Category: The Church

Feb 28

Vatican wants to examine 1500-year-old Bible in Turkey: report

Here we go with this story showing how the faith will turn from Jesus being the Son of God. If the Vatican believes these lies then the false religion of Islam will be in bed with Catholism.

The Vatican has requested that Turkey allow it to examine a 1500-year-old Bible that was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000 and handed over to the Ankara Ethnography Museum, the Turkish Bugün daily reported on Thursday.

The daily said the Bible is reportedly written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, and is said to be worth TL 40 million. According to the report, the Bible was seized from a gang smuggling artifacts during a police operation in southern Turkey in 2010 and reportedly preserves its originality and many traces of the period it’s from.

The gang was reportedly convicted of smuggling various items seized during the operation, including the Bible, and all the artifacts were kept in a safe in the Ankara Courthouse. The Bible, which was reportedly kept in the courthouse for years, was only recently handed over to the care of Ankara Ethnography Museum.

The leather-bound Bible is written on leather sheets and is now under protection as it is regarded as a valuable cultural asset. Even a Xerox copy of pages from the book is reported to be worth as much as TL 3-4 million.

Another Turkish daily, the Star, has claimed that it may be a copy of the much-debated Gospel of Barnabas, which Muslims claim is an original gospel that was later suppressed — the oldest copies of this gospel date back to the 16th century and are written in Italian and Spanish. However, the Gospel of Barnabas is not included in the four gospels that currently comprise the canonical New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The Gospel of Barnabas contradicts the canonical New Testament account of Jesus and his ministry, but has strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus. Much of its content and themes parallel Islamic ideas and it includes a prediction by Jesus of the Prophet Muhammad coming to earth.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3152

Feb 16

‘Chrislam’ – A Spirit of Antichrist

I want to address what is beginning to occur in the Church and why it must be rejected outright. It’s becoming increasingly ‘in vogue’ to accept Islam in the Church. Consider a June 24, 2011 article from World Net Daily. “Dozens of churches, from Park Hill Congregational in Denver to Hillview United Methodist in Boise, Idaho, and First United Lutheran in San Francisco to St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Honolulu, are planning to send ‘a message both here at home and to the Arab and Muslim world about our respect for Islam’ with a time to read the Quran during worship this Sunday.” It has been labeled ‘Chrislam’, the attempt by some Christians to find common ground with Islam. One person said it was wrong. Another called it dangerous. God uses stronger words than that. Scripture itself declares ‘Chrislam’, the mixing of Christianity and Islam, to be a Spirit of Antichrist!

The Spirit of Antichrist was already prevalent during the time of the Apostle John. In fact, he was the one who had the most to say about this demonic influence. In 1 John 2:18, he said, “…you have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know it is the last time”. Again, in 1 John 4:3, he said, “…this is that SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST, whereof you have heard that it should come; and EVEN NOW ALREADY IS IT IN THE WORLD”. The word ‘Antichrist’ simply means ‘against Christ’ or ‘opposes Christ’. Anything that would be introduced into the Church that would subvert the finished work of the Cross, that is, distract, corrupt, or take away from who Jesus Christ is and what He accomplished at the Cross, is a Spirit of Antichrist. I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). The acceptance of Islamic practices into the Church by these and other ministers is giving way to seducing spirits and is teaching the doctrines of devils.

What I am about to show you are the characteristics that the Apostle John himself used to describe the Spirit of Antichrist:

1) The Spirit of Antichrist denies that Jesus is the Christ. In 1 John 2:22, it says, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist…” The word ‘Christ’ in the original Greek means ‘Anointed One’. In other words, it is a declaration of Jesus as Messiah. Islam rejects that Jesus is the one and only true Messiah. They believe He was a prophet and maybe a type of Messiah, but not the Anointed One. If that’s not enough, John goes further by calling them liars.

2) The Spirit of Antichrist denies that Jesus is the Son of God. In 1 John 2:22, the Apostle continues, “He is Antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son”. Islam rejects that Jesus affirmed He was the Son of God. Furthermore, one well-known Bible teacher said that Muslims believe that the Mahdi is the future leader and that Jesus will return and follow the Mahdi to Jerusalem where He (Jesus) will deny He is the Son of God. Again, in this same verse, John said those who reject His Sonship were liars.

3) The Spirit of Antichrist does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. In 1 John 4:3, again the Apostle states, “And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that Spirit of Antichrist…” Did you catch that? Any spirit that rejects God as coming in the flesh is ‘not of God’. If it didn’t come from God, then it is a doctrine of devils according to the Apostle Paul himself, as stated earlier. Islam rejects that God came into this world in the flesh. This also tells us that the Christian God, who is Jesus Christ, is not the same as the Muslim god, Allah. It also proves that Allah is a false god.

Finally, the following are some of the last words the Apostle Peter would write before, according to tradition, he was crucified upside-down. “But there were false Prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord Who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1). For these Church leaders, who are blind watchmen, to bring Islam and the reading of the Quran into the Church is to deny the Lord himself, it is to deny who He is, and it is to deny what He accomplished at Calvary’s Cross 2,000 years ago, when He gave His life for the sins of the world! Just as bad, it is an open acceptance of the Spirit of Antichrist, which John said will bring swift destruction and ultimately, yet sadly, the damning of the soul.

