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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

I’m sure, in these troubling end-times we find ourselves in , that the Lord is graciously working in those who have a love for His truth,  to bring us into true scriptural unity . I believe this because we are living in a time like no other, with the world, not to mention the ‘church’ at large, in the grip of widespread lies, confusion and deceit via the Media.  The Lord knows we have great need of Him.

Therefore, as true Christians, I think we are duty-bound to find out the truth of any matter when we read or hear preaching on something that seems not quite right or is a new ‘interpretation’ of scripture. They may be right – BUT – they may be wrong! Our love for truth must be strong so that we can obey God’s word and be set free from our doubts, uncertainty and downright deception.

Many give up on it because they think it’s an impossible task to all agree on Bible doctrine or may even, like Pilate, say  ‘what is truth?’ But, if, as I believe, it is God working in us to open our eyes, then we simply have to desire and love the truth for Him to answer our prayers on this. In fact – this is precisely what has happened to me recently.

The Apostles were the custodians of the truth of the Gospel and Church life and we must follow their teachings 1 Thess 2:13.  And I am becoming more and more aware that for any scripture verses we may find difficult, it is even more important to read the context they are set in and to also understand why the writers wrote what they did. Much was written to correct errors and as follow-up to other epistles, so we do need to let scripture interpret scripture. And also – is this teaching bringing us into bondage or setting us free?

Two passages I had long puzzled over are Hebrews 10:24,25  and  1Cor 14:26-36  verses that I’d always thought weren’t being interpreted correctly because the spirit of those interpretations seemed t0 me to contradict the Gospel of grace.  So I recently supplicated the Lord to lead me into the truth on these matters, and left it at that.

Then, purely by chance I came across an insightful comment left on Facebook by a Christian believer, Alan Heron, on the Hebrew verses in question. It was by far the most logical scriptural reasoning I’ve heard and makes a lot of sense to me.

To very loosely quote him : ” many Jewish believers were avoiding contact and keeping their  distance from other believers to try to avoid persecution from the Jewish Sanhedrin”. See Galations 2:11-13  ” Paul was speaking against such a practise NOT commanding them to to meet every Sabbath or every sunday at a certain location. To use this scripture [Heb] for the idea that you cannot be a follower of Christ without having other believers with you is not backed up by Paul’s experience”

I would also say that it was assumed – in the churches that I was ever involved with at least – that if you didn’t go to church you were in danger of ‘back-sliding’ big time ! This is like saying the ‘church’ keeps you , not Christ.  Indeed , at the last AoG church I went to [ which I wrote a Post on here at the time], to my dismay, suddenly the heavy hand of Church Membership came down,  bringing condemnation to those, like myself, who through life’s circumstances [and creeping old age!] didn’t attend regularly. Your spirituality and walk with the Lord was a matter of outward appearance ….   Of course they used the Hebrew verses as the final word – which I had no answer to – it was there in scripture;  I knew it was being misapplied but had no insights into ‘how?’

The extremes of this is demonstrated in the kingdom – type  churches, community churches and purpose-driven etc, where you are required to sign Covenants and the like !  See Galations 2:4

Regarding the role of women in the church , this has been a subject that I’ve found particularly taxing over the years.  Let me say, here and now, I do not have nor have I ever had a desire to teach, preach or otherwise be up-front in Church or any other situations. I say this because some may think I write what I do because I have a secret or ulterior motive to be a somebody ….   the Lord knows my heart is for His truth alone.

No  – because the Lord so graciously answered my prayer about Heb.10 , I felt encouraged to ask Him for the truth of this matter also  [ 1 Cor 14:26-36] and again I left it at that.

So – the first thing that crossed my path was a video by Jacob Prasch on this very subject. Much as I like his preaching in general, whenever I’ve heard him preach on women he [like many others ] seems to have to  juggle the scriptures somewhat to arrive at conclusions that match reality. The reality is that women are used in the mission fields to ‘teach’ men , and also in various ‘ministries’ within their churches. But that’s ok if they have what Jacob Prasch calls male covering – that is male ‘permission’ to do it.

I know that these male Leaders want to obey what they believe the Bible teaches, but to put these strict restrictions on women seems more akin to the Jewish faith they have left behind and its huge reliance on oral tradition. There is an awful contradiction here and conflicting levels of what one church leader  will allow compared to another. But Christianity has always treated its women with more dignity and very  differently to all other religions.

There are fall-outs too for some of the men who strictly adhere to their interpretation of these verses, and they are not good ones!  For instance,  there have been times when I’ve been in on-line or face to face discussions with male leaders who clearly resent the fact I have vocalised [ in a humble spirit I hope] some disagreement I had with their teaching. They do not take it well and the mere fact that I’m female negates anything I may say because of their belief that I’m trying to ‘teach’ a man!!

