Monday, August 31, 2009

Paul Washer on False Teachers

To be honest, I had actually never really thought of this. However, I think Paul Washer has a very valid point.

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

In Romans 1, although this verse is addressing homosexuality, we are told 24"Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen." (Romans 1:24-25)

Like I said, this is addressing the issue of homosexuality. But, I think it would be at least plausible that God would be consistent and give people over to false teachings.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In this clip called "Osteen Said What" some of the absurdities in JoelOsteen's theology are pointed out. Apparently, he's totally twisted around why Jesus Christ had to die on the cross. I didn't know that Jesus Christ suffered under the wrath of God the Father so I can be free of poverty, lack, mediocrity and low self-esteem.

Along the same lines, the "White Horse Inn" exposes the "Christless Christianity" preached by Joel Osteen.

Now, this actually begs an interesting question: is there even a NEED for Jesus in Osteen's version of Christianity?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Roger Oakland's Lecture on the Emergent Church

In this 6 part series, Roger Oakland discusees a theologial fad in American Evangelicalism, mostly amongst the younger generation: the Emergent Church. Many of the ringleaders, such as Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt have denied cardinal doctrines of the faith. But, in this piece, Oakland namely discusses 2 dangerous facets of the Emergent Church: how many of the spritual practices of the Emergent Church are leading people back into the waiting arms of the apostate Roman Catholic Church, and the road to ecumenism with other religions. In fact, there does seem to be an emphasis on mystical experiences amongst Emergents, particularly via "contemplative prayer."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Way of the Master Radio (aka "Wretched Radio") on the Emergent Church

John MacArthur, in an interview with Todd Friel on "Wretched Radio," addresses the problems that creep up in the Emergent Church.

Pastor MacArthur of Grace Community Church, out in California, makes a very good point in that many of these Emergent leaders deny the clarity of Scripture. Therefore, it's not too surprising that Rob Bell has denied the authority of Scripture. But, it's a pretext, in my opinion, to insert their unbiblical doctrines.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jesus for $ale

Pay attention to T.D. Jakes's remark at 0:23: "I think Jesus is the product." No, Jesus is not a product, He's our Lord and Savior.

It's pretty shameful that many, particularly, in Evangelical circles, have fallen into this trap of trying to be pitchmen for Christ. This is a topic which the guys at "the White Horse Inn" address.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Problem of Free Will: Do We Choose God, or Did He Choose Us?

There was an interesting story about a month or so ago in "the Christian Post." According to the ministry "Campus Crusade For Christ," there were 1 million "decisions for Christ" in June alone. Now, this actually begs the question: do we choose God and are we saved by our "decision for Christ", or was it God who chose us and indeed saves us? Well, I guess we have no choice but to look at the Bible and what it says about Salvation and God's choice.

Concerning God's Role in Salvation:
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 8:44)

Now, concerning predestination/election:

"And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days." (Mark 13:20)

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:3-7)

"In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:11)

So, it seems perfectly clear that it is God who has chosen us, as Ephesians 1:4 puts it, "before the foundation of the world." Now, why did God choose some of us. Well, according to Ephesians 1:7 & 11, to bring Himself glory.

Now, I know that this will drive Arminians absolutely nuts, I think namely because they would argue that it's unfair that God saves some and not others. In fact, I used to be of that mindset. However, when it was explained to me that God wasn't under any obligation to save ANYONE, I truly feel that was God working in my heart.

Furthermore, even if the doctrine of election and predestination wasn't even addressed in the New Testament, one could make a case for God's sovereign choice just based on Old Testament precedent. I mean, if we look, all the great saints of the Old Testament like Abraham, Moses & Aaron (in fact, in Psalms 105:26explecitly states that Moses & Aaron were chosen by God), the prophets like Ezekiel, Samuel, and others were chosen by God.

So, I don't think that anyone really had "free-will" to choose God. Furthermore, given the fact that we are evil sinners, and of our father the devil, if, or until, God saves us, unrestrained "free-will" is the last thing we want.

The Problems of Modern Evangelism

Paul Washer addresses the problems that have often arisen with contemperary evangelism in America, including the creation of false converts and the giving of a false gospel.

"Paul Washer on inviting men to Christ"

Paul Washer makes an EXCELLENT point at 3:33 in the below video ("The Psychological Manipulation of the 'Invitation'")about Jesus usually saying something that results in people leaving. If we look at John 6:26, after feeding the 5,000 men, Jesus tells the crowds that: , "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves." I paraphrase it as: "you're only following me because I fed you." If you look then, further, in John 6, He tells the people that "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)After teaching them that He was the bread of life, that whoever eats his body and drinks His blood, and that it is the Father's work to draw them to Christ, we are told in John 6:66 that: After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him."

