it must challenge and guide the morality of society, not mirror it.
 

V. Conclusion: The Bible and the Children

Even if church history were unclear on the matter, the Bible is very clear.

Every child in the womb has been created by God, and He has laid out a plan for that child's life. Furthermore, Christ loves that child and proved it by becoming like him - He spent nine months in His mother's womb. Finally, Christ died for that child, showing how precious He considers him to be.

Jesus with children.Christ's disciples failed to understand how valuable children were to Him, and they rebuked those who tried to bring them near Him Luke 18:15-17.

But Jesus called the children to Him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." He did not consider attention to children a distraction from His kingdom business, but an integral part of it.

The biblical view of children is that they are a blessing and a gift from the Lord Psalm 127:3-5. Society is treating children more and more as liabilities. We must learn to see them as God does - "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing" Deuteronomy 10:18.

Furthermore, we must act toward them as God commands us to act:
Biblical woman with her baby. Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them from the hand of the wicked Psalm 82:3-4.
As we intervene on behalf of His littlest children, let's realize it is Christ Himself from whom we intervene Matthew 25:40.

V I. How do I ask the Lord for forgiveness?

If you have committed an abortion or you have helped someone get an abortion, and you would like to ask the Lord forgiveness for your sins, you can do the following prayer:

"Heavenly Father, I want to ask you forgiveness for all my sins and I want to put my trust in Jesus today. Please, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.

Please, forgive me ...
I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Savior and my Father.

I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ."

Amen.

If you want to see "180" movie, please, click below: 

terça-feira, 22 de novembro de 2011

'Ichabod' - Has the Glory departed from the Church?

I Samuel 4:19-21 19His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. 20 As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” 21But she did not respond or pay any attention She named the boy Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel", because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said,“The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

I would like to underline six religious deceptions that became part of the Church in our Western World. After a quick look on the Introduction you may just want to read one or two of the deceptions below:

1. Christianity in a Consumer Society
2. The Social Gospel became a dominant theology within Churches.
3. Having a right doctrine but wrong "love"!
4. Postmodern mysticism.
5. Signs and Wonders.
6. The issue of "Phenomena" in revival.

INTRODUCTION:

Satan masquerades as an angel...
I believe we are on  the cusp of a great wave of deception, with fallen angels manifesting as angels of light. "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" 2 Corinthians 11:14

A great wave of deception has impacted the USA first and then spread to Western Europe and other places too. Many Churches and organizations that have been deceived do not move in discernment or test things against scripture, and they think they are not really accountable to anyone.

Also, it seems that when people are moving further and further away from God, social systems are more prone to policy failure. Europe as a continent is spiritually in decline. So, if religion declines in a land, so will morality, demography and economic and political systems.

The reason I believe we can say today "Ichabod" - The Glory of God has departed from from the Church in our Western World, spiritually, economically, politically, demographically and morally.

America Doomed!
You might feel confused, or shocked  by what I am going to say:

I think we have assisted in the last 20 years events that clear showed us America's doomed, spiritually and socially.

But, England  are also doomed too fail, spiritually and also socially and we can say the same to all our Western World!

We already have religious, social and political problems affecting England and we will assist the coming of more problems and probably tragedies showing us that the Glory of God is departing from England.

But if we warn people and ask them to turn away from their sins and from these deceptions, in order that the heat of His wrath may be turned away from England, how do people respond to such a warning

How can people respond positively and objectively under this great wave of deception which is already flooding the church of the western world, and many undiscerning Christians have believed these claims? These errors have been sapping the resolve of many who have been disappointed and let them down again.

But, we see on the prophecy of the Prophet Joel, that repentance is never too late, when that happens God can forgive, restore and yet, in compassion, he makes restitution.

It's never too late.
Joel 2:12-14, 25 "Even now" declares the Lord "return to me with all your heart" ... "return to the Lord your God, for He is slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing" ... "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten"  

Repentance is always an option. It's never too late.

You may just want to give a look to one or two of the deceptions below:

1. Christianity in a Consumer Society
2. The Social Gospel became a dominant theology within Churches.
3. Having a right doctrine but wrong "love"!
4. Postmodern mysticism.
5. Signs and Wonders.
6. The issue of "Phenomena" in revival.