What should the Church do now? We must get back to proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation without fear of reprisal. We must defend and preach the deity of Jesus, that He is the one true God and there is no other. Then we must also boldly proclaim the Holy Scriptures, not the Quran, as the inspired and inerrant Word of God.

Everyone should be free to practice their religion in the way they choose. What this is about is defending the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what He accomplished at the Cross, and preserving the purity of the Church against the infiltration of false doctrine. The Early Church Fathers (e.g., St. Polycarp, St. Irenaeus) defended the Truth against heresy, so why don’t we?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3106

Feb 14

Why are people apathetic concerning the return of Christ?

This is an important discussion around the APATHY in the church around our blessed hope, the Return of Jesus!

Why are people apathetic concerning the return of Christ? – Nathan Jones – www.lamblion.com

 Explaining Away the Rapture

 Dr. Reagan: Have you ever given any thought as to what kind of explanation will be given by the world after the Rapture happens? When all these people disappear the world surely is going to have some wild explanations as to what happened so as to be able to deceive people.

 Dennis Pollock: I’m not sure, but I have a feeling they’ll at least be smart enough to figure out it was those religious fanatics who have all disappeared, you know, the ones who talked about Jesus and carried their Bibles around and went to Bible studies. They’ll be saying, “I always thought something no good was going to come of those faithful folks. Who knows where they are.”

 Nathan Jones: You do know that the New Agers would actually be rejoicing when we’re gone, for they’re expecting the Rapture as much as we are, but they think that Christians are holding back human evolution and have got to go. Once we’re gone they’ll think that’ll be a good thing that’s happened. Maybe they’ll explain the Rapture away with UFO’s or global warming.

 Dr. Reagan: True, as a matter of fact in the early 70’s books were written by the New Age Movement that said the masters of the universe which are their channeled spirits have revealed to them that a time is coming when they are going to remove from the world all those who live by faith so that those who live by reason can continue in their evolutionary development. I’m sure the New Agers will rush to the microphones and declare, “See, we told you back in 1970’s that this would happen.”

 Apathy Over the Lord’s Return

 Dr. Reagan: An attitude that seems to dominate the Church today regarding the Lord’s return is namely apathy. Why is there so much apathy about the Lord’s return when the signs of the times are literally screaming from the heavens that Jesus is about to return?

 Dennis Pollock: The Bible says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So, if you don’t have faith, you may wish you had some faith, but you’ve got to do more than just wish for some faith. You’ve got to get into the Word and that faith will grow. That faith will come.

 Attraction to anything comes by exposure. The more you are exposed to something the more you become attracted. For example, we’ve all had songs we first heard and didn’t think too much of them, but when we kept on hearing them the more we began to enjoy them, and they may even have become our favorite songs, and all because we’d been exposed to them.

 Another example, when I was 19 I decided I was going to enter the world of adults and become a coffee drinker. It just seemed so cool to drink coffee. But, I hated the taste of coffee. I remember being at a friend’s house and his dad asked me if I wanted coffee and so all cool I answered, “Yeah, I’d like some coffee.” I was thinking I was a big old adult guy now. And so, he gave me this coffee and I took a sip, and instead of being cool my entire goal for that cup of coffee was to drink it without grimacing and making a terrible face! Over time, the more I became exposed to coffee the more I began to like it. And, guess what? Now I can drink a cup of coffee and smile and enjoy it. It goes great with a lot of foods that I enjoy.

 We can pretty well agree then that as you become more exposed to anything you become more attracted to it, or at least desensitized to it, if it doesn’t have any attractiveness to it at all.

 The same continued exposure to the truth of the news that Jesus Christ will return will attract us more to that fact. If you’ve never thought about it much, and if it’s never preached on, if you never read about it, and if you never watch TV programs that are dedicated to that concept, then of course you have no excitement about the return of Christ. You just never will.

 It’s not enough just to say, “I just don’t think much about Jesus’ return. I just never have felt much excitement. I guess if the Lord really wants me to get excited He’ll just explode it into my heart.” No! Get into the Word. Get a red pen and start marking the Scriptures that deal with the return of Christ. Watch programs like Christ in Prophecy. Get a good Bible or Christian books about the return of Christ and read them. Faith and excitement and attraction will then come to you as well. So, that’s the primary way to get over the apathy, and that being just to start exposing yourself to this incredible doctrine that saturates the Scriptures — the return of Christ.

 Nathan Jones: I believe there are two groups of people. The first group of people are the ones who have been waiting for so long that they’ve lost their excitement and have given up. They are like a friend of mine who a few years back said she was really excited about Bible prophecy when Hal Lindsey came out with Late Great Planet Earth, but then thirty-some or forty years later, the Lord still hasn’t come back. All that excitement, where did it go? After all, Paul was talking about the Rapture 2,000 years ago and it still hasn’t happened. We know that these past years in God’s perspective is a short time, but for us it’s been an eternity, and so we can finally just give up.

 The second group can be found in 2 Peter 3, and they are the one’s who think the idea of the Rapture is just absurd. We can find them where it says, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our fathers died everything goes on as since the beginning of creation.'”

 The 2 Peter 3:9 text gives us the response to both of these groups when it says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come into repentance.” Jesus is waiting so you and me and all the people who will become saved can be part of the Bride of Christ, which is the Universal Church. Just think that if the Lord came 100 years ago you and me wouldn’t even exist, so praise the Lord He is patient and waiting!

