Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I have never been a fan of Oprah Winfrey, and I realize this statement may cause some to want to revoke my "black pass". However, I just received an article that could cause a shift in many people's thinking of her.
It appears that Oprah has teamed up with a New Age leader by the name of Marianne Williamson, and has started a year-long teaching on her XM Satellite show called "A Course in Miracles". This teaching is designed to get an individual to have a New Age worldview in comparison to the Biblical Worldview that God commands that we all have.
Listen to some of the lessons that this course will teach:
Lesson 29 (which happens to be today's lesson) teaches that God is in everything and that love is all around. God can even be in coat hangers, wood, and waste baskets if one believes it.
Lesson 61 teaches that you are the light of the world instead of Jesus (John 8:12)
and Lesson 70 teaches that salvation comes--not from Christ--but from the individual.
In short, Oprah Winfrey is behind a teaching that is heresy at its essence, and we should pray for God to put a halt on this wicked system that--if not redeemed from--will draw many (Oprah and Marrianne included) into eternal destruction.
And for your reading pleasure (or displeasure), here are some information links:
http://www.oprah.com/xm/mwilliamson/mwilliamson_acim.jhtml (This is the "Oprah and Friends" web site with today's teaching)
http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/smith-oprah.htm (Here is an interesting article by Warren Smith that gives deeper insights into this New Age idea)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_course_in_miracles (Here is the Wikipedia article of the book)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Song 1: "Alas! and did my Saviour bleed, And did my Sovereign die! Would he devote that sacred head For such a worm as I! Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree! Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree"! (Isaac Watts)
Song 2: "I love me better than that! I’m going to get my life back! I’m gonna take it back! You see I’ve made up in my mind: I want my joy back, I want my peace back, I want my strength back, All my sisters help me sing: I want my joy back, I want my peace back, I want my strength back, I want my mind back, My self-esteem back, I want my keys back". (Shirley Murdoch)
Now here are two questions for you:
Number One, Which song is considered the Gospel song? Both!
And, Number Two, Which song is truly the Gospel song? Number 1!
Notice the difference in the two questions. While one song clearly gives a doctrinally sound Gospel message, the other (in today's church) would be considered "Gospel" because it fits today's popular "freedom theology" message.
Sadly, in the church today, the true Gospel in our music has become out of style like Zoot Suits. Music, in times past, that glorified Christ, proclaimed the message of the Cross, and was not shy about expressing our true sinful status apart from Christ has been replaced with a liberation feel that focuses more on our felt needs and downplays our true fallen condition. And, unfortunately, many sinners continue to listen in their homes, blast in their cars, and sing these "Gospel" songs with no desire or prompting to repent and trust Christ for salvation.
In addition, many churches, nowadays, have gotten away from more doctrinal focused music--like the Hymns of the faith--and has replaced them with songs that have little doctrinal focus or spews heretical teaching altogether. For example, here are some lyrics of certain popular songs sung in most churches today:
(1) SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE THE DEVIL OFF!
SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE THE DEVIL OFF!
SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE THE DEVIL OFF!
IN THE NAME OF JESUS, SHAKE THE DEVIL OFF!
(2) Wash me over again, wash me over again;
In Your precious blood, wash me over again.
(3) Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
Healer, Healer, Healer! Healer, Healer, Healer! Healer, Healer, Healer! Healer, Healer, Healer!
In sharp contrast, here are some songs that were popular, during the time when my Mother was a child and going to church, only 50-60 years ago:
(1) Jesus, keep me near the cross; There a precious fountain, Free to all—a healing stream—Flows from Calvary's mountain.
(2) Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but thou art mighty; Hold me with thy pow'rful hand; Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more.
(3) Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found—Was blind, but now I see.
Look at the difference between the two ideas! I believe this is proof positive that the decline of solid theology is not only affecting our pulpits, but also our worship as well. And, if we are not careful, 30 years down the road the watery doctrinal songs of most of today's "Gospel" artist--like "Hold My Mule", "I made a Step", and "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" will be the norm and songs like "Amazing Grace", "Precious LORD, Take my hand", and "A Mighty Fortress is our God" will cease to exist in the minds and hearts of people.