1. CHRISTIANITY IN A CONSUMER SOCIETY  

Christians are often followers of the Consumer Society and not followers of Christ.

Already in Jesus' day, when life was onerous enough for the great majority of people, and certainly devoid of the comforts that many westerners would now consider indispensable, Jesus did not hesitate to warn his listeners about the spiritual dangers of money and possessions.

Luke 16:13 "you cannot be slave both of God and of money".

Luke 12:15 "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions".

When we look around we can see the acculturation of so many Christians to the value-system and lifestyle of consumerism and their failure to appreciate that true faith in God requires an oppositional stance to all ideologies and forms of social life which depersonalise and dehumanise.

Modern advertising and marketing inculcate attitudes and reflexes among the majority of those who live in the Western world, including Christians. Many Christians seek happiness and meaning in the consumption of things and not in God.

But a follower of Jesus should find himself to be an outsider in a culture dominated by the commodity.  It should be no shame to be different, even to feel a bit disjoint and out of place, in a civilization which divinizes the THING.

An important component of the Old Testament Prophetic movement is its uncompromising demand for a just society where relationship between man and God is intrinsically measured by and correspondent to the right relationship between man and man.

In the Israel nation, when the institution of monarchy has corrupted the covenant vision of a society based on principle, justice, equality and love without listening to the cry of the marginalised of the society, the prophets arose to become the voice of the voiceless and took care that the ideals of the Exodus and Covenant be remembered.

The prophets became the champions of the cause of the underprivileged, the weak and the undefended of the society.

It is the widespread opinion of many that the capitalistic and consumer-oriented economic policies prevalent today affect adversely the equitable distribution of wealth.

The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Those who reap the benefits of the profit coming from economic growth tend to lavish the gains on various luxuries without any concern for the deprived classes.

The greed for more and more money propels the elite minority to invest in more and more enterprises without thinking much about the impact on those who are on the margins.

In a world driven by misuse of financial power, political power, legal power, the prophetic voice on behalf of the voiceless of the society should still be relevant.

When the religious festivities become a demonstration of financial power, the prophetic voice should serve as a deterrent and a challenge to make the religious feasts a celebration of the believing community’s faith and priorities.

The prophetic advocacy for the marginalized poor begs for actualization in today’s context of denied justice and corrupt systems and greedy individuals.

When injustice and greed prevail in a consumer society God roars like a lion. God roars to bring judgement to those that oppose Him and His principles of justice and love.


2. THE SOCIAL GOSPEL BECAME A DOMINANT THEOLOGY WITHIN CHURCHES

The gospel is to be shared with a 'man' who are made up of body, soul and spirit. So, I totally agree that we should live a life that reflects the truth of the gospel through our good actions identifying our selves with people with several needs and that makes our task even more difficult!

Being a caring Christian church
I my self am a supporter of a few Christians and secular charities who are helping children in needy and also I have not nothing against being a caring Christian church in the community.

The problem is when good actions, building relationships, the so called  “living the gospel” becomes a substitute for the "verbal or written communication of the Gospel".

The reason I say this is that it’s my belief, which I would say is Biblical, that in most of the cases it is only the spoken or read message of the Gospel, which leads to an individual’s salvation.

Well, of course it is not good to preach and share the gospel if our lives do not reflect it’s Truth. But even then, Paul says that he rejoices whenever the Gospel is preached, weather by good or wrong motives Philippians 1:15-18

For me it boils down to this: The Gospel is Truth in and by itself totally independent of our experience, testimony and witnesses of it, hence the reason why it is the power of God for the Salvation to everyone who  believes... "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can believe in the one of whom if they have not heard?" Romans 10:13-14

Romans 1:6 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile

We have no choice but to preach "the verbal or written communication of the Gospel".

John Piper said:  "If the love you just showed or spoke cannot give eternal life by being believed, it may be good, but it's not the gospel."

My motto is "preaching and teaching the Scriptures accurately, sharing the gospel regularly and being a caring Christian church in the community and around the World".  


3. HAVING A RIGHT DOCTRINE BUT "WRONG" LOVE!

Revelation 2:22-23 "I know you cannot tolerated wicked men and that you tested those who claimed to be apostles but are not, yet I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place".