 What We Do While Waiting

 Dr. Reagan: Speaking of waiting, what should we do as we wait for the return of the Lord at the Rapture?

 Nathan Jones: One of the great things about people who love the Rapture, who understand the Rapture and really get into it, is that they’re excited. They’re just an excited group of people, and the reason is because it gives them purpose. They understand that they need to be holy. They need to be dedicated to the Lord.

 For example, when I come into the house sometimes my kids are watching an extra half hour beyond their time limit. They give you this look that kids give you, that guilty kind of look. Similarly, knowing that God could come at any moment, what’s He going to find us doing? Knowing that the Lord will come back at any time gives us a sense to live holy lives.

 Dennis Pollock: If you’re an unbeliever, obviously there’s only one thing for you to do, and that’s to be born again. Receive Christ as your Savior so that you will be prepared, because when Christ comes He’s coming for people who are exclusively His.

 In God’s eyes there are only two kinds of people in this world: 1) those who belong to Christ, and 2) those who don’t. There is no Partial Rapture which says that if you reach a certain level of holiness then you can be part of the Rapture. Christ is coming for all of His people, and leaving behind all those who are not and subjecting them to His judgment.

 If you are a parent and you have children, those children are your children. They are different from every other child on the face of the earth. Those happen to be yours, and your blood is in them. Christ looks on a certain people all across this world — black, white, oriental, hispanic — that are His people because the Holy Spirit lives in them.

 If you are not one of His you need to run to the cross of Jesus and believe in Him and be born again. That’s your ultimate preparation.

 And, if you are a Christian, what you need to do is to abide in Him. John says, “So that when He appears we won’t be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3094

Feb 11

THE KEYS TO REVIVAL IN AMERICA

Great article from Greg Laurie around the keys to revival in America. Please read and pray for America and her people.

The keys to revival in America

Exclusive: Greg Laurie identifies critical spiritual weapons that trump political ones

Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in America. He is also the featured speaker for Harvest Crusades, large-scale evangelistic outreaches that have been attended by more than 4 million people around the world since 1990. Greg is heard internationally on the daily radio broadcast,

There is a lot of talk about who the next occupant of the White House will be. And while I believe that Christians should find a candidate who represents a biblical worldview as much as possible and then vote for that candidate, we also need to understand at the same time that no congressman or congresswoman, no senator, or no president can turn our country around.

It is not a political answer America needs; it is a spiritual answer. And the only real answer is a spiritual awakening. A revival must hit America. The classic verse that is often quoted on this subject was given initially to the nation of Israel, but it applies to our nation as well:

 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV).

We want God to heal our land. But notice that God said, “If My people who are called by My name …” (emphasis added). When God looked at a nation that was having problems, he pointed his finger at his people. So often we are quick to point out all of the problems in our culture. But God essentially says, “You know, I have kind of been looking at you – you who are called by my name.” The question is, are we experiencing spiritual revival?

God was saying that if you want to turn a nation around, then his people need to live as they should.

That first-century church turned their world upside down. And the question arises, is that where we are today? I think, sadly, the answer is no. In a time when we need to engage our culture with the one truth that has any hope of transforming it, many in the church have turned away from the answer.

One pastor wrote a book questioning the biblical teaching on hell. Of course, that got a lot of press coverage, because many members of the media don’t believe in what the Bible teaches. Therefore, they embrace the idea of a so-called evangelical preacher saying that he was not certain that what we have always taught and believed about hell is really accurate.

Then I read about a pastor of a megachurch who said recently that he thinks the terms “saved” and “born again” should no longer be used in preaching because our culture doesn’t understand that. And a Christian blogger who is very popular questioned the whole idea of evangelism.

Now, I expect this kind of behavior from nonbelievers. But when I see it from people in the church, it causes me to be concerned. To these misled people and those who would follow them, I would say this: There has never been a time when it is more significant for us to warn people about the reality of hell and tell them that, yes, they need to be “saved” and “born again.” And yes, we need to do it through evangelism.

C. S. Lewis said, “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” The gospel message is eternal. It never goes out of date. It never goes out of style.

Is the church today, like the church of the first century, changing their world and turning it upside down? Or, is the world turning us upside down? Think about the daunting challenge the church of the first century faced. They had no political base … no voting bloc in the Roman Senate … no emperor of Rome who was sympathetic toward them.

These first Christians did not out-argue the pagans; they outlived them. Christianity made no attempts to conquer paganism blow by blow. Instead, the Christians of the first century outfought, outlived and out-prayed the nonbelievers. And that is because they recognized their weapons were not physical; they were spiritual. We don’t read that the Christians armed themselves and led a revolt against Rome. Rome had the most powerful military on the face of the earth at that time. No, the first-century believers decided to fight fire with fire. They recognized it was a spiritual battle, and so they used spiritual weaponry.

And what is that spiritual weaponry God has given us to fight the battle today? It is primarily prayer and the preaching of the gospel.

The problem is that we don’t use this weaponry. We use political means or other avenues as we try to solve problems, and it is like attempting to extinguish a forest fire out with a squirt gun.

The Bible gives us an account in Acts 12 of a particularly difficult time in the early church. Herod had James, the brother of John, murdered. He had Peter imprisoned. So what did the church do? Did they organize a boycott of all products made in Rome? Did they develop a campaign to have Herod overthrown? No. They actually did something that we don’t do enough of these days. They prayed. We read in Acts 12, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (verse 5). Though all doors remained closed, one was still open: the door of prayer.

