Acts 5 = worst church marketing program ever?

The title is sarcastic, of course.  The church grew dramatically even with this not-so-seeker-sensitive approach where God kills Ananias and Sapphira on the spot for lying to the Holy Spirit. It is unfortunate that mainline, “seeker-sensitive” and “emergent” churches didn’t study it more carefully before watering down their doctrine so badly.  When leaders feel that they must twist or ignore the word of God to advance the kingdom it is evidence of weak or non-existent faith.

Acts 4:32-5:11

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Ananias and Sapphira

5     Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

In the midst of the explosive church growth we read this cautionary tale.  Some people read it as the early Christians being communistic, but that isn’t the point at all.  As always, we must read carefully and in context.

The passage describes the general behavior of believers but it doesn’t say God commanded this (“No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”). 

Peter didn’t say that Ananias and Sapphira were obligated to donate anything at all: “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”

The sin wasn’t in not giving enough, it was lying to God.   This was a serious thing, especially when the church was forming.  They needed purity and honesty, just like we do today.  Just because we are in the age of grace doesn’t mean that God doesn’t take sin seriously. 

Satan was defeated at the cross in an ultimate sense, but he was and is still active in tempting Christians and non-Christians. 

Despite this event, the church continued to grow.  Consider how lax church discipline is in the U.S. today.  I’m not wishing for judgments like those again Ananias and Sapphira, but the lack of discipline has let all kinds of false teachers in the church and corrupted our witness. 

Again, this passage was not a Biblical command to be property-less.  Saying your possessions aren’t your own doesn’t mean anyone can come take them.  It is recognizing that ultimately they all come from God.  We aren’t giving him anything He didn’t give us in the first place.

Other passages round out the New Testament guidance on giving, notably 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

We don’t need deception to spread the Gospel.  We need the truth.  We should share it as ambassadors, but we should share it without apology.  If you distort the message to appeal to spiritually dead people, then don’t be surprised when your church gets off track.

Planned Parenthood caught facilitating gender-selection abortions and Medicaid fraud

The real war on women is killing females just because they are female. Watch the whole video and how the lady laughs about gender selection abortions and says, “I hope that you get your boy.” (Next time, of course.)

See Planned Parenthood overview for more of their evils, such as hiding statutory rape and sex trafficking victims.  They have the most brilliantly evil marketing team on the planet, positioning themselves as helpers of women and the Komen Foundation as enemies.

Then again, their payoffs to politicians and the 90%+ pro-abortion mainstream media probably help.  Just watch and see how the mainstream media handles this.

Here’s the unedited video in case you’ve heard PP fans claims that anything was out of context.

Roundup

In one study, half the scientists admitted to reporting only desired results — But you can totally trust what the politics-disguised-as-science global warming, Darwinian evolutionist and pro-gay monopolists tell you about science and psychology!

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Jon Stewart admits he’s not just a Democrat but a Socialist — I appreciate his candor.  I just wish that those who get their “news” from him had better discernment.

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Brannon Howse Interviews Former Roman Catholic Priest Richard Bennett — A good question for a pastor, priest or any layperson claiming the name of Christ: Can you tell me in detail about how much you’ve studied the Bible?

I absolutely love Richard Bennett and his online ministry, Berean Beacon. I have handed out his testimony on CD for a number of years now. The most startling thing I have learned about Catholicism from Bennett’s ministry is that Catholics do not learn the Bible in seminary…..they mostly learn church history, “their” version, anyway. Yet all the Catholics I know are trained from a young age to venerate their priests as possessing greater biblical knowledge, when in fact, they possess little Bible knowledge, if any. So I like that Richard Bennett, as a former priest, has exposed this little known fact. And it was through actually reading the Bible that Richard Bennett was converted.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Heb 4:12

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Uncle Walter Revealed as Corrupt Left-Wing Hack — the Internet has its downsides, but one of the greatest things is that we have countless ways to get news and can use our discernment to see which are most reliable.

Surprise surprise. Walter Cronkite — the erstwhile “Most Trusted Man in America” who did more than anyone to win the Vietnam War for his fellow collectivists — has been revealed as a corrupt moonbat:

A thorough new biography of Walter Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley reveals that he was not the unbiased journalist his supporters have always claimed him to be. In fact, he was a liberal who used his position as America’s top anchor to promote the left and damage the right. …

Cronkite had a secret deal with Pan Am which flew his family around the world to vacation spots like the South Pacific for free. The President of the CBS News Division knew about the arrangement but did nothing about it.