There is a saying that says: "You can be so right you can become wrong". Sadly some in Church are 100%  right in their doctrines (well nobody is 100% right) but in their love they are wrong.

In saying that, let me point out that the Bible shows us very clear that we must not "tolerated wicked men and we must test those who claimed to be apostles, but are not". It is not biblical to tolerate sin and heresy in the name of love and tolerance.

Ephesians 4:14 "Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray".

So, we must not be like Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodiceia that tolerated sin and heresy in their midst.

But, we must not be like the Church of Ephesus that kept doctrine right but lost the first love.
                     
... you have forsaken your first love ...
In revelation, Jesus walks among the seven golden lampstands and His eyes are like blazing fire, His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace and His voice is like the sound of rushing waters.

To some He says: "I have this against 'you tolerate Jezabel'. Unless you repent of your ways, I will strike your children dead".

To others He says: "I know you cannot tolerated wicked men and that you tested those who claimed to be apostles but are not, yet I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place".

See Revelation 1:12-13, 2:22-23

Jesus reprehends Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodiceia, Churches that tolerated sin and heresy in their midst, but Jesus also reprehends Ephesus, a Church that didn't tolerate false apostles, but lost the first love and became legalistic and arrogant.

It is the same today, Jesus reprehends Churches that tolerate false apostles, but reprehends as well Churches that don't tolerate false apostles, but have lost their first love.

Jesus walks among the Churches and searches hearts and minds and He will repay to each of us according to our deeds. Revelation 2:22-23

When Churches lose their first love, although they might have good doctrines, they fail in the Trap of Legalism and spirit of judgement, and "If they don't repent, Jesus will come to them and remove their lampstand from theirs places".

The small section  below Legalism and spirit of judgement is from my post Spiritual Warfare

Legalism and spirit of judgement

When we think that God is only interested with people who follow the rules and doctrines of our Church, and because of that, we can only have fellowship with those believers, we fall fatally in the legalism, in other words in the hands of the devil.

Balancing Truth and Love 
Where there is legalism, reigns a spirit of judgement  Where there is a spirit of judgement  death reigns. The law of God, without grace, is a dead letter.

I I Corinthians 3:6 "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life".

I Corinthians 8:1-2 "Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."

We must use the knowledge of the Bible with humility. When we think that our knowledge of the Bible is better than all the other believers and because of this we can't have much to do with them, will happen in our lives what happened to someone who said:

"As I made the Bible my God, I stopped listening to the God of the Bible."

The Bible is the sword of the Spirit and not a bullet to shoot against the other people, often against our brothers in Christ.

When believers want to be masters of the Bible (more than others) they fall in the path of legalism, which will lead them to a religious ritualism and hypocrisy.

The knowledge of the Bible (science) makes Christians proud, if it is not mixed with humility, love and the grace. They will be lead to a spirit of judgement which will open the door to the work of demonic spirits.

When Churches don’t live in unity, and there is not love and tolerance between them, who reigns? God or the devil?

Ephesians 4: 1-3 "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace".

Revelation 12:10  "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down."

James 3:14-18 "But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, non-spiritual,  of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness".

In saying all this, I need to say again that the Bible is very clear that we must not "tolerated wicked men and we must test those who claimed to be apostles but are not". It is not biblical to tolerate sin and heresy in the name of love and tolerance.

Ephesians 4:14 "Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray".

See my blog about:    Spiritual Warfare


4. POSTMODERN MYSTICISM: 

It is hard to imagine that most of our evangelical educational institutions are committed to postmodern mysticism. It is hard to find a Bible college or seminary that does not promote “Spiritual Mysticism".

Let me explain what I mean by “Spiritual Mysticism”:

Spiritual mysticism have at least two fundamental laws, according to the opinion of  *** Edgar Cayce:

First law, he says that the Bible is an allegory for each’ individual souls’ journey. We don’t really need to study its historical context, its interpretation or its application for our times. When we read the Bible we should only try to receive the stories as though they were personal insights for ourselves.

