"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

THE WORD-FAITH MOVEMENT (PART 3)

by A.M. Kisly

“ And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:15-16


Back in early November, I had started a series of articles on the Word-Faith Movement. The first article was published on November 14th, entitled “Doctrines of Men or Doctrines of God?” For those of you who would like to refresh your memory, I will refer you to the archives section of our website, where you can access and read this article along with last weeks article on Discernment Ministries.

As we begin to uncover the origins of the Faith and Prosperity doctrines, today’s article will only scratch the surface. In rushing to post this next article, the Lord has once again slowed me and reminded me of some very important things that I would like to share with you.

It is important to understand that this series of articles is not meant as a personal attack on any people or ministries.

With regards to Word-Faith teachings, I will admit that many have in some ways benefited from some of the teachings in the past, [i.e., we do need to be positive in our attitude towards Scripture, we must resist the Devil, offer our praise and worship to the Lord, pray with boldness and have faith in our God]. Of course all of this is good, however that which is good must also be holy and doctrinally correct if it is to be considered Biblical.

For those who hold to the idea that it is good enough just to be productive, positive or faithful, it is not. Some have concluded that the size of a church is the scale on which one weighs a good and faithful ministry, it is not. The standard by which we must measure all things is by the Word of God. We must be scripturally sound or we are no different than any other religion or cult in the world. We must avoid heresy or sooner or later we'll be going down the path of the devil and leading many others by the nose along with us.

Jesus taught us a very sobering message in Matthew chapter 7:

Matthew 7:21-23

21 Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

22 Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?"

23 And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."

“This proves that, with all their pretensions, they had never been true followers of Christ. Jesus will not then say to false prophets and false professors of religion, that he had once known them, and then rejected them; that they had been once Christians and then had fallen away; that they had been pardoned, and then had apostatized; but that he had never known them--THEY HAD NEVER BEEN TRUE CHRISTIANS. Whatever might have been their pretended joys, their raptures, their hopes, their self-confidence, their visions, their zeal, they had never been regarded by the Savior as his true friends. I know not a more decided proof that Christians do not fall away from grace than this text. It settles the question; and proves that whatever else such men had, they never had any true religion.” ~Albert Barnes

Doesn’t this scripture alone beg of us to be sure of the doctrines that we are heeding, that they are indeed an accurate depiction of the Word of God and not the words of man? This is why we must take a very hard look at those things which are being taught in the pulpits of our churches, and to hold them exclusively under the lens of Scripture. If in fact there are teachings which bare no semblance of what is taught in the Scriptures, it is our responsibility to bring these false and harmful teachings to light. How can we “Beware” (which is to take great care and to be very wary) of false doctrines, teachings, teachers and prophets, if we refuse to take a hard look at what is being taught and compare them to the Scriptures?

Jim emailed me recently about a book he was reading called The Truth War, by John MacArthur. I love the following quote taken from his book:

"I find myself compelled to echo the inspired words of Jude and exhort my readers who truly love Christ: you need to contend earnestly for the faith. Truth is under heavy attack, and there are too few courageous warriors who are willing to fight. When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, believers from this generation will not be able to justify their apathy by complaining that the strife of conflict over truth just seemed 'too negative' for the kind of culture we lived in- or that the issues were 'merely doctrinal' and therefore not worthy the effort."

As Believers we are to be followers of God, students of the Word, Soldiers of the Cross and fit for the battle in which we are engaged in.

As we begin to take a deeper look into the teachings of the Faith Movement, I find it necessary to point out that there is a vast difference between ‘a faith’ and ‘The Faith’.

What is Biblical Faith?

The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Biblical faith is the act of trusting and believing in what GOD HAS SAID in HIS WORD. If we believe in God, we must believe in his word. It’s plain and simple, right?

Apparently not, because so many of today’s “scholars” have taken great liberties with God’s Word. There are so many new translations that one can scarcely recognize the original text in its purest form. Add to that, a sheer laziness on behalf of today’s Christians and their fast food mentality of time spent with God. If we are not students of the Word then it is utterly impossible to discern the difference between sound doctrine and false doctrines.

Let’s not forget the warning in Revelation 22:17-19, which states:

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

These few verses should give everyone great reason to pause…God does not take it lightly when His Word has been changed. We cannot allow ourselves to be the vessel which brings Satan’s deception and lies, for the enemy of our soul is Satan, who is out to rob, to kill and to destroy us. He deceives the multitudes, and leads them away from the One True God, who is the Creator of everything in the heavens and the earth. He seeks to diminish the finished work of Cross, and the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord.

....and, contrary to the proponents of the prosperity doctrine:

Prosperity is not a sign of true faith, for the Bible plainly teaches us that every one that is disposed to come, that has any sincere wish to be saved, is assured that he may live. No matter how unworthy he is; no matter what his past life has been; no matter how old or how young, how rich or how poor; no matter whether sick or well, a freeman or a slave; no matter whether educated or ignorant; no matter whether clothed in fine garments or in rags--riding in state or laid at the gate of a rich man full of sores, the invitation is freely made to all to come and be saved. (It amazes me the importance that has been placed on prosperity since God does not.) And isn’t this the Gospel message that is to be preached…For all of sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God….that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ…..For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosever believeth on him shall have everlasting life……With what more appropriate truth could a revelation from heaven be closed? Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Albert Barnes

Just a few more comments before we begin to look at the questionable teachings of this movement and compare them to the Scriptures.

The Bible contains the whole counsel of God — everything that will be revealed before the second coming of Christ.

It is God’s Word that we are to heed. Yes and Amen! It is God’s Word that will tell us what we should believe, NOT WHAT WE WANT IT TO SAY!

It is also vital to note that the Bible speaks of a time when there will be a great apostasy or a great falling away. The Bible tells us that apostasy would be one of the signs of the last days. TAKE HEED! In chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians, it is very apparent that there will be a falling away from the faith. People who once believed, no longer believe. They have fallen away from ‘BIBLICAL FAITH’ (what God has said); for ‘a faith’ (anything contrary to the Bible).

Apostasy is falling away from Biblical Faith. Again, instead of believing in what God has said; it is believing in something else. It is ‘a faith’, but not THE FAITH which is based solely upon the Word of God. Apostasy means a turning away from, renunciation of our faith; or an abandonment of a previous loyalty to Biblical faith in God through Jesus Christ.

My dear friends, today the winds of doctrines are as vast as the sea, be diligent to hold fast to the Truth of God’s Word.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN and CAN IT HAPPEN TO ME?

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

We must conclude that many are being deceived because they know not the truth; or no longer love the truth, which is the Word of God. If we are not keeping ourselves grounded in the word, we will not be able to discern truth from a lie, and thus open ourselves up to deception or worse……….a falling away.

It’s simple; we must stay in the word. Read it! Study it! Know it! So when the serpent comes and whispers in our ears, “Hath God said?” we will not be deceived.

To the skeptic, I can only ask you to be a Berean. Search the scriptures for it is the very Word of God and is our only source of TRUTH on which to judge what is of the LORD and what is not.

We must ask ourselves if what we are being taught is the same gospel message that was brought to us by our Lord Jesus Christ; or if in fact it is another gospel.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:4-5, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” A little further down in the chapter in verse 11 the Jesus is warning us again, “And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many.”

The Bible tells us that those who have believed have an obligation to tell those who are deceived that they in fact are deceived. We are to “contend earnestly for the faith”. So while this great deception and apostasy takes place, those who believe in God’s Word must warn those who have been deceived and point them back to the TRUTH in love.

That said, let’s begin.

As so often in Church history, a movement that came to popular acclaim through what many thought was “good fruit” has soon revealed its true nature as something more like a cult, with extremes of belief that brought the Name of the Lord into disrepute.

Unfortunately, it seems this was inevitable. As we have become more familiar with the New Age movement/Mind Sciences and other occultic practices we have discovered that the roots of this doctrine were firmly planted in the soil of the metaphysical cults. The errors that produced New Thought and Christian Science, has also produced the various Word Faith teachings (or Christianized version) which have been widely accepted as Christian doctrine.

For that reason, the whole content, goal and product of the various Word-of-Faith ministries must be called into question and examined in the light of Scripture. If we agree that these doctrines do in fact have their roots in the occult, then we must also agree that these same doctrines will ensnare thousands of well-meaning believers in the satanic trap of the New Age. Thus, this may very well cause many – unthinkingly – to set up a worldwide kingdom for the Antichrist?

The origins and practices of this movement coming into the Christian Church should come as a shock to all believers. Much of what Word-Faith preachers are teaching can be linked directly to metaphysical/occult teachings and practices of old. It is just another repackaging of an outward form of Christianity.

What so fascinates me is that the Church seems to be inundated with every form of “New Spirituality” or New Age theology, which of course is not Biblical, therefore cannot be joined with Christianity; so why is it?

Progressive….The world wants to be “progressive” and the Church has adopted the same theology. It is an evolution of sorts…to better ones self, to better ones world, to better ones religion. In these last days, it appears that all of society has taken hold of this new buzz word. From politicians, to environmentalists; from our universities to the pulpit…everyone wants a “progressive’ change. A change I fear is running into the arms of Satan himself. Interesting!

Yet the Bible declares that “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8 God’s Word from the beginning stands on its own…is unchanging…and shall stand forever. AMEN!

