Category: The Church

Aug 18

Mary Worship

Read this interesting commentary from Bill Salus on the developing apparitions of Mary and the worship of Mary. Any worship of Mary is not okay. These are demonic in nature.  We need to be alert that this activity is on the rise and that as we near the Lord’s return it will get more severe.

Enjoy! And read with a discerning mind.

The Fallible Assumption of Mary

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1847

Aug 08

Jesus is not God?

A story broke on Friday about the Dutch church beginning to espouse the doctrine that Jesus is not God and that the Bible is fiction or a giant allegory. When are we going to realize that the end time religion is forming before our eyes.

As more and more people continue to not be concerned with doctrine and also start questioning the infalliability and inerrancy or Scripture and the deity of Christ I can see how over 3 to 4 billion people could immediately unite into a world religion.

Islam and Christianity are separated by the deity of Christ. If Chrisitans would be willing to compromise on Christ’s deity then Islam could be melted into Christianty by the denial of the deity of Christ. Also, do not forget that Muslims and Catholics today already worship Mary at Fatima, Portugal.

Keep looking up!

Dutch rethink Christianity for a doubtful world

By Robert Pigott Religious affairs correspondent, Amsterdam

The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he’s not the sort of man to sugar the pill.

An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.

It is part of the mainstream Dutch Protestant Church, and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord’s Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse’s sermon seems bleak – “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”.

“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”

Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.

 “Start Quote

God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, or human experience”

End Quote Rev Klass Hendrikse

“When it happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that’s where it can happen. God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, or human experience.”

Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.

His book Believing in a Non-Existent God led to calls from more traditionalist Christians for him to be removed. However, a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.

A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the Dutch Protestant Church was either agnostic or atheist.

Klaas Hendrikse: “You don’t have to believe that Jesus was physically resurrected”

The Rev Kirsten Slattenaar, Exodus Church’s regular priest, also rejects the idea – widely considered central to Christianity – that Jesus was divine as well as human.

“I think ‘Son of God’ is a kind of title,” she says. “I don’t think he was a god or a half god. I think he was a man, but he was a special man because he was very good in living from out of love, from out of the spirit of God he found inside himself.”

Mrs Slattenaar acknowledges that she’s changing what the Church has said, but, she insists, not the “real meaning of Christianity”.

She says that there “is not only one answer” and complains that “a lot of traditional beliefs are outside people and have grown into rigid things that you can’t touch any more”.

Bini Von Reingarden, who’s been going to Exodus Church for 20 years, is among lay people attracted to such free thinking.

“I think it’s very liberating. [Klaas Hendrikse] is using the Bible in a metaphorical way so I can bring it to my own way of thinking, my own way of doing.”

Wim De Jong says, “Here you can believe what you want to think for yourself, what you really feel and believe is true.”

Churches in Amsterdam were hoping to attract such people with a recent open evening.

At the Old Church “in the hottest part of the red light district”, the attractions included “speed-dating”.

As skimpily dressed girls began to appear in red-lit windows in the streets outside, visitors to the church moved from table to table to discuss love with a succession of strangers.

Professor Hijme Stoeffels of the Free University in Amsterdam says it is in such concepts as love that people base their diffuse ideas of religion.

“In our society it’s called ‘somethingism’,” he says. “There must be ‘something’ between heaven and earth, but to call it ‘God’, and even ‘a personal God’, for the majority of Dutch is a bridge too far.

“Christian churches are in a market situation. They can offer their ideas to a majority of the population which is interested in spirituality or some kind of religion.”

To compete in this market of ideas, some Christian groups seem ready virtually to reinvent Christianity.

They want the Netherlands to be a laboratory for Christianity, experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith.

Stroom (“Stream”) West is the experiment devised by one church to reach out to the young people.

In an Amsterdam theatre young people contemplate the concept of eternity by spacing out a heap of rice grains individually across the floor.

“The difference from other churches is that we are… experimenting with the contents of the gospel,” says Rikko Voorberg, who helps to run Stroom West. “Traditionally we bring a beautiful story and ask people to sit down listen and get convinced. This is the other way around.”

Stroom focuses on people’s personal search for God, not on the church’s traditional black-and-white answers.

Rikko believes traditional Christianity places God in too restricted a box.

He believes that in a post-modern society that no longer has the same belief in certainty, there is an urgent need to “take God out of the box”.

“The Church has to be alert to what is going on in society,” he says. “It has to change to stay Christian. You can’t preach heaven in the same way today as you did 2,000 years ago, and we have to think again what it is. We can use the same words and say something totally different.”

When I asked Rikko whether he believed Jesus was the son of God he looked uncomfortable.

“That’s a very tough question. I’m not sure what it means,” he says.

“People have very strict ideas about what it means. Some ideas I might agree with, some ideas I don’t.”

Such equivocation is anathema in Holland’s Bible Belt, among the large number of people who live according to strict Christian orthodoxy.

In the quiet town of Staphorst about a quarter of the population attends the conservative Dutch Reformed Church every Sunday.

The town even has a by-law against swearing.

Its deputy mayor, Sytse de Jong, accuses progressive groups of trying to change Christianity to fit current social norms.

“When we get people into the Church by throwing Jesus Christ out of the Church, then we lose the core of Christianity. Then we are not reforming the institutions and attitudes but the core of our message.”

But many churches are keen to work with anyone who believes in “something”.

They believe that only through adaptation can their religion survive.

The young people at Stroom West write on plates the names of those things that prevent earth from being heaven – cancer, war, hunger – and destroy them symbolically.

The new Christianity is already developing its own ritual.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1822

Jul 14

Scoffers in the Pews: The end is Really Near!

In our day, so much of Bible prophecy seems to be on the cusp of its ultimate fulfillment that we tend to get a bit complacent about it.  Of course, Noah’s Ark hasn’t been discovered, or, if so, it has never been confirmed.

But that got me to looking at all the stuff that has; like the actual burial boxes of New Testament figures, archeological finds like the official seal of Queen Jezebel of First and Second Kings, etc.

When compared to other religious books, the Bible is unique in every possible category.