Are you a Guru or a Christian?
In a certain way, he is saying “I have to apply the Bible for my life the way I feel” it is from this idea that the concept of “rhema word” is gaining more and more power in Christian Churches.

'Spiritual Mysticism' say: the ‘rhema word’  is different than the ‘logos word’, as it is regarded as a more immediate word from God which we do not find in the 66 books.  So, we must have the prophets and apostles installed in our Churches to give us a rhema word, that sometimes can be a directly revelation from God, and other times can be just a “spiritual application” from the Bible, which is the ‘logos word’,  in the way the preacher and the audience 'wanted', not taking at all into consideration the context of the Bible text used.

'Spiritual Mysticism' is as simply than that: The Bible stories are our stories. We should read them as personal stories. It is true that they are stories from the past, but I can apply it as I feel to my present life.

Second law, Edgar Cayce says that the Bible contains metaphors of inner-life passages that occur as one awakens to "the Kingdom of God is within you" Luke 17:21. When a seemingly outer physical activity is described in a Bible story, let’s consider what it might mean to our inner process of spiritual breakthrough. The physical becomes symbolic of something deeper and, as a dream or parabola, it requires intuitive interpretation.

For spiritual mysticism the Bible is not our principal mean to regain God-consciousness and the Bible is to be used in the way the preacher and the audience 'wanted', not taking at all into consideration the context of the Bible.                                                                                                                 Also, for spiritual mysticism Jews, Christians and Moslems (Muslims) are all a trace of Abraham's heritage and we need to be familiar with their biblical stories in their religious literature. 

Spiritual mysticism is preparing the way for everyone and everything to be accepted in our Churches.

What is the aim of 'Spiritual Mysticism':

Some of  the comments below on 'Spiritual' mysticism and 'Signs and Wonders' are from the pastor Ken-Silva


The ultimately aim of 'Spiritual Mysticism' is to open the way to the new age movement.

One of the Bible text that is the base of 'Spiritual Mysticism' on Christian Churches is John 14:8-17:

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you

We and God are one!
According to 'Spiritual Mysticism' there was simply no way that Jesus could show the Father separate from himself. He and God are one. So, if the Spirit lives in us, we and God are one. So, they say that we are not all of God’s being, but we compose a portion of God and are ourselves composed of God. Because of this, Jesus said “ I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”. V12 So, we have more power than when Jesus lives on the earth.

This is the base of the doctrine of the 'Spiritual Mysticism', that we found more and more in our Churches, and Bill Johnson is one of the most preeminent teachers that speaks about 'Spiritual Mysticism'.

If you read about the New Age movement it teaches the same "we are gods within the great God".

This the reason why Bill Johnson the pastor of Betel decries the presence of doctrine. If you read about him, you will see how willing he is to depart from orthodox doctrine.

He resorts to an often misused passage that promotes his anti-scholastic bias: "A powerless Word is the letter not the Spirit, and we all know that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" Johnson: 116.

This twisting of Paul’s meaning in 2Corinthians 3:6 has a long history of use to promote subjectivism and mysticism. The false implication is that studying the Bible will kill you spiritually. The context shows that Paul was speaking of the letters written on stone verse 3, meaning the Decalogue. Paul explains how the law “kills” in Romans 7:5, 6. It kills because of our sinful passions that it exposes, not because it is studied for what it means.

We will see in the next section just exactly where Johnson has gone "off the map" and where he wants to take us. The claim that we cannot know the Scripture but can know what the Holy Spirit is saying by other means is absurd. The Bible claims that Scripture is the Holy Spirit speaking to the church. The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. We understand the Bible using our intellect.

Johnson has gone "off of the map"
But in reality, the Bible is a closed book. Anything I get from the Word without God will not change my life. It is closed to insure that I remain dependent on the Holy Spirit. Johnson: 93

His categories are false. The Bible is the Holy Spirit speaking to us and its power is not dependent on us using religious experience to escape its boundaries. Any lack of life-changing power is due to unbelief, not the meaning of Scripture as correctly understood. But Johnson claims that the Holy Spirit leads us off the map. Thus he denigrates sola scriptura.

The absurdity of Johnson’s claim is such that it amazes me how many are deceived by it. For example, the claim that the Holy Spirit leads us into truth which He does through Scripture by some subjective means that go “off the map” and beyond an “intellectual approach” is disingenuous.