The Bible clearly states that in the last days there would be a great falling away from Biblical Truth, and this is precisely why we must take a hard look at these teachings and compare them with the irrefutable truth of God’s Word.

Word Faith teaching- Is it a spiritual copy of the Mind Sciences?

Some of you might be wondering where I am going with this, and rightly so. Isn’t “Mind Sciences” a cesspool of occult and metaphysical ideas, the basic message of the New age Movement i.e. HUMAN POTENTIAL?

Yes it is, and I will show just how closely linked to the teachings of the Word-Faith teachers it really is.

In the next part of this article, we will begin to uncover the origins and history of these questionable teachings and practices and compare them to what I have already described New Age and occultic in nature.

In closing I want to give an example which compares the teachings of New Ager and Author, John Randolph Price and prominent teachings by Paul Youngi Cho and Kenneth Copeland. The teachings are more than similar; they are in fact the same.

New Ager and author, John Randolph Price, states in his book “The Superbeings”:

“What you think in your mind will produce in your experience. … All the Power of the Universe is within you and this Power you can have anything on earth you desire.”
(XV The Superbeings John Randolph Price 1981 Quartus foundation)

There is a new book out entitled, “The Secret” that was highly publicized by Oprah Winfrey. On page 46 of “The Secret” it states “you are the master of the Universe the law obeys you.” -- “Your wish is my command.” We are told “This law listens to everything we think and act.”

Is this God's will or the manipulation of 'forces'?

Now look carefully at the following quotes by Paul Youngi Cho, of South Korea.

For those of you who are not familiar with him, Paul Youngi Cho, of South Korea, has one of the world's largest churches, and is a very influential person in the Christian scene today.

"Through visualization and dreaming you can incubate your future and hatch the results." (The Fourth Dimension - p. 44) Paul Youngi Cho

We've got to learn how... to visualize and dream the answer as being completed as we go to the Lord in prayer. We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray." "In that way, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can incubate that which we want God to do for us...." "God used this process of visualizing the situation to help Abraham.... By that visualization through the associated thought Abraham... could incubate his [future] children.... The main thing is that we should know the importance of visualization." (The Fourth Dimension Vol.2 pp.26-27)

"We have taught our people how to... visualize success.... Through visualizing and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results." (The Fourth Dimension, Volume Two, pp. 25-28, 68- The Fourth Dimension, p. 44)

"So men [Christians or occultists], by exploring their spiritual sphere of the fourth dimension through the development of concentrated visions and dreams in their imagination, can brood over and incubate the third dimension, influencing and changing it." "This is what the Holy Spirit taught me." (The Fourth Dimension - p. 39-44)

Now let’s take a look at the teaching from one of the leading stars of this movement. The following quotations are taken from various teachings by Kenneth Copeland.

“To prosper mentally (in your soul), you must be able to control your mind, your will and your emotions. Prosperity of the mind comes when you use the knowledge you have accumulated from the Word of God—when you are controlling your mind, instead of allowing your mind to control you.” Kenneth Copeland - Understanding Prosperity

Copeland combines his "legal" precedent for prosperity with his "mechanics" of confession to form a formula for speaking things into existence. He insists, "You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth." However, he adds that most believers are not able to make full use of their inner power because "our imagination...has been so fouled up and fathered up with wasted useless words [and] wasted useless images." Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2

As a corrective, Copeland instructs believers to "go to the New Testament, get the words of the covenant that cover the situation that you hope to bring to pass. Build the image of that hope inside of you....Keep the word before your eyes." As examples, he uses an inner picture of an 82-foot yacht that will transform into reality in the Holy of Holies in heaven, along with a "picture [of a Bible] that came right out of me and went into the Holy of Holies," where it developed into an actual, physical object. Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2

Copeland also claims that "when you get to the place where you take the Word of God and build an image on the inside of you of not having crippled legs and not having blind eyes, but when you close your eyes you just see yourself just leap out of that wheelchair, it will picture that in the Holy of Holies and you will come out of there." Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2

Recognizing that his technique "sounds like that visualization they do in meditation and metaphysical practices," Copeland counters by reversing the tables. "What they're doing sounds like this," he retorts. "The devil is a counterfeiter. He never came up with anything real. That is the perverted form of the real thing. Where do you think he got it? That sucker doesn't know anything on his own. Amen." Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2

During another occasion, however, Copeland revealingly affirms that both positive confession and creative visualization are based on the same principle: "Words create pictures, and pictures in your mind create words. And then the words come back out your mouth....And when that spiritual force comes out it is going to give substance to the image that's on the inside of you. Aw, that's that visualization stuff! Aw, that's that New Age! No, New Age is trying to do this; and they'd get somewhat results out of it because this is spiritual law, brother." Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (television program), TBN, 28 March 1991

Copeland says, "Any image that you get down on the inside of you that is so vivid when you close your eyes you see it, it'll come to pass. When God came at the Tower of Babel, He said, 'Anything they can imagine, they can do.'" Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2

He fails to note, however, that those individuals built the tower out of brick and tar (Gen. 11:3), not simply out of their imagination. Moreover, their venture incurred God's judgment (vv. 6-9). Copeland can argue and fuss all he wants, but the fact of the matter is that through such teachings he has entered the world of the occult.

In all fairness to Kenneth Copeland he is not the only teacher of these New Age mind techniques; however we will uncover more in the next posting on this series.

Remember faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD!
Read more!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

T.T.U.F. Profiles: RICK WARREN Pt. 3 (of 3)

~~By James Fire

2 Timothy 1:8-9

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

We shall now conclude this series on the TTUF Profile of RICK WARREN with this third (of three) installment. Let me say that while very many people have read The Purpose Driven Life (and Church) and found them helpful, it’s not so much what Mr. Warren states that’s in agreement with scripture (albeit this seems in the somewhat minority amount contextually), but what else he says that is objectionable (as properly outlined by Warren Smith’s “10 Reasons” listed below). The other point that has biblically oriented Christians (there should be no other kind!) concerned are his endorsements and inclusion of so-called Christians who also tout and support New Age dogma.

Now let’s get a wrap up of this TTUF Profile:


FLIP FLOPPING FROM FORMER FILOSOPHIES –

Most of us saw the Civil Forum in Saddleback where Rick Warren hosted the event and asked 10 basic questions of the then Presidential Candidates, John McCain and Barak Obama. One of those questions he asked was,


“Describe some position or belief you held ten years ago that you no longer hold today." He softened the question by stating that ‘Sometimes flip-flopping is smart [because it’s based on] additional information [and] knowledge.’ Warren stated that changing one’s position can often be viewed in a positive way. ‘That’s not flip-flopping’ he said, ‘Sometimes that’s growing in wisdom.’”

Is it possible that while Rick Warren may have, and still does tout some biblical beliefs today, he is setting the stage for the day in which he receives “more information” and does the smart thing, and “flip-flops” his position in acquired wisdom, and starts talking like his Emergent/New Age friends?

If its true that you can judge a person by the company he keeps, and Warren Smith provides ample evidence of those with whom this Saddleback pastor associates with, then it would seem quite reasonable that he will start sounding more and more like these heretics of the faith (and the New Agers too) until finally, he will be indistinguishable from any of them!

WRAP UP ON RICK WARREN -

We have a few more issues to report on before we end this article; we will examine Warren Smith’s Ten Basic Reasons to support the assertion that Rick Warren’s teachings are not the Gospel Way, which according to the LORD Jesus is the narrow way, but is in fact “a broad way” style of Christianity.

Then we will look at some Youtube presentations in which you the reader can hear from Rick Warren’s own mouth, the things that he himself believes. Finally we will post a four part series of an interview with Warren Smith.

As always, I admonish the reader to understand, I have nothing against Rick Warren personally; I don’t know the man. I’ve never met him. These issues that I’m raising in this article are about what this man says, and believes, and promotes to the church at large; and I will challenge any belief no matter who it comes from. If it’s not in line with and in compliance to God’s Word, the singular standard and source of spiritual truth found any where in this fallen world of sin and deception then it cannot be accepted as doctrine!

TEN BASIC REASONS WHY RICK WARREN’s WAY IS TOO BROAD -

1) Rick Warren’s Purpose drive movement offers a Broad Way Christianity.

One of the mysteries of the Christian faith can be found in Jesus’ warning that the way to life is “narrow” and that “few” would actually find it. Jesus is telling usin advance that the “broadway” – no matter how well intentioned – is not from Him. With Rick Warren’s reformation movement based on ‘deeds and not creeds’, everyone is invited to partake in this global effort. But biblical principles are watered-down and often cast aside.
Read Matt. 7:13-14.

2) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not declare “all the counsel of God.”

Rick Warren teaches only what he wants to teach from the Bible. As a result, there are many important teachings that he skips over, de-emphasizes, and leaves out - particularly in regard to prophecy and spiritual deception. Read Acts 20:27-32.

3) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not discern the spiritual signs of the times.

Just as the leaders in Jesus’ day discerned the weather but not the signs of the times, Warren discerns many of the social and economic problems, but not the spiritual signs of the times. Read Matt. 16:3.

4) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is ignorant of Satan’s devices.