Cronkite’s behavior wasn’t just personally unethical, it was also professionally unethical. It was Cronkite who persuaded Robert Kennedy — during a private meeting in his office — to run for President in 1968.

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Harry Reid [and the Democratic Party] Deliberately Helps Illegal Aliens to Continue Looting Us for $Billions — Now why would a political party deliberately give incentives for people to enter our country illegally, consume healthcare and other benefits and get paid for it?

At least now that it has been well publicized that illegal aliens are scamming the IRS for$billions by claiming all their relatives back in Mexico as dependents, our rulers will do something to staunch the bleeding. Then again, maybe not:

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked a move to bring the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act (S577) to the floor, and in doing so, assured that those working in this country illegally will continue to receive billions of dollars in tax refunds for children that do not even live in this country.

In 2011, U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General Russell George released a report revealing that the Internal Revenue Service doled out $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits to illegal aliens in 2010 alone.

Obama refused to close the loophole, so the Republican House took action. But the Senate is controlled by Democrats.

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House to examine proposal for United Nations regulation of the Internet — Any politician who votes to give anything to the UN should be voted out of office and possibly tried for treason.  Mercifully, both sides seem to be against this — for now.

United Nations has a simple business plan when it comes to wresting control of as much of the world as possible: Pronounce yourself the global arbiter of human rights, then declare everything a human right.

The UN has already said Internet access is a human right, so naturally the best way to police that human right is to put the UN in charge of the Internet.

. . .

Because when you think “Internet freedom” you think China and Russia. Don’t worry though, the UN wouldn’t have a Internet “kill switch” (they call theirs an “enemies of human rights emergency denial-of-service button” —definitely not the same thing).

What’s to consider? Nancy Reagan’s “just say ‘no’” rule applies to anything that would grant the United Nations more authority over anything.

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Craig Groeschel on the Big &%#*! Deal about Profanity

Since I wasn’t sure what The Hangover was rated, my last check point involved doing a little research to see if this was a movie for the whole family or one just for me and my wife to watch together. What I discovered floored me.

According to www.screenit.com, this comedy has more than its fair share of non-family-friendly scenes, intense language, and sexual situations. The rough spots include 91 different variations of the f-bomb (apparently it can function as noun, verb, adjective — maybe even a conjunction for all I know), 41 excretory words, 14 references to a person’s behind, 13 “hells,” and nine slang terms for male anatomy. To top it all off, this hilarious movie has 31 different versions of taking God’s name in vain.

When I told my friends and staff members that the movie had 91 f-bombs, which averages out to approximately one version of the “f” word per minute, they were all shocked. “Really? I didn’t even notice” was the most common response.

Really… you didn’t notice one “f” word each minute?

Going and coming

church.jpg

It is a major challenge to leave one church and join another, but there are some key success factors on both sides that can help you.

I already mentioned How to start at your new church.  We basically did these without the list when we switched churches last year and it worked well.

Also see How to leave your old church for some more good advice.  We did those things as well.  Having been there for 15 years, we had a lot of very good friendships that we wanted to maintain — even though as a matter of conscience I couldn’t worship there any longer.

I heard from a third party that our former pastor said we left in the most gracious way he had seen, which told me that I probably wasn’t mean enough ;-).  I say that not out of self promotion but to point out the importance of a clear exit strategy.  I spent a lot of time thinking and planning how to leave without burning any unnecessary bridges.  We tried to tell our small group friends and then immediately told the pastor so he wouldn’t hear it from others first.

One thing the link mentions is to “kindly and honestly answer the question ‘Why did you leave?'”  I tried to be simple, thorough and accurate when answering that for the pastor and anyone else who asked.  I gave the pastor the full list and more context.  I didn’t want to nitpick or be spiteful, but I also didn’t want to pull any punches on the main reasons we were leaving.  It is a win-win situation when you do that: Either they take the constructive criticism and make positive changes, or they ignore it and validate why it was wise for you to leave.  With others we didn’t know as well I gave them a shortened version (some as brief as “creative differences”).

False teacher hypocrisy for Memorial Day

False teacher Chuck Currie just can’t kick his hypocritical race baiting.  See What’s On Right Wing Talk Radio? Bigoted Paranoia

Evangelicals, Mainline Christians and Roman Catholics have repeatedly condemned those who question the president’s Christian faith for partisan political reasons

I am now convinced that Chuck has a template with this fallacy already typed in.  Just because some people in those groups hold that view, he pretends that all do. Sure, Chuck.