As D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “Of all of the blessings of Christian salvation none is greater than this, that we have access to God in prayer.”

How things change as a result of powerful prayer. God will always have the last word. Acts 12 opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing. But it closes with Herod dead, Peter free and the Word of God triumphing. It’s not over till it’s over. That is the power of prayer.

So let’s use the spiritual weapons that God has given us. Let’s start praying.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3069

Jan 18

False Prophets and False Doctrine

We need to be alert as we have prominent Christian leaders like Joel Osteen, who is pastor of the largest church in America, saying that Mormons believe the same thing Christians do in regard to Christ. This is simply not the case. And now we need to really be in prayerful consideration in regard to how we vote if in fact Mitt Romney, a senior Mormon leader – Bishop at one time, becomes the Republican nominee for president.

These two articles should help in that consideration set!

January 16, 2012 9:40 AM

Osteen: Romney “believer in Christ, like me”

Play CBS News Video

(CBS News) 

Pastor Joel Osteen, one of America’s most popular religious figures, said on “CBS This Morning” that GOP candidate Mitt Romney believes in Jesus like he does.

“What I see about Governor Romney is that he says, ‘I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God, he’s raised from the dead and he’s my savior.’ I see him as being a believer in Christ, like me.”

Charlie Rose said, “That’s enough for you?”

“That’s enough for me,” Osteen said. “There’s differences in all religion. I realize Mormonism is different from Christianity, but you know what, he’s a man of faith and values. And to me, that’s strong.”

 

The Theological Differences Behind Evangelical Unease With Romney

 

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

 

Published: January 14, 2012

 

The Rev. R. Philip Roberts, the president of a Southern Baptist seminary in Kansas City, Mo., is an evangelist with a particular goal: countering Mormon beliefs.

 

Mr. Roberts has traveled throughout the United States, and to some countries abroad, preaching that Mormonism is heretical to Christianity. His message is a theological one, but theology is about to land squarely in the middle of the Republican presidential primary campaign.

 

As the Republican voting moves South, with primaries in South Carolina on Saturday and in Florida on Jan. 31, the religion of Mitt Romney, the front-runner, may be an inescapable issue in many voters’ minds. In South Carolina, where about 60 percent of Republican voters are evangelical Christians, Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon and a former bishop in the church, faces an electorate that has been exposed over the years to preachers like Mr. Roberts who teach that the Mormon faith is apostasy.

 

Many evangelicals have numerous reasons, other than religion, for objecting to Mr. Romney. But to understand just how hard it is for some to coalesce around his candidacy, it is important to understand the gravity of their theological qualms.

 

“I don’t have any concerns about Mitt Romney using his position as either a candidate or as president of the United States to push Mormonism,” said Mr. Roberts, an author of “Mormonism Unmasked” and president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who said he had no plans to travel to South Carolina before the voting. “The concern among evangelicals is that the Mormon Church will use his position around the world as a calling card for legitimizing their church and proselytizing people.”

 

Mormons consider themselves Christians — as denoted in the church’s name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet the theological differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity are so fundamental, experts in both say, that they encompass the very understanding of God and Jesus, what counts as Scripture and what happens when people die.

 

“Mormonism is a distinctive religion,” David Campbell, a Mormon and an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in religion and politics. “It’s not the same as Presbyterianism or Methodism. But at the same time, there have been efforts on the part of the church to emphasize the commonality with other Christian faiths, and that’s a tricky balance to strike for the church.”

 

On the most fundamental issue, traditional Christians believe in the Trinity: that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all rolled into one.

 

Mormons reject this as a non-biblical creed that emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries. They believe that God the Father and Jesus are separate physical beings, and that God has a wife whom they call Heavenly Mother.

 

It is not only evangelical Christians who object to these ideas.

 

“That’s just not Christian,” said the Rev. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, a liberal Protestant seminary in New York City. “God and Jesus are not separate physical beings. That would be anathema. At the end of the day, all the other stuff doesn’t matter except the divinity of Jesus.”

 

The Mormon Church says that in the early 1800s, its first prophet, Joseph Smith, had revelations that restored Christianity to its true path, a course correction necessary because previous Christian churches had corrupted the faith. Smith bequeathed to his church volumes of revelations contained in scripture used only by Mormons: “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” “The Doctrine and Covenants” and “Pearl of Great Price.”

 

Traditional Christians do not recognize any of those as Scripture.

 

Another big sticking point concerns the afterlife. Early Mormon apostles gave talks asserting that human beings would become like gods and inherit their own planets — language now regularly held up to ridicule by critics of Mormonism.

 

But Kathleen Flake, a Mormon who is a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt Divinity School, explained that the planets notion had been de-emphasized in modern times in favor of a less concrete explanation: people who die embark on an “eternal progression” that allows them “to partake in God’s glory.”

 

“Mormons think of God as a parent,” she said. “God makes the world in order to give that world to his children. It’s like sending your child to Harvard — God gives his children every possible opportunity to progress towards this higher life that God possesses. When Mormons say ‘Heavenly Father,’ they mean it. It’s not a metaphor.”

 

It is the blurring of the lines between God, Jesus and human beings that is hard for evangelicals to swallow, said Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical school in Pasadena, Calif., who has been involved in a dialogue group between evangelicals and Mormons for 12 years and has a deep understanding of theology as Mormons see it.

