Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why The Social Justice of Karl Marx, Neo-Evangelicalism & The Vatican is Not Biblical

By Brannon Howse

Social justice promotes the redistribution of income in the name of "the common good." Among world influencers, it is important to note that "common good" is used by the Vatican and the pope over and over. That should not come as a surprise when we realize the term "social justice" was coined by a Catholic Jesuit.[1] Luigi Taparelli D'Azeglio, who lived from 1793 to 1862, was an Italian Catholic scholar of the Society of Jesus who coined the term social justice.[2]

My friend and frequent Worldview Weekend radio guest Carl Teichrib, explains that many denominations now actively promote "social justice":

In today's Christian world-and Western culture in general-there's a myriad of changes taking place, and with it comes new language. "Social Justice" is certainly in the spotlight. Jim Wallis of Sojourners uses this term repeatedly. Brain McLaren's book Everything Must Change seeks to reframe Christianity in a social justice context. The Christian Reformed Church has a social justice office, as does the Salvation Army; and the Mennonite Church USA, the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Canada, and an endless list of other denominations and church bodies speak of "social justice."[3]

FBI founder and director J. Edgar Hoover, in his 1958 book Masters of Deceit, explains why communists insert their people as the heads of churches and other such organizations to promote communism in the guise of social justice:

To make a known Party member president of a front would immediately label it as "communist." But if a sympathizer can be installed, especially a man of prominence, such as an educator, minister, or scientist, the group can operate as an "independent" organization.[4]

Karl Marx was educated at a secularized Jesuit high school,[5] and interestingly enough, he and Jesuit Taparelli were contemporaries:

Marx and Engels fleshed out their "science of socialism" during the same time frame as Luigi Taparelli D'Azeglio's "social justice." And The Communist Manifesto was published the same year that the Society of Fraternal Democrats called for social justice. Under Communism, wealth redistribution was to be used for social ends. In this structure, private property for personal gain was viewed as the cornerstone of the class system and was seen as the cause of social injustices and strife. Wealth redistribution, therefore, was aimed at producing a society where all people were economically equal. Hence, the abolition of bourgeois property (that of the capitalist class) was the key to Communism.[6]

The Church of Rome via its Maryknoll and Jesuit Orders has promoted, aided, and propped up communism when it served its interests. The Pope's latest visit to communist Cuba more than proves the point. Roman Catholic Humberto Fontova wrote an article entitled "Pope Blesses Castroism."[7] Read the article and weep for those suffering under Castro's police state. And yes, the Pope had time for the Castro brothers but no time for those languishing under them. In fact, the day after the Pope left the island, Castro's thugs arrested "at least 43 Cuban dissidents." [8]

This sort of thing is not brand new. In 2009, the Vatican, through a Jesuit newspaper, praised Karl Marx. Richard Owen of The Times Online reports:

L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said yesterday that Marx's early critiques of capitalism had highlighted the "social alienation" felt by the "large part of humanity" that remained excluded, even now, from economic and political decision-making.

Georg Sans, a German-born professor of the history of contemporary philosophy at the pontifical Gregorian University, wrote in an article that Marx's work remained especially relevant today as mankind was seeking "a new harmony" between its needs and the natural environment. He also said that Marx's theories may help to explain the enduring issue of income inequality within capitalist societies.

"We have to ask ourselves, with Marx, whether the forms of alienation of which he spoke have their origin in the capitalist system," Professor Sans wrote. "If money as such does not multiply on its own, how are we to explain the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few?"

Professor Sans's article was first published in La Civiltà Cattolica, a Jesuit paper, which is vetted in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State. The decision to republish it in the Vatican newspaper gives it added papal endorsement.[9]

Communism also hides within a mixture of socialism and capitalism known as communitarianism or "communism lite" and is being aggressively promoted by the Church of Rome and prominent neo-evangelicals.

Today's young people get a heavy dose of social justice curriculum written by individuals such Bill Ayers. As a result, many people tell me they are pleased that their church or denomination is involved in social justice. But Carl Teichrib explains why social justice is completely unbiblical:

"My church has a social justice mandate… This is something I support."
Sounds nice, but can you tell me what you mean? The usual response I get, thankfully, centers on feeding the poor, helping at a homeless shelter or safe house, assisting the elderly, working with troubled teens, or supporting an orphanage.

Sorry, that's not social justice. The dominant social justice concept for the past 150 years has been centered on the sliding slope of Papal-advocated wealth redistribution, and a Marxist version of Collectivism. Feeding the poor and assisting the helpless, from a Christian perspective, isn't social justice-its Biblical compassion, a generous act of love. Such acts of compassion engage individual lives, and are based on the Christian call of loving others more than self. This is the heart of compassion: An individual sees a need, and operating out of love, reaches to meet that need. Churches too are to function in a similar manner. A need is evident, and moved by compassion, the congregation works to solve the dilemma. Coercion never enters the picture, nor does a political agenda emerge, nor is a call for economic equality heard.

The Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates true compassion (Luke 10). A Jewish man has been beaten, robbed, and left to die on the road. Various people pass him by, including the religiously pious. However, a Samaritan traveler sees the individual, and although the Samaritan is culturally alienated from the beaten man, he recognizes the desperation and individually takes action-dressing his wounds and providing a place of rest and refuge. And the Samaritan pays for it himself without demanding remuneration or compensation, either from the victim, his family or community, or from the government or ruling class.

However, if the Samaritan were a supporter of the dominant theme in social justice, he would have acted with a different motive for different ends. The Samaritan would have used the occasion to lobby for social transformation.
1.     The robbers were really victims of an unjust economic system, and had acted in response to the oppression of the ruling class.
2.     In order to bring justice to this oppressed class, and to steer them back to a caring community, equitable wealth redistribution should take place. The rich must be taxed to fund necessary social programs. A more equitable society is needed.
3.     Who will pay the victim's medical bills? The community or the rich.
4.     This tragic event, the Samaritan would tell us, is a graphic reminder of the class struggle. We are all victims of an unjust economic order. Therefore, we must be the "voice of the voiceless" and advocate for radical social change.

In the social justice framework there is another agenda that lurks behind the tragic: A political/economic cause is piggybacked and leveraged-the cause of economic equality through wealth redistribution. This isn't about truly helping the victim; it's about using the victim.

Biblical justice, on the other hand, never seeks to dismantle class structures. Evil actions are condemned, but this isn't specific to a particular social strata. Consider the words of Leviticus 19:15: "You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. But in righteousness you shall judge your neighbor."[10]

Mark W. Hendrickson compliments the commentary of Mr. Teichrib when he writes:
[Biblical] Justice not only means that nobody is to be picked on because he is poor or favored because he is rich, but that (contrary to the doctrine of "social justice") nobody is to be picked on because he is rich or favored because he is poor.

The fundamental error of today's 'social justice' practitioners is their hostility to economic inequality, per se. Social justice theory fails to distinguish between economic disparities that result from unjust deeds and those that are part of the natural order of things. All Christians oppose unjust deeds… [but] it isn't necessarily unjust for some people to be richer than others.

God made us different from each other. We are unequal in aptitude, talent, skill, work ethic, priorities, etc. Inevitably, these differences result in some individuals producing and earning far more wealth than others. To the extent that those in the 'social justice' crowd obsess about eliminating economic inequality, they are at war with the nature of the Creator's creation.

The Bible doesn't condemn economic inequality. You can't read Proverbs without seeing that some people are poor due to their own vices. There is nothing unjust about people reaping what they sow, whether wealth or poverty.
Jesus himself didn't condemn economic inequality. Yes, he repeatedly warned about the snares of material wealth; he exploded the comfortable conventionality of the Pharisaical tendency to regard prosperity as a badge of honor and superiority; he commanded compassion toward the poor and suffering. But he also told his disciples, "you have the poor always with you" (Matthew 26:11), and in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:24-30) he condemned the failure to productively use one's God-given talents-whether many or few, exceptional or ordinary-by having a lord take money from the one who had the least and give it to him who had the most, thereby increasing economic inequality.

The Lord's mission was to redeem us from sin, not to redistribute our property or impose an economic equality on us. In fact, Jesus explicitly declined to undermine property rights or preach economic equality when he told the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to share an inheritance with him, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you" (Luke 12:14).[11]

Satan has used socialism, communism, and Marxism to build his "new order"-his own kingdom. He seeks to destroy Christianity, free nations, national sovereignty, and laws based on the character and nature of God. The devil has used dictators committed to Marxist/Leninist philosophies to kill countless Christians. Why? Because only committed Christians build God's Kingdom in the spiritual realm as they preach and defend the gospel.
One final quote captures the essence of what Marx believed and what he thought should be done: "The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilization. It must be destroyed."  Marx was dead wrong, but that doesn't change the reality that the worldview of Marx is alive and well in America and around the world.  The influence of Marx's ideas is overwhelming, and his vile legacy continues despite the indisputable failure of his atheistic, communistic worldview wherever it has been tried.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In Everything Give thanks......

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
 (I Thessalonians 5:18)

God says that giving thanks is His will! I wanted to briefly highlight some scriptures about the importance of giving thanks! With a thankful heart, our perspective becomes healthier and we become less self-focused and more God-focused!