And look here how Obama’s former UCC minister notes that church wasn’t the Obama’s “thing” and how he isn’t even sure Obama is a Christian.  Think about that: Obama’s multiple-decade UCC minister said those things.  And if you can’t trust a UCC minister, who can you . . . oh, wait, bad example — Chuck’s a UCC “minister!”

We can expect opponents of the president this election – big and small – to attempt to exploit racial divisions and to paint President Obama as something “other” than fully as American.

Uh, maybe that is because Obama himself claimed to be born in Kenya?  I don’t think he was born there.  I think he’s a liar, like Chuck, who will say anything to advanced his cause.

Consider the new racially charged film financed by right-wing billionaire Joe Ricketts that suggests that the president has a Kenyan, not American, world-view.

Looks like Chuck, along with the rest of the mainstream media, hasn’t read Obama’s writings (at least those that he didn’t have sealed out of his paranoia).

These campaigns against President Obama are driven by fear, hatred and racism – let’s be honest.

Oh, good, Chuck switched over to honesty mode!  Here’s some real honesty: Chuck is dishonest and the biggest racist of all, favoring taxpayer-funded abortions that will increase the 3x rate of black abortions to whites.

Roundup

Happy Memorial day weekend!  May we all take time to remember the ultimate sacrifices of those who defended this country and made it the best in the world.

—–Pearls Before Swine

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How to start at your new church — Excellent advice.  We basically did these without the list when we switched churches last year and it worked well.

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Olympian Lolo Jones is staying a virgin until marriage — good for her!  Hope that inspires her followers and that she wins gold this year.
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20,000 Felons Signed Walker Recall Petition — but we totally don’t need voter ID laws, right?  Because those are racist.  Wait . . . isn’t it more racist to assume that blacks and Hispanics are so helpless that they can’t go get a free ID?

The Democrats will stop at nothing to win elections.  They will register dead people, mentally disabled people, and even criminal felons.

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From the “you can really feel the love and tolerance” and the obligatory “you won’t hear about this from the Liberal media” categories: Threat to burn down local Catholic church & profane attacks after pro-traditional marriage sign is posted on church property.

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Bomber Turned Left Wing Activist, Brett Kimberlin, Tries to Silence Conservative Opposition — Blogger Stacy McCain and his family have had to leave their home because of his threats.  Ask yourself why this isn’t all over the mainstream media.

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Slavery, gay marriage, and hypocrisy in the black church — excellent article debunking the fallacious linkage of interracial marriage and “same-sex marriage.”  Hat tip: Alyssa from Facebook.

There is a real irony to the accusation that deriving a heterosexual definition of marriage from the Bible is analogous to using Scripture to justify of American slavery. In fact, in the list of practices that have no place in the church (found in 1 Timothy 1:9-10), right before “enslavers” is this word: “homosexuals.” The exact same passage that condemns the forcible trade of humans as property also condemns the act of homosexuality.

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Romney opens new front vs Obama: schools are failing — Good tack on his part.  He has nothing to lose in going after unions.  We should emphasize how pro-choice we are (about schools) every chance we get.

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Ancient Bethlehem seal unearthed in Jerusalem — Hey, the Bible was right again!  I heart archaeology.

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription “Bethlehem,” the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday, in what experts believe to be the oldest artifact with the name of Jesus’ traditional birthplace.

The tiny clay seal’s existence and age provide vivid evidence that Bethlehem was not just the name of a fabled biblical town, but also a bustling place of trade linked to the nearby city of Jerusalem, archaeologists said.

Eli Shukron, the authority’s director of excavations, said the find was significant because it is the first time the name “Bethlehem” appears outside of a biblical text from that period.

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ACLU, Democrats and media blast Obama for forcing his religious views on us

OK, everyone knows the title is bogus.  The Left — including the religious Left — are determined to put the Onion out of business with their self-parodies.  They leave nothing for the rest of us!

Case in point: Why didn’t the usual suspects go wild when Barack “the church is not his thing” Obama flipped back to his pro-“same-sex marriage” position and blamed Jesus for it?  Presumably Obama’s Jesus was for it in 1996, then against it for 16 years, and then for it again now.  As the link below notes, “even when Obama changes his views, Jesus somehow comes around to agreeing with him.”