 

“Both Christians and Jews, on the basis of our common Scriptures, we’d all agree that God is God and we are not,” Mr. Mouw said. “There’s a huge ontological gap between the Creator and the creature. So any religious perspective that reduces that gap, you think, oh, wow, that could never be called Christian.”

 

Mormons tend to explain the doctrinal differences more gently. Lane Williams, a Mormon and a professor of communications at Brigham Young University-Idaho, a Mormon institution, said the way he understands it, “it’s not a ‘we’re right and they’re wrong’ kind of approach. But it’s as though we feel we have a broader circle of truth.

 

“My daily life tries to be about Jesus Christ,” he said. “And in that way, I don’t think I’m much different from my Protestant friends.”

 

In a Pew poll released in late November, about two-thirds of mainline Protestants and Catholics said Mormonism is Christian, compared with only about a third of white evangelicals. By contrast, 97 percent of Mormons said their religion is Christian in a different Pew poll released this month.

 

Mr. Mouw said that only a month ago he was called to Salt Lake City to mediate a theological discussion about Mormonism among four evangelical leaders who had collaborated with Mormon leaders to pass the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California. After two and a half days of discussions, the group was divided on Mormon theology, Mr. Mouw said.

 

“Two concluded that while Mormons are good people, they don’t worship the same God,” Mr. Mouw said. “Two concluded that Mormons love Jesus just as the evangelicals do, and they accepted the Mormons as brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

“That’s the split,” Mr. Mouw said, “and it’s very basic.”

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2948

Dec 13

SCARY: Pope highlights Mary’s role as ‘woman of the apocalypse’

Rome, Italy, Dec 8, 2011 / 04:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the biblical description of a “woman clothed with the sun” in his remarks at Rome’s Spanish Steps on the 2011 Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

“What is the meaning of this image? It represents the Church and Our Lady at the same time,” the Pope told the crowd assembled before the nearby statue commemorating the 1854 definition of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. “Before all, the ‘woman’ of the apocalypse is Mary herself.”

The 12th chapter of the Biblical Apocalypse – also known as the Book of Revelation – describes the glorification and persecution of “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

Though not named, this woman is described as the mother of the Messiah. In poetic language akin to the Bible’s other prophetic books, Saint John says she faced the threat of “a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,” and “fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.”

Pope Benedict, offering white roses in his traditional yearly act of Marian veneration, gave listeners his insight into the connection between the Virgin Mary and the Church – portrayed in the Apocalypse through the single image of the sun-clad woman.

“She appears ‘clothed in sunlight,’ that is, clothed in God,” observed the Pope. “The Virgin Mary is in fact completely surrounded by the light of God and lives in God …  The ‘Immaculate One’ reflects with all of her person the light of the ‘sun’ which is God.”

“Besides representing Our Lady, this sign personifies the Church, the Christian community of all times,” he continued.

The Church, he explained, is “pregnant, in the sense that she carries Christ” and “must give birth to him to the world.”

“This is the labor of the pilgrim Church on earth, that in the midst of the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world, she must bring Christ to men.”

Because the Church continues to bring Jesus into the world, Pope Benedict said, it “finds opposition in a ferocious adversary,” symbolized in scripture by the “dragon” that has “tried in vain to devour Jesus,” and now “directs his attacks against the woman – the Church – in the desert of the world.”

“But in every age the Church is supported by the light and the strength of God,” the Pope said. “She is nurtured in the desert with the bread of his word and the Holy Eucharist.”

“And in this way, in every tribulation, through all of the trials that she finds in the course of the ages and in the different parts of the world, the Church suffers persecution, but comes out the victor.”

Pope Benedict said the Church should not fear persecution, which is bound to arise, but will be defeated.

“The only pitfall of which the Church can and must be afraid is the sin of her members,” he warned, highlighting the key difference between the Church and the woman who is its prototype.

“While in fact Mary is immaculate – free from every stain of sin – the Church is holy, but at the same time marked by our sins.”

While sinless herself, Mary remains in solidarity with the Church struggling against sin.
 
“That is why the people of God, pilgrims in time, turn to their heavenly mother and ask for her help,” explained Pope Benedict.

He stressed the world’s need for the hope brought by the “woman clothed with the sun” – “especially in this difficult moment for Italy, for Europe and for different parts of the world.”

“May Mary help us to see that there is a light beyond the veil of fog that appears to envelop reality,” he declared.

“For this also we, especially on this day, never cease to ask with filial trust for her help: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.’”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2823

Dec 10

‘Real’ Christian Churches in US Forced to Go Underground Soon?

Christian churches in America will soon be forced to go underground if they want to stay true to their beliefs and to God, a conservative broadcast commentator warned.

Longstreet, a 30-year veteran of the broadcasting business, recently explained his opinion on the Right Side News, first clarifying that only “real” Christian churches will have to do as he predicted.

“In the past three decades, or so, many of the mainline Christian churches have slipped away from their foundation on the Holy Scriptures and adopted more and more secular tenets and leftist, politically correct, philosophy until they have become only a shadow of the true followers of Christ,” he penned on Tuesday.

“In my opinion, those denominations can no longer claim to be ‘Christian’ churches simply because – they are not.”

A few years ago, the U.S. Army veteran had left his own denomination for the same reasons, seeing that it had chosen to forsake the tenets of the Bible and the Good News of the Gospel.

