Tag Archives: heresy

Discernment — Post by Michael J. Findley

 

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Why do good people make bad decisions? Dear friends, stop believing every spirit. Instead, test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and rotten tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire. So by their fruit you will know them.
Matthew 7:15-20

Based on a friend’s recommendation, I attempted to watch a trailer of the movie The Shack. Do evangelical/fundamental Christians not understand that portraying God as a woman is sin? God does not appear to us any way we choose to imagine. That is not the God of the Bible. That is a god of our own imagination.

Then God spoke all these words:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt—from the house of slavery. You are to have no other gods as a substitute for me. You are not to craft for yourselves an idol or anything resembling what is in the skies above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water sources under the earth. You are not to bow down to them in worship of serve them, because I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the guilt of parents on children, to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing gracious love to the thousands of love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:1-6

This is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, break their pillars, cut down their ritual pillars, and burn their cared idols in fire, because you are a holy people to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 7:5-6

Understand that God is limited by His Word, His promises. God cannot lie. God cannot sin. God does not appear to us any way we want Him to. A god who does is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In The Shack a letter is found in the mailbox after snowing with no tracks to the mailbox. The letter tells a character in the story to go to a shack.

While some people believe that God revealed Himself to His prophets in the Old Testament like this, they are mistaken. This is the method the demon chose to reveal himself to Harry Potter. It is a common method of communicating with unclean spirits.

A prophet or a diviner of dreams may arise among you, give you an omen or a miracle that takes place, and then he may tell, you, ‘Let’s follow other gods (whom you have not known) and let’s serve them.’ Even though the sign or portent comes to pass, you must not listen to the words of that prophet or that diviner of dreams. Deuteronomy 13:1-3

My people are destroyed because the lack knowledge of me. Because you rejected that knowledge, I will reject you as a priest for me. Since you forget the Law of your God, I will also forget your children. Hosea 4:6

All Scripture from the International Standard Version

Image Credit: www.theshack.movie

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Studying the Bible to Become a Heretic — Post by Michael J. Findley

charles-augustus-briggs

Charles Augustus Briggs, originator of the word “bibliolatry.” “In every department of Biblical study we come across error.” Briggs insisted. He also believed that “Reason is a fountain of divine authority no less savingly enlightening than the Bible and the Church.”

A common theme in most universities and many places throughout the internet is that the Bible does not mean what it says in English. These people claim that you must know the original languages, the history of ancient cultures and comparative religions to understand the Bible.

While there are various “schools of thought,” it is very difficult to find much agreement among these people. They seem to agree only on one point. The Bible is the product of humans only. It is not God’s Word.

Studying the original languages, background, culture, history, and comparative religions can be very helpful. But information without being filled with God’s Spirit does not produce godliness. It produces hardness, arrogance and an unwillingness to allow the Spirit of God to work.

Their education is actually indoctrination. These men are educated in ignorance. Not only do they not want the Spirit of God to work in their own lives, but they do not want the Spirit of God to work in the lives of others.

As Paul wrote to Timothy, these men are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7 NASB)

This verse has a context. Once these men, and women, decide to rebel against the Word of God, they continue in their sins to become worse.

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9 NASB)

 

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Am I a Liberal?

Charles Augustus Briggs

Am I a Liberal?

John MacArthur, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Michelle Malkin, Ronald Reagan and thousands of others have demonstrated over and over again that liberalism is evil. Their educational efforts are so successful that liberalism has tried a new method of deceiving people. Use the same doctrines, teach the same dogma, just change the name.

“Progressive” is an older term with the same meaning. Probably the oldest term is simply “leftist.” These terms come from the French Revolution, as we wrote about earlier in a blog titled Right and Left. https://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/right-and-left/

Before condemning someone unjustly it is important to allow the Holy Spirit to examine our own lives. What do we believe? Just as there are very few men like Hitler, Lenin, Marxor Chairman Mao in the world, so there are very few like John Calvin or the Apostle Paul. Most of us are liberal in some area of lives.