If this was just about Obama’s personal views, no one would have cared. But the Left cheered triumphantly, knowing that Obama has no intention to leave it to the States.  If the President changes religious views on infant baptism then it doesn’t generate big news, because everyone knows it won’t impact the populace.  But we all knew this had huge political ramifications.

It is the same kind of hypocrisy and short-term thinking that made the Left cheer when Obama refused to back the Defense of Marriage Act because it “might” not be defensible in court (uh, even though it had been successfully defended multiple times).  Hey guys, would you have applauded the same leadership if Bush had decided that Roe v. Wade couldn’t be defended?  Didn’t think so.  Therefore, please think 15 minutes into the future before validating such dangerous precedents.

The Ambivalent Theocrat makes some excellent points (hat tip: Pastor Timothy).

There are legitimate theological arguments on both sides of our political divide, but they are not equally well received. In America, it seems, one man’s moral teacher is another’s Torquemada — the difference is usually determined by party registration — and the returns on overt religiosity are mixed at best. As president, George W. Bush was repeatedly and pejoratively labeled “theocrat” for acknowledging his faith, and even the slightest intimation that his religious belief informed his political vantage point was perceived by the Left as symptomatic of an almost treasonous disrespect for the separation of church and state.

Bush talked less about his faith than most Presidents — including Clinton and Obama — but people had the feeling that Bush actually meant it.  (Fair and balanced reporting note: I must mention here that Bush’s “Muslims worship the same God as Christians” line was a superfluous political move and horrific theology.)

Throughout his political career, Barack Obama, too, has marshaled religious argument and imagery to his cause when politically expedient, but nary a whisper has followed his proclamations — even when his pastor of 20 years was exposed as an unreconstructed bigot. Obama’s appeals to religion and his claim to be “doing the Lord’s work” are cynical and mercurial enough to have pushed Michael Gerson amusingly to quip that, “even when Obama changes his views, Jesus somehow comes around to agreeing with him.”

. . .

There was no greater example of this than Obama’s 2007 speech at the general synod of the United Church of Christ. After admonishing the Christian Right for talking about religion and warning that faith leaders use the Bible to “exploit what divides us,” Obama proceeded to push for climate-change legislation on the basis that “the Bible tells us that when God created the earth, he entrusted us with the responsibility to take care of that earth.”

While still a senator in 2006, Barack Obama claimed that “not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation — context matters.” Perhaps so. But to judge from his record, it appears to be a context driven solely by political consideration.

It is ironic that the false teachers consider themselves to be generous and loving when they push their religious beliefs on others and ask the government to do what they think their god wants. You’d expect the ACLU to get litigious over that, but the ACLU and the rest of the Left just go after religious views they disagree with, which means the issue isn’t religion at all, but the disingenuous and hypocritical suppression of freedom of speech.

More importantly, Christians need to use better discernment when following any politician.  Just listen to these Jeremiah Wright clips about Obama and ask yourself if you should really look to the President for your religious views.

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Also see Audacity of a lie: timeline of Barack Obama’s false religious life .

Roundup

Bad Doctrine is a Cruel Taskmaster — The term doctrine sounds dry and boring to some people, but the Bible could not be more clear about the importance of sound doctrine.  The first link has a list of many bad things that happen when we believe false teachings. The best antidote is to read the Bible.  A lot.

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I’m a Reformed Christian at a Baptist church, and I approve of this joke via Pastor Timothy (at least I think it was a joke . . .).

The argument between Reformed Presbyterians and Reformed Baptist essentially boils down to the following statements:

BAPTIST: “You Presbyterians use too little water too early!”

PRESBYTERIANS: “You Baptists use too much water too late!”

There, now you have it.

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The war on women of color?  Union leader smashes pinata with picture of Nikki Haley on it.  Would the media reaction have differed if the union person was a Tea Partier and the pinata had a picture of a Democrat who was a minority?

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I assume this quote is about the cessation of some spiritual gifts, an argument I haven’t researched much.  But he makes a good point about the false teachers.

If signs and wonders did still exist, do you think they would be given to people with bad theology? You think God would give Benny Hinn the power to do miracles to authenticate really bad theology? If those gifts existed, they would belong to the purest, most faithful, sound teachers of the word of God to authenticate their teaching–not to hair-brained people who spew out whatever comes into their head.  — John MacArthur

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The Perils of Polygamy — Polygamy is bad for men, women, children and society in general.  But do the pro-“same-sex marriage” folks advocate for polygamy with the same passion and reasoning that they do for their pet cause, or are they shameless, bigoted haters?  Seems to me that the case for polygamy, as flawed as it is, is superior to the one for “same-sex marriage.”  After all, polygamous marriages involve a man and a woman, which can produce children and provide a mother and father to them — albeit in a far less desirable way than traditional marriage.