"The Psychological Manipulation of the 'Invitation'"

Pastor Jim McClarty of Grace Christian Assembly in Smyrna, TN, takes a more "tounge & cheek" approach to the same point that Paul Washer is making in "The Psychological Manipulation of the 'Invitation,'" in the video: "Theology Matters in our Gospel Call"

Pastor Jim McClarty,

The Entertainment Problem

This "entertainment problem" happens when churches try, rather than to feed people God's Word, attempt entertain them. But, to be really honest, I think that in many cases, they're just entertaining goats, rather than feeding the sheep. I mean, they just come to the show. Next they may as well be selling popcorn & cotton candy outside the sanctuary.

Unfortuantely, the notion in today's modern American churches, is to be "seeker-sensitive," that is, try to bring as many people in as possible. Often, however, that means skimping on sound Biblical doctrine & teaching and often dumbing down Christianity, to the point that it very may well insult the intelligence of the more mature Christians, and many may very well leave, since they're not being fed.

In this addition of the "White Horse Inn," the guys address one MAJOR problem in American Christianity, the feeling that people need to be entertained when they come to church.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Theological Liberalism & the Sidelinging of Orthodoxy

(originally published as a Facebook note on February 20th, 2009)

I’ve noticed that there have been increased attacks on Biblical truth, Bible-believing churches & Christians, along with Bible preaching pastors. Yet, what’s disturbing is that this is coming from WITHIN the professing church, mostly from the theological left.

If you ask me, theological liberalism is one of the greatest dangers in the church today & unfortunately, many mainline denominations are veering to the left, including the United Church of Christ, the Episcopalians, the PCUSA, & some branches of the Anglican Church. In fact, I firmly believe that theological liberalism in some form or another is the root of most of the rank heresy coming from the church.

An Episcopal priest made the claim that one doesn’t have to believe that Christ physically & literally rose from the dead to be a Christian. A variety of Christians don’t believe that Christ is the ONLY way to Salvation, in fact liberal “Christian” scholar Marcus Borg, who also questions the inspiration of Scripture, prides himself on being a “non-exclusivist” Christian & there seems to be a push amongst some to make Christianity more inclusive. Last fall, the Anglican Church made the claim that the Darwinian theory of evolution is compatible Christian teaching. A variety of Christian groups & churches are pushing to find “common ground” with religions inspired by Satan. There are even elements of New Age philosophy being embraced amongst liberal professing Christians.

Then, of course, there’s the whole homosexual issue. I realize that homosexuality is a touchy subject. But, there are liberals like Tony Jones & Episcopal “bishop” Katherine Jefferts Schori coming out & saying that you can be an unrepentant homosexual & a Christian & that there isn’t a conflict between the two. Heck, one “minister,” a certain Reverend Ed Bacon, yet another Episcopalian, said on Oprah that “being gay is a gift from God.” Since when did clergy get the prerogative to turn something that God declared to be an abomination to be something that’s celebrated & a “holy lifestyle” as Schori put it?

I believe that the root of the issue of theological liberalism is the idea that God didn’t mean what He said in Scripture, or we have no means to really understand what He meant, as the Emergents often claim. When Schori claimed that homosexuality can be a holy lifestyle, she also pretty much made the argument that (& I’m paraphrasing this) “wait, we need the cultural CONTEXT of the passages that Christians claim are condemning homosexuality before we make a judgment on whether the Bible is condemning it.” It’s basically a case of the same old lie that Satan asked Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden: “did God really say?”

Then, of course, there are the liberals like retired heretical Episcopal “bishop” John Shelby Spong, who claims to be a “Christian,” yet denies almost every cardinal doctrine of Christianity that you can list, something that emergent guru Brian McLaren is going towards.