The Word of God and the truth of God’s Word can be likened to the center point in a sphere. When we move away from the truth it can be in any direction. One person can move away from God in one way while another person departs in the opposite direction.

Liberalism in America began in Colonial America. While many believed in some form of liberalism, the loudest voice, their most visible champion, was Thomas Paine. As the founder of the American version of Secular Humanism, Thomas Paine died clinging to his secular humanist principles.

Liberalism began as a religious principle and is still first and foremost a religious principle. It began as a denial of the inerrant authority of the Word of God. Probably the most famous and one of the most important, though certainly not the earliest, was the public attack of liberalism by Charles Augustus Briggs which resulted in his 1893 heresy trial. Dr. Briggs took a professorship at Union Theological Seminary and gave an inaugural address on 20 Jan 1891 titled The Authority Of The Scripture. The following are lines from that famous sermon which caused him to be found guilty of heresy by the Presbyterian Church.

“The first barrier that obstructs the way to the Bible is superstition….

But superstition is no less superstition if it takes the form of Bibliolatry.

The second barrier, keeping men from the Bible, is the dogma of verbal inspiration.

It is claimed for these originals by modern dogmaticians that they are verbally inspired. No such claim is found in the Bible itself, or in any of the creeds of Christendom.

The third barrier is the authenticity of the Scriptures.….

Refusing to build on the authority of the living Church, they have sought an authority in the dead Church; abandoning the authority of institutional Christianity, they have sought a prop in floating traditions. These traditions assign authors to all the books of the Bible, and on the authority of these human authors, it is claimed that the Bible is divine.

It will ere long become clear to the Christian people that the Higher Criticism has rendered an inestimable service to this generation and to the generations to come. What has been destroyed has been the fallacies and conceits of theologians; the obstructions that have barred the way of literary men from the Bible.

The fourth barrier set up by theologians to keep men away from the Bible is the dogma of the inerrancy of Scripture. This barrier confronts Historical Criticism. It is not a pleasant task to point out errors in the sacred Scriptures. Nevertheless Historical Criticism finds them.

[Inerrancy of Scripture] is a ghost of modern evangelicalism to frighten children.”

Once the authority of Scripture is rejected, Pandora’s box is opened. With no moral anchor or compass you can justify anything.

Since almost no one is that depraved, almost everyone still retains some Scriptural principles. In the United States, there are laws against murder and theft. Why? Without any concept of the sacredness of life or the value of property, a civilized society cannot exist.

So even though there are various kinds of evil, America is warfare between Conservative and Liberal values. Conservative values are based on a literal reading of the Bible, the US Constitution and the founding documents of the United States. Liberal values are based on a wide range of documents and personal feelings, so the following list might not apply to your brand of liberalism.

One other important point: few if any people completely accept one extreme and reject the other. Liberalism is based on collectivism. Conservatism is based on individualism. Yet the most rugged individualist needs other people. And the most dedicated collectivist recognizes the need of individual responsibility. So while some issues are either/or, most issues are matters of degree.

Marriage: Liberals believe the human body is an amusement park and sex is the greatest joy. “If it does not hurt anyone, anything goes.” Orgies and homosexuality are not only allowed, but also encouraged. Conservatives believe marriage a union between man and woman until death do us part. While sex in marriage is enjoyable, it is also responsible. Sex outside of marriage is sin and there are consequences for sin.

Abortion: The strongest emotions of the Liberal/Conservative controversy center around abortion. This is because the issue centers on “what is man?” If man is a random accident and we are responsible to no one other than people (or sentient beings if you believe in extraterrestrials) then abortion is simply a matter of personal choice and government should have nothing to do with preventing abortions. If God created man and each of us is individually responsible to God at a final judgment, then abortion is murder. Most Americans are uncomfortable with either position and choose something in the middle that does not make sense when thought through.