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CNN Urges Normal Couples to Emulate Homosexuals’ Promiscuity — That’s impossible!  They must be taking things out of context, right?  Nope.

According to “eminent marriage therapist” John Gottman,

“Straight couples may have a lot to learn from gay and lesbian relationships.”

For example,

“A number of my gay clients prefer to be sexually open but emotionally monogamous,” says sex and relationship therapist Joe Kort. “They can have lovers on the side and not have it be a threat to the relationship.”

It’s a type of male coupledom that sex columnist Dan Savage has famously termed “monogamish” …

I’m going to ignore that advice.

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Obama 2004 Campaign Flashback: Bush Deficit Is An “Enormous Problem” — yep.

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Fashion show at church — worse than it sounds.

Most pastors are probably not terribly concerned about the fashion statement they make from the pulpit … certainly not enough to start a web site devoted to the topic. But Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church, a mega-church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is not most pastors. In February of this year, he launched Pastor Fashion, which is devoted to exploring how “the men and women of God [can] set the standard for the rest of the world in fashion as well as faith.”

. . .

Yikes. One might be concerned that Young is too focused on outward appearances … and they would probably be right. On this point, he told ABC News: “You need to make the cover as good as possible so people will read the book.” . . .

“We should be at the forefront of fashion,” he told ABC News. “I think we have the ultimate message and should dress up with the times.” Staying up on the trends of the times sounds like quite a luxury … not something God actually expects of his followers. Perhaps the fact that people frequently notice Young’s hip clothes and consult him for fashion advice should serve as a warning to focus less on external appearances, rather than more.

This is one more reason I’m glad I moved to Reformed theology. I don’t have to waste a single moment worried that if I don’t have just the right shirt on that someone won’t get saved.

Years ago I used to catch Young’s father on the radio and he seemed pretty sound.  If his father isn’t embarrassed about his son, then he should be embarrassed about not being embarrassed.

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Another boomerang for Obama — Guess who got the most private-equity money in 2008? — So if he is too critical of Romney & Bain he looks more like a hypocrite and risks losing their donations this time.

Who wrote the Gospel of John?

Here’s a great post on why the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John — On the authorship of the fourth Gospel: A letter to a young enquirer.  This is an important topic, because people like Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie and his peers at the anti-Christian Westar Institute (home of the blasphemous “Jesus Seminar”) dismiss the Gospel as being one big lie.  They say it was written 100 years after the crucifixion and not by John.

When you read the Gospel is is obvious why thy don’t like it.  Jesus speaks out against people like them over and over.  They are obviously not his sheep!

False teachers vs. false teachers — this should be fun!

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie has one of those even-a-blind-squirrel-finds-a-nut-now-and-then moments when he rightly criticizes preachers who wish violence upon gays, such as Democrat Fred Phelps* 

Via Killing Off Homosexuals And Other Anti-Christian Teachings.

All Christians – regardless of whether or not we support gay marriage (I strongly do) – must condemn hate speech from pastors and denominations where this occurs are obligated to hold their clergy accountable – taking away their status as ordained clergy. Because let’s be clear: these hateful men are not preaching the word of God.

The problem is that this is just one type of false teacher — and a proven liar at that — criticizing another type of false teacher.  Chuck is blind to the word of God.  Just listen to any of his sermons and you can know that.  But he rightly notes that those other preachers are wrong.  Chuck just lives out his false dichotomy, that you are either like Chuck or like the other type of haters.

If you really love gays, you won’t lie to them and tell them that there aren’t serious spiritual, emotional and physical consequences to their behavior.  And you also won’t wish that they’d be killed.  You’ll tell them the truth, and you’ll welcome them in your church — provided that they aren’t their to rebel against God’s word but to be changed by it.

The truth is out there, but you won’t find it with Chuck or with preachers like Democrat Fred Phelps*.

* Did I mention that Fred Phelps is a Democrat, just like Chuck Currie?  Because he is.

Oops!

Sometimes I say too much and forget that the best strategy is often to sit back and watch your ideological enemies self-destruct.  Therefore, I take back my criticisms of Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie and his People Of Faith Support President On Contraception Fight Despite Lawsuit post.