1. "That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works." (Psalm 26:7)

2. "Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving And the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small." (Jeremiah 30:19)

3. "But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9)

4. "And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

5. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:57)

6. "For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God." ( 2 Corinthians 4:15)

7. "do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayer;" (Ephesians 1:16)

8. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;" (Philippians 4:6)

9. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

10. "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men;" (1 Timothy 2:1)

11. "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15)

12. "saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)

Thanks be to God!!! -Dustin

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Upcoming Psychologized Generation

Nov NL.jpg When Dave Hunt and I wrote The Seduction of Christianity more than 25 years ago, the conservative evangelical church was more than pleased that we were addressing some of the erroneous teachings and practices of the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, particularly those that promoted the unbiblical prosperity and healing doctrines. Yet that enthusiasm was short-lived when many such readers got to chapters 12 and 13. Why? Those chapters addressed the biblical problems with psychological counseling in the church, a phenomenon that had installed itself within evangelical Christianity in a major way.
That was more than a quarter of a century ago, and one might guess (or hope) that the body of Christ would have become aware of the preponderance of studies from some research psychologists who demonstrate that psychotherapy is not only practically worthless but is even quite harmful in many situations. Few, however, have taken notice. As a consequence, psychotherapy has become so accepted among evangelicals today that rarely is anyone aware of the dangers.
How did the evangelical church slide into such an astounding lack of discernment? The fundamental reason is shockingly simple: most Christians, including many who claim to look to the Bible as their authority in all matters of living their lives in submission to the Lord, give only lip service to the sufficiency of God’s Word . In other words, they contradict their professing belief in biblical authority by looking elsewhere for solutions to solving life’s problems, primarily by turning to so-called authorities or “experts”—and particularly to psychologists. This is a tragic mistake because God’s Word is sufficient: “ According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue ” (2 Peter:1:3). The Word of God is the Manufacturer’s Handbook, with instructions for humanity regarding “ all things that pertain to life and godliness.” What exactly are the “all things”? Certainly everything that pertains to or involves moral issues and anything that is sin related—either how to avoid it or how to repent of it. Clinical psychology cannot deal with sin—although most if not all of the issues for which people turn to psychotherapists are due to sin. The outcome of seeking psychotherapeutic help is always destructive for the faith of the believer for what should be obvious reasons.
Psychological counseling is an anti-biblical replacement program for the Manufacturer’s Handbook. Its essential doctrine is that self , which is declared to be innately good , is the key to solving all of life’s problems. Therefore, foundationally, it stands in direct opposition to the Scriptures, which declare that self , i.e., man, is innately sinful (Jeremiah:17:9). If self, also known as the heart of man, is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” as the Bible declares, then self is the problem rather than the solution. Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, there is nothing within self that can change its sinful nature. Nothing in the theories or practices of psychotherapy can change this fact. So why would psychotherapists, in view of all of the horrendous evil that we see demonstrated daily throughout the world, hold to a premise that simple observation denies? They have no choice. Without God, only self remains. And so the delusionary charade based upon the innate goodness of man goes on (as well as the terrible consequence) for people who have turned from God to a deified self.
The good news is that God knows the problem that besets humanity and He has provided the solution through His Son—a solution that will change the heart of every human who will turn to Him and accept His offer. Christ’s full payment for the sins of humanity not only makes those who receive His payment for themselves new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians:5:17), but they are also sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, the only true Counselor and Comforter of all believers. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the One who enables the born-again Christian to understand the Manufacturer’s Handbook and live out its instructions (John:14:26; Zechariah:4:6). That’s what the Bible declares; so why would those who profess to believe in the Bible forsake its wonderful claims? Jesus announced that He came that those who believed in Him “might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John:10:10).
So why do believers look elsewhere? One of the major reasons is simple—and therefore correctible. If a believer is not reading his Bible and is relying on other sources for his biblical intake, he will have only a vague idea of what’s in it, and much of his thinking about it may be deluded or distorted. That contributes to one’s having a serious lack of confidence in God’s Word. Such a person is rendered incapable of recognizing what’s biblical and what’s not. Yet the condition is hardly hopeless. Biblical discernment doesn’t depend upon scholarship or knowing Greek and Hebrew or attending seminary or having an apologetics degree from a Bible college. It’s simply a matter of a believer’s disciplined reading (meaning every day!) of the Word of God, followed by a willingness to apply what one is reading to one’s life. How can a believer expect to recognize truth from error if he or she is not disciplined in reading and doing what the Scriptures teach? Biblical discernment is basically a matter of comparing what’s being promoted or taught in the world or the church with what the Bible teaches. A person cannot make that assessment if he is doubtful about biblical content. What is needed is the very thing that the Jews in the synagogue of the Greek city of Berea were commended for: they searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things that the Apostle Paul was preaching were true to the Scriptures (Acts:17:10-11). If those Jews were so commended, how much more important it is that believers today follow their example.
Sadly, from my observation over more than three decades, the evangelical church has succumbed to nearly every seductive device the Adversary has dished out, all in support of his major strategy: to destroy the effectiveness of God’s Word in the church , as well as in the world. The seductive program began in the Garden of Eden with Eve: “Yea, hath God said…?”—a ploy to get her to rethink God’s commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had indeed declared to Adam, “…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis:2:17). Satan then denied God’s command by telling Eve, “Ye shall not surely die…” (Genesis:3:4).