Those who go off the map are going somewhere. If they have gotten information directly from the Spirit about where they think they should go and then follow it, they are using their intellect as well. The subjective information from the spirit realm must register in someone’s mind in order for them to act on it. So if the intellect is as bad thing when contemplating the Scriptures, why is it a good thing when determining which subjective impressions to follow?

But Johnson warns, "The Church has all too often lived according to an intellectual approach to the Scriptures, void of the Holy Spirit’s influence" This false dilemma (i.e., either intellect or Spirit) fools his readers into thinking that if they attend hyped up meetings such as Johnson promotes, the Spirit is at work; whereas if they were to carefully study God’s once-for-all revealed Word they would be stuck in a “powerless” situation.

*** Edgar Cayce is one of the greatest seekers of God-consciousness. His ideas about God and the Bible are completely wrong. Many of our modern preachers, like Bill Johnson and others are under the influence of Spiritual Mysticism. If you want to know more about Edgar Cayce click in the link below:


5. SIGNS AND WONDERS

Churches in our days have been misled by false teachings about  Signs and Wonders. Signs and wonders together with 'Spiritual mysticism' can link the Church with some of the ideas defended by the new age movement.
Are you tired of reading the Bible?

The teachers that are promoting false teachings about signs ans wonders, say:

The presence of signs and wonders—the more the better. Our mandate is simple: raise up a generation that can openly display the raw power of God. Having such power is what they call an “authentic gospel” because “powerlessness is inexcusable”.

They claim, "we are the problem, because God wants to do miracles but He cannot because of our bad thinking. Miracles await the coming of a generation of enlightened ones who will know the secret. Thus we have a New Age definition of miracles.

They believe that there will be a great end-time revival that will be initiated by an “Elijah generation” (a concept from the heretical Latter Rain movement used often by Bill Johnson).

This movement will transcend all other generations of Christians in regard to their ability to do great works of power, like Bill Johnson say: “We will carry the Elijah anointing in preparing for the return of the Lord in the same way that John the Baptist carried the Elijah anointing and prepared the people for the coming of the Lord” Johnson: 184


6. THE ISSUE OF 'PHENOMENA' IN REVIVAL

I believe that in all revivals 'phenomena' can come from the Spirit of God, but that doesn't mean that 'phenomena' are essential to revival. We must not seek 'phenomena' and strange experiences ... what we must seek is revival.

We must not seek 'phenomena'
And even in cases where a certain 'phenomena' could come from the Spirit of God, we must always allow for the fact that because of the very frailty of human nature, and of our physical frames, we will have a tendency to an admixture, partly along the physical, partly along the psychic, and partly as the result of the Devil's activity. 

We must be on guard against the false and spurious spirits as he Bible instructs us "believe not every spirit, but test the spirits. 1 John 4:1

Churches in our days are praying and seeking for phenomena. Christians are objecting more and more "the verbal or written communicating the message of the Gospel". 

Some Christians say: "to be under the preaching of the Bible is good but to be under a word of knowledge, tongues signs, wonders (phenomena) is better." There are Christians who are praying God for not allowing their pastor to preach on Sunday meetings, because they want to experiment phenomena, instead.

Anyone who tries to work up phenomena can become a tool of the Devil, and is putting himself in the position of been deceived by the psychic and by the devil.


CONCLUSION: 

What I have to do?
                                                                                                                           
If  you think you have been affected  by this great wave of deception which is flooding the church of our western world, you can ask forgiveness to God in prayer.


Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you right now in the name of Jesus Christ, asking you to forgive me because I have been deceived by this great wave of deception.

I now admit that I was wrong, and I ask you right now to give me strength to stand against this wave of deception by the power of your word and your Spirit, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to defeat sin, death and Satan.

Lord, I want my life to bring You glory. Every moment. With all that I have. I want my life to bring You glory.

In Jesus' name! Amen.

It is tragic when the glory of God departs from a land or a life. When godliness goes, glory will soon follow. You look after your godliness, and God will look after the glory. Trevor Night Daily Thoughts

If you want to know my opinion about Spiritual Warfare, please click the button below: