"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, September 25, 2018

The WAR on The WORD

 ~ By Gregory Reid (with supplemental commentary by James Fire)

Originally published on Monday, September 24, 2018

(This article was written in response to an article published by the “Hello Christian” web site this morning. It is pretty rough, just fair warning. G.R.)

(This article is kept intact as Greg wrote it, but supplemented by comments made by myself, James Fire. Where you see the names Greg, John and James appear, followed by a colon (:), those remarks may be attributed to the specified speaker. Where you see no name, these are statements made by Greg Reid himself. J.F.). Now for the article:
It was of course inevitable that the Emergent Church would begin to have babies that were far more unbiblical than itself. Andy Stanley is one of those spiritual offspring of a departure from Biblical faith and adoption by experiential religious deception. He recently told a group of pastors at the Southern Baptist Convention that they needed to get the spotlight off the Bible. (August 2016 “Onward” conference.) Now his little spiritual children are following suit.

Sometimes I just get a gut feeling about something before I know what is wrong with it. Such has been my discernment on a new news feed called, “Hello Christian” which sounds so spiritual but is basically click bait with increasingly poisonous spiritual bait articles. I’ve commented on some, ignored others. But this morning at 7 a.m. I received one of their emails with an article that I just couldn’t let go.

You see, the Bible means the world to me. I was taken out of the occult and the New Age at the very young age of 15 when I had already been studying – and had been brainwashed by – those worlds since I was about 8. One of the consistent features of those worlds was the denigration of or commonizing of the Bible as if it was man-made as if it was just like any other religious book. It was a damnable lie, one that nearly sent me to an eternal hell.

So when I came to Jesus, the first thing God had to do was to deliver me from that spiritual madness, that utter nonsense dispensed by demons who hated and despised every word of the holy scriptures (Incidentally I have rarely ever done a deliverance in which demons did not lash out at the Bible violently; see 1 TIM 4:1). And after that was done, I began to devour every single word of it like a man who was starving to death. It healed me. It delivered me. It restored my sanity.

And yes, I became one of “those guys.” God said it; I believe it; that settles it.

In fact, I almost quoted that very sturdy old phrase last week while speaking at a church and trying to tell people why The Jesus Movement of the 1960’s-1970’s was so powerful.

James Fire: For a documentary on the Calvary Chapel movement at its inception and how the LORD also used this ministry alongside others to reach their generation of youth, check out Venture of Faith.

It was owed in part to a bunch of innocent hippie kids getting saved, picking up the Bible and daring to say, “I believe every word of this book, and I am going to live it!” And thus the Holy Spirit had a generation of people who would carry His Word to their generation in power and authority.

It’s been a slow, slick slide down the Emergent Road since then, and now all the little compromises in the church, all the seeker-friendly doors we’ve opened to welcome the world and its ways into our midst, all the strange fires we have begun to place on God’s Holy altar are starting to reveal themselves and become bolder all the time, because no one is manning the outposts anymore. 

The watchmen are asleep (ISAIAH 56:10) and the pastors have been seduced by worldly ways and promises of empires and prosperous ease in the name of ministry (EZEK 34:2-3).

So I suppose I was not terribly shocked to read in the article I received today by John Pavlovitz an attack on the very phrase I just mentioned. 

The article was entitled, 
Why the Bible Shouldn’t Be Worshiped.”

I want to reiterate one thing, and clearly proclaim another before I go any further. I want to reemphasize that the denigrating, humanizing and commonizing of the scriptures has always been a favorite faith destroyer of the demonic world and every false religion there ever has been

Whenever you hear people saying things like (and I have heard it for years, Mr. Pavlovitz, so you are not even original) “You shouldn’t worship the Bible” I point out that (1) I don’t, and that (2) God thinks so highly of His Word that He says He places His Word above all His Name (PSALM 138:2).
I would guess if the Creator of all things places His own Word in such high regard, we probably shouldn’t spend our feeble and misled efforts trying to get others to “get the spotlight” off of it.

Mr. Pavlovitz has entered the scene to write a very vague, very confusing little article that is sure to reassure the emergent crowd that the Bible is something to be discussed, to be unsure of, to be generally devalued lest we “worship it.” 

After all, Pavlovitz reminds us, the Bible is our “mysterious ancient text.” Mr. Pavlovitz appears to be the spiritual progeny of off-the-reservation apostate Rob Bell, who helped begin this “journey” by getting us to “have a conversation” about the “shared, ancient stories of our ancient ancestors” (As if that negates its content somehow; you know, if we can kind of imagine a group of neanderthals sitting around a fire saying, “Ug, Grog, me think God real,” then we can interpret their ancient neanderthal-like writings through our more enlightened Luciferian minds. Um…I meant learned minds).

James: What I have found so startling is that these Emergent types who advocate evolution (including the so-called 'spiritual sort') actually believe that they are on a higher spiritual plane than the prophets, than the apostles, than even the LORD Jesus Himself!?
Another primary voice in the Emergent Church Movement is Brian McLaren; read this expose article by Tim Chailles as he analyzes his book Everything Must Change.

As to one of my favorite expressions, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it,” Mr. Pavlovitz says, “it’s an odd little religious mantra (funny how phrases like ‘odd little’ help devalue the claim of the statement) that perfectly captures the strange, often paradoxical relationship we modern Christians have with our mysterious ancient text…”
Oh, I’m sorry sir. Perhaps if you meet Jesus, His Word would not be strange and often paradoxical to you. 

Disclaimer by Greg: I don’t understand it all. I likely never will in this life. I, however, would never attempt to denigrate the findings of nuclear physicists because they are “strange and paradoxical.” 

John Pavlovitz: Many of us have made the Bible the central pillar of our faith, without really knowing what it actually says (Especially not the earlier, weirder stuff).

Greg Reid: The what? Please explain… Then he goes on to say we claim without question that it is filled with the words “from the very mouth of God” and yet we can’t be bothered to read it “and then, definitely not the earlier, weirder stuff.” 
The what? Please explain…

James: Who would consider the Bible's earlier books (or any of them for that matter) to be 'weird' except those who are trying to understand it with their non-regenerated, natural (not spiritual) minds (1 COR 2:14)?

John: “We want it [the Bible] to be the clear, consistent, unquestioned, unfiltered voice of Truth in all matters.” 

Greg: It is, sir. You don’t think it is? I feel sorry for you. 

James: The expression, "thus saith the LORD" is made by God in the Scriptures no less than 431 times. God is truth, so when He speaks in the Scriptures, it's clear, consistent, certainly beyond question (except for truth-deniers) and unfiltered (that is, inspired 2 TIM 3:16).

John: “but to do that we often have to avoid, discard, or talk around a whole lot of it (absolutely, the earlier, weirder stuff).” 

James: Seems to me we have a genuine truth-denier regarding the full counsel of God's Word! He never specifies what "earlier" stuff he's referring to, nor explains why it's weird.

Greg: Ok, mister. Just stop it. Stop with the allusions to earlier weirder stuff that you use to sound cool and mysterious and like you know something we don’t because you are superior in your understanding and shouldn’t have to explain what you mean. You’re the only mysterious thing here. And I don’t care to understand you, because I know where you’re taking us, and been there, done that

You insist that the Bible we do have “is an incredibly complex library of writings, culled from thousands of years and multiple, very human writers…” Yet the scriptures themselves tell us thatall scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (1 TIM 3:16) and that knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 PETER 1:21 

That doesn’t sound like it was merely, as you implied, a product of “very human writers.” It was so much more than that. Shame on you for lowering it to the level of your “very carnal understanding.”

James: Amen!!

John: Finding the irreducible core and practical application of any given passage, is a monumental challenge. 

Greg: Really? Do you even read it? 
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (ACTS 16:31).
How complex is that? I think you missed the part about if you’re going to enter the Kingdom, you must be as a little child (MATT 18:3). Not a seminary-trained mouthpiece for higher and lower criticism. 
Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (MATT 28:20).Yeah, there’s a brain-twister for you.

Stop the nonsense. All you are doing is convincing people not to take the Bible that seriously because it’s too hard to understand. Oh, yes…as I recall, that’s what priests centuries ago used to tell their people that they shouldn't read it. It’s just too mysterious and complex and only we can interpret it … OK you didn’t say that ... Yet.

You say that rather than admit and wrestle with the obvious challenges we face in historical context writing style and author intent, too many of us simply hide behind some incendiary, line-drawing, black and white, all or nothing rhetoric. We either believe it or we don’t. 

Guilty as charged, sir. 

Except it has nothing to do with writing style, author intent (there you go again, ascribing human frailties to the Bible so we won’t take it that seriously.) 

And I’m not hiding, I’m real out front here. I'm sorry that the Bible is so vague for you, but I would suggest it is you that is hiding behind the shadows of your own illusion that the Bible is vague, human written and allows all the compromises that a book with no absolutes would afford someone.