It is important to note that the sowing of doubt followed by the denial of the truth of God’s Word has been the Adversary’s tactic in his quest to destroy mankind ever since. His chief strategy is to undermine the Scriptures . To the degree that a believer turns from the Word of God—whether through apathy, laziness, being spoon fed, having a self-serving interest, turning to outside sources, being deceived, listening to extra-biblical misinformation, etc.—to that degree his ability to discern has deteriorated. Without biblical discernment, a believer is ripe for any and all of Satan’s deceptions, which brings us back to what may be the Adversary’s most effective contemporary scam: “psyching out” the evangelical church.
It began, as most seductions do, in small doses and influences, all of them somewhat subtle and appearing to make sense. In the mid-20th century, psychologists such as Erich Fromm began writing about love, and in particular the value of self-love. Abraham Maslow, in the 1940s, included self-esteem near the top of his “hierarchy of needs.” Evangelicals took note. Norman Vincent Peale and psychiatrist Smiley Blanton early in the 1950s established the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry. The Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), took root at the same time. Also, at that time, the American Psychiatric Association set up luncheons around the US, in which psychiatrists suggested to the religious community that working together to meet the needs of their flocks would be a match made in heaven. As that relationship grew, it was gradually impressed upon the pastors and priests that they were ill equipped to deal with most of the issues of their congregations’ problems of living. Many pastors fell into that erroneous idea  and returned to school to earn degrees in psychology.
What began as a trickle turned into a flood from the 1970s through the 80s. Psychologist James Dobson released his book, How to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child: Hide or Seek . Robert Schuller’s book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation was sent out gratis to 250,000 pastors. Toward the end of the 1980s, the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), an organization that strongly endorses the integration of psychology and the Bible, had its beginning. Today it boasts on its masthead: “Nearly 50,000 Members and Growing Stronger Every Day.” The list of leaders who have spoken at AACC conferences consist of a Who’s Who ? of the evangelical community. My Middle Eastern friends would characterize what I’ve described early on as “the camel getting its nose in the tent.” It should come as no surprise, then, that years later the camel is right at home within the tent. That “beast,” however, has displaced God’s way and His truth and is causing much destruction within the body of Christ.
Unless there is a dramatic recognition of the antibiblical nature of psychological counseling and its “spiritualized” counterparts (inner healing, Theophostic Counseling, Bethel’s Sozo, etc.), the worst is yet to come. What makes me think so? It has to do with our upcoming generation of evangelicals. Many are aware that evolution is a false science—a pseudoscience—thanks to the teaching and influence of organizations such as the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis and individuals such as Carl Kerby, Jobe Martin, and many others. Psychological counseling, however, is also a pseudoscience (which we have documented in numerous articles and books that we have offered for years). Can you name any ministries equivalent in influence to that of ICR or AiG that are pointing out the pseudoscientific nature of psychotherapy ? Not that there aren’t some out there, but they are small voices crying in the wilderness.
Now here is the really bad news. Our evangelical young people are being led by the pied pipers of so-called Christian psychology and through the greed of professing Christian universities to become practitioners in an antichrist field. It’s tragic enough that the upcoming generation is functionally biblically illiterate—they know how to read, and they have Bibles but don’t read them (See this issue’s NewsWatch), but add to that grievous condition the fact that they are being ushered into psychology. A survey by the prestigious Princeton Review noted that psychology was listed as the number-two major among college students. It’s very likely that the percentage is even higher for Christian students at professing Christian colleges because of their belief in the myth that psychology is a scientific way of helping people and that jobs may be available for them as counselors at evangelical churches. There is also other encouragement for them to seek such careers.
Dr. James Dobson is one of the many highly influential evangelicals ushering this next generation into psychotherapy. He writes: “Christian psychology is a worthy profession for a young believer, provided his faith is strong enough to withstand the humanistic concepts to which he will be exposed” ( Focus on the Family, Dec. 1988). Dr. Dobson couldn’t be more wrong in his counsel to young believers. To begin with, “Christian psychology” is a misleading term. According to CAPS, “there is no acceptable Christian psychology that is markedly different from non-Christian psychology…as yet there is not an acceptable theory, mode of research, or treatment methodology that is distinctly Christian” (From a paper presented at the Western Association of  Christians for Psychological Studies, 1976, cited in Psychoheresy by Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Eastgate Pub., 1987, p.5). As noted, scarce is the young believer today whose faith is strong enough and whose discernment level high enough (because of his study of the Word of God) to withstand the onslaught from such a pursuit. And finally, it isn’t merely a matter of being able to stand against some of the humanistic concepts in psychotherapy. No, the entire field of psychological counseling is rooted in the humanistic concept of self.
It is also rare that a Christian academic institution would reject psychology for biblical reasons (although there are a few). Some offer psychological counseling for the same reasons that they teach evolution in their so-called science departments—they accept it by faith. But it’s also a matter of “filthy lucre,” i.e., it’s an economic proposition: students keep the school afloat financially. If the school does not offer psychology, “the number-two most popular major,” the students will go elsewhere; if they go elsewhere, the school sinks economically.
What all of this leads up to is a generation of evangelicals who will have been heavily psychologized and further conditioned against the belief in the sufficiency of the Word of God . And because most of the church is supportive of the psychological way, there will be few warnings regarding the spiritual disaster that lies ahead.
Is there any hope of averting such a tragic end result? Yes…but the term “hope” may seem a bit optimistic. Nevertheless, we have a potential remedy and encouragement from the Book of Nehemiah. Upon returning to Jerusalem from Babylon, Nehemiah was confronted by a development that outraged him: the Jewish leaders had given to Tobiah, the servant of the wicked Sanballat and enemy of Israel, a “ chamber in the courts of the house of God .” Nehemiah’s response, as a man of God, as a type of the Holy Spirit, as a watchman who oversaw the building of the wall surrounding Jerusalem for protection, was God ordained: “And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber ” (Nehemiah:13:7-8).
Unless today’s men of God, shepherds of God’s flock, those whom God has privileged in leadership positions do likewise with the “psychological stuff” that is in the church, they are unwittingly contributing to the last days apostasy (2 Timothy:3:1-2). And by failing to warn this and the next generation, their “blood,” i.e., the resulting spiritual destruction, will fall upon those who will be held accountable—those who could have done something but did nothing. It doesn’t have to be that way.    TBC