Though he admitted that he was in no way a “better Christian than any other follower of Christ,” he believed that many of the mainline denominations in America today were nothing more than social clubs with franchises nationwide.

“Their pastors ‘preach’ feel good ‘sermonettes’ about the environment and things like ‘social justice.’ In my opinion, that is not the mission of a church that purports to follow Christ. In fact, Christ, Himself, spelled out the mission of the church in what we refer to as The Great Commission.”

The Great Commission stated in Matthew 28:18-20 reads: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That commission from Christ is the sole reason why the church exists today, Longstreet stressed.

“To fulfill that mission the church must stand firmly upon the foundation of the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Christ. That means insisting that the standard(s) set by Christ are, and remain, the guiding force behind everything the church does … that means pastors are compelled to preach that those things the Scripture marks as sin are duly, and publicly, noted from their pulpits as SIN. If a church is reluctant to do this, or refuses to do this, then, in my opinion, that church is not a Christian church.”

The conservative commentator lamented that in America, pastors were afraid of preaching from the Scriptures, worried about the consequences – lawsuits, slander, or even embarrassment.

“It is a very real threat, especially to the evangelical church in America,” he added. “As a result, those churches which hold true to the Gospel, now feel that they must consider meeting in secret for Bible classes, for worship services, or other Bible centric gatherings.”

Even the government in America has criminalized biblical preaching and prevented thousands of churches and clergymen from practicing their faith without threat of penalty from the authorities, he charged.

“The Christian Church, I believe will be driven underground in America, as it has been in other nations around the globe. Otherwise, it will cease to exist in this land many firmly believe was founded by Christians,” Longstreet concluded.

“As much as it pains me to say this – America is no longer a Christian nation. At least, America’s government no longer governs by men and women who base their convictions on the Judeo-Christian code of laws and beliefs.”

Kevin Lewis, associate professor of Theology and Law at Biola University, shared some of Longstreet’s concerns.

“Today, the term evangelical is diluted,” Lewis told The Christian Post. “We now have ‘Liberal-Evangelicals,’ ‘Neo-Evangelicals,’ and ‘Post-Conservative Evangelicals,’ which are simply not with the classic evangelicals on doctrinal and cultural issues.”

Though there were still many women and men faithfully serving the Lord, they were in the minority.

Nonetheless, the Biola professor saw the decline of true Christianity and growing persecution of the church as an opportunity.

“Given past salvation history, I believe we will see more lost battles. But we also know that when the enemy actually touches the church, the people of God will awaken from their happy, evangelical slumber and seek new leadership. The current leadership is simply not doing the job necessary to win; and past leadership has failed.”

For Lewis, the “increased slouching toward Gomorrah in the church and culture” was a reflection of poor leadership from the evangelical Protestant church.

“I think the coming attacks will produce a search for new leadership. And it will then be the time for the unapologetic, biblically centered leaders to arise and take charge, both in the church and state.”

To remain “above” ground in America, the Protestant church needs to equip and train a new generation of Christian leaders in every sector of life, from the field of medicine to law.

“The Protestant church has lost the concept of ‘vocation’ and how it applies to each believer,” Lewis explained to CP. “I think there are many people called to be ‘Christian’ lawyers, judges, politicians, police officers, soldiers, medical doctors, etc. As such, as in the past, pastors and church leaders need to seek them out and train them if we want them to lead the government and culture. It is truly that simple.”

Though the Church had done this in the past, they are not doing it now, he noted.

“I believe it is our task to equip that new generation of Christian leadership to be the true biblically centered, scholastic activist leaders God requires. To do that, we need the majority of churches to enthusiastically return to biblical Protestant orthodoxy, which views all of life as ‘Christian,’ not simply the work inside the walls of the church.”

“While the outlook may appear bleak to some apart from divine intervention, there is certainly a way to fix the problem,” Lewis encouraged.

He believes God will spare this generation if Christians take immediate, radical and biblical steps. Those steps include repentance, leadership training and activism – essentially returning to “unapologetic biblical excellence.”

“If not, our children and children’s children will face persecution in America as Christians do in the U.K. and Canada.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2812

Dec 07

Christianity is the Most Persecuted Religion

Matthew 24:9, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”

By Milena Faustova – “Christian believers all over the world have found themselves in jeopardy amid massive attacks on Christians and Christianity in the Middle East, North and South Africa and South East Asia. Unless appropriate measures are taken, the Christian civilization will vanish completely, warn the participants in the International Conference on the Freedom of Religion and Discrimination against Christians, which is currently under way in Moscow. The religious forum has brought together representatives of Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic communities and religious experts from Russia and countries of the near and far abroad.

About 100 million Christians worldwide are suffering persecution and thousands die in religious conflicts. The biggest number of persecutions against Christians is taking place in the countries of Africa and the Middle East, said Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church’s Foreign Relations Department:

‘In Libya, Christians have been leaving the country en masse following the toppling of Gaddafi’s regime and the coming to power of the National Transitional Council. According to the Open Doors human rights watchdog, 75 percent of Christians have left Libya. Tunisia’s government advocated the principle of religious tolerance before the revolution. Right after the revolution, Christians in Tunisia began to come under frequent attacks and a number of Christian churches were seized and turned into mosques.’