It is the oldest continuous historical record, is testified to by the people, places and titles it references, confirmed by archeology and by the languages and literary formats used in its composition.

Whenever archeology has conflicted with the Bible, when the conflict was ultimately resolved, the problem was always with archeology, not the Bible.

Let me put it another way.

In all of the archeological finds made in the Bible lands so far, not one single find has conclusively disproved any single Bible reference.  Not one.

Wherever there is a question, it is because of a lack of confirmatory evidence, not the discovery of conflicting evidence.

Skeptics say that King David was a myth – basing their position on the fact that there was no firm archeological evidence confirming his existence.

For the record, there was never any archeological evidence disputing it, either.

But the standard demanded by skeptics when it comes to the Bible is absolute, undeniable, unquestionable evidence that goes beyond a reasonable doubt.

To paraphrase the delightfully articulate Donald Rumsfeld, to them, the absence of evidence is bedrock evidence of absence.

But their entire thesis depended on nobody ever conclusively proving King David.  It collapsed on July 21, 1993.

A team of archaeologists led by Prof. Avraham Biran were excavating Tel Dan in the northern Galilee when they found a triangular piece of basalt rock inscribed in Aramaic.

It was subsequently identified as part of a victory pillar erected by the king of Syria and later smashed by an Israelite ruler. The inscription, which dates to the ninth century BC, (about a century after David was thought to have ruled Israel) includes the words Beit David (“House” or “Dynasty” of David”).

It was the first near-contemporaneous reference to David ever found. Surely, this would silence the skeptics!  It didn’t.  It won’t.  Nothing will.  It didn’t even really excite believers.

In our day, so much of Bible prophecy seems to be on the cusp of its ultimate fulfillment that there is a sense of complacency about it.

Familiarity breeds contempt, they say.

Even among serious Christians with a love for His appearing, there is sometimes a sense of ‘so what’ that replaced our earlier ‘gee whiz’ attitude to the signs of our times.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come IN THE LAST DAYS scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:4-5)

The Apostle says they know better, but they prefer their own narrative, despite its flaws:

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, BY THE SAME WORD are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (3:5-7)

The fact is, He IS coming back, and He IS coming back soon. This isn’t a case of wishful thinking, or a hopeful interpretation of the signs of the times.

We are living in the final hours of human history, and we have been given an awesome responsibility.

As you go through your day today, try to take note of the people you see. Try and note them all – those you pass on the street, workers reading meters, delivering mail, serving lunch, bagging groceries . .   all the invisible people that are part of our typical day.

There are a lot of them, aren’t there?

Every single one of them has an eternal destiny.  They will either spend eternity in unspeakable joy in the presence of the Lord or in an equally unspeakable eternal horror in the Lake of Fire.

For all you know, you might be the only hope they have of learning the truth.  Think about that as you go through your day. Because with every passing day, the evidence that these are the last days continues to pile up.

After awhile, it almost seems to blend in with the normal world, kind of like the times of the First Advent, when the Sanhedrin were unmoved by Jesus’ miracles.

We are walking amidst miracles and signs and wonders unlike anything seen in two thousand years.

And we yawn!

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”(Matthew 24:4)

Get excited!  The Lord is coming!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1759

Apr 29

Doctrine: It is Important, It May save your Soul

Here is another story of why the real church of Jesus Christ needs to stand up and be counted and heard. Especially when doctrinal truths are being watered down in the church. We have this story out of Toledo, Ohio where a Methodist church is openly promoting a gay agenda and saying that God loves everyone and that He would not have made people born this way if gay marriage or relationships were not okay.

They have even gotten very bold and have started a marketing campaign in Toledo to promote that “Being Gay is a Gift from God”. This is heresy and blasphemy and there is no other way to say it. It is time for the true church of Jesus to not sit back and continue to go about their business as if everything in the world is okay. It is not, we are moving quickly towards the Lord’s return and He is not coming back for a group in His church that is doing what this church is doing.

It is time to wake up people! I am attaching the story so you can read it for yourself. Keep looking up!

Being gay is a gift from God, asserts one church in Ohio

Central United Methodist Church launched a campaign this week, advertising “Being Gay Is a Gift From God.”

That’s the message that Central United Methodist Church is spreading throughout their community via a digital billboard, launched on Monday.

This “simple statement,” the church announced, is “intended to be a gift to those who have experienced hurt and discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation.”

“The Church seeks nothing less than the healing of the world, and Central UMC wants to offer words and acts of healing to those hurt and marginalized,” the website states.

Jeff Buchanan, the director of Exodus Church Equipping & Student Ministries, agrees that the Church must display love and compassion for those in the LGBT community. But he opposes the message that CUMC is sending through their “Being Gay is a Gift from God” campaign.

“Why would God bestow this ‘gift’ only to condemn it throughout the Bible? This would seemingly contradict His character as a God who is loving and just.”

The Toledo church’s controversial billboard ad is directly connected to a long month-long sermon series by its new pastor, Bill Barnard. The church is hoping that the ad will move the public towards tolerance, reported ABC 13, and not perpetuate anti-gay attitudes and behaviors, which were harming the LGBT community.

The purposes of their recently launched campaign are threefold: to offer welcome to all persons who are gay; to challenge the larger Church to fully accept persons who are gay into the life of the Church; and to call on all people to bring all the gifts of who they are to God.

“By welcoming and living in community with faithful Christians who happen to be gay, we have come to understand that being gay is part of who God made them to be,” CUMC proclaims on their site. “And by gay Christians bringing all that they are to God, the body of Christ has been strengthened.”

“In fact, we would experience the body of Christ as incomplete without LGBT persons.”

Barnard told ABC, “We really believe that being gay is a gift from God, and it’s not anything that anyone has to apologize for or be ashamed about. So that’s how [the campaign] came to be.”

Believing sexuality to be a “good gift from God” – or as they declared yet another way in God’s infinite diversity – CUMC defines sin as denying who God created them to be.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence is that people are born with their sexual orientation, that it is not a choice,” the church contends. “Fully accepting one’s sexual orientation and identity is key to leading a normal and healthy life.