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why do demons hate people?

By Jesse Johnson
One would think that demons (who hate God) and people (most of whom hate God) would have at least an amicable relationship. After all, they are both opposed to God, and are both living in open rebellion against him. Shouldn't a shared enemy unite them?
Yet going all the way back to the first satanically possessed serpent, fallen angles have a track record of hatred and violence against people. Satan propelled the world into sin, while demons afflict the weak and cripple the strong. Why? Why do demons hate people so much?
Part of the reason has to do with the fall-not Adam's fall, but Lucifer's. Obviously Satan fell because of pride, and because of his desire to be like God. But Scripture also hints at why, and it goes back to creation.
When God created the earth, it was good, beautiful, and perfect. Angels were part of creation. They did not exist before the first day, and one of their first acts of existence was applauding at God's work (Job 38:5-7). They were created, then they were immediately struck by the beauty and majesty of God's creation, the focal point of which is the earth.
Angels remained unfallen on day 6. After all, at the end of Day 6, God declared everything he had created as good. The universe could change (and it would), but for the time being all was perfect. Yet a question remained: who would have dominion on the earth? Who would rule the animals, and who would be God's regent over the planet?
The angels clearly appreciated creation. They applauded at it, and they were in awe of its beauty (Ezek 28:13). But God did not give the earth to angels. As Paul writes, "Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world…" (Hebrews 2:5). Instead, God made man. He made Adam out of dirt, and Eve out of Adam. And then God gave them dominion of the earth instead (Gen 1:26).
This certainly would have been a shocking turn of events to the angels. Angels are spiritual, and people are literally made out of dirt. Angels are the sons of God, but people are in the image of God. Scripture expressly says that people are "a little lower than the angels" and that is certainly meant as an understatement (Psalm 8:5).
Why did God make people (even after angels)? Psalm 8:6 says, "You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet." This is exactly what some of the angels wanted. At the very least, Satan wanted dominion over the earth. He wanted to be like God. In fact, he compared his beauty to the beauty of man and creation (Ezek 28:17). And you have to admit, he has a point. The obvious question is:
What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. (Hebrews 2:6-8)
Why would God do that? Why would he turn the earth over to people rather than to angels? For starters, we are in his image. Moreover, by making us frail ("frail children of dust, and feeble as frail" the hymn writer says) God is more glorified through our dependence on him. Because we are frail and sinful, God is glorified through our forgiveness of sins. The gospel comes through us, not through angels. This is why Hebrews 2 immediately follows the question about why people would receive dominion with this observation: it was fitting for Jesus to also be made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9).
Angels can't die. Yet the glory of God as seen in the gospel is bound up with the death of Jesus:
We see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
In other words, God gave the earth to people (as opposed to angels) because the gospel comes through the death of Jesus, and his death is vicarious because of his perfection, which is demonstrated through his suffering. The end result is that many sons come to glory.
But this would not do for the devil. Deprived of his desired dominion, he was cast from heaven to earth (Ezek 28:16). And from that moment on, a cosmic war between Satan and people is played out on the earth. God's plan is to rescue people from sin through Jesus, and Satan's plan is to take out his jealous vengeance on people-the recipients of the earth. By opposing the gospel and afflicting people, he is seeking to undo God's design. By keeping people from the gospel attempting to mitigate God's glory, all the while exercising his rebellion against God by afflicting those to whom God gave the dominion that he felt should be his.
This is why Satan began is his attack in the garden. He attacked God's created order (by targeting Eve) and sought to undo their dominion. This is why angels cohabitated with people in Genesis 6, and this is why demons attack people. They have a desire for dominion, yet a hatred of us.
The result is that they afflict us as a form of rebelling against God's order. God commanded that angels serve people, and instead some angels as part of their revolt attack us, as their way of rebelling against the fact that we have been given dominion.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why Christianity isn't just another Religion to choose from and Why YOU need Jesus!