Chuck clearly has a well thought out, rational idea. Keep the “war on women” meme going, because it definitely isn’t another one of Obama’s boomerangs.  It certainly isn’t condescending to women — especially religious women — to tell them that they must rely on the government for everything and that it is OK to trample religious freedoms to ensure that all women — and not just 90%+ — have “free” birth control.  After all, Chuck & Co. know that not only is it impossible for women to be self-sufficient, but that they aren’t even capable of buying birth control!

So preach on, Chuck!

Via Video: House Republican women make their case « Hot Air.

That’s what makes the Democrats’ message to American women so strange and unsettling. For the past few months, the Democrats have been accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women” as if some honest disagreements between the parties — over matters like how an “Obamacare” mandate should affect religious institutions or the proper scope of federal law on tribal land — constitute a deliberate GOP campaign to take away women’s rights.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and Republican women have been at the forefront exposing these myths. Let’s face it: Republican women — like us — would never be part of a party that didn’t believe in women’s rights, equal pay for equal work and strong laws against sexual violence. The Republican Party believes in all of those things.

We also believe in something else: We believe that women want to be empowered. We believe that women want independence. We want opportunities. We want an equal chance to succeed — no special favors and no glass ceilings. We want our daughters to have those same opportunities, that same chance to live the American dream. We want our sons to have it, too.

What policies promote freedom, opportunity and self-ownership? Certainly not the Democrats’ Big Government policies. The Democrats showed their hand recently with their “Life of Julia” infographic. The Obama campaign used this to illustrate how a typical woman is dependent on government programs from birth to death — and how the GOP is supposedly undermining those programs.

Several point Calvinists?

Some Christians go into full freak-out mode when the term Calvinism* even comes up.  While some have done a very careful study to arrive at their opposition to the 5 points of Calvinism, much of what I come across falls into the straw-man category.  That is, they don’t have a proper understanding of what they are criticizing.  I’m not going to address the merits of the view here, and I ask that commenters do the same (if you really must say something, feel free to link to your favorite defense of your view).  I view this issue as important but not worth dividing over.

My point here is simply that many non-Calvinists often talk like Calvinists.

If you read the newspaper — or even look carefully in the mirror — you should agree with the doctrine of total depravity.  That doesn’t mean that we’re as depraved as we could be in all aspects of our lives, just that we were conceived as sinners and our words, thoughts and deeds always fall short of the glory of God.  That should make you at least a 1 pt. Calvinist.

I’ve previously asked, Ever notice how Arminians sometimes act and pray like Calvinists?, where I noted that they do so when it comes to evangelism and salvation.  If you talk about evangelism they are quick to say it is all up to God, and they’ll pray for God to change people’s hearts.  It is a humble sentiment, but it doesn’t seem to fit in with their Arminian theology.  I wonder if it is an excuse to avoid the hard and risky work of evangelism?  They don’t seem to want God to “woo” people, they seem to want him to really change them — forever.  Either way, it sure seems to hint at irresistible grace.

Many non-Calvinists hold to the perseverance of the saints, or the belief that you can’t lose your salvation — aka “once saved, always saved (OSAS),” or as I like to call it, “once really saved, always saved.”

Critics of OSAS often point to Hebrews 6:4-6 to defend their view that we can lose our salvation:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

It is an admittedly complex passage.  But if it means that you can lose your salvation then it would also mean you can’t get it back. There would be no hope for backsliders, which is not something that the “you can lose your salvation” group typically believes.

So quite a few people seem to be at least several point Calvinists.

* I prefer the term Reformed Theology over Calvinism, but I am going with the latter here as more people are familiar with it.

The first rule of holes: When you are in one, stop digging

We will all make bad arguments at some point.  What we do at that stage is very important.  Do we stand corrected, or do we dig in our heels out of pride?  One bad argument can undermine ten good ones, so it is important for us to be correctable.  Not just for our own intellectual honesty, but for our witness as Christians.

As I emphasize when teaching how and why to read Bible verses in context, I have made many mistakes over the years.  When I realized I had misunderstood Philippians 4:13 or Jeremiah 29:11, for example, I had a choice.  I could keep using the wrong interpretations of these verses, or I could change and use the right ones.

An atheism site had a somewhat useful flowchart about rational debating. (Although they conflated debating and discussion — one can be so thoroughly versed on a topic that they can’t reasonable envision something would change his mind and still debate or discuss something).