“Forcing people to act against their God-given sexual orientation will lead to disordered lives. Allowing people to act in accordance with their God-given sexual orientation leads to reconciliation.”

While deeming the marginalization of LGBT persons as “unjustified” – mentioning that Jesus did not speak directly regarding homosexuality – the Toledo church recognizes that the Church today continues to be divided over interpretation of Scripture related to homosexuality.

Just two months ago, 33 retired United Methodist bishops urged the denomination to remove its ban on homosexual clergy, prolonging the undying debate within the church body.

CUMC hopes to unify believers by focusing more on “things that [they] agree on, such as kindness, justice, and humility,” instead of contributing to hate and discrimination, which they believe leads not to reconciliation, but to self-destructive practices within the LGBT community.

“Holding people responsible for matters in which they have no control is irrational and immoral,” the church declares. “We believe that both those within and without the Church are hungry for dialogue about homosexuality that reflects compassion and humility rather than intolerance and strife.”

Buchanan contends that CUMC’s message “tells people that the only option they have is a gay identity.”

But “people need to understand that thousands of men and women have found there is another way and have found freedom from homosexuality through the power of Christ,” he says.

Even if there was conclusive evidence supporting the theory that people were “born this way,” Buchanan stresses that Christians were called to be “born again.”

“While we may not choose our desires, we do have the ability and responsibility to choose whether or not we act on those desires. Our goal should be living a life that is congruent with Scripture,” he says.

“Genesis describes the fall of man and the permanent effects that sin has on us spiritually, mentally, and physically. Just because something may be inherent does not mean it was intended.”

Despite the outcry of many from the Christian community against CUMC’s campaign, Barnard continues to proclaim that homosexuality is a “gift” and has people come and remain just “as they are.”

Working to accept persons who are gay into the full life of the Church, CUMC is a founding member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, which is the United Methodist movement for gay equality in the denomination.

Two of the volunteer staff members at their church, including the music director and lead team chair, live with their partners and have served the church for over seven years.

Grieved over the misinterpretation of Scripture and false teaching that is being promoted by CUMC and many other churches like them, Buchanan encourages churches to deliver the message of Christ with love and grace, but also with accuracy and uncompromised truth.

“We must always remember that authentic love is built upon a foundation of grace and truth.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1543

Mar 01

Pastors be Warned!

Interesting take on Bible Prpohecy and the preaching of the message from Terry James of RaptureReady.com. I agree with him that pastors overall do not come out of seminary with a good basis of knowledge on the subject and it is sad becuase it is 28 to 30% of the Bible. 14to 15% fulfilled already and 14 to 15% to come in the future.

Also I also agree with his analysis on the the reasons pastors will use in order to justify not teaching it. We are commanded as beleivers to understand the times and seasons around us in regard to our Lord’s second coming. Be alert and be ready in order to not be caught off guard. So if our congregations do not have a general knowledge of the subjuect how can the be ready and looking? That is a key question to be answered after you read the attached! Keep looking up!

Pastors Forewarned

One of the most-mentioned laments among those of us who have Bible prophecy as our calling is that seminaries are not teaching prophecy and pastors are not preaching and teaching prophecy today. We refer to the majority of the seminary instructors and preachers who otherwise preach and teach God’s Word as inerrant truth.

Those who view the Bible as merely a book with good suggestions for how to live, but don’t consider it the literal Word of God, can’t be expected to understand the crucial necessity of preaching and teaching the whole Word of God. These pick and choose verses, applicable or not, to put forth their ear-tickling homilies, which by their very nature avoid doctrinal truth. So, we aren’t pointing a finger of admonishment at these.

Sadly, however, this description fits a growing number of seminaries and their graduates. It is getting harder to tell the genuine from the pretenders. More and more the words are sugar-coated, the points supposedly made trailing off into the ether of mumbo-jumbo irrelevance. When one gently probes one or the other of the Bible-believing/preaching pastors with the question: “Do you preach prophecy?” the answers are along the same line. It’s my experience and that of others who ask the question that 95 percent of those asked say something akin to the following:

“Prophecy is just too hard for people to understand.”

“I just don’t know about the subject, because we just barely touched on it in seminary.”

“Teaching people how to live as a Christians is more pressing.”

“It scares people, so I just don’t want to worry them unnecessarily.”

“People have been saying the Second Coming is here for years, and we are still here. We need to deal with the here and now, not pie in the sky.”

And my personal favorite:

“Some preachers are premillennial, some postmillennial, or whatever. I’m ‘pan’-millennial. I believe it will just all pan out in the end.” I have to tell you–confess, I guess—that this last one always presents a personal test of my temperament. Whenever I hear it, I see red, even though I’ve been as physically blind as the proverbial bat since 1993. Some of these preachers–a few–become a bit defensive and get rather exercised, launching into tirades, arguing that we prophecy types read far too much into the headlines as they might relate to biblical prophecy. And I readily admit that this has and continues to happen more often than it should.

The many episodes of date-settings for the rapture over the years, for example, have done disservice to God’s prophetic Word. Too often I receive formulas from all sorts of angles and configurations that claim to give the precise time of Christ’s coming in the Rapture, or that propose to have the answers to other prophetic events.

Despite the fact that there are those who are overly speculative in their views of Bible prophecy, the following must be said. To the pastors of America who claim the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of the Living God but callously ignore its prophetic content—be forewarned. Your excuses/arguments won’t stand the test at the bema–the judgment seat of Christ. You will be held accountable by the very Lord you proclaim you love so much–the same Lord about whom the angel told John: “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10b).

That same Jesus gave us the Olivet discourse, during which He laid out general and specific things to come. The Gospel accounts give Christ’s commandment of what to do about the many prophesied things He had just foretold: “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37). Prophecy makes up at least 27 percent of the Bible. Half of that 27 percent has been fulfilled, with half yet to be fulfilled. Anyone with spiritual ears to hear and spiritual eyes to see is capable of following the Lord’s command: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21: 28).