No doubt there are many religious paths to take in this world, as seen in this chart below:

I'm often asked, if Christianity claims to be the ONLY way to heaven, what about all these other religions in the world? This is a great question, and one I had for many years as well. But let me try and explain why Jesus' claim to be the only way to God is indeed true.
Let's start with Jesus saying that he came from heaven: "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38) Jesus mission came from heaven itself because Jesus was the Son of God. No other religious figure claimed to be God or did things to prove that they were God. Jesus on the other hand, did things on this earth that only God could do: rise from dead, heal the blind, walk on water, feed 5,000 people, etc. He also fulfilled hundreds of prophecies about himself. No other religion comes close to these authenticating proofs.
Since Jesus was God in the flesh, he has the final authority to point humanity in the RIGHT direction. Every thing he taught came from Heaven above. In comparison, everything taught by human religious figures such as Muhammad, Gandhi, Buddha, etc. were things that came from a sin cursed world and not from heaven. James says: " Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. (James 3:15) Matthew Henry comments on this verse saying: "It springs from earthly principles, acts upon earthly motives, and is intent upon serving earthly purposes. It is sensual indulging the flesh, and making provision to fulfill the lusts and desires of it."
Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, the life, and no one comes to the Father, expect by Me." (John 14:6) Why did Jesus say this? We have to first understand that our world is fallen and infected with sin. Sin is: The Breaking of God's Moral Law, (the 10 commandments).
Every person has broken God's law. We are born into sin and have sinned against God. Jesus said He is the ONLY way because is the ONLY solution for the sin problem. Every attempt by man in his religious pursuits falls desperately short. "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:5a) God's mercy alone through the cross of Christ provided the way for mankind to be saved from his/her sins. All other religious paths through their "righteous works" will not meet God's righteous demand against sin. In fact, the god of this world (Satan) has used the religions of the world AND false sects of Christianity (Catholicism, Jehovah's Witness, Mormonism) to lead people astray. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." ( 2 Corinthians 4:4)
Simply put, we NEED Jesus, because Jesus alone is God, who took on our sin, who died in our place, and rose from the dead!! God extends his mercy to us through Jesus alone to be saved. God also calls everyone who follows other paths to Him, to repent and trust in the only provision made for their sins against Him: Jesus Christ!
God has saved multitudes from other countries and religions unto Himself. Lastly, we will see this in heaven itself when this age has passed:
 "And they sang a new song, saying:“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign[b] on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)

In Christ -Dustin

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Overwhelmed by Anxiety?