Whereas the apostles Paul stated that he and other believers were “not ignorant of Satan’s devices”, Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity has fallen prey to Satan’s devices – particularly in the area of the New Age/New Spirituality/New World View.
Read 2 Cor. 2:11.

5) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not expose spiritual evil.

Warren’s version of Christianity does not sound a true warning about he deceptive spirit world and spiritual deception. There is much more to evil than the problems that Rick Warren is seeking to remedy with his Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. We are told to expose false prophets and false teachers, not to study under them, spiritually join with them, and further their plans. Read Eph. 6:12, 2 Tim. 3:13, Eph. 5:11, 1 Cor. 14:8.

6) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not “earnestly contend for the faith.”

By not declaring all the counsel of God, by not discerning the signs of the times, by being ignorant of Satan’s devices, and by not exposing spiritual evil, Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is not “fighting the good fight of faith.” Read Jude :3, 1 Tim. 6:12, Eph. 6:13.

7) Rick Warren and his “Broad Way” Christianity are loved by the world and its leaders.

Jesus loved the world, but the world did not love Him. Jesus warned His followers they would be hated, persecuted, and even killed by the world – just as the world hated, persecuted and killed Him. In his compromised efforts to reach out to the world, Warren and his “Broad Way” Christianity have become the world. Read 1 John 4:5, Luke 6:26, 2 Tim. 3:12, Matt. 10:22, 25 and Luke 9:25.

8) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is engaged in a process of ungodly change.

Rick Warren describes himself as a “change agent” but in his attempt to change the world, he and his Purpose Driven movement are actually changing biblical Christianity. The Bible warns about those who push for unbiblical and ungodly change. Read Prov. 24:21, Heb. 13:8, Mal. 3:6, and Amos 8:11.

9) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is frequently ‘double-tongued’ and ‘double-minded’.

Rick Warren’s attempts seemingly distance himself from the New Age/New Spirituality while simultaneously spiritually aligning himself with New Age sympathizers is “double-tongued”, “double-minded” and deceptively self serving. In the Psalms, David refers to those who speak with “flattering lips” and a “double heart”. Read Psalms 12:1-2, 1 Tim. 3:8-9 and James 1:8.

10) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is “not valiant for the truth”.

Warren has demonstrated, in numerous ways, that he is politically and spiritually expedient when it comes to the truth. His “Broad Way” Christianity plays to the world and embraces the world because it is the world. It does not hold fast to the truth because it is not “valiant for the truth”. Read Jere. 9:3 and John 8:31.

YOUTUBE TESTIFIES TO THE TRUTH -

The following are a series of youtube presentations, along with a little commentary of my own afterwards. Here we will look at what Rick Warren himself is saying, not what other people are saying about him. In these first two youtube presentations (part 1 & 2) Todd Friel from Way of the Master Radio shares some statements by Rick Warren, and intermittently brings his own biblically based commentary:

Todd Friel of Way of the Master Radio's Take on R. Warren-speak part 1

Todd Friel's Commentary on R. Warren-speak part 2

The LORD Jesus came to Earth to see souls saved, that is, to be born of God’s Spirit and thus become children of God (John 1:12) and be suitable to inherit the kingdom that would one day arrive but is not a kingdom from this world (John 18:36), of which, all children of God are citizens. We are not citizens of this world, we are not of this world (John 15:19; 17:14, 16); our hearts and minds are to be focused towards the goal of things above (heaven) and not on things on the Earth (Col. 3:1-2). Why then does Rick Warren center most of his ministry on this P.E.A.C.E. Plan which deals only with earthly causes and has nothing to do with the Gospel?

Speaking of the Gospel, this is another issue that may startle you; Christians know what the Gospel is, as it’s the very heart of the New Testament, and the various books within. Take 1 Corinthians 15 for example:

1 Cor 15:1,3-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There isn’t a genuine Christian on the planet that doesn’t realize that becoming a Christian means acknowledging that you’re a sinner, and that you repent (turn away from) of your life of sin, and turn to God for salvation, and as an act of faith, believe and receive salvation by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and receive new life from the Spirit of God who is able to indwell believers as a result of Christ’s blood atonement, His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. As a result, your life belongs to Jesus and He becomes the LORD of your life.

Is this the Gospel message that Rick Warren teaches? Consistently? Let’s have a look:

Rick Warren's Gospel As Seen on Sean Hannity

I would agree that pride is the worst sin, for by it the most powerful angel became a devil, as well as the first innocent human couple ever created were plunged into sin and the human race along with them. As for the rest “give as much of yourself as you can to as much of Jesus Christ, as we know at the time” . . . well: that simply is not what the Bible teaches Mr. Warren. Where does it say, what you said, in your own Bible? He designated correctly that there are two paths we can take: God’s and Satan’s/our own but he failed to mention the WAY to get to heaven: Jesus Christ and the Gospel as is outlined above!

Warren Smith spoke of Mr. Warren’s propensity for political and spiritual expediency and unfortunately this seems to be the case. Below is a youtube link that reveals something about Rick Warren and Proposition 8, and where he stood on that issue . . . and where else . . . he stood on that issue (note – TTUF doesn’t agree with everything that is expressed in the following video, particularly the personal views of the anchor):

Double Tongued Talk By R. Warren?

He said that he apologized to his homosexual friends, and that begs the question: Pastor Rick, do you believe that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin? Like with this issue, it seems that Rick Warren conducts himself with ambiguity and ‘fuzziness’ when it comes to concrete and important issues.

Rick Warren’s focus, as we discussed before, seems to be on this Earth, and “earthly things” and not about the kingdom. Here is a presentation that reveals what Rick actually believes about this:

Rick Warren's Views On God's Purposes On The World's People

MR. WARREN SMITH RE: MR. RICK WARREN

Finally we have a four-part presentation where Warren Smith is interviewed on the radio program Retaking America: He discusses his books and issues relating to the New Spirituality and where Rick Warren fits into it all:

Warren Smith Radio Interview-Part 1

Warren Smith Radio Interview-Part 2

Warren Smith Radio Interview-Part 3

Warren Smith Radio Interview-Part 4

AN AFTERTHOUGHT ON A PRIMARY BELIEF -

Getting back to the issue of panentheism, that is, “God is IN everything” we need to examine this belief carefully from the biblical point of view and recognize its many false assertions.

First of all, if God is indeed in everything (that includes every one) then no one could be held accountable for their wicked deeds, since if God is dwelling in them, there really is no such thing as wickedness, and the idea of ‘sin’ is fallacious (Marianne Williamson says quite often “There is no such thing as sin!”).

Others would state that the likes of Hitler, Manson, Dahmer, Stalin, Arafat, etc), and the typical criminal do the things they do because they have not been made aware of their own divinity. It seems that whether or not a person is ‘aware’ of God dwelling in them, either He is there or He isn’t. If He isn’t indwelling the person, there is an obvious lack spiritually speaking that must be met if that person is to have a fulfilled life both now and in eternity (the Biblical assertion). If God is indwelling that person (as well as all persons: the New Age assertion), being God, it would seem reasonable He would (being Almighty) have an efficacious influence on them whether they realized it or not; just as a patient who is unconscious, being pumped full of vitamins, nutrients and saline would respond to such benefits even though they are unaware of their administration into his body.

If one adheres to the belief of panentheism that negates the need for salvation, for salvation is primarily the redemption of the soul and the creation of a purely new heart that God can inhabit freely. Since God is holy, He cannot partake of, nor have any communion with sin, or the heart that harbors it, thus the need for salvation.

Panentheism states that God already dwells within us all; thus what need is there for the Cross of Christ, or the Atoning blood that He shed for the sake of humanity. According to such New Age/Emergent tenets, the Cross is a waste of time in regards to any supposed salvation, and at best merely serves as an example of suffering servanthood, but nothing more!

Satan would like nothing better than for the world to ignore, even reject the Cross of the LORD Jesus and His finished atoning work He accomplished there. That is why the idea of “God in everything” is a satanic ploy being perpetrated by New Age/Emergent movements in order to infiltrate and infect the church, divesting them of any value in regards to the LORD’s sacrificial death and resurrection on behalf of sinful humanity.

As always, we Christians must be ever vigilant for false doctrine and beliefs that seek to invade (and have succeeded to such a large degree today!) the church. Doctrine is NOT a peripheral issue, it is a PRIMARY issue, for it’s the doctrine of the Word of God that forms our beliefs, attitudes, and conduct which will rightly align ourselves with the will of God, as well as enable us to be conformed to and transformed by the LORD Jesus.

Scripture tells us to “contend for the faith that was delivered to us” and to stand fast in the Truth. The entire thrust of The TRUTH Under FIRE as a web site ministry is geared towards this conviction!

In an upcoming article we will examine an excellent book by John MacArthur entitled, The TRUTH War, and what he hopes will cause a revolution in the church by encouraging us to be bold in our proclamation of and for the Truth. I heartily endorse this work and would encourage you to get this book, read it, and pass it on!

Until then, may the LORD bless you as you remain steadfast in the Truth of God’s Most Holy, Precious Word!

Read more!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NATIONAL ID: WHO WILL RESIST?

by A.M. Kisly

Well, America is on the fast train to her demise! After this weeks criminal force of National Health Care ....against the will of 59% of tax paying Americans, we learned that this President, this Congress and this Senate have little to no regard for our Constitution and the rule of law. Obama's anti-American 'changes' are coming at an alarming speed.