Certainly, if God calls people to be pastors–shepherds of His flock—He equips them to feed the flock His whole Word, not just the parts the pastor selects as important, while summarily dismissing the other parts of God’s Word. Jesus said to “watch” for prophetic developments. And, spiritually attuned eyes and ears–a condition all pastors should seek to appropriate and maintain—can hear and see that we are at the very end of the Church Age.

Just this week, the entire world, not just the Middle East, exploded with rage. From Cairo and the capitals of Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain, and Iran to the U.S. capital emulating the austerity cuts tumult in Europe, the seas and waves of humanity are roaring with distress and perplexity. From Juarez, Mexico, and the deadly drug wars to the seas off Somalia and the murderous pirates who prey on their victims, violence fills the whole earth.

Israel stands alone in the global spotlight as the most-hated nation on planet earth. The world is in economic chaos, headed for total collapse. All the while, technology is progressing geometrically in ways that will one day provide earth’s last tyrant with the satanically endowed ability to enslave most all people on this fallen sphere.

Yet many pastors of America are into building bigger, more beautiful edifices in order to more spectacularly entertain their audiences. They make claims that they are telling of God’s love. But, they are stressing how to tap into that love in order to gain favor for acquiring material things; they are not teaching how to share the message that Jesus’ love is shown in that He died to save us from our sins. Too many pastors are moving farther from teaching doctrinal truth. One such truth being assiduously avoided is that of Christ’s Second Coming.

Thankfully, this Laodicean model doesn’t apply to all megachurches in America today. Some genuinely preach and teach truth from the Bible, although most, I’m sorry to have to say, continue to push aside Bible prophecy in favor of sticking exclusively to life-lesson theology. The responsibility to “watch” must, by the Bible’s very definition of the word “preacher,” fall first and foremost on those who are called to shepherd God’s people. The Word of God warns specifically about keeping the flock informed, and about those commissioned to do so who fail in that responsibility: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me” (Hosea 4: 6a,b). Paul’s admonition applies to pastors and teachers even more, perhaps, than to those whom they shepherd and instruct.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2: 15). These are perilous times, dear pastors and teachers. Bible prophecy at this juncture in human history isn’t frivolous or an elective to be chosen according to the pastor’s whim. The hour is late, and God’s people haven’t a clue. It is critical that you begin giving them biblically prophetic nourishment.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1363

Jan 19

Apostasy: It is all around us!

Two more stories developing in the American church that are extremely alarming. The first is from Bill Wilson of KIN.

1. The Emergent Church and Homosexuality: Rewriting Scripture to Justify Sin –
By Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst

WASH–Jan 17–KIN–Cathleen Falsani, Religion Columnist, recently wrote an article claiming that Evangelical Christianity is having a “Great Gay Awakening.” Falsani, you may remember, is the woman who interviewed the current president about his religious viewpoints, and as we all found out through her reporting that the president believes there are many ways to heaven. Falsani, in writing for the Huffington Post, is now saying that what she was taught for most of her life–”that it’s impossible to be both openly gay and authentically Christian”–is wrong. In fact, she quotes leaders of the current Emergent Church movement as saying that the Bible was misquoted and that being homosexual is not a sin.

Its this kind of logic that is at the root of deception in the Church these days. Its the misquoting of scripture. I was recently in a church service, for example, where a person said that the Bible tells us “that even the elect shall be led astray.” This person was making a very good point that we should not just take for fact everything that a preacher says and that we should check it against scripture. Problem is this person’s use of scripture was also misquoting the Bible where Jesus said in Matthew 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” That’s a lot different than the elect shall be led astray.

It all starts with something innocuous and leads to things like man rewriting the Bible to fit the social morals of the day. Falsani says that the Old Testament prohibits interracial marriage, endorses slavery, forbids women to wear trousers, calls for brides who are not virgins to be stoned to death, and adulterers to be executed. So, she concludes, after quoting heretics like Brian McLaren and Tony Jones–leaders of the Emergent Church–that homosexuality is not a sin. They say that the word homosexual is not used in the Bible. My King James version doesn’t use the word homosexual, but in both the Old Testament and the New, it says that sexual relations between men with men and women with women is sin.

People are told in the Bible how to treat slaves, but clearly Exodus is a condemnation of slavery. There were reasons why God did not want the Jews marrying outside their race. There were reasons for the things in the Old Testament that we see today as strange. We need to accept them, not try to use them to justify sin. Sin is still sin. Homosexuality, whether the word exists in the Bible or not, is still, as Leviticus 18:22 puts it, “abomination.” Just so the Emergent Church heretics understand–its also a sin in the New Testament, as Romans 1:32 says “such things are worthy of death.” It is good that Christ gave us a commandment that may save them from eternal fire–love. If you love someone, you will help them see the true Christ that gives everlasting life.

2. What is Rick Warren Thinking?

The second involves Rick Warren and his affliation and support of New Age doctors in developing a health plan for his church. I have to admit I have been hesitant to criticize Rick Warren. His book, The Purpose Driven Life,  encouraged me when I read it for the first time. I know there are a lot of folks at my church that like him too. But I can’t ignore this one.

Warren decided to lose some weight and do a major health promotion at Saddleback. Of course, everything is BIG at Saddleback so he wanted to get some top name physicians and health consultants. So does he draw from the top minds of evangelicalism? No… he went to the top of of the evil world system.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. ( 2 Tim 4:3)

Warren put himself and now his flock under the care of Drs. Mehmet Oz, Mark Hyman, and Daniel Amen who have developed “The Daniel Plan.” Dr. Oz , an Oprah favorite, is the host of the Emmy-winning “Dr. Oz Show” and professor of surgery at Columbia University.  His medical qualifications aside, he openly admits that he is inspired by occultistEmmanuel Swedenborg.  Swedenborg was an 8th century cult founder who had elaborate conversations “Angels”  who dictated his apostate theology. There can be no doubt that they were fallen angels because he taught that all religions lead to God and denied orthodox Christian doctrines like the atonement of Christ, the trinity and the deity of the Holy Spirit. These aren’t excusable errors. Pastor Warren is knowingly putting his church under the influence of this New Age guru. Has he no discernment? What about shame?