This liberalism combined with the modern method of evangelism, in my opinion, has created a spiritually deadly toxin. Too often, there’s been too much of an emphasis on the altar call or the sinner’s prayer in evangelism, without instruction in orthodox theology or Biblical repentance. So, it’s come to the point that although there’s been no repentance, the person isn’t growing in their faith & the fruit of their repentance is rotten to the core, to the point that you can almost see the flies buzzing around it, God bless them, the person’s saved because they prayed a prayer, made a “decision for Christ,” or came up during an altar call. But, I could write another note entirely about the neglecting of the sovereignty of God & the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s salvation when it comes to modern evangelism. But, it’s come to the point that doctrinally illiterate & carnal, wicked people are calling themselves Christians, who are really reprobates, are infiltrating the church, making theological liberalism extremely attractive & are pushing the church in that way. Hey, who want’s to even bother conforming to Christian teaching these days? After all, Oprah says she’s a Christian yet she’s had a spiritual love affair with New Age theology & proponents like Marianne Williamson & Eckhart Tolle. Country singer & sitcom star Reba McEntire also claims to be a Christian who believes in reincarnation. Even our new commander-in-chief, while I don’t believe that he’s a Muslim, if his theology is the same as it was when he gave an interview in 2004, has made it clear that he believes in a “god” of his own imagination & not the God of Scripture.

But, what is worse, is the increased marginalization of orthodox Christianity (no, I’m not referring to Greek or Russian Orthodoxy) by those professing to be Christians. I get the feeling that the liberals who are going around showcasing their new brand of man-centered Christianity are trying to sweep sound doctrine under the rug as much as possible. When doing some research concerning the author of a book that my school is endorsing, I came across a site run by the Episcopal Church (already a cesspool of liberal apostasy & outright heresy in some cases), in which a variety of Episcopal priests were answering questions submitted by people. Well, what they were basically saying is that there are SOME right wing fundamentalists who believe that Christ is the only way to salvation, or that you have to believe that He rose from the dead literally, but in reality, you can be a Christian but reject that. Those who believe in that are just backward crazy fanatics who are bigoted & ignorant.

In a sense, it reminds me very much of the public relations blitz that Muslims went on after 9/11. They were going on TV & radio shows claiming that Islam is a religion of peace & tolerance, while the Quran openly calls on the Muslim faithful to wage war on non believers, especially Christians & Jews, until they convert & allows husbands to beat their wives into submission to their will.

It’s getting increasingly ridiculous & as the liberal theologians try to cater to the carnal world, I suspect that it will get worse. I mean, there are people who are stunned when godly pastors cut through the fat of the pop-psychology, self-help seminars & group therapy sessions that pass as “sermons” & that are so prevalent in the American church & actually PREACH FROM THE BIBLE. Oh, the horror of actually BELIEVING what the Bible says!!! What’s worse is that this theological liberalism is getting ahold of the youth, particularly through Emerging leaders like Brian McLaren & Rob Bell.

It is my prayer that the godly pastors & true Christians stay strong, because, frankly, I believe that there will be some sense of persecution for holding to Biblical truths, be it outside or inside the church. I can see that wheat & the tares are already beginning to be separated in the church already.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

False Prophets for Profit

Includes preachers & other religious celebrities like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, "Bishop" T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Patricia King & others.

Paul Washer on how the church has "forgotten that the way is narrow"

False Converts

(orginally published as a Facebook note on June 10th, 2009)

In the 1980's, the Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997), in the debate between allowing capitalist ideas in the name of economic progresss and prosperity, and adhering to the strict communism adhered to under Mao Zedong, once famously proclaimed that "it doesn't matter if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches the mouse." Simply put, the pragmatic Deng was willing to sacrifice strict communist dogma for the sake of economic prosperity. Now, obviously, it worked for China, as she now has one of the greatest economies in the world. However, many churches are adopting similar methods, by that I mean, willing to sacrifice sound doctrine, with disastrous results.

The sad thing is, though, what's going on is an astonishing number of "false converts." But, of course, it's somewhat inevitable, as many of these "churches" are preaching false gospels to begin with and have sacrificed orthodoxy on the altar of "church growth" movements. The world WANTS to hear the "gospel" of positive thinking preached by Robert Schuller. The world WANTS to hear the "gospel" of the American dream preached by Joel Osteen. The world WANTS to hear the "gospel" of good advice preached by Rick Warren. The world WANTS to hear the "gospel" of health and wealth preached by people like "Bishop" T.D. Jakes, Paul and Jan Crouch, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar. What they DON'T WANT to hear is the gospel of Jesus Christ, who preached a message CONTRARY to the ways of the world. Is it any wonder that the world flocks to people like Hinn, Osteen and Warren, and that back in Biblical times, Godly men like Elijiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, John, and Jesus Christ Himself were persecuted?!?