Already, I am seeing this trend happen in my jail ministry. The younger guys always ask me to play the latest Kirk Franklin or Trin-i-tee 5:7 song in the Sunday Worship service because these are the songs that define the outlook of today's Christianity. However, when I tell them that the songs they are requesting do not fit the structure of the Christ-centered worship experience I desire for the service, they either look at me funny or will debate me on my reply. And I am afraid that this will be the mentality of the next generation if we continue to neglect the wonderful gift of true Gospel music that God has given us from the pens of Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts, Civila Martin, Horatio Spafford, Thomas Dorsey, and others.
So, as Reformed people who desire to see our doctrine engulfed in every area of our worship, let us take a trip back to the old path. Let us add and emphasize the doctrines of the faith more in our worship music. Because, the reality is, the lasting effects of Reformed Theology beyond our generation may depend on it. If we want the next generation to "keep the flame going", we must show them first how to light the embers correctly.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
This book, written by Roger Ellsworth and published by Banner of Truth Publications, is an excellent read if one is trying to revive or refresh their relationship with the LORD Jesus. And being in a culture where most revivals are meetings that usually make one more tired and spiritually famished when they are completed, this book brings one back to the real essence of the true method of revival outlined in the Word of God.
The book (which is only 56 pages in length) covers the following topics:
1. We Miss You (Isa. 63:15-16)
2. We Need You (Isa. 63:17-64:2)
3. We Wait for You (Isa. 64:3-4)
4. We Will Meet You (Isa. 64:5)
5. We Have Wronged You (Isa. 64: 5-7)
6. We Belong to You (Isa. 64:8-12)
7. We Beseech You (Isa. 64:9)
And listen to some of the quotes that I have observed from reading just two chapters from this book:
"When we begin to smile complacently upon our sin, He (God) stops smiling on us and turns His face away". (pg. 9)
"The people of God have often heard the world tauntingly say: 'Where is thy God?'. But it is a sad thing when the people of God have to ask themselves that question". (pg. 11)
"When we who are God's people drift into sin, God for a while gives us opportunities to repent. If these opportunities are scorned, He just lets us go by giving us over to our sins. The first form His chastisement takes is removing from us the desire to turn back to Him". (pg. 17)
"God may never stop loving us when we get into sin, but He does withhold the expressions of His love and thus makes us think He will never love us again. We may argue and convince ourselves that God does still love us, and such reasoning is well and good, but it will never replace the actual manifestations of God's love. How much better it is not to have to convince ourselves that God loves us, but to have ready at hand abundant manifestations of His love". (pg. 12)
"There is only one thing that can melt the mountain, boil the water, and consume the brush of the sinner's heart and that is the fire of God! The power of God is our need! I am convinced that the church cannot truly evangelize until she gets on her knees and seeks the convincing, converting power of God!" (pg. 20)
During the coming weeks that Debra and I discuss this book, I will place some of the most powerful quotes from this book on this blog. But, if you want to read this book in its entirety, please pick it up at your local Christian bookstore. It is truly worth the money!!!!
Update: I was just informed by Debra that "Come Down, LORD" is possibly out of print. However, you can purchase the book from Amazon or any other similar site.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
WARNING: This could be quite painful to the believer who is concerned about and cherishes Biblical Truth!
Monday, January 7, 2008
For instance, I was in the Barber Shop this past Saturday, and I heard two ladies discussing "the anointing" of a pastor and his congregation. The ladies were saying since a pastor is given "the anointing" from God that it should trickle down upon the congregation and bless the entire church in the same measure. In other words, since the pastor is head and gets blessed by God, then everyone around him should expect the same level of blessing.
Now forget the fact that there are some people in the congregation who are unbelievers and are automatically disqualified from receiving any spiritual blessings from God (John14:13-15), and there are others in the congregation who are disobedient and thus strain their relationship with God. According to these ladies, none of this matters as long as the pastor is following the ways of God. So, in short, the pastor becomes the cannon of the spiritual health of his congregation. But, despite this interesting deduction of the ways of God, in reality it is not automatic that the congregation will be equally as blessed as a pastor that is obedient to God. This can be seen in the examples given above, as well as Biblical examples such as Jesus and His disciples (i.e, Judas Iscariot) and Annanias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
In conclusion, while I do believe that God can bless a ministry that has a faithful pastor and the congregation can be reapers of it, to say that the measure is equal with everyone is just plain untrue! And to believe and teach this error can be license to give people a channel to live however they want because ultimately their fate lies within the hands of their pastor. And to have your fate in the hands of anyone but Christ will, at the end, put you on a ground of sinking sand.