He is also endorsing Hyman, a New York Times best-selling author who promotes New Age Buddhist style meditation via the Shambahala center. Hyman is an advocate of Buddhist Tantric sex practices and the dubious brain science behind his diet plan Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. 

Keep praying for the pastors and men of God in the church. We are called to a higher level of commitment and a deeper knowledge and understanding of Scripture. It is not just a book it is the living breathing Word of God.

Keep looking up!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1251

Dec 22

Are there many paths to God and Heaven?

This is a really disturbing trend in the world today; did I say Christian world today. The belief that there are many paths to God and to Heaven is really prevalent in the church. This is disturbing as churches continue to turn from the doctrinal truths in these Last Days and rally around worldly doctrines or doctrines that tickle their ears!

I read an article yesterday by Stephanie Samuel pointing out this trend in the current church. Enjoy and really search your heart on this disturbing trend.

Author: Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound

By Stephanie Samuel|Christian Post Reporter

 

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

Among the faiths, 83 percent of evangelical Protestants agreed that good people of other religions can go to heaven. Ninety percent of black Protestants also believe good people can go to heaven.

When prodded further, more than half – 54 percent – of evangelical Protestants said yes, people of religions other than Christianity can go to heaven. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants agreed with the statement.

Notably, the author mentioned that there may be some in the evangelical category that don’t belong.

Campbell, an expert of religion, politicsand public policy, explained at a Thursday discussion of his book that the numbers can be explained with the “Aunt Susan” theory. Aunt Susan, he said, is the nice family member who is well-loved and is an all around do-gooder.

“You know that if anyone is destined to go to heaven, it’s Aunt Susan,” described Campbell.

However, Aunt Susan is of another religion. Rather than condemn that person to a lost eternity, Campbell said, most American believers choose instead to believe that that person is heaven-bound.

He also shared that knowing an Aunt Susan opens believers up to other faiths.

“You become warmer not only to people of that group, but to people of other groups,” Campbell contended.

Simply put, interlocking social networks allows believers to accept tenants of other faiths.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, works with leaders of many faiths on issues such as stopping pornography, abortion and religious persecution.

“That doesn’t mean that I’m going to abandon the New Testament teaching,” he stated.

Those who do so to accommodate other beliefs “aren’t very good evangelicals,” in his view.

Land lamented that more evangelicals are being taught the doctrine of universalism. “It’s emphasized from the pulpit; it’s emphasized in the seminaries,” he decried.

Universalism is the theological doctrine that all people will eventually be saved despite a relationship with Christ.

He said this is especially true of youths because the messages from the pulpit have changed.

“I think the doctrine ‘In Christ alone’ … was emphasized more 25 years ago than it is today so young [people] are hearing about it less,” he revealed.

While Land said it is possible for Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and even Catholics to follow the tenants of their faiths and have salvation in Jesus Christ, he stated that the same is not true for Buddhists, Muslims and Mormons.

“It is impossible to believe what Mormons believe and be a Christian. It is impossible to believe what Muslims believe and be a Christian,” he said.

Likewise, he acknowledged that there may be unsaved believers among Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Catholics. Salvation, the biblical requirement for heaven, is an individual and personal choice, he told The Christian Post.

Land said he quotes the Bible’s New Testament which states that there is one mediator between God and men and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to all those who ask about heaven. If missionary work and evangelism is to continue on into the future, other Protestants must do the same, he asserted.

“If the price of respecting your faith is to deny mine, then that price is too high,” declared Land.

Campbell’s discussion was held at the Pew Forum in Washington, D.C.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1166

Dec 02

Homosexuality: The New Hot Button Topic in Church

Just in the last few days I have begun to see a more universal pattern in the church in America begin to hit home in the church in my local community. Homosexuality is a sin in Scripture plan and simple. We are not to encourage or condone the practice as followers of Jesus Christ.

We are to love all people, because we are all sinners. Some of us have chosen to recognize it and the need for a Savior, Jesus Christ. Those who do not chose a Savior, we need to encourage them towards Christ, we are to love them and we are to correct them.

So in the light here is the correction part. The church, especially here in America, is openly condoning homosexuality as an approved lifestyle. The main line denominations like, Methodist, Lutheran and Episcopalian are allowing gay marriage and even ordaining openly gay clergy or pastors.

These churches, their leadership and even the majority of their congregations are severely misled on this subject. The Lord Jesus does not want this in His true church. He is returning for a bride without spot and blemish and we are seeing this occur as the wheat is beginning to bow towards the ground as it’s Master approaches and the proud tares are standing high and proud and what truly awaits them is the Master’s sickle and the fire of the furnace.

This is truth and as followers of Jesus we need to stand proud of this! I have many people I know who live this sinful lifestyle, in work or in the community. They are nice and loving people not looking to hurt anyone. But they know where I stand on this issue that it is sin! I am bold in my love for them and bold in my telling them that their lifestyle is sinful.

What got me on this topic was my wife Tracey was reading through the local newspaper and came across an announcement of a Christmas event for here in Columbus, Ohio in the Entertainment and Arts section. It was an ad for the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus opening it’s 21st season with it’s annual performance of Joy! The scary thing is that the venues listed are not secular, THEY ARE CHURCHES! This is an open condoning of this lifestyle. And on top of it they are also allowing the mixing of this sinful lifestyle and to be mixed with the Holy and Sacred! Singing about the birth of our Lord and Savior! These venues are a major United Methodist church near downtown, a large Lutheran church in the northern suburbs and a second large, over 5,000 members, United Methodist church in a northwest suburb of Columbus!

People it is time to speak truth to this world and become the light of Christ. This is happening in our own backyards and it is now time to speak truth or we will be out of time and when we as followers of the Christ stand before Him we will need to answer for this!

Keep looking up!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1128

Nov 15

Heaven & Hell: Reality!

Heaven and Hell Talk

November 14, 2010

 

Heaven

Heaven will be better and grander than anything we can imagine and anything we have ever seen before.