I mean, what it is, is God on the terms of man, and not on His terms. In fact, I would make the argument that many churches have, rather being houses of worship, become temples to man and his greatness. It's a religion of self-glorification, and occasionally (as in the case of some of the "prosperity gospel" preachers) a religion of self-DEIFICATION. I believe in the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD and the work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation. However, EVEN IF there was such thing as free will in Salvation, and Arminianism was correct, false converts would still be churned out of many churches. Why? Because, so many of the "converts" are being fed a gospel that puts man at the center of Christianity, and that if you become a Christian, God's going to be like a genie and grant you everything you want. So, basically, they'd be "coming to Christ" under false pretenses, anyway: not because they realized they were sinners and needed to repent, but because, God was going to make their lives perfect. But, anyway, the work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation has tragically been replaced by the efforts of man. Perhaps, one of the greatest and most well-known methods is the so-called "sinners prayer."

Now, what I AM NOT saying is that everyone who prays the "sinner's prayer" is a false convert, nor am I saying that pastors and evangelists, before they preach, are sitting in their offices thinking to themselves "how many false converts can I make today." But, is it not absurd to think that just reciting some words under the idea that you're "sincere" is going to save you? You know, in Islam, Muslim converts, before being accepted into the faith have to recite what's called the "Kalima" which goes "there is no (g)od but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger." Now, many Christians would quite rightfully scoff at using something like that to determine someone's belief or unbelief. However, that's pretty much what's been done with the whole "sinner's prayer." But, what's somewhat telling is the "fruit" of so many professing "Christians" these days. Marsha West, over at the site "Renew America," in a post called "A New Religion Masquerading as Christianity," made a pretty astute observation today, stating that "many who call themselves Christians do not hold to the authority of Scripture. Moreover, they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. These 'Christians' live their lives devoid of God's guidance and wisdom which we glean from His Word." I mean, we have homosexuals and their supporters, like Tony Jones, insisting that their lifestyle can be lived in accordance with Scripture, and in fact, a poll was released that stated that over half of mainline Protestants believed that homosexuality should be accepted.

Just a few days ago, a "Christian" father made the claim that his 9 year-old son is the reincarnation of a World War II era fighter-pilot, and apparently, 21% of Protestants apparently believe in reincarnation. A variety of Emergent gurus like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell reject the authority of Scripture, the list goes on. But, I think what's more common is the worldliness exhibited by many professing Christians. They claim the name of Christ, but, their behavior makes it clear that the fruit of their repentence is rotting in the orchard, and frankly, I'm often scandalized by many of the celebrities who claim to be Christians, yet their actions show otherwise. In fact, I strongly believe that a lot of the hypocrisy complained about by some non-Christians and indeed by other Christians may be the work of false converts. I mean, it's certainly easy to wear the "Christian" label, and too often, American Christianity is like a social club. In fact, my dear friend & brother-in-Christ, Charlie, quite aptly described them as "fad Christians." But, of course, it's not overly surprising that this is happening, as the world has come to control so many churches that are obsessed with relevance.

Regeneration is barely even taught today. No longer is it repent and turn from your wickedness, but you can repent, but still live in your wickedness, anyway.

One final thing. I firmly believe that one DOES NOT lose his or her Salvation. However, that being said, I do think that the doctrine of once-saved-always saved is being grossly misused. No matter what kind of wickedness is committed, or if people leave the faith, they're assured that they're saved just because they made a "decision for Christ" months, years, or even decades previously. Yet, perhaps what pastors and evangelists should alert their listeners of Jesus' parable of the sower & the seed, found in Mark 4:3-20, because, frankly, I see a lot of so-called "converts" who remind me of the first three bunches of seed, which fell on the path, rocky soil, and amongst the thorns.

The Emergent Takeover of Christian Colleges

(this was originally a note that I wrote on Facebook on July 5th, 2009)

One thing that I've been watching with growing concern & growing dismay is the increasing influence of the Emergent Church on the campuses of Christian colleges and universities. The Emergents have done fairly well in persuading the younger generation that something has gone wrong with traditional Christianity. Somehow, if you stand for Biblical truth and actually believe what the Bible says, you're a narrow-minded fundamentalist. Furthermore, people like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Richard Foster, and Tony Campolo are the ones regarded as the future of American Christianity. (God help us if that's the case)

But, what I find disturbing is that these are the same people who are being endorsed on Christian college campuses, DESPITE the fact that they are heretics in some form or another. Rob Bell denies the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the divine inspiration of Scripture itself, and believes that people in both heaven & hell are forgiven for their sins. McLaren questions the doctrines of hell & the substitutionary atonement, and rejects the idea that when Christ returns, he'll crush His enemies, calling the Christ of wrath & judgment, a "jihadist Jesus." Tony Jones rejects the doctrine of original sin, and believes that homosexuality can be lived in accordance with Christianity. Campolo, in an interview with Shane Claiborne was "wishy-washy" (at best) concerning his belief on "Allah," the God of Islam, and seems to have implied that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Richard Foster isn't even a Christian, but a QUAKER MYSTIC. Why, then, are these people, who so blatantly preach UNBELIEF in cardinal Biblical truths, being endorsed?!?