By John MacArthur

Anxiety, fear, worry, and stress are familiar words in our day, and familiar experiences to many. More and more we’re hearing of an extreme form of anxiety referred to as a “panic attack.”
What was once a rare and extreme example of anxiety has become frighteningly common in our society. Panic attacks are usually related to an unfounded fear—one so overwhelming and so overpowering that it clutches a person’s heart, makes it beat faster, produces chills or perspiration, and the person feels completely unable to cope with the moment.
Anxiety is, at its core, an inappropriate response in light of the circumstances. It’s very different from the cares and concerns in life that cause people to attend to business in a responsible way. Stress and pressure are not the enemies. In fact, often they’re good things, strengthening us to accomplish the challenges God sets before us in life.
The apostle Paul wrote that apart from the unrelenting external pressure he had to face, such as persecution, hardship, and imprisonment, he also had the daily internal pressure “of concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28). In spite of that, he had room in his heart to feel the anxiety of others, for he went on to write, “Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” (v. 29). He wouldn’t have had it any other way, though.
In fact, that kind of response to pressure is what Paul looked for in those who would serve with him. Note how he commended Timothy to the Philippian church: “I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare” (Philippians 2:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17). Anyone who knows and loves Jesus Christ is capable of handling pressure like that.
The wrong way to handle the stresses of life is to worry about them. Jesus Himself said three times, “Do not be anxious” (Matthew 6:25, 31, 34). Paul later reiterated, “Be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6). Worry at any time is a sin because it violates the clear commands of Scripture.
We allow our daily concerns to turn into worry—and therefore sin—when our thoughts become focused on changing the future instead of doing our best to handle our present circumstances.
Such thoughts are unproductive. They end up controlling us—though it should be the other way around—and cause us to neglect other responsibilities and relationships. That brings on legitimate feelings of guilt. If we don’t deal with those feelings in a productive manner by getting back on track with our duties in life, we’ll lose hope instead of finding answers. Anxiety, left unresolved, can debilitate one’s mind and body—and even lead to panic attacks.
I am particularly concerned about the solutions some Christians offer to the problem of anxiety. A survey of the books put out on the topic by evangelical publishing houses is telling. Most are formulaic, anecdotal, or psychological in orientation. They contain a lot of nice stories, but not many references to Scripture. And when Scripture is employed, it is often incidental and without regard for its context. That kind of lip service to God’s Word turns rich, biblical truth into shallow incantations. “If you do this and this, then God must do that.”
To tackle anxiety in a biblical fashion, first we need to know the primary Scripture passages on the topic. Then we need to consider those passages in their context—not merely cite and recite them unthinkingly or use them as props for a nice story or a suggested behavior-modifying technique. As a person “thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).
We need to shatter modern misconceptions and realign our thinking on anxiety with what God says about it in His Word, and why. Only then will we be able to apply His precious Word to our hearts. We won’t just know we’re not to worry; we’ll have confidence and success in doing something about it.
And we can be aggressive in our approach. I’m calling this series Attacking Anxiety because I want you to know you can attack this crippling foe and win. Even if you’ve struggled with anxiety for years, I want to give you the encouragement you need to get back into battle.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beware of False Apostles and Prophets Being Promoted by Today's New Religious Right

By Brannon Howse

Even the secular media is noticing the emergence of a New Religious Right and a group known as the New Apostolic Reformation. This is a group of people that believe they are modern-day Prophets and Apostles. On July 21, 2011, Business Insider reported:

As mainstream evangelical influence wanes, however, the New Apostolic Reformation is gaining broader acceptance among conservative Christians. The Response [Texas Governor Rick Perry's prayer rally], whose endorsers also include more mainstream fundamentalists, is evidence of the New Apostles' emerging influence - and of its leaders' growing appetite for political power. Here's what you need to know about the fastest-growing religious movement you've never heard of. Given that the New Apostolic Reformation is growing so rapidly, even within mainstream evangelicalism, it is critical to understand the biblical basis on which I and others who recognize the problem take issue with the movement. NAR members claim that Christians must yield to their leadership because God has appointed them to be apostles and prophets to lead the church in establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Lest you think this is simply a squabble between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals, please note that an August 6, 2001 report released by the General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God (a Pentecostal denomination) included the following statement:

It is also clear that while the apostles (with the elders) were established leaders in the Early Church, there was no provision for their replacement or continuation…It is instructive, however, that nowhere in the New Testament after the replacement of Judas is any attention given to a so-called apostolic succession. No attempt was made to replace James son of Zebedee (John's brother), executed by Herod (Acts 12:2). Other than the original appointments by Christ himself, there is nothing concerning the appointment of apostles. And apart from the criteria set for the selection of Matthias (Acts 1:21-26) and the criteria implied in the actions of Jesus and the account of Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-11), there are no directions for making such an appointment. By contrast, there are clear qualifications and instructions for the appointment of elders/overseers and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). It seems strange that apostles of Jesus Christ, concerned about faithful preservation of their message (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2), would provide for the appointment of overseers/elders while ignoring their own succession if such were indeed to be maintained…In fact, there are certain exegetical hints the apostles of Jesus Christ are not to have successors.[1]

You will notice in Scripture that there are three kinds of apostles (In my book, Religious Trojan Horse, I discuss apostles first, then prophets): 1. apostles of the 2. Lord Jesus Christ, (there was only 12 of these) apostles of the Church, (these are missionaries or sent ones) and 3. false apostles.