It is important for us to talk about heaven for two reasons: first most people have questions about it like “hey I am a Christian, but I still fear death”. The second reason is since we will be spending a lot of time there if we are followers of Jesus; we need to know a little bit about it.

There are a lot of misconceptions about heaven and I hope to help clarify some of those today. Let’s read 1 Corinthians 2:9. The verse says you can’t even imagine. So you say, “Well, why even try?” We actually need to be thinking about it everyday because it will impact everything else we do in life.

The message of heaven will & should give us hope. Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. This passage tells us we are to have hope.

The next part of the talk is the theology of this place called Heaven. Scripture gives us a lot of insight to form our own biblically founded ideas or opinions about heaven. I encourage you when you leave here today to study this topic for yourselves.

A Theology of Heaven

 

The word heaven has interesting rootswhen you do a word study on it. In the Hebrew it is the word “shamayim” meaning “heights”. The Greek word for heaven is the word “ouranos” meaning “to raise up and lofty”. So we know that heaven is a place that is high and lifted up or lofty.

Let’s look at what Isaiah chapter 14 tells us about where heaven is located. This is the story of the fall of Lucifer or Satan. So we know from this passage that in order to get to heaven we need to ascend to it and that it is higher than the stars & clouds. We also know what direction we need to travel: north. An interesting side note about this northern location is that when astronomers look into space through their telescopes that when they point it in a northerly direction that there is a vast and enormous void with nothing there. They can not see where it ends. Could it be it is because that is the entry way into heaven? Just something to speculate on. We now know that heaven is beyond outer space since it is above the height of the stars & clouds.

The next question is how many heavens are there; is there only one? Well there are actually three heavens! First let’s look at 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.  The first heaven is the sky that we can see with our eyes. We find this told to us in passages like Psalm 147:8. The second heaven is space where the sun, moon, stars and galaxies are located. We find this told to us in Genesis 1:14-17. And then we have Paul’s description to us of the third heaven. This is where God’s throne is and where He dwells in the heavenly temple.

Next let’s talk about how we get there? The first way we can get there is if we die. Like I said in the opening one of the most frequent questions asked about heaven, even by believers, is “even though I am a believer in Christ, I still fear death”. Let me tell you there is nothing to fear! Let’s look first at 2 Corinthians 5:5-9.

We have a guarantee from God Himself. That if we are absent from the body then we are present with the Lord. Jesus has won the victory over death. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 tells us of this victory by Christ.

The second way we can go to heaven now is through an event called the Rapture. Let’s look at the event itself in Scripture quickly in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. This event is called the Rapture. When this event occurs believers in Christ alive here on earth will bodily meet the Lord in the air to go be with Him in heaven forever. Those who are already with the Lord will be reunited with their bodies.

We know we go to be with Jesus in this event since He tells us in John 14:1-2. He tells us He went back to the Father to prepare a place for us and that if He went to prepare a place for us that He will come back for us so we can be with Him forever.

What do we look like when we are in heaven for eternity? This is a harder question to answer but let me tell you what we know: 1 Corinthians 15: 51-53 tells us. So we will be changed in a twinkling of an eye. We will put in an imperishable, immortal body to live in for all eternity. Your next question will then be: okay so we have these immortal, indestructible or glorified bodies, but what do they look like and will we know each other. Let me tell you what we do know, we will be recognizable, these bodies will have flesh and bones still. How do I know that? Let’s look at the following passage in Luke 24 where Jesus provides us with a glimpse of what our future bodies will look like. Let’s look at Luke 24:36-43. So what do we see here: Jesus was recognizable by His disciples, He looked somewhat different because they thought He was ghost, He had hands and feet still, He had flesh and bones still and He also ate food with them. So this is what we know for sure about what our bodies will look like.

The last thing we need to cover from a theological perspective is that the present heaven & earth are not the final ones where we will spend eternity. Scripture tells us the following from 2 Peter 3 beginning in verse 10-13. So Peter is telling us that the old heavens will disappear with a roar and the earth will be destroyed by fire. But we should be looking forward to God keeping His promise to us of a new heaven and a new earth being created.

John is given the privilege of then describing to us what the new heaven and earth will look like. Let’s look at Revelation 21:1-4. John sees a new heaven and new earth replacing the old. He sees the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven and a voice tells him that now God is dwelling with man again and that He will live with us. We will be His people for eternity. There will be no more tears, no more death or mourning or crying for all the old has passed and we are with Him forever in perfect bliss.

Hell

 

The dictionary says that hell is “the place where wicked people are punished after death.” There are many people today who do not believe in a real hell. They might say something like this: “I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT A LOVING AND KIND GOD WOULD EVER PUNISH PEOPLE IN HELL!”

God is very loving and God is very kind, but God is also very HOLY and JUST and RIGHTEOUS. Let’s look at Psalm 5:4-5. Now let’s look at Psalm 7:11-12. We must never forget that God is holy and He hates sin.

God is the perfect judge. Let’s read Nahum 1:3. This means that the LORD will not let the guilty go unpunished. He must punish the guilty ones! How many people are guilty before God (Romans 3:19-20, 23) and (Romans 3:10-12)? So what do you think do you deserve to be punished? Everyone deserves to go to hell, but the amazing thing is that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16) that everyone who believes on His Son will not perish in hell. God has provided a way for sinful men to be saved from hell’s punishment!  He sent His Son to be punished for us!

What Did Jesus Teach About Hell?

Did the Lord Jesus Christ believe in a real hell (read Mark 9:43-48). Did Jesus Christ believe that there will be a real place of fire and punishment (Matthew 25:41, 46)?

Yes, Jesus Christ believed in a real hell. In fact, Jesus said more about hell than any other person in the Bible. He warned men about the dangers of hell and about the dangers of future punishment.

The Lord Jesus really loves us and that is why He has warned us about hell. What are you going to do with the warning? Think again of the people in the burning house. Suppose that you shout to them: “FIRE! FIRE IN THE BASEMENT! WAKE UP! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! HURRY UP! FIRE!” What will, these people do? They can believe your warning and believe that there really is a fire and run out of the house or they can say, “WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU! YOU ARE JUST PLAYING A JOKE ON US! WE ARE GOING BACK TO SLEEP!”