Many Christian colleges have endorsed books by these people. Some have gone as far as to allowing them speak at their schools. Brian McLaren, in February, spoke at Point Loma Nazarene College in California, and Emergent pastor Doug Pagitt, who is essentially a universalist, along with Tony Jones were invited to speak at Baylor University in Texas. Frankly, I don't care why they were there. Scripture plainly states that "many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist....Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, DO NOT TAKE HIM INTO YOUR HOUSE OR WELCOME HIM. ANYONE WHO WELCOMES HIM SHARES IN HIS WICKED WORK." (2nd John 1:7,9-10)

Now, I've heard debates whether the term "house" is referring to someone's home, or a church, but I think that in this matter it's irrelevant, and I think that this also goes for Christian colleges, as they have taken it upon themselves to submit themselves to Scripture and to Christian orthodoxy. Furthermore, I'm also appalled at the infiltration of contemplative prayer, repackaged Medieval Catholic mysticism into Christian colleges. Such practices as "Lectio Divina" have become commonplace many Christian college campuses. I've heard that Biola University (where a cousin of mine attends) has gone into the contemplative realm at their chapels. Look, as much as I don't like to say it, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church, through the centuries, has gone astray into doctrinal error and apostasy (although I will say that ARE true believers amongst it). So, why on earth, are PROTESTANT universities returning to Catholicism in the name of "spiritual formation?!?" This is actually a matter that touches me personally, as I'm afraid, my OWN school is going down the Emergent/ contemplative route. I've been kind of out of the loop on the issues concerning my own school's involvement in the whole Emergent/ contemplative movement, however, I was SHOCKED today to see the endorsements of books by the likes of Bell, Foster, Pagitt, and Jones.

Then of course, I was totally baffled that my school was using a book by Phyllis Tickle, who already has ties to an EXTREMELY LIBERAL loose-knit Episcopalian group, which preaches HERETICAL DOCTRINES and who rather recently, preached some STRANGE doctrines at Rob Bell's church, including that the so-called "voice of God" had a daughter, that God is both Father & Mother, and that when we take communion, we feed the "God within us." (I hope to, Lord willing, when I return to school in August, to meet with some of the leadership concerning this growing problem)This issue does, however, not necessarily confine itself to Christian colleges, but also to churches and personally, I find it the fruit of the lack of doctrinal preaching going on in churches.

Paul's remark to the Corinthians (& I can almost hear the exapseration in Paul's voice as I read it) quite often reminds me of the modern church: "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." (2nd Cor. 11:3-5)

Look, I'm going to be honest, and say that I DON'T PARTICULARLY ENJOY calling people out, contrary to what SOME may be TEMPTED to think. I'm even going to go out on a limb and say that in some cases, the leadership is However, that being said, it's pretty VILE and it shows the shabby state of affairs when occasionally, STUDENTS excercise more discernment than staff do concerning what's going on at one's Christian college!!! To make matters worse, I've heard cases of students being marginalized for taking a stand for truth and sound doctrine!!!

This is truly shameful that one can't even let their guard down doctrinally on the campuses of Christian colleges, for fear of being led astray!!!

About Me

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Caleb Phillips and I'm from the town of Wheaton, Illinois. I'm a born again Christian who, I suppose, would be also considered a "5 Point Calvinist." I attend Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana and am majoring in history. My main interests, historically, are 19th century imperialism, the decline of imperial China, the decline of tsarist Russia & European history & politics in the decades leading up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. However, I have an interest in theology, as well, and learning from the God's AUTHORATATIVE AND INSPIRED Word. I'm also firmly OPPOSED to the unbiblical theology being purveyed by the Emergent Church and the "seeker-sensitive" churches. In my spare time, I love spending time reading (both the Bible & history), visiting family (in fact, I just got home a couple days ago from visiting some relatives on their farm in western New York), and discussing theology, history, and other fun things. I'm also on Facebook & you can add me as a friend if you so wish.