It is very plain to see that this administration hates the Constitution of the United States of America, and will stop at nothing to bring its citizens into submission and into their one world system of government.

We have seen Satan attempt this throughout history...and it has always come to naught...until now. How long will God hold off His wrath on the workers of iniquity? I can't answer that. I love our country, we have been blessed above every nation on the earth, but this nation has lifted itself above God and has discarded God's ways for money, for filth, and for every abomination that God hates. The blood of the innocent is on our hands and will only continue to wax worse and worse.

The day of wrath is coming...the Church needs to wake up!

There is much work to be done, and the eternal destiny of millions is on the line. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Remember Daniel in the lions den and all those who would not bow to earthly rulers and their idols. The Lord is our strength and our shield...His Word is our light and our path, and His Spirit is our comfort and our joy!


Put on the whole armor of God TODAY...do not tarry that we might STAND in this evil day!!!!!!!!


This morning I read an article by Timothy Baldwin of Liberty Defense League, he states:


--March 17, 2010 - "U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) introduced a bill which would require all persons in the United States (“U.S.”) seeking to be employed to obtain a government-issued biometric National Identification card.


(FN1) Not so surprisingly, this measure has come in the name of “protecting America” against illegal immigrants working in the U.S. unlawfully. Thus, “to ensure that only people legally in the U.S. can work here, the bill will propose a biometric I.D. for EVERY AMERICAN before anybody can get a job.”

(FN2) This is yet another method by which the federal government continually institutes practices and principles contrary to what a Free Confederated Republic should be and contrary to principles of limited government, self-government, natural rights, and true constitutional intent and meaning. Judge Andrew Napolitano rightfully calls this legislation a “monstrosity” and predicts that this bill will not pass.(FN3) Perhaps Judge Napolitano is correct, but we should consider what the people of the U.S. once rejected but now embrace."

Full Article: National ID: Who Will Resist?

Church it is time to wake out of sleep...our redemption is drawing nigh!!!!

The apostate church... The church today is more interested in programs than people, in building great structures instead of great men and women of God, in entertaining people rather than encouraging them. The church has compromised the absolute truth of God's word in order to be politically correct, and is more concerned with people's money than their souls.

The spiritual leaders of this nation are NOT supposed to be the President and politicians, NOT supposed to be musicians and entertainers, NOT supposed to be Oprah, Dr. Phil and Ellen, NOT supposed to be the NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, NOT supposed to be Hollywood entertainers. The spiritual leaders of this nation are supposed to be the men and women of God that He has raised up and called to be a BOLD, LOUD, CLEAR voice for His TRUTH, not just from the pulpit of a local church, or in a great convention of Christians, BUT IN THE WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN!!!

Leonard Ravenhill said, "How is it that world couldn't get on with the holiest MAN that ever lived and can get on with you and me? ARE WE COMPROMISED? HAVE WE NO SPIRITUAL STATURE? HAVE WE NO RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT REFLECTS UPON THEIR CORRUPTION?"

We cannot live in rebellion to God and not pay the price as a nation. Yet there is good news..... GOD ALWAYS HAS A REMNANT! GOD ALWAYS HAS A PEOPLE! Despite whatever judgment He pours out on our nation, there will always be a group of people that will never bow their knee to Baal! Embrace the opportunity that we will have as the people of God to share the hope and love of Christ with the hurting and the lost. We are going to have incredible opportunities to see great numbers of souls won for the Kingdom.

AWAKE! AWAKE! PUT ON STRENGTH! WAKE IT UP YOU SLEEPY CHRISTIANS! AWAKE THOU THAT SLEEPETH! ARISE FROM THE DEAD! CHRIST WILL GIVE YOU LIFE!
Read more!

Monday, March 22, 2010

T.T.U.F. PROFILES: Rick Warren Pt. 2 (of 3)




~~ By James Fire


Heed the wisdom of God’s Word in this passage: 2 Tim 1:8-9 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,


We now pick up where we left off in our examination of Rick Warren’s beliefs and associations in determining whether or not he is biblically sound and a legitimate leader worthy of the church to follow. We already saw to some degree, how Rick Warren was associated with Robert Schuller; let’s examine this further. There is a distinct parallel between Schuller and Rick Warren in their writings -- Schuller:


“Our very survival as a species depends on hope. And without hope we will lose the faith that we can cope.” Warren (20 yrs later in The Purpose Driven Life-2002): “Hope is essential to your life as air and water. You need to hope to cope.” Warren (from The Purpose Driven Church-1995):


“Accept the challenge of becoming a purpose-driven church! The greatest churches in history are yet to be built.” Schuller (Your Church Has A Fantastic Future!-1986; a pastor quotes him): “Ten years ago, I heard Dr. Robert Schuller say at his leadership conference, ‘The greatest churches in the world are yet to be built!’”


RICK WARREN’s/ROBERT SCHULLER’s “NEW REFORMATION” and “GOD’s DREAM” Rick Warren’s New Reformation and his God’s Dream – Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan are strikingly similar to Robert Schuller’s proposed New Reformation and his God’s Dream plan to “redeem society”. The only difference between the two Plans? Schuller proposed his twenty years earlier than Warren proposed his.Schuller states that ‘God’s Dream’ is to redeem society. No where in the Bible are we called to “redeem society” as a whole. We are to preach the Gospel to lost souls, who will themselves be redeemed if they believe it, and indirectly, as more and more souls are redeemed, society will be the better for it.


Warren Smith comments: “Following Schuller’s forty-year commitment to his church, Rick Warren made a forty-year commitment to the Saddleback community. He ‘grew’ his mega-church by faithfully implementing all that he had learned from Schuller . . . Now Schuller’s concept of ‘God’s Dream’ was being used to inspire millions of Christians to get behind his [Warren’s] 5 Step P.E.A.C.E. Plan to change the world, . . . [a plan] that, on paper, bore an eerie resemblance to the 5-Step PEACE Plan proposed by Neale Donald Walsch (author of New Age book, Conversations With God) and his New Age ‘God’.”


“I am not fully forgiven until I allow God to write his new dream for my life on the blackboard of my mind . . .” Robert Schuller, 1982 (note: So much for the atoning work of the Cross and the Holy Blood that Jesus shed there for the remission of sins! Schuller states that he is not FULLY FORGIVEN until . . .! ‘Until’ anything that involves my own efforts or dead works - - is a heresy!
)


“This weekend, I’ll begin a series of five messages on God’s dream to use you globally – to literally use YOU to help change the world.” Rick Warren, 2003


“So people interested in being a new kind of Christian will . . . want to find out how they can fit in with God’s dreams actually coming true down here more often.” Brian McLaren, 2007 Warren Smith lists some New Age/Emergent Church leaders who all use the term “God’s Dream” in their statements, and can be found on pages 94, 95 of his book, A Wonderful Deception: Erwin McManus, Bruce Wilkinson, Shane Claiborne, Leonard Sweet, Sri Chimnoy, Desmond Tutu, Sun Myung Moon, Wayne Dyer, and Oprah Winfrey.


(note: for any who’ve yet to understand what the Emergent Church stands for, please visit these sites of ours: The TRUTH Under FIRE, and FROM the MIND of FIRE, and in their respective browsers type “emergent” and follow the links found there to various articles. You will find the following titles most revealing: Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Anne Kisly; Triumphant But Tragic Trojan & Holy Relics by James Fire. The link to FROM the MIND of FIRE can be found on TTUF. There are three pages worth of links @ FtMofF for Emergent Church articles).


If any claim that they are following ‘God’s Dream’ (what is a dream [other than those we experience during sleep] if not a vision, or goal, plan or purpose?) it had better line up with the Word of God, which explicitly reveals God’s vision and plan for the ages and for humanity as a whole; otherwise its worthless and completely wrong! Warren Smith states: “[It] seemed that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes was to mainstream Robert Schuller’s teachings into the more traditional “Bible-based” wing of the Church.


Many believers, who seem to trust Rick Warren, ironically do not trust Robert Schuller. According to Warren Smith, the only conclusion that can be reached is that “The spiritual foundation of the Purpose-Driven movement can be found in the writings and teachings of Schuller’s fifty year ministry.”


HIS PERSONAL GUIDE INTO DECEPTION – Once Warren Smith’s book, Deceived on Purpose was published, people began to read, and focus their attention more intently on Rick Warren and his teachings and statements; Saddleback apologist for Mr. Warren, Gilbert Thurston was caught by surprise when he learned (from Mr. Smith’s writings) that Rick Warren’s quote from Bernie Siegal, who himself received the information on which his statement was based, from a “spirit guide named George” but then went on to say:


“Knowing that Bernie Siegal is a New Ager didn’t make this statement any less true than if I had found out he was the world’s best Christian doctor. Real truth is truth as long as it’s biblical, no matter what the source.” The term ‘spirit guide’ is nothing more than a euphemism for a demonic spirit; for any that believe that the Bible is the Truth, this indisputable fact reveals that Mr. Thurston’s statement is in line with what the Bible says regarding spiritual teachings coming from satanic sources (see 1 Tim 4:1), but no “matter what the source”, truth is truth??