They can believe and be saved or they can refuse to believe and perish. The same is true with Jesus warnings about hell.

The Place Called Hades

In Luke 16:19-31 we learn about a poor man who was saved (Lazarus) and a rich man who was not saved (his name is not given). When Lazarus died he was carried by the angels to a place of comfort and happiness where Abraham and the other saved people were (Luke 16:22, 23, 25). But when the unsaved rich man died, what place did he find himself in (Luke 16:22-23)? Was he happy or miserable in this place (Luke 16:24)? Was he comfortable there (Luke 16:25)? Did he want his 5 brothers to come to this same place of suffering (Luke 16:27-28)?

The word hell in Luke 16:23 is the Greek word Hades. Hades is the place where this unsaved rich man went when he died. Jesus called Hades a “place of torture” (Luke 16:28). We are also told that it is a place where people suffer in some kind of fire (see Luke 16:28–“flame”). Jesus described Hades as a terrible place of suffering and misery. It is also a place where people can get no relief from their suffering (Luke 16:24-26). The rich man wanted just one drop of water (the amount of water that a tip of a person’s finger would hold–Luke 16:24), but he did not get what he asked for.

Actually Hades was the place where the dead went and it included both the place of torment (Luke 16:23-24) and also the place of comfort where Lazarus and Abraham were (also called “Abraham’s bosom”).

Where Do People Go When They Die?

In the days before the cross, people would go to Hades when they died.  In Hades there would be a place for the saved and a place for the unsaved:

Hades
(the underworld)
PLACE FOR SAVED Abraham’s bosom
(Luke 16:22)
Paradise
(Luke 23:43)
LAZARUS and ABRAHAM
 GREAT
GULF
FIXED
(Lk.16:26)
PLACE FOR UNSAVEDPlace of  Fire
(Luke 16:24)
Place of  Torment
(Luke 16:28)
RICH MAN

Now that Christ has died and rose again and ascended into heaven, things are different. Today when people die, they go straight to heaven (Philippians 1:21, 23; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 12:2, 4). When Christ ascended up to heaven he took Lazarus and Abraham and all the saved people with Him (compare Ephesians 4:8-10). But when unsaved people die today, they still go to the same place. They still go to Hades, the same place the rich man went in Luke chapter 16.

The Place Called Gehenna

There is another word for hell which is found in the New Testament. This is the word that is found in Mark 9:43-48. It is the Greek word “GEHENNA.”

In Old Testament times Gehenna was a place located outside the city walls of Jerusalem.  It was also called the Valley of Hinnom. It was at this place that children were sometimes sacrificed and burned in flames. Children would be passed through the flames (see 2 Chronicles 28:3). This wicked practice took place at Gehenna. In Old Testament times when people thought of this place they thought of bodies being burned in fire!

Years later Gehenna became the city dump! The Jews living in Jerusalem would throw their garbage and worthless things into this valley. Even the bodies of dead animals would be thrown into this place to be devoured by the maggots and the flames. Sometimes the bodies of unburied criminals were thrown into Gehenna after they were executed or crucified. A fire was kept burning in this valley in order to consume the waste and rubbish and dead bodies that were thrown there. It seemed that the fires in this valley never went out. The place even came to be called THE GEHENNA OF FIRE.

Jesus used the word Gehenna to describe hell (THE PLACE OF EVERLASTING FIRE–see Matthew 25:41). In Matthew 5:29 this word is used (the word hell is the word Gehenna). Do the fires of Gehenna ever go out (Mark 9:43-44)?

Down through the centuries many Christians have been put to death by being burned at the stake. These Christians knew that the fire that they had to go through would only hurt them for a brief moment. But their enemies who put them to death would someday have to suffer in flames that would last forever! Polycarp was a Christian who lived a long time ago (in the second century A.D.). His enemies wanted to burn him at the stake unless he would deny Christ. One of these men said, “I will have you consumed with fire unless you change your mind.” Polycarp replied, “You threaten fire which burns for an hour and is soon quenched; for you are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment reserved for the wicked” (see Matthew 25:41,46). The fire that Polycarp suffered through was nothing compared to the fire that the unsaved must suffer through forever!

The Temporary Prison and the Final Prison

When an unsaved person dies, he goes to Hades (as we saw in Luke chapter 16). Hades is like a temporary prison. Unsaved people will not be in Hades forever. They will only be there until the Great White Throne Judgment. After the Great White Throne Judgment they will be cast into the final prison which is called the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:14-15. This is the place that Jesus meant when he used the word hell or Gehenna.  It is the place where the fire never stops burning.

The lake of fire is the final place where the unsaved will be for all eternity. Those who go into the lake of fire never come out! They will suffer there forever! The fire will never go out. They must stay in this prison forever! The lake of fire is also called the second death. (Revelation 20:14 and see 21:8). Death means separation. The second death is when a person is separated from God forever. Someone has once said, “Those who are born twice (that is, born again) die once; those who are born once die twice” This means that those who are born again only have to die once (they die physically). Those who are not born again will not only die physically but they will also be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death. The second death is for all that have never been born again into God’s family.

Why Do People Deny the Reality of Hell?

Hell is a terrible reality and we don’t like to think about it.  But God’s Word, which is absolute truth (John 17:17) tells us about hell and God wants us to understand it and Christ died to save us from it.  People deny hell for two main reasons:   1) They don’t understand the terribleness of sin in God’s sight;   2) They don’t understand the awesome holiness of God.   If we really understood these twin truths, we would not have a problem understanding why the wicked must suffer in hell forever.

What Is Hell?

When you think of HELL you should always think of two things: 1) Separation from God; 2) Punishment by God.

SEPARATION: Hell is called “THE SECOND DEATH” and this reminds us of separation.
PUNISHMENT: Hell is called “THE LAKE OF FIRE” and this reminds us of punishment.

Jesus Suffered Hell For Us!