Interestingly, while they obviously meant this to imply that Christians don’t follow these rules — and I concede that many do not — I have found atheists to break many of these repeatedly. That is especially true on item 2 about moving on to new arguments once you’ve been shown to have used an inaccurate data point. You can refute their arguments in detail and they just move to the next item in their Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites. That’s when you know it is pearl holding / dust shaking time.

I also find that they think they don’t need to offer evidence.  They just point to the views of their monopolistic leaders and assume that is adequate.  Science has been wrong for hundreds or even thousands of years at a stretch, so just because their dear leaders insist something is true doesn’t mean the facts support them.

I find this with false or “saved and confused” Christians as well.  For example, no matter how many times you point out how fallacious it is to say, “Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior / abortion,” they still repeat that tired sound bite, along with many other pro-gay theology arguments.  It is a bad sign when people can’t be corrected.

It is a good thing to change your views when confronted with valid reasons to do so.  People often stereotype Christians as being close minded, but to be a Christian means that at some point in time one had to admit he was completely wrong about God and the universe and then changed his mind.  I wasn’t feeling unpopular enough as a mere Christian, so after years of investigation I switched to Reformed theology.  We won’t debate that on this thread and my switch doesn’t make me right, I just point it out to note that I had every reason to stay on the other side but was ultimately persuaded to change because I kept an open mind.

So don’t let your pride get in the way of rational discussions and defending the faith!  If you get stumped, don’t say something false.  Just say I don’t know, but I’ll find out, then go do some research and get back to the person.  In the mean time, feel free to shift the discussion back to what you do know — namely that Jesus lived, died and rose again and saved your soul — and encourage them to read the Bible.  Then let God’s word do what He promised it would.

Roundup

Jeff Bezos’s Top 10 Leadership Lessons — some excellent tips from the leader of Amazon.  I love their customer focus.  When companies fold it is usually because they lose that.  Samples:

2.“Obsess over customers.” 
Early on Bezos brought an empty chair into meetings so lieutenants would be forced to think about the crucial participant who wasn’t in the room: the customer. Now that ­surrogate’s role is played by specially trained employees, dubbed “Customer Experience Bar Raisers.” When they frown, vice ­presidents tremble.

3. “We are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.”

Many of Amazon’s expansions look like money-losing distractions at first. That sometimes sends the company’s stock price skidding and evokes analysts’ scorn. Bezos shrugs. If the new initiatives make strategic sense to him, a five-to-seven-year financial payoff is okay.

5. “Determine what your customers need, and work backwards.”

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New study finds that repeat abortions greatly increase the risk of breast cancer — This should be front page news, but the mainstream media loves abortion too much to tell you this.  And note the irony of the Komen Foundation being blasted and losing millions in donations for wanting to stop their minor donations to Planned Parenthood.

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From the combo category of “We want to put the Onion out of business with our self-parodies and  we want a diversity of opinions, so shut up” category, see Australian doctor forced off of diversity panel for opposing same-sex marriage.  Yes, a diversity panel.  But “same-sex marriage” won’t impact you at all, right?

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And another from the category of, “How does ‘same-sex marriage’ hurt you?” — Military chaplains to be forced to officiate these fake weddings even if it violate their consciences.

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Obama wasn’t born in Kenya, but there are a couple key takeaways from his publishers claim 1991 biography claiming he was:

1. He was willing to lie about it and never correct the record.

2. The media was too busy digging through Sarah Palin’s trash in 2008 to find this.

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Great response from the Susan B. Anthony group to the Democrats’ desperate “war on women” meme.  If you don’t agree with the Left you can’t be a woman.

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The Myth of Gay Rights ‘Tolerance’ — Great summary by Stacy McCain.  I see this all the time.  Read it all.

Any conservative who has ever tried to have a rational discussion about what progressives call “marriage equality” understands the problem: The very fact of your opposition to this radical policy becomes the basis for attacks on your motives and character.

Never mind that you are defending 5,000 years of civilization, while your antagonist is a deranged fanatic demanding that a fundamental social institution be altered (some would say, abolished) to conform to a theoretical abstraction of “equality.”

No, it is you — standing on the side of settled custom and common sense — who will inevitably be accused of “hate” you do not feel and diagnosed as suffering from an irrational “phobia.”

The fact that your accuser (volunteering also as an amateur psychologist) is demonstrably a fool, unfit to judge the morality and mental health of others, ought to serve as adequate evidence that any “debate” is a futile waste of time and effort. One might as well debate heroin with a junkie as to debate gay rights with Andrew Sullivan or Dan Savage.