Satan is known in the Bible as “the father of lies” (see John 8:44). How can we take anything Satan might say as ‘truth’? Author George Mair wrote a book that praises Rick Warren and Saddleback Church; Mr. Mair attended Saddleback for many years, and contributed financially to it as well. In the book, A Life with Purpose: Reverend Rick Warren: The Most Inspiring Pastor of Our Time (April, 2005), he says the following: “The numbers speak for themselves. The Church Growth Movement [CGM] has been wildly successful in Southern California . . . as well as in the rest of the country. Which prompts us to ask: what are the roots of this powerful movement?


Rick Warren may be the foremost figure in the CGM today, but he’s only a piece -albeit an important one- of a greater development in the Christian Church. Who and what gave birth to this movement in which Rick would play such a vital role?”


Note: Where and when is the church commanded by the Head of the church, the LORD Jesus Christ to conceive of plans to make the church grow, and get big? We are told to preach the Gospel, and that it’s the LORD that adds daily to the church such as should be saved (Acts 2:47). The only picture we have of the church getting enormously (and unusually big because of mutation) is in the parable of the mustard seed that grows into a tree – the mustard seed grows into a shrub only about 2 – 3 feet in height.


When it becomes far larger than it should (tree sized) the fowls of the air are able to lodge in it; “fowls” biblically are a type for evil spirits, i.e. demons! See Mat 13:31-32) Again, who and what gave birth to this movement in which Rick would play such a vital role?” Mair answers his own question: “Reverend Norman Vincent Peale is, to many, the most prophetic and moving New Age preacher of the twentieth century.


He is also the father of the self-help movement that formed the groundwork for the CGM. Peale formed perhaps the most dramatic and meaningful link between religion and psychology of any religious leader in history. It is this same approachable, therapeutic brand of religion that many mega churches, including Saddleback, put forward today. It is this kind of religion that is so appealing to the masses of un-churched men and women that Rick Warren hopes to reach.” Likewise Mair draws a connection between Peale’s protégé Robert Schuller and Rick Warren:


“But it’s hard to argue that Schuller was not the first person to be effective on a national scale. He was unquestionably a pioneer in the CGM and a major influence on Rick Warren.”


AN EMERGENT MUTATION – We here at T.T.U.F. have already submitted an article about a proposed Department of Peace which may become an integral part of our Federal Government; Rick Warren himself has a ‘Plan’ of sorts as well, a P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Many conjecture that these two will dovetail to form a union between a Governmental authority and a Religious one. Yet one needn’t conjecture about such things, there is already a link between Government and Religion for the establishment of a global peace plan . . .


From Crossroads Ministries we have the following link that details this ‘Plan’ and how it’s being ratified by none other than the United Nations: Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan & the UN Millennium Goals "P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym that stands for 'Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation,' Warren said. The emphasis calls for church-based small groups to adopt villages where spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance keep people from experiencing the kind of life God wants them to have, he said. All noble causes to be sure, but I have a hard time finding such mandates in the pages of scripture (excepting "plant churches"), particularly the Great Commission to go forth and preach the gospel to all nations, and make disciples of Jesus Christ (see Matt 28:19-20).


Many in the Emergent Church have tried to mutate the Gospel into “healing the world and all of its social ills” but such a mandate is conspicuous by its absence in the pages of the Holy Bible. We will see what Rick Warren believes about the Gospel later. Who has Rick Warren enlisted to assist him in this endeavor and to teach his congregation there at Saddleback? Two men: Bruce Wilkinson (“Prayer of Jabez”) and Ken Blanchard (co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus organization; author of The Minute Manager).


Rick Warren described how the first “E” in his P.E.A.C.E. Plan stood for “Equip leaders”. He informed his congregation that Blanchard had “signed on” to “help train leaders” around the world.


NEW AGE/NEW SPIRITUALITY PALS – Two weeks after Blanchard had “signed on” to help Rick Warren, Warren himself appeared with Blanchard at the Lead Like Jesus Celebration in Birmingham, where he stated that they were working together on the PEACE Plan. Ray Yungen, author of many books and a contributor to Lighthouse Trails Publishing was concerned when he learned from George Mair’s book on Rick Warren, that Ken Blanchard would be helping him in his PEACE Plan.


Blanchard (who had personal ties with Norman Vincent Peale), Yungen noticed, often provided endorsements for New Age books and organizations; he had written many forewords to these books. How could someone who failed to discern the content of New Age materials, be an effective teacher on how to lead like Jesus? What are some of these New Age books that Blanchard endorsed? The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra and What Would Buddha Do at Work? Also Jim Ballard’s book Little Wave and Old Swell (a longtime friend and business associate of Blanchard’s), who also is a devotee of the late Hindu Guru Paramahansa Yogananda.


Blanchard writes the forewords to both the 2004 and the 2007 editions of Little Wave and Old Swell which is a book for “people of all faiths”. The message of that book is foundational for the New Age teaching that “we are all one because God is in everything and everywhere.” Why would a self-professing Evangelical Christian like Rick Warren choose a New Age sympathizer like Ken Blanchard to train people to ‘lead like Jesus’? Which Jesus would he be training people to follow?


If these New Age books he’s endorsed and produced forewords for are any indication, it would seem that this would be ‘another Jesus’ and ‘another Gospel’. Ken Blanchard in July of 2005 stated on his Lead Like Jesus web site that his New Age endorsements were problematic, and he made a promise that he would try to exercise better discernment and that a discernment ministry (Watchman Fellowship) would assist him in this. Watchman Fellowship later announced that they believed Blanchard to be capable of remaining at the helm of the Lead Like Jesus organization. In January of 2006 Blanchard endorsed yet another New Age book, Jon Gordon’s The 10 Minute Energy Solution and he quotes the likes of A Course in Miracles, Wayne Dyer, Marilyn Ferguson, Paramahansa Yogananda and Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and Gary Zukav.


Blanchard’s endorsement can be found on the cover of Gordon’s book which was released after Blanchard’s own book, Lead Like Jesus in 2005. Regardless of these persistent endorsements of New Age books by Blanchard, Rick Warren and other Christian leaders still supported him in his work, and Rick Warren himself remained on Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus National Board. Rick Warren offered a defense regarding Blanchard’s New Age sympathies, stating that he was “not a deep Christian” and “not mature in the faith” but that begs some questions:


Why would such a man be in charge of an organization like Lead Like Jesus where he is expected to train and instruct other Christians? Why would Rick Warren seek out such a man to partner with him in his own PEACE Plan project? Blanchard continued in his New Age endorsements and (new) forewords for such books as Jim Ballard’s Little Wave and Old Swell as well as The Secret; additionally he shared a platform with Wayne Dyer, John Gray, and Mark Victor Hansen (all New Age leaders and teachers).


He also remained a member on the Advisory Council of the New Age-based Hoffman Institute (which promotes the Hoffman Quadrinity Process – devised by the psychic Robert Hoffman, based on the foundational New Age teaching that God is “in” everything. Warren Smith concludes in his book, A Wonderful Deception: “Rick Warren’s involvement with Ken Blanchard cannot be conveniently excused and explained away. His association with Blanchard is symptomatic of a Purpose Driven ship without scripture bearings.”


WARREN CONFRONTS THE LIGHTHOUSE; YUNGEN’s OBSERVATIONS Rick Warren attempted to confront Lighthouse Trails Ministries in regards to Ken Blanchard, who according to George Mair was hired to help Warren with his PEACE Plan, when in fact, Blanchard wasn’t “hired” but volunteered instead (though it could be easily misunderstood that to “sign on” meant to be hired). According to Mr. Warren, “there is almost nothing correct in Mair’s book” and yet the fact remained, that a New Age sympathizer was (and is) in partnership with him in teaching people to ‘Lead like Jesus’ and it evoked questions (such as the ones above) in biblical Christian’s minds that required an answer! Below is a link to the Lighthouse Trails Web site where these emails are discussed (halfway down the page), and other issues related to Rick Warren, his PEACE Plan and Ken Blanchard along with his endorsements of a questionable nature: Rick Warren Addresses Lighthouse Assertions Ray Yungen in the DVD of “The New Face of Spirituality” discusses Rick Warren (below is a link from youtube, excerpted from the entire message):


Warren's Endorsement of New Spirituality? In this presentation, Ray Yungen states that Rick Warren endorses the likes of Brother Lawrence (a practitioner of mystic ‘Christian’ meditation) in The Purpose Driven Life; as well as this, Rick Warren endorses Dan Kimball, one of the foremost leaders of the Emergent Church, and wrote the foreword to his book, The Emerging Church. MORE EMERGENT/NEW AGE PALS: HOW SWEET IT - - ISN’T! He also endorsed, according to A Wonderful Deception (on both the front and back cover) Emergent church leader, Leonard Sweet’s 1999 book Soul Tsunami: Sink or Swim in the New Millennium Culture where Sweet also speaks of “God’s dream”; they shared the same platform during a 1995 The Tides of Change presentation as well.


Their working relationship was further enhanced when they co-led two highly publicized small-group workshops (called ‘Wired’ whose theme was “Prepare your church for spiritual growth and connectivity”) in 2008 that were held in Atlanta, Georgia and at Warren’s Saddleback Church! What was Sweet saying at these workshops? “The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people ‘in-phase’ with the Christ consciousness and connected to one another (emphasis added).” The term “Christ consciousness” is implicitly a New Age term.