What happened to Jesus when He died on the cross? Read Matthew 27:46. Was He separated from God? Read Isaiah 53:4, 5,6,10 and 1 Peter 3:18. Was He punished by God? Indeed, this is the good news found in the Bible! Jesus Christ was separated from God so that we would never have to be separated from God! Jesus Christ was punished by God so that we would never have to be punished by God! Jesus Christ died so that we would never have to be hurt by the second death (Revelation 2:11)! Christ died to save us and deliver us from so great a death (2 Corinthians 1:10)!

You are VERY REAL. Are you REALLY saved or are you REALLY separated from God?

Heaven is REAL. Hell is REAL. Your choice is REAL.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1085

Nov 11

Apostasy in the Church even in America

Joel Osteen pastors the largest church in America located in Houston, Texas. He is a highly published author of three books and in the last year has been selling out appearances all over the US in places like Yankee Stadium in New York and in LA at Dodger Stadium.

But if you ever really listen to him preach or watch one of his sermons from Lakewood Church on TV you will hear a Gospel preached that you may never have heard before. It is a gospel of prosperity, a gospel of positivity, a gospel that never emanated from Jesus.

He may not even mention Jesus all that much. His teaching is flat out apostasy and is leading the church of Jesus down a path towards destruction. He is a New Ager. Read the attached commentary on Mr. Osteen and you draw your own conclusions.

Keep looking up from your redemtioon draws near!

Joel Osteen’s New Age Life Now?

By Brannon Howse
Worldview Weekend

“Whatever you conceive you can achieve.”

With this favorite karma-changing promise, New Agers believe you need only use the “unlimited” power and consciousness of your mind to bring about all your dreams, desires and wishes.

Cloaked in a “Christian” package, Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, bears an uncomfortable and dangerous similarity to this most popular of New Age claims. Sample a few of the Osteen versions:

  • “You will produce what you’re continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, then you’re going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.” (page 5)
  • “You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it.” (page 6)
  • “You must look through your ‘eyes of faith’ and start seeing yourself as happy, healthy and whole.” (page 15)
  • “What you will receive is directly connected to how you believe.” (page 22)
  • “We receive what we believe.” (page 72)
  • “Learn how to conceive. Keep the image of what you want to become in front of you. You’re going to become what you believe.” (page 81)

Osteen now travels the country, packing out stadiums with his happy-talk. But I’d like to see Osteen pay a visit to China, preach his “your best life now” drivel, and see how Christians there respond. Let Osteen look into the eyes of Pastor Lei who has been repeatedly arrested and beaten for preaching the Word of God in his church – a church not licensed by the Chinese government. How would the American’s best life work out for Pastor Lei and his congregation? Perhaps their jail time for the Gospel would give them time to assess Rev. Osteen’s claims.

Have these and countless other persecuted Christians been beaten, jailed and murdered because they “received what they believed,” or did these terrible things happen to them because they did not “develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness”?

Were eleven of Jesus’ disciples martyred because, “they received what they believed”? Were the disciples living under a “curse of poverty and defeat” as Osteen says of so many? Here’s a role call of questions I’d like to ask Mr. Osteen. Why is it, Joel, that:

  • Paul and Matthew were beheaded?
  • Barnabas was burned to death?
  • Mark was dragged to death?
  • James, the less, was clubbed to death?
  • Peter, Philip, and Andrew were crucified?
  • Thomas was speared to death?
  • Luke was hung by the neck until dead?
  • Stephen was stoned?

How would these disciples take to the best-life message?

Yes, I know. Joel’s promises sound so much better to American ears than all those warnings of Jesus about being hated by most people for His sake. But it remains that in large measure, Joel’s offering can be described as nothing less than blasphemy. On page 36, he claims, “God has a big dream for your life.” On page 56:

“God sees you as a champion. He believes in you even more than you believe in yourself!”

And on page 110:

“God has confidence in you.”

Osteen does not provide a single Bible verse to back up these statements…because there are none. Nowhere in the Bible do we read that God believes or has confidence in us. He loves us, but does not believe in us. On the contrary, He knows all too well how unbelievably fickle and untrustworthy we humans actually are. It’s not like Joel describes on page 57:

“Believe it or not, that is how God sees you, too. He regards you as a strong, courageous, successful, overcoming person.”

Furthermore, God does not define our success in materialistic terms as Joel does. God is interested in our obedience above all. On page 63, Joel writes:

As long as you are pressing forward, you can hold your head up high, knowing that you are a “work in progress,” and God is in the process of changing you. He’s looking at your last two good moves.

Joel, where in the Bible do you read that God is not looking at our last two bad moves but our last two good moves? Isaiah 64:6 says that even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags or wickedness to God because He is so holy. Even if God did look at our last two good moves, He would still see filthy rags.

Or how about this Osteen gospel gem from page 95:

“Be the best you can be, then you can feel good about yourself.”

Where in the Bible do we find this teaching? What if your best is getting drunk just once a week instead of twice a week? Should you still feel good about yourself?

But wait. I’ve saved Joel’s most outrageous statement for last (drum roll please). On page 144, Joel elevates us to the heavenlies by pointing out that “You may even need to forgive God.”

Whoa! And exactly what would we be forgiving God for? As I recall, forgiveness is for sins – or at least mistakes. But which of those has God made? Not a one according to any Bible I’ve ever read.

Oswald Chambers offers a perspective on the kind of thing the Osteens of the world do to Christians:

“Satan’s great aim is to deflect us from the center. He will allow us to be devoted to the death to any cause, any enterprise, to anything but the Lord Jesus.”

Hebrews 13:9instructs us to not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings (deflected from the center) but sadly, that is exactly what is happening for many at the hand of Joel Osteen.

Instead of pursuing our best life now, we should pursue the things of the Lord so we can have our best life later. I fear that for many who follow Joel’s false teaching, this life is the best they will get. The false gospel proclaimed by Joel Osteen and accepted as truth by millions may allow many to achieve what they can conceive of the things in this world, but true to Jesus’ promise, they may lose their souls in the pursuit.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1082