The third classification of an apostle is that of false apostle which would include network known as The New Apostolic Reformation. The Scriptures tell us in 2 Corinthians 11:13 that "such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."

Isn't it interesting that this passage says they transformed themselves into Apostles of Christ? It doesn't say they transfer themselves into the apostles of the Church. They don't transform themselves into being a messenger or a sent one from the Church but Apostles of Christ-the context showing that those who do such a thing are by definition false apostles. This is indeed what the Scriptures say will happen in the last days. Revelation 2:2 supports this understanding: "I know your works, your labor, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil and you have tested those who say that they are Apostles and are not and I found them liars."
This is Jesus Himself speaking to that church and commending it for pointing out those who are false teachers or false apostles. So is it appropriate that we, too, point out false teachers and false apostles? The answer from this scripture is, "Absolutely!" Jesus commends the church for calling out false apostles. To make sure we know how to identify false apostles the Bible is clear about the distinctives of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Distinctive #1: Apostles of Jesus Christ were appointed by God.

In Galatians 1:1 Paul, an Apostle says he was appointed "Not of men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead." So under what authority is Paul an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? By the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. Luke 6:13 is also decisive about who qualifies: "And when it was day He [Jesus] called unto him His disciples and of them He chose 12, whom He also named Apostles."

So an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is called by God-God the Father or Jesus, God incarnate. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul elaborates: "And God hath set [appointed] some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers…

After apostles and prophets, 1 Corinthians 12:28 says, "thirdly, teachers." We have teachers today that we also call shepherds, pastors, or elders. There are people in the Church we would not classify as holding the office of shepherd, pastor, or elder, but they do have the spiritual gift of teaching. Such individuals can be found teaching Sunday school, writing books, and speaking at Bible conferences (or at Worldview Weekends), or hosting a radio program. 

Distinctive #2: Apostles of Jesus Christ had to have seen the risen Lord.

The Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ at some point saw the risen Lord. Acts 1:22 articulates this requirement: "Beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection."

So to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, you had to be appointed by God and you had to have seen the risen Lord. That makes it a little hard for people today who claim to be Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ to qualify. They have not seen the risen Lord.

Distinctive #3: Apostles of Jesus Christ were used by God for a limited time to establish the doctrinal foundation of the Church.

Apostles laid the foundation, the correct doctrinal teachings of the Church. And, of course, a foundation is laid only one time. Ephesians 2:19-20 expounds on this idea of foundation:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

The foundation for the Church was built by the Apostles and the Prophets-once. That means we do not need foundation builders today.

Distinctive #4: Apostles of Jesus Christ received Scripture from the Holy Spirit and proclaimed God's Word.

The job of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ was to receive the Word of God as the Holy Spirit moved. The Bible they authored is God-breathed and uniquely God-inspired. These men wrote the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit led them. It was a unique job of an Apostle of Jesus Christ. 

Are we receiving new revelations from God today that are equal to the Bible? No! Jude 3 is clear that Scripture is "once for all" delivered to the saints. Scripture also says that we don't add to or take away from Scripture. Because the canon of the Bible is complete, we do not need Apostles today when it comes to receiving the Word of God or revelations from Him.

Distinctive #5: Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had the gifts of signs and wonders.

The Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had the gifts of signs and wonders for what purpose? To bring glory and honor to themselves? Was the purpose to pack an arena using signs and wonders and to take up huge offerings and sell books and handkerchiefs, as we see some false apostles doing today? No and no.

The true Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ were given power from God to do signs and wonders in order to bring credibility to the message they proclaimed. It was not to glorify their own flesh or their own egos. It was simply to make the Gospel believable as they preached.

Today, the charlatans who call themselves apostles and prophets are not performing signs and wonders. In fact, Scripture tells us that these false apostles will perform lying signs and wonders and will not preach a biblical Gospel. For instance, 2 Corinthians 12:12 says, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." One of the signs of an Apostle was that he could do incredible signs and wonders. And 2 Peter 2:2-3 warns of the danger from those who say they do but don't: "Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words…."

So do we have people today who are apostles of the church that are in a sense messengers sent by God? Yes. Are there people today who have spiritual gifts of teaching or being a pastor, shepherd, or elder? Yes again. But the office of Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is closed as is the office of Prophet.

A key component of the religious Trojan horse is false apostles and false prophets.