Anti-Christian sentiment has become strong in Egypt, which reports new victims among Christians regularly, and in Iraq. Christian believers come under fierce attacks in Algeria, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines…

The mounting anti-Christian moods were also evoked by a greater role of Islamic radicalism, aggressive missionary work by representatives of different non-Christian sects, and distortions of Christian teachings.”

We will be persecuted for our faith even here in America. It may or may not physical violence but I am attaching a second story out of New York City that sets the precedent that we can no longer have churches renting schools to hold service in! Keep praying and keep looking up!

Court: NYC Can Ban Churches From School Buildings

Dec 5, 2011

By Todd Starnes/TWITTER

The Supreme Court has rejected an evangelical church’s plea to overturn New York City’s ban on renting public schools for religious worship services. That means the city now has a green light to begin evicting congregations who pay rent to use public school buildings for church services.

“The Department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice,” said Jane Gordon, senior counsel for the New York City Law Dept. “”The Court of Appeals correctly upheld the Department of Education’s policy not to allow the City’s public schools to be used as houses of worship.  This case has been litigated for 16 years, and we’re gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear it.  We view this as a victory for the City’s school children and their families.”

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the city’s policy.

The court case involved the Bronx Household of Faith – a church that paid weekly rent to hold worship services at a public school since 2002. The church, along with five dozen other congregations, was allowed to continue worshipping at public schools pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

It’s a sad day for religious liberty,” said Jordan Lorence, the church’s attorney and senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “Churches and religious other groups should be allowed to meet in public buildings on the same terms as other community groups and they’re being denied that in New York City.”

Churches will have to vacate public schools on Feb. 12, 2012.

“What’s odd about this is that of the top 50 school districts in the nation, New York City is the only school district that has a policy banning worship services,” he told Fox News & Commentary. “It does not show respect for religious liberty.”

The immediate impact means dozens of Christian churches will have to find a new place to hold services.

“A lot of churches are going to be homeless,” said George Russ, executive director of the New York Metropolitan Baptist Association. He said about seven of the 220 Southern Baptist churches in the city will be impacted by the decision.

Russ said churches will be scrambling to rent hotel space, banquet halls and movie theatres.

“It’s going to be a lot more money,” he said.

“The odd thing is these guys have blessed the schools they’ve been in,” Russ said. “They all have good relationships with the schools they’ve been in. They’ve purchased furniture for the teacher’s lounge they’ve given video equipment to the schools. They’ve done so many thank-you kinds of projects.”

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that allowing churches to use schools resulted in an “unintended bias in favor of Christian religions” – since most Christian churches worship on Sunday. 

“Jews and Muslims generally cannot use school facilities for their services because the facilities are often unavailable on the days that their religions principally prescribe for services,” Judge Pierre Leval declared. “At least one request(ed) to hold Jewish services (in a school building used for Christian services on Sundays) was denied because the building was unavailable on Saturdays. This contributes to a perception of public schools as Christian churches, but not synagogues or mosques.” 

Judge Leval also took issue with the evangelical church’s membership. “Bronx Household acknowledges that it excludes persons not baptized, as well as persons who have been excommunicated or who advocate the Islamic religion, from full participation in its services.” Leval wrote. 

But it all boiled down to a key point, the judges decided. “In the end, we think the board could have reasonably concluded that what the public would see, were the Board not to exclude religious worship services, is public schools, which serve on Sundays as state-sponsored Christian churches,” Leval wrote. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2790

Nov 19

Christian leaders’ heresy about Israel

I will let this article say it all for me! This is heresy and is clearly against Scripture especially if you take the Bible as literal! Israel is still the apple of God’s eye and there will be a remnant saved in the end. The whole of Scripture is that God chose Israel first, they rejected Him, He knew it would happen and then as part of His master plan He reached out to the Gentiles, but also part of His master plan is to graft Israel back in again! The Tribulation period is just for that to occur. We need to be bold in our faith and speak the truth even when we might have to correct another believer who is not understanding Scripture. If this does not work then it must be called what it is and that is heresy! Keep looking up!

Christian leaders’ heresy about Israel


Posted: November 17, 2011
1:51 pm Eastern

By Laurie Cardoza-Moore
© 2011

Now is the time for all Christians who stand on the authenticity of the Word of God to condemn false teachers who are leading millions of Christians astray with their false doctrines and anti-Semitic views.

Today I read an article in the Jerusalem Post advocating that Jesus wasn’t Jewish and was more likely a Palestinian! Every Christian friend of Israel is the target of these non-biblical Christian leaders who want us to give the enemy the ultimate victory by denying that our Messiah was a Jew. Because if Jesus is a “Palestinian” the Israel and Jews cannot stand on the Covenant that God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). This growing trend among Christians, especially Christian leaders, is both shocking and outrageous.

Even more appalling are the leaders behind this movement – organizations like the World Council of Churches and Lynne Hybels, wife of Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, Ill.

Along with this trend, earlier this year, church leaders like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and Robert Shuller of the Crystal Cathedral were encouraging pastors to invite Muslims into their pulpits to celebrate our common values, embracing another heresy: Chrislam!

What happened to these so-called Christian leaders in their seminaries? Indeed, we are witnessing the day that Matthew 24:11 says would come to pass: “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Shockingly, these false prophets are leaders of the church.