Apparently Rick Warren had no problem with this as he invited Sweet to Saddleback to speak. Rick Warren endorses ‘breathe prayers’ a synonym for ‘contemplative prayer’ as well as the notion of “vintage Christianity” (i.e. candles, incense, darkened sanctuaries, icons, statues, chants, etc.). Gary Thomas often spoke at Saddleback Church, who also strongly endorses contemplative prayer, and himself quotes Basil Pennington (New Age leader: “The wisdom of the East should be captured by the church”) in his writings!


Warren Smith states in his book A Wonderful Deception, that the ideas of Reformation, Revolution, “as above, so below”, “God’s Dream”, “Cosmic Christ”, “Oneness”, and “God in everything” are replete in today’s terminology in such writings as Marianne Williamson (spokesperson for the Department of Peace legislation and a devout New Age Wiccan) who says that the New Age/Spirituality is a “revolution [is] a global phenomenon that will change the cellular structure of the human race. The Gift of Change, her 2004 book says:


“An underground revolution is sweeping the hearts and minds of the people of the world, and it is happening despite the wars and terror that confront us. This revolution is a fundamental change of worldview, and it carries with it the potential to reorganize the structure of the human civilization. It brings about a basic shift in the thoughts that dominate the world. It wages a peace that will end all war. It is a global phenomenon . . .” David Spangler, a high authority in the New Age movement declares that the human race is a body, and each of us are cells in that body; he also regards the idea of a change in the “cellular structure of the human race” will bring about a global revolution.


Re-imagining and Re-Thinking are also terms that Emergents, New Agers, and now (formerly) biblical evangelicals are all using to describe what the church needs in our modern day that gels perfectly well with a revolution which Rick Warren subscribes to, as well as Leonard Sweet, and Brian McLaren, Marianne Williamson, and Neale Donald Walsch. It’s strange how someone as supposedly fundamental, and evangelical as Rick Warren, whose books are regularly purchased by Bible believing (or not?) Christians can hob-knob with not just one, or two, but several of people well known in New Age and Emergent Church Movement circles. How can we reconcile this dichotomy?
That question may not be answerable. We shall continue this article in a third, last installment, coming up soon! Read more!

T.T.U.F. PROFILES: Rick Warren Pt. 1 (of 3)


~~ by James Fire

2 Tim 1:8-9

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,


He has sold more than thirty million books. He is the founder of a 162 nation network. He has trained over 400,000 ministers and priests. He is the pastor of one of the largest churches in the world.

Who am I speaking of? Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, author of the incredibly successful (commercially speaking any way) book, The Purpose Driven Church. Yet we must ask some hard questions about what else Rick Warren might be. He has certain affiliations and perspectives that might not be widely known by the church here in America; if they did know, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many of his books on our own shelves. One book I do have on my shelf these days revealed to me what Rick Warren is all about - -

It’s a book by Warren Smith called, A Wonderful Deception, a sequel to his previous book Deceived on Purpose; I felt that this book, and what it says is so vital that I would write an article about it, a book report of sorts. And here it is.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING and DISCERNING -

I realize that Rick Warren has become “America’s favorite pastor” and that any who would speak a word against his teachings, or beliefs stands the risk of being called “divisive, unloving, creating strife in the body’ etc” and yet we have a need today as NEVER BEFORE to discern between good teaching (biblically based) and bad teaching (extra-biblically based). If you haven’t read this article yet by Anne Kisly, fellow writer for The TRUTH Under FIRE, please do so now: here is the link for it –

Righteous Judgment

Warren Smith was once involved in the New Age movement, participating in many of its spiritual exercises and practices. When he finally came out of that mysticism and became a born again believer and disciple of Jesus Christ, he was dismayed to learn that much of the church today are parroting the very concepts and ideas that he left behind him in that false belief system.

His two books mentioned above are warnings to Christians to be on guard against these seductive movements that are leading people away from the TRUTH of God’s Word, and into a neo-Christian (false) path that will inevitably bring the church into a global religion.

Warren Smith states: “In 2002, I authored Reinventing Jesus Christ: the New Gospel. In that book, I explain how the New Age is much more deceptive and all-encompassing than what is being presented to the church by today’s church leaders. In a chapter titled “the Silent Church”, I describe how the church seems to be walking into a spiritual trap. I ask why Christian leaders aren’t warning believers about the New Age/New Spirituality, which is working its way into the church. Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life gave me my answer: The reason Christian leaders aren’t taking the New Age more seriously is because figures, like Warren, are not ringing out a warning, and are themselves being influenced and deceived by the New Age.”


VALIANT or VIRULENT?

“In Jeremiah 9:3, Jeremiah warns about those who are “not valiant for the truth.” Sadly, Rick Warren is a man who is not wholly valiant for the truth. For whatever reason, he does not declare “all” the counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and he does not seriously reprove and expose the New Age/New Spirituality that is so clearly in our midst (Ephesians 5:13). It’s a pastor’s job to protect the flock from heresy, and Rick Warren is not doing that. On the contrary, his worldwide movement has serious New Age implications.”

A rather radical statement, you say? Agreed, but one that is entirely provable, which Warren Smith does exceptionally well. That is why I can wholeheartedly endorse his book, A Wonderful Deception, and would implore all Christians to read his writings!

Warren Smith tracks a bit of history, starting with Rick Warren and then working backwards to discover where he got his ideas from in his books (if in fact these ideas were not original with Rick—which, as it proves out, they aren’t).

When his research was done he discovered that Rick Warren based much of his book on ideas and concepts that were promoted by none other than The Hour of Power (The Power of Possibility Thinking) guy, Robert Schuller, who himself borrowed much from his own mentor, Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking guy); and where did Mr. Peale get his ideas from?

From New Age/occult writer Florence Scovel Shinn; in fact Peale’s writing so mirrored those of Shinn’s that Peale was accused of plagiarism; the two not only think alike but use similar or identical phrases!

Shinn, who died in 1943, drew on mystical sources dating to the ancient Egyptian philosopher Hermes Trismegistus (“as above so below”*) and the secrets of Freemasonry.

Note: In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message Bible, he uses the highly occult phrase “as above, so below” for his own rendition of the Lord’s Prayer where it says “thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” One must seriously wonder why an occult phrase familiar to any mystic or New Age adherent would be used by a Christian to paraphrase the Word of God!


As Above So Below is actually an occult book published in 1992 by New Age Journal. Chief editor Ronald S. Miller explains that this phrase conveys “the fundamental truth about the universe” that is “we are all one” because God is “immanent” or “within” everyone and everything. This is flagrantly in opposition to what the Bible tells us: God dwells not as a part of the physical universe, or in any of its component parts as He is transcendent, that is, independent of His creation; the only ones He dwells within are those who have received Christ Jesus as LORD and SAVIOR and as a result of being born again, are inhabited by God.

“Shinn’s privately published metaphysical works, reissued by Simon and Schuster and the Church of Religious Science are available in New Age bookstores. Peale penned the introduction to the Simon & Schuster’s edition, indicating he had “long used” Shinn’s teaching.”

In Shinn’s 1925 book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, Peale gave his endorsement in the updated 1986 version – “. . . filled with wisdom, and creative insights. That its teachings will work I know to be fact, for I’ve long used them myself… one may find prosperity, solve problems, have better health, achieve good personal relations-in a word, win the game of life.”

IS RICK WARREN A-PEALE-ING?

So what does Rick Warren have in common with Peale? Robert Schuller, which we shall see shortly!

Rick Warren cites New Age Leader:

In The Purpose Driven Life, he introduced his two primary themes, those being “hope” and “purpose”, citing a Dr. Bernie Siegal, a veteran New Age leader who claims to have a spirit guide named ‘George’

Delivers A New Age Message:

Of the 15 different Bible versions Rick quotes from in his book The Purpose Driven Life, he decides to quote Ephesians 4:6 from The New Century Version (he quotes from this ‘Bible’ more than from any other) which conveys a typically New Age/Eastern Religious concept of “God in everything” sort of view. The idea that God is IN everything is what’s known as ‘panentheism’, a very occult/Eastern religion belief, but certainly not biblical!

“He rules everything, and is everywhere and is in everything.” Is how the NCV puts it, and this gels with what A Course in Miracles and other New Age books taught Warren Smith when he was into the occult.

Yet the Apostle Paul, in writing that verse, wasn’t referring to the world at large, but specifically to the church (see Eph. 1:1).

NONE OF OUR BUSINESS?!

Purpose Driven Life Distorted View of Bible Prophecy



Rick Warren strongly discourages the study of prophecy. He states that “in essence” Jesus told His disciples: “The details of my return are none of your business.”

Mr. Smith refutes this: “He [Jesus] warns that there will be false teachers and false teachings that will try to confuse the details of His return. He provides the prophetic detail because He didn’t want His disciples, or any of us, mistaking Antichrist’s arrival for His own return. He initiates His lengthy prophetic discourse by saying ‘Take heed that no one deceive you.’ He ends His discussion by warning them to ‘watch’ and ‘be ready.’”