The Responsibility of Government: Liberals know that many Americans reject what they believe, so they use government to force their beliefs on unbelievers. This is masked as Government providing goodies. Liberals believe in government (that they control) controlling education, healthcare, food supply, transportation and whatever else we can imagine as “good,” clean air, clean water and clothing. Conservatives understand that the government only has what it first takes from someone. The market will not give everyone the same food, clothing, education, housing or healthcare. But it does provide a continually rising standard. As stated many times, a rising tide raises all the boats. A poor American is better off than a middle class man in the Congo. Conservatives view the federal government as more than ten times the size it should be.

Liberals look for equality of outcome. Conservatives look for equality of opportunity. Liberals are Marxist. Conservatives are Free Enterprise.

Liberals look to lawyers and the courts as the ultimate arbiters. Conservatives point out that America does not have a Common Law court system like England. Courts should not be making laws. The responsibility of Courts in the US is to apply the law to the facts of the case. What other courts decided on similar cases should not matter to Judge and Jury deciding a case in front of them

Liberals want to limit, as much as possible, private gun ownership. Since the US Constitution allows private gun ownership, liberals rely on thousands of state and local laws to harass gun owners. Conservatives recognize that the militia of the 2nd Amendment is every male over 18 years old under the order of his state Governor and is not authorized to operate outside of his home state without explicit permission from his governor. The difference between a militia and regular army is who pays for it. Service in a militia is usually not paid for; it is a tax on your time and you must provide your own weapon.

Liberalism has controlled the US since Woodrow Wilson. So attempting to teach our children the Bible or the actual meaning of the Constitution is an attack on the established religion of Liberalism, also known as Secular Humanism. So, how Liberal are you?

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Judgmental Sinner … Yep, I Guess That’s Me

Recently I offered to review a book for another author. She warned me that it contained some sex and language. I said I could objectively review a book that wasn’t intended for Christians. But then she told me it was intended for Christians, so I wondered what I was getting myself into.

I read the book, and the author pointedly asked me what I thought about the sex and language. It’s a story about a woman struggling with a combination of past abuse, bad choices, and addiction. Her husband became a minister after their marriage. She felt trapped in a life she didn’t choose. The author uses graphic language and sex descriptions in the first part of the book, but it is the story of her trying to submit to God’s will and change, so the explicit references fade as the book goes on.

I answered the author’s direct question by saying I was uncomfortable with the degree of explicitness and I did not believe it was necessary or appropriate to go into that much detail. She countered by saying she had been turned off about church by very conservative people who judged her for her standards. She considered those people to be sinning.

“Actually you responded exactly like I thought you would,” she said. “Some people are very conservative and judgmental and they don’t realize that’s a sin. The ironic part is using profanity is not a sin but being judgmental is.” We went back and forth about this but she was not looking for my advice or even my honest opinion. She had already made up her mind.

So I guess I am a judgmental sinner. That attack has been leveled against me more than once. Another example comes from a relative who tried to give me advice on an ongoing rift we have with our atheist son. This advice has been ongoing for many years, and comes from a mature Christian. Family troubles about churchgoing led these relatives to join a “less legalistic” church so that their children would not cease to attend. “The legalisms in my family by the three minister relatives,” she told me, “drove their kids away.” At the time she seemed to think all she was giving up was a requirement for females to wear dresses as opposed to pants. She still repeats that rationale as if she has sacrificed nothing else in the 30+ years I have known her. Her family’s problems over church have not only not lessened, they have grown, exponentially, into indifference, departure from the family faith, and apparent lack of any faith at all.

When I point out the dangers of giving in, and giving in, and giving in, in the hopes of nurturing faith and Christian growth by not being legalistic and judgmental I come under attack. Love is the answer, I am told, in essence. Love them, don’t judge them, and they will come around to right thinking, right belief, right behavior. I see, as a result of this philosophy, generations (it’s been going on longer than I’ve been alive) of irradiated Christians. I don’t mean healthy and germ-free like the vegetables. I mean mutated and unrecognizable like the 50s Sci-Fi movies.