With all of the confusion swirling around about the biblical heartland, Christians who know the Scriptures must speak out and proclaim justice on behalf of our Jewish brethren and Israel. Not one of these leaders quotes Scripture to substantiate their beliefs. Their views stem from centuries of doctrines and traditions of men, not the Bible.

For a Christian leader to suggest that the land of Israel belongs to the Palestinians is a lie from the pit of hell. The Bible is clear from Genesis to Revelation that God will keep His Covenant with His people, all Israel. The Apostle Paul confirms that truth in the book of Romans, Chapters 9 -11. Christians are grafted into that Covenant through Jesus. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:29, “If you are in Christ, you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” The promise Paul was referring to is the same promise God made to Abraham in Genesis, and then repeated it to Isaac and Jacob. Paul further stated in Ephesians 2:11-13, that we, Gentiles in the flesh, were once outside of the commonwealth of Israel, but because of Jesus’ shed blood, we have been brought into the commonwealth of Israel.

So how do we know who the false prophets are? Anyone who would teach against the Covenant God made with Israel, which was called to uphold His commandants and to be a light to the Gentiles. And the last time I checked, the land is part of that Covenant God said was “irrevocable”! God did not say he would give it to the terrorists whose ancestors He told Joshua to wipe out because of their wickedness! What do these leaders not understand about that?

Unfortunately, this trend is not new, for as the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Only 73 years ago, with the rise of Nazi Germany, we saw the same anti-God, anti-Christ and anti-Semitic spirit rise up with little resistance from Christian leaders and their congregants. Back then, the battle wasn’t about whether the Jews should have a country of their own; instead, it was whether the Jews were worthy of life.

This age-old battle is an example of the “new” anti-Semitism that is growing worldwide. This “new” anti-Semitism is not just anti-Jewish as it was in Nazi Germany; now it is anti-Israel and anti-Zionist as well. But its insidious goal is the same – delegitimize the right of the Jews to their biblical homeland and ultimately dehumanize them and deny their right to exist.

This is a very dangerous place for these so-called Christian pastors and leaders to tread. These leaders are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. God warned the Prophet Joel in Chapter 3 that in the latter days He was going to wipe out the nations of the world because they were dividing up His land. Who is leading the charge? The United States of America … the “Christian” nation.

At the time of the rise of the Third Reich, Germany was the most Christian and most highly educated nation in the world. It was the nation that gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. But millions of Christians turned their backs as their Jewish brethren were being slaughtered like animals or led into gas chambers.

And where was the church? They turned away, ignoring what was suffocating the life out of the air around them as human ashes fell on their doorsteps and the smell of burning flesh filled their cities.

If Dietrich Bonhoeffer were alive today, he would find himself facing the same church he challenged in Germany. A church that was more interested in protecting its own interests than God’s chosen people.

This is an opportunity for every Bible-believing Christian to consider our response at this critical time. We will stand before the Almighty God on Judgment Day and He will ask us, “Where were you when your brother’s blood was crying out from the grave?”

I daily remind my children of the words from the prophet Obadiah when God told him that in the last days He would wipe out the descendants of Edom because they stood by while their brother Jacob was held in captivity. I remind them that one day, they will have an opportunity to stand with their Jewish brethren and all Israel, and stand they must!

My dear Christian brethren, if God will judge the descendants of Edom because they stood by and did nothing, how will He judge the church for it’s silence –yet again – today?

Now is the time for Christians to rise up and have a “Christian” spring cleaning in our churches and remove all false teachers from the pulpits. Now is the time for us to take a stand and demand that Christian pastors and leaders start studying their Bibles instead of wasting our tithes on heresy. Now is the time for us to say, “Never again!”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2728

Nov 17

David Wilkerson: The Last Days Church

Here is a great post from David Wilkerson’s website:

THE LAST-DAY CHURCH

by David Wilkerson | November 16, 2011

[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

I believe God’s vision for His last-day church is based on His revealed Word—because the Bible clearly outlines what the church of Jesus Christ will be like just prior to His coming.

The church in America is far from what God envisioned it to be. For the most part, entire denominations today operate without the Holy Spirit. They are devoid of the presence of Jesus and bankrupt of all spiritual gifts. They practice a form of religion without any power, conviction or saving message. They are cozy with the world and are more political than spiritual. They appease sin, wink at divorce and ridicule the supernatural, while tossing aside all teaching about heaven, hell, repentance and judgment.

The New Testament church made devils tremble! It drove legions of demons into the abyss, prayed prison doors open, made rulers cringe in fear. Those early believers had such faith and power that cripples rose up leaping and beggars became evangelists. They believed in the supernatural and they opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears and healed all manner of diseases. They even raised the dead!

I am not saying God’s last-day church will be a repeat or copy of the first-century church. No—I am saying it will be even greater than that! It will be mightier, stronger, with an ever greater revelation of Jesus. It will have greater unction from the Spirit than ever—greater even than at Pentecost! God always saves His best wine for last!

The prophet Daniel confirms this. He said that certain prophetic truths were locked up, only to be revealed in the last days: “For the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. . . . And none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:9-10).

Today the Holy Spirit is revealing these things to spiritual, discerning saints! “It is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

The Lord is preparing a powerful yet humble army of shepherds after His own heart and also a remnant congregation of hungry sheep who have turned away from the deadness and sin of the modern church. The scene is being set for that church which will be hot, not lukewarm—and it will rock the very foundations of hell. No power on earth will be able to ignore or despise it!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2714