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Via Audacity of a lie: timeline of Barack Obama’s false religious life, Pastor D.L. Foster has a very long list of Obama’s deceptions.  Should we be surprised when he came from under Jeremiah Wright and a denomination that lets race-baiting Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie speak for it?

Here’s the intro.  Be sure to read it all.

On May 9th, after some of  his top gay political donors threatened to withdraw support, Barack Obama had an epiphany.  He would frame his support for marriage perversion as a religious decision.  It was just another deceptive move in a long string of deceptive religious tactics that have heaped more chaos on American soil than at any other time in recent history.  The dutiful media followed him every step of the way, ensuring that he was seen as a pious man, guided by prayer and faith.   Yet, GCM Watch has been on the vanguard, constantly warning the church that the man many hailed as some sort of  savior, was a foreshadow of a darker one yet to be revealed. This is our timeline of events.

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How’s that pandering going to work now? — Roxanne points out the ever-growing entitlement state is doomed to crumble.  Read it all.

Let’s say that you want to buy votes by giving $100 in benefits to a minority of the population – say, 10% of it.  The other 90% of the population would have to pay about $11 each for this.  Double the recipients, and each payer must cough up $25.  (At this point, the payers may start to realise that they are not on the ever-growing list of recipients, and that they are paying more than a nominal amount of money.)  Change this to giving 50% of the population a $100 benefit, and the other half of the people have to shell out $100 each.

Generally, Asians and whites out-earn their Hispanic and African-American counterparts.  Welfare, S-CHIP, food stamps, Section 8 housing, reduced tuition, and other goodies are disproportionately used by those minority groups.  This is not likely to change any time soon: marriage rates predict the earning power of the couple and the success of the children, and minorities are much less likely to marry before childbirth than are white and Asian communities. (Ergo, the chances of the socio-economic statues of minorities changing over the next few decades is approximately equal to the chance that John Lennon is living with Elvis Presley in a suburb of Des Moines.)

In the next few decades, we’ll have an ever-expanding class of people who think that entitlements are their right, combined with a shrinking class of potential payers. The Democrats will either have to make the tough choice to not sell out whites, or the American economy will collapse.

The relative composition of minority groups would not be a problem if minority groups were to act the same way as whites and Asians.  Absent a massive cultural shift, however, it is unlikely to happen, and doubly so when the Democrats believe that there is an unlimited amount of money from which to pander to minorities for votes – votes that are especially easy to buy when those groups are told that things like marriage, education, and effort do not matter.

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Great ad by the RNC — if they run these regularly, Obama will lose.  If the media would have covered this in 2008 he would have lost then.

Hearing God’s voice

How to hear God’s voice 100% of the time does a good job of refuting what I call “sloppy God talk,” which is sadly pervasive in the broader church.

2 Timothy 3:17 drives the point home by stating that through the written word of God the man of God is equipped for EVERY good work. There are no good works that God would have you do that would require you to rely on anything other than His word to make you complete and fully equipped for the task.

The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work.

You don’t need whispers.

You don’t need dreams.

You don’t need visions.

You don’t need trances.

You don’t need a glory cloud.

You don’t need to figure out how to ‘experience God’.

You don’t need contemplative mysticism.

All you need is the written word of God. The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work and because every word of scripture is God breathed, you can know with confidence that you’re hearing the voice of God.

You may be asking yourself if it could truly be that simple.

Yes, it really is that simple!

If you want to hear from God, read the Bible. If you want to hear from him audibly, read the Bible out loud.

When we talk to God it is prayer. When God talks to us it is prophecy, and the burden of proof is on the person who claimed that God gave him a message outside the Bible.

This is good news!  God might give you an additional revelation, but He is not obligated to and it is very uncommon.  I see people getting into all sorts of mischief and bad theology when they focus on getting individualized revelation.  They also damage the faith of newer believers who may unnecessarily question their salvation because they aren’t “hearing” from God like these other Christians are.

I was glad that our church had a sermon series on this.  It used some of the same source materials as I did for Decision making and the will of God.

There is no Bible 2.0.  Just focus on the original.  There are no important spiritual truths that aren’t in the Bible.  When you get all 31,173 verses down and are bored with what God originally revealed, then feel free to ask him for more.

In other words, God told me to tell you to be very careful when claiming to speak for him.