So here I go with my judgmental, legalistic standards for what I think comprise the bare minimum in standards I need to see to recognize someone as a Christian. I really, really, really want to see a whole lot more.

1. I need to hear that you read the Bible faithfully. That doesn’t mean you read my preferred version, or read it at an exact time of day, or an exact amount every day, or even read it every day. Faithful means it’s important to you, a priority to you, and you do it a LOT. Don’t just tell me you do it. Make it show in your conversation, in your attitude, in the changes it makes in you over time. You might just be a sieve, letting it pour through you, thinking at first it’s all running out and none staying in your head or heart.

Some of those genealogies and long repetitive lists of offerings might tire you out. You might feel like you don’t understand a lot of it. It might seem impractical to your daily experience. But treat it as if you are a dish and it’s soap and water. It might run off you, but you’ll get cleaner every time you use it. Don’t tell me you don’t get dirty. All us dishes do. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26, 27)

2. I need to hear that you go to church faithfully. There’s an old saying to the effect that if you find the perfect church, don’t join it, because you’ll ruin it. But you need to go to church faithfully. Your “right” church might not be my “right” church, but I’ve got legalistic standards for that, too. It should preach the Word of God. It should support foreign missions. It should expect more of members than it does of visitors. It should not necessarily make you feel good or comfortable, but should challenge you and make you grow. It should not emphasize social activities and outreaches that are no different from what the world has to offer. Each activity must emphasize respect for, study of and growth in the principles taught in the Word of God. Feed the poor, clothe the naked, love the sinner, hate the sin. Those are just a few. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

3. Like the church you attend, I need to hear that you hate sin. You can say it makes you uncomfortable if you’re trying to be nice, but you have to take a stand somewhere along the line. For example, I’m sick and tired of being called a homophobe. I am not afraid of homosexuality or the people who practice it. I hate calling sin an alternative, a liberty, a choice. Yes, some of us are born into a behavior. It’s called original sin. It just takes different forms in different people. But you must understand that Christianity is not a cafeteria. We don’t get to pick what we want. Don’t demand that I accept opinions, thoughts and feelings as standards for belief. And if you think my standards consist entirely of “to don’ts” Here’s a “to do” list for you. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

4. I do have one don’t. Don’t be a ham-fisted, insulting jerk when presenting your belief. We participate in a group focused on “loving discussions” between people of different Christian beliefs — Roman Catholics, Syriac Orthodox, Anglican, and others. We are a decided minority in representing our church background of Baptists and Fundamentalists. But we have been complimented for being unlike many Baptist Fundamentalists. Someone brought up an example of church members who literally tried to stuff pages of an “unapproved” Bible translation into the mouths of those who dared read from it to make them “choke on the words.”

This doesn’t mean we compromise, promote ecumenicalism, or agree with heresies. People bring up topics and we discuss them, ask questions about them, and present what we each believe. We have been labeled as “Sola Scriptura,” meaning someone who only recognizes the authority of the Scriptures and no other. But we all have physical and spiritual authorities in our lives outside of the Scriptures. The key is that only the Scriptures are without error. The others are authoritative, but not without error.

We have also had people try to lump all Protestants (they included Baptists in that group) into one set of beliefs. We don’t go neatly into a box like that. We generally follow Baptist beliefs. We agree with Martin Luther’s basics (Absolute authority of the Scriptures, Priesthood of every believer, Justification by faith alone). We don’t fit into a denominational compartment because we follow our convictions based on our understanding of the Scriptures. This sometimes causes us to differ even with others in churches we have been members of. But these have rarely been serious disagreements. They have been minor matters of interpretation.

Coming next: How You, Too, Can Become Judgmental and Legalistic

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