The verse that Rick Warren refers to is found in the book of Acts:

Act 1:7
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

What is doctrinally dangerous is not enquiring the time of the LORD’s Return, and studying prophecy; on the contrary, the Bible commends such for us believers! What is dangerous is to establish a belief based on a single verse; any belief or doctrine should have several verses to back it up. The whole counsel of God should be in harmony with any particular doctrine. What is also dangerous is an attitude that says, “My LORD delays His coming…” which is an attitude that would inevitably creep into the heart of a believer if they considered the time of the Blessed Hope ‘none of his business.” (See Matt 24:48)

In the case of this verse, one need only refer to the previous verse to shed some light on what the LORD Jesus was addressing:

Act 1:6
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?


The disciples, being Jewish were asking the LORD if, as the Messiah King of Israel would restore the promised Davidic Kingdom to the nation (2 Samuel 7:10-16). The LORD Jesus was simply telling them that the time in which the Kingdom would be appointed to commence is within the Father’s keeping; that the disciples at that time had a higher priority, that is, the preaching of the Gospel in order to bring salvation to a lost world (Jews and Gentiles) and induct them into the church, the body of Christ.

To the church itself, the coming of the LORD is very much our business! Consider that in the book of Daniel, the coming of the LORD and the events surrounding this momentous event were prophecies that were to be sealed (or closed up) until the time of the end. Yet in the book of Revelation, to John the Apostle (who happened to be one of the disciples present at the time when the LORD gave them His admonition in Acts 1:7), the LORD said do NOT seal up the words of this prophecy (the revelation of Jesus Christ in the last days)! That is, the prophecies were to remain open, to be understood by all who read, and studied for the purpose of gaining insight in the timing of these things.

Dan 12:4
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end . . .


Rev 22:10
And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.



Rick Warren is not the only one who is expressing this view on Acts 1: 6-7, Robert Schuller taught this view for decades, long before Rick Warren ever became a pastor! As well as this, Brian McLaren has said:

”Instead, he [Jesus] tells them it’s none of their business to speculate about how God plans to work out history, and then he gives them a mission to accomplish.”

Yet before any of these men spoke about focusing in on an earthly mission and not concern ourselves about when Christ will return; there was one who made this statement much earlier, and she was in fact, the subject of TTUF’s very first Profile, Alice Bailey, Matron of the New Age movement (type in ‘Bailey’ in TTUF’s search engine to read this article), through whom was channeled the spirit guide Djwhal Khul the Tibetan; she stated:

“If our work is rightly done, He will come at the set and appointed time. How, where or when He will come is none of our concern. Our work is to do our utmost and on as large a scale as possible to bring about right human relations, for His coming depends upon our work.” Of course the one she is referring to is the New Age Christ, Matreiya, who is Antichrist. I find it very unsettling that statements made by leaders in the church, and in the Emergent Movement are saying the same thing. The significance of this is quite obvious.

What is quite telling, is that the LORD Jesus Himself gave us explicit details of His Second Coming: we have not two or three, but four in-depth accounts by all four Gospel writers: Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21; in addition to these three, a fourth account was written with far greater detail than the previous three! John the Apostle by inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave us the Revelation of Jesus Christ that expounds at great length on the events preceding and including the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Another similarity in all three gospel accounts of the LORD’s return is the admonition from Jesus Himself when He told us, “Let no man deceive you”!

Warren Smith comments: “Furthermore, in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 Jesus gives a much different picture of what the last days before His return will be like. The leaders I have discussed seem to suggest that if we fulfill our “mission” or “God’s Dream” we will create a world where peace prevails. They believe Christ will then return to a world ready to accept Him. But the real Jesus warns that false Christs will appear (leading eventually to the Antichrist) – and they will perform signs and wonders, promising peace and harmony.”

ROBERT SCHULLER’s INFLUENCE on RICK WARREN:

In Rick’s writings there is unattributed material used from Schuller’s work. In 2004 Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership, Schuller states that Rick Warren was a graduate of his Institution and had come there “time after time” on his Hour of Power television broadcast (April 4, 2004).

Robert Schuller’s doctrinal views of the Bible leave very much to be desired by any one who takes the scriptures seriously!

For a comprehensive look at Schuller’s beliefs and doctrinal statements that he made in his 1982 book: Self Esteem the New Reformation, visit this web site:

Robert Schuller's New Self-Esteem Reformation

Here is a quote by Schuller in his book:

"Yes, what we need in the worldwide Christian church today is nothing less than a new reformation. Where the sixteenth-century Reformation returned our focus to sacred Scriptures as the only infallible rule for faith and practice, the new reformation will return our focus to the sacred right of every person to self-esteem! (emphasis added)"

“A sacred right to self-esteem”?? What did the apostle Paul declare in scripture?

Rom 7:18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh [self],) dwelleth no good thing:

What is there to esteem if sacred scripture declares this? Or what about this verse:

Jer 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?


The Hebrew word for “desperately” means “incurable”! The Bible is replete with verses that reveal the reality of the human condition snared in the power of destructive sin, and no amount of psychological cosmetics can beautify the heart. While we don’t want to grovel needlessly (although if we could see the LORD at this moment in all of His glory and holiness, we assuredly would!), we want to perceive our condition, apart from Christ Jesus’ influences, as it really is and not pretend we are something we are not!
__

We will continue this article with part two (of three) soon!
Until then, may the LORD Jesus bless you according to the Truth of God’s Word, and His grace.

sincerely,

James Fire
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Friday, March 19, 2010

And having done all, STAND FIRM!


by A.M. Kisly

Dear Readers,

The 2010 Census is here. Many of us have been asking questions about whether or not we “have” to fill this out. I have posted an article by Chuck Baldwin which provides some good information to help us better understand what the law requires and what governments limitations are.

This article is only in part, you will have to click on the link to read it in full.

Though our culture seems all but lost; though we may never return to the days where government upholds the original intent of the U.S. Constitution; though it “appears” that this world’s liberal view supersedes our Biblical worldview, we as Christians cannot and must not retreat. As Christians, we must stand for righteousness where ever and whenever we can by proclaiming our Christian values based upon Scripture, regardless of the persecution that may come.

The current situation America finds herself in I think comes as a shock to most of us. The war is spiritual, the battle is not over, and the people of God need to rise up and stand. We’re quite comfortable calling people and governments, organizations and movements ‘evil.’ But to suggest that there is an “evil one” behind all of this, sounds like an archaic world-view that we have certainly progressed beyond. Yet, to disbelieve in the reality of the devil may be the devil’s most effective weapon of all.
Frankly, I don’t like this, not one bit. I really wish I could just be left alone to live in the peaceful tranquility of my nice safe home with my loving family and the fellowship of my wonderful congregation. I would much prefer that as a child of God, God would surround me with a force field that blocked every assault and attack of the devil and all his evil schemes. I really wish that Paul concluded his letter to the Ephesians by telling them how to escape the trouble of the evil day, rather than how to face it.

But Paul closes off the way of escape that I would prefer to take. There is no escape. You can’t escape. You are forced to cling to Christ and His power to deliver you from all evil.

So, like it or not, Paul tells us to engage in spiritual warfare. He calls us to “stand.” He repeats himself three times. “STAND against the schemes of the devil.” “Take up the whole armor of God so that you may WITHSTAND in the evil day.” “And having done all, STAND FIRM.”

Christians, we need to put our armor on. We need to engage in the battle. The battle is won on our knees. Yes, there are things we can do, yes there are things we must do; but prayer is our ultimate weapon. We can no longer afford to rest on our laurels….(for you younger readers this is an idiom which means to rely on one’s past achievements instead of working to maintain or advance one’s status or reputation). In the Christian sense, it means not to rely upon the fact that you gave your heart to Jesus so many years ago, and instead of maintaining your walk as a believer; grow in your faith, and making your calling and election sure….you have become lazy and your passion for God is dimmed and your testimony of Christ is of no effect.

As Christians, we live in a war zone. But the war has already been fought and won by Jesus Christ, and we share in His victory over the devil. Even though we live in the last days, the final day has not yet come. And until it does, we must stand firm. Because Jesus would not have even one casualty, He has fitted us with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” that we may withstand “the spiritual forces of evil.” We need to “put on the whole armor of God.” Don’t just let it sit around in your closet. Put it on, “that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

The 2010 Census is here. Many of us have been asking questions about whether or not we “have” to fill this out. The following article provide the necessary information to help us better understand what the law requires and what governments limitations are.

The articles are only in part, you will have to click on the links to read them in full.

CENSUS IS FOR COUNTING NOT PRYING

By Pastor Chuck Baldwin
March 19, 2010
NewsWithViews.com

The constitutional requirement for the Census is found in Article. I. Section. 2. Paragraph. 3.

"The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."

The purpose of the Census is that of counting the US population in order to apportion among the states the number of representatives in the US House of Representatives. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

There is nothing in the Constitution requiring or even suggesting questions regarding race, ethnicity, whether one owns or rents his or her home, income status, disability status, education, or anything of the sort. The only purpose of the Census is to count the US population. Anything beyond that is nothing more than an intrusive government prying and snooping into our lives: something the federal government is doing with greater and greater frequency and intensity these days.

As to the phrase, "[As] they shall by Law direct," Paul Galvin rightly notes, "This language merely goes to the mechanics of the counting (who will do it; when it is to be done; how, when results are to be reported; and so forth); it does not enlarge what may be counted. Constitutionally the only permitted enumeration is the number of people in the United States. Why? Because that count is the determinant for apportionment and therefore the only pertinent information needed."