I would suggest back at you, sir, that you truly either believe it or you don’t, and you should either ask Jesus to deliver you from this demonic doubt or just move on to the New Age and stop playing footsie with the Bible, because in fact you are like King Jehoiakim who took a knife and just cut out and burned the parts he didn’t like.

Hey, I don’t like a lot of stuff in the Bible either. But as a wise man once said, "When you get your own universe, you can make up your own rules." It does not mean it is not true. It does not mean it is not God’s infallible Word.

John: The Bible has become for SO MANY believers, a fourth edition to the trinity, something to be blindly worshiped. 

Greg: That’s what we call a straw man. “See that? That’s you!”
Look, I don’t know what delusionary world you live in, but I have been a believer for almost 50 years and never met these 'MANY' and NEVER seen anyone who “blindly worships” the Bible. Revere, love, count on, act on, stake their lives on, yes. But never worship. That’s just a silly and nonexistent scenario.

You claim that for earliest believers, it was simply essential reading material on the way to the Promised Land. Well, they had far more respect for the Torah than you certainly do (JOSH 1:7-8).
Jesus quoted it constantly, notice that? And He didn’t say, “Let’s discuss this…see what we think it might mean.” And as to his own words, he said, Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away” (MATT 24:35).
And to the Torah:Till heaven and earth pass away not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (MATT 5:18). He didn’t treat it like a nice opinion book subject to interpretation like you think we should.

I could go on. Your article says so much in so little space. But you carefully prep us for the grand finale and the raison d’etre of the article by saying things like “we don’t all agree on what it says or what it is and that’s OK” (spoken like a true Freudian 70’s renaissance man – ‘I’m ok, you’re ok and that’s ok!’) and, “the Bible is not, as we so often mis-characterize it, ‘the Word of God.’ Jesus is.” 

Um, yes, HE is, but yes, IT is. 

READ. THE. BOOK. Specifically, you might start with PSALM 119 which tells you exactly that. The Word of God is a lamp, is a light, etc. etc. You can say Jesus is the Word but you simply are not telling Biblical truth when you say the Bible is not the Word of God, which is what you finally are bold enough to say. The scriptures have always, and will always, testify to themselves. 

Well, it took Rob Bell hundreds of pages in Velvet Elvis to finally out with it. You are blessedly more concise before we find what you are about, as you finally get to the point:

John: The Bible commands us not to add to the scriptures but that doesn’t mean God can’t. That’s what prayer often yields, not God reciting verbatim the ancient text but speaking anew to us.

James: Seriously dangerous ground to be standing on! Anyone who claims that the canon remains open is denying the fundamental truth that the revelation is completed by none other than Christ Himself. So it's not so much that God couldn't add to it, but that He has completed it and demonstrated the fact (REV 22:18-19); the LORD forbids any to add or take away from His Word - why? Because everything needed has been included and there is nothing unnecessary added (2 PET 1:3).
"Prayer often yields" God speaking to us anew? Revelation from God by means of prayer? This sounds like a back door endorsement for contemplative prayer - the love-child exercise (of occultism) of the emergent church, whereby by silencing the mind one may receive (false) revelation from 'God'.

Greg: So said every lying false prophet in history from Charles Taze Russell to Joseph Smith to Charles Manson to Jim Jones. I am glad you’re finally out with it: The Bible is whatever you think it is, and whatever else you “hear” or “feel” is also God’s Word. And this is how a generation opens itself up to signs and lying wonders, and eventually, the one coming who will deceive the whole world (2 THESS 2:8-10).

I read nothing in your article that would not fit perfectly in the most respected new age journals.
And having drunk at that poisoned cesspool of lies, everything in me rises up to decry your dangerous and insidious article. I reject it, top to bottom.

I do not understand all of the scriptures. And I do not think it is right that people argue over small differences to the point of almost violence. But the problem has never been with God or His Word, but rather with our pride, our human flesh. The Word itself stands on its own.

I will say again without any hesitation: God said It, I believe it, that settles it
I will reiterate: the scriptures say of God, “Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all thy name.” That’s black or white, sir. Take it or leave it. You either believe it, as you say, or you don’t.

In this last day of abounding lies, may God give us the discernment to reject such hell-forged theses as you have presented and hold firmly to the truth of His Holy Word, whose AUTHOR is the object of all our worship.

For another article that examines emergent philosophy, check out this TTUF article:

The NARROW VIEW Of The SCRIPTURES - A Rebuttal to: Why Teaching Your Child to Read the Bible Literally Might Destroy Them… Literally.

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