Read Full Article Here: CENSUS IS FOR COUNTING NOT PRYING
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

RAPTURE: The WHO And WHEN Of It All - Part 4


~~by James Fire

As we continue in this treatment of the Rapture and the Last Days scenario that surrounds it, we enter into the following segment and discuss what the Bible addresses as the Time of Jacob's Trouble, also known as Daniel's 70th week, and more colloquially known as "the Great Tribulation".

NEVER AGAIN?

In the last days, as stated in a previous segment of this article, two out of every three Jews will be wiped out in that terrible time ahead (this is one major reason why we are to pray fervently for the conversion of the Jewish people, that they may partake of Christ and be included in the body of Christ, thus escape this horrible calamity).
Getting back to Matthew ch. 24, if one asserts that these disciples are 'types' of Jewish believers who will endure Daniel's 70th week, rather than the church, it then makes sense that "they that endure to the end will be saved" vs.13, that is, not the saving of their souls, but of their physical lives by the arrival of Y'shua at His Second Coming.

GOD'S PEOPLE REVISITED

Further, those that see the abomination of desolation as spoken of by Daniel . . . (recall that the prophecy given to Daniel regarding this blasphemy and related events is to his people [Israel] and his holy city [Jerusalem], these events transpire in a day and time in which God deals with Israel) . . . are admonished to flee Judea. vs. 15.

(Please note: the building of the temple for the Jewish people, in my opinion could happen any day; we the church may well witness its construction. I think this is probable, as the covenant of the temple is enforced by the Beast at the BEGINNING of the 70th week, then broken half way through. It seems improbable that the Temple therefore would be built during the time of the tribulation. What I don't believe we will see, is its desecration, as this happens half way through Daniel's 70th week.)

If He were addressing Christians, what would be His instruction for those who did NOT dwell in Judea? There is an absence of any instruction here for such would-be Christians living at this time.

Also, such Christians would not find "the sabbath" an impediment to their attempt to escape these things, but Jews who follow Y'shua would, as they would still hold to the Torah. The complexion of this passage is distinctly JEWISH, not Christian!

The ARRIVAL of MESSIAH for HIS PEOPLE, ISRAEL

Within the context of this passage of Matthew 24:4-31, it speaks of things that will transpire before and during Christ's physical return to Earth, when He rescues Israel from the Beast and his forces, as they're gather together in Megiddo, and proceed to Bozrah where the remnant will be in hiding (see Isa 34:6; Jer 49:13,22); and also:

Mic 2:12
I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.

Isa 63:1
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (see also Rev 19:11-21)


Zec 12:10
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.


Zec 13:6
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

Also something interesting to note: In Hosea 5:15, it states the following:

Hosea 5:15
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

If one reads the passage in context, its determinable that the speaker here is God Himself: God is saying, I will return to My place. . . In order to return to His place (heaven) He would had to have left it; this He did when He became incarnate and walked among us. After His ascension, He returned to His place until . . . until when?
". . . they acknowledge their offence". That word 'offence' is in the singular: its a specific offense. What could it be? I believe it was the national rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the King!

It continues in ch. 6 of Hosea . . .

Hosea 6:1-3
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

I believe this is highly suggestive that its when this godly remnant of Israel petitions the Messiah to return, that the LORD will do so! No wonder Satan has such a vested interest in their destruction! If he can accomplish this (but he can't!) he could prevent the fulfillment of prophecy (lotsa luck buddy!).

IT 'FIG-URES'

Getting back to Matthew 24: therefore if one understands that the "you" that the LORD is addressing, are saved Jews, redeemed after the rapture (thus excluded from the church) the parable spoken of the fig tree makes sense. When its leaves are budded, we know that summer is near, and likewise . . .

"When you, when you shall see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." The Lord then says something interesting about the witnesses of 'the fig tree':

Mat 24:34
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The very same generation that sees these things won't pass away until all things are fulfilled. We know that from the time of the erection of the abomination of desolation to the coming of Christ Jesus will be 1,260 days or 3.5 prophetic years.

Dan 9:27
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Therefore any who witness these events re: the Beast and the Temple being defiled will be able to calculate and learn the day of the LORD's return. Yet prior to Daniel's 70th week, no one will know the day or the hour of the Second Coming.

Just as no one will know the day or the hour of the rapture, because no one knows when the church will be completed, save for our Father.

PARALLEL PASSAGES or NOT?

And now in regards to Luke ch. 21, an identical account of what was read in Matt. ch 24 . . . or IS IT?

There is an interesting difference between these two passages of scripture that often get lumped together, as text that more or less describes the same events, when in fact, they do NOT in their entirety!

In Matthew 24:7-8 it speaks of events that match Luke 21:10-11: "false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc."
In Matt. 24:9 it says " . . . Then shall they . . ." That is, what follows from vs. 9 on will occur after vs. 8.

In Luke 21: 12, it says " . . . But before all these . . ." That is, what occurs from vs.12-24 will occur before vs. 12. In this portion of scripture we witness a fulfillment of what happened in Israel and in Jerusalem specifically, around the time of 70 A.D. when the Temple was destroyed.

See: Luke 21:12 -24
Note especially vs. 20 through 24 -
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.


GENTILES of a DIFFERENT SORT

The time of the Gentiles is also prophetically relevant (and not to be confused with "the fulness of the Gentiles": they are two very different events) because this is a period of time that started with Nebuchadnezzar, when Babylon dominated and "trod down" Jerusalem until the fall of Babylon, at which time it was under the domination of the Medo-Persian empire, then the Grecian empire, and finally the Roman empire. Yet after the dispersion of 70 A.D. when Israel was "led away captive into all nations" and then finally regathered back into the land in accordance with Isaiah 11:11, Jerusalem continued to be trodden down by the nations, Islamic and European both.

Today they are being oppressed by the E.U. as well as the U.N. and even the United States!

This "time of the Gentiles" will culminate when the Beast assumes world authority and she will know her greatest misery at this time, but this time will also terminate once the Prince of Peace arrives, declaring war and victoriously overcoming the Beast and his forces without so much as breaking a sweat!

HABITATION of the HINDERER

Why is it that people refer to 2 Thess. 2:7-8 as a proof text that the church won't be here for the Tribulation time, or that seven year period known as Daniel's 70th week?

Examing the text it states plainly that . . .

2 Thess 2:7-8 - the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
The "he" spoken of must be God, for He is the only One who ever restrains iniquity and wickedness.

The LORD did so in Genesis ch. 6 during the time when there was tremendous wickedness involving the fallen angels and human females, creating an abomination: an angel/human hybrid that resulted in giants or 'nephilim' in the land. Listen to what the LORD said in this passage:

Gen 6:3
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

The word "strive" in Hebrew is "duwn" meaning: "a settlement of what is right, to rule, judge, , also to strive (as at law), contend, execute (judgment), judge, minister judgment, plead (the cause), strife, strive". Its an act of judgment which determines man's position and destiny.

Note that God says that His Spirit shall NOT ALWAYS strive with man . . . implying that there is coming a day in which God will take His hands off of man, and no longer interfere with the bounds of iniquity that he yearns for.

Then there is the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11; God gave instruction to go forth and multiply, yet what did man do? He remained together, rather than obey God and spread out. They built a city (a political authority) and a tower (a religious authority), and the people were one.

Gen 11:6
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.


God realized that if man remained in this environment, with such unity, "nothing will be restrained from them", so He goes down and does some 'restraining' by confounding their languages. Once again God had to interfere with mankind in order to prevent such wickedness that would be the ruination of His creatures.

Then once again in 2 Thess. 2: 7-8 God "letteth" that is in the Greek: "katecho" - "to hold down (fast), keep, possess, stay, take, have, make, let, retain, seize on, withhold. The word stresses holding fast in order to hinder the progress or course of something or someone.

So how is it that people connote this passage with the removal of the church?

Because the church is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and as the body of Christ serves very much the same function in this world. The LORD called us, His church "salt and light" in Matt 5:13-14

Both salt and light are elements that inhibit (restrain) corruption; thus spiritually we as the church, possessed of God's Spirit, and if rightly related to our Lord by walking in His Spirit (which there seems to be precious little of in todays post-modern, now emergent churches and fellowships) restrain iniquity and lawlessness in this world.

Thus indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we would be a restraining influence that the man of wickedness (almost exactly the same word used for iniquity in the Greek: anomia for iniquity, anomos for wicked).

This is not to say that the Holy Spirit won't be present on this Earth as a Convictor of sin, or a Baptizer of God's power for those who minister during that time, or a Comforter, but His restraining influence will no longer be present so as to allow the beast to be revealed. It's my contention as the salt and light of this world, we likewise will no longer be present on this Earth at this time.

In the next article I will examine various passages of Revelation and see if I can spot the church in any duration of time contained within Daniel's 70th week, and further take a look at passages in the New Testament that would seem to encourage the church to expect Christ's return (for His bride) at ANY MOMENT!

HALLELUJAH!!!

may the LORD Jesus Christ bless ALL of YOU SAINTS . . . WAY TOO MUCH!

yours in the battle,

Nikaeo Aionios A.V.R.A.S.

brother James FIRE
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