Sometimes I think the extreme teachings about women  end up placing an unecessary  burden on some men in their practical every day lives and situations.  eg – I was in a fellowship once that had a lovely young married couple attending. The husband was really upset because he obviously loved his wife but had tried to make her ‘submit’ to him in some matter and she wouldn’t !  He’d had teaching on the subject in some exclusive ‘mens’ group no doubt,  which turned out to be a disaster for him. Surely this wasn’t what the Lord required of him?

Well  – the great thing about the Internet is that one link can, and often does, lead to another that we otherwise would not know about – and so it was I came across http://realchurchlife.wordpress.com   Specifically a Post titled “Let Your women keep silence in the Churches” Really?   filed under Women in Ministry.  As it’s a far better coverage of this than I could give,  I hope you will be inclined to read it.  The Post also gives links to Oxford Bible Church and Christian Egalitarian Marriage , which are equally enlightening.  So again, my thanks  to the Lord for His gracious answers to my prayers.

Please remember these are my musings and opinions – but I hope and pray scripturally aware ones.

I hope to post here again sooner than later …. I’ve been very lax I know!   blessings,   Eileen

 

 

 

 

 

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In spite of the fact that so many people in our Post Modern age have rejected belief in the Creator God of the Bible and so many others [increasingly so] are turning to false gods – the One true God has not given up on mankind yet – His offer of eternal life hasn’t been withdrawn. It remains valid and in operation while this life remains.

No matter who you are, what your life has been, how old you are, what you have done, whether you follow another religion, are an occultist, are a complete atheist, humanist, or simply consider yourself an ‘ordinary’ person doing the best you can –  and that pretty much covers everyone I think –   God’s offer in Christ the Saviour is open to you.

‘Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God. For He has made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’

So – the big question is – will you believe it?  Ultimately there’s that little matter of ‘Faith’.  Your choice – believe it and be reconciled or carry on ignoring it?

If you’ve read this far , you could well be thinking it simply boils down to personal preference eg ‘I’m not a religious person so I don’t need to bother myself with all this – God isn’t relevant in my life so this message is meaningless for me personally. What’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for me thank you very much. But I’m happy for you.’

Well – the reason it is urgent and applicable to every single person on the planet is because the Gospel addresses your eternal destiny when your life is over – what then?

My next post will cover the answer to this important question –  I do hope you will join me,

blessings,   Eileen

                                                                                                                                                                  

 

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A very Happy New Year to everyone !

Sad to say – it won’t be for this world, but for we who believe, the Lord tells us to ‘fear not’ as we look to Him. Psalm 27 is good to read when going through trials and tribulations. v14: Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

The ending of an old year and the leading into a new inevitably brings a mood of looking back and looking forward and WordPress is no exception. They kindly supply me with my statistics for the past year, and I must admit I was somewhat surprised, not to say disappointed with myself to see I’ve only managed to post three times !

However – because my advancing age seems to be bringing a change in my ability to write as often as I would like, plus the lack of stamina to do the necessary research, I feel maybe it’s time to hang up my pen and call it a day …..

I have been toying with the idea of changing direction and maybe just writing comments on current events in the world’s politics/news, but I would have been without proper direction. After all – I started writing this blog because I was so concerned about false teaching within the Church and the tolerance of it by those who should know better. But now I believe many more Christians are concerning themselves with these matters and are studying the Word of God for themselves instead of simply relying on their favourite preachers, not because of my own writing of course, but because  many Ministries and individuals are doing an excellent job in pointing Christians to the Word of God and away from false prophets and their deceit, and are not afraid to name names and call things what they truly are.

I think more Christians too, because of their study of the Bible, are seeing the falseness of the Pre-trib Rapture doctrine, with its emphasis of escaping what is to come upon this earth. We need to be prepared for persecution and we can only do that by knowing the Truth and being filled with the Spirit of God and Comfort.

When Jesus walked upon the Earth, the limitations of His physical body meant He couldn’t be with all of His followers all of the time and in all places. He told them that He had to return  to Heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come and do that very thing – for them and all those believers who come after, throughout history ! He said the Holy Spirit would be with them and in them. see John 14:16-18 and  John 16:7   These two chapters give us a lovely picture of how the Godhead [Trinity] works in co-operation and purpose. It is our privilege and joy that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit make themselves known to us through the Ministry of the indwelling Spirit, revealed to us by His Word.  Jesus is the Living Word, the Logos. The Names of the Holy Spirit are so appropriate to our needs as weak and fallible human beings.

Oh how we are going to need the strength, guidance and  comfort of the Holy Spirit in these times, whether it be within the bigger picture, or in our own personal struggles in life. Our Father in Heaven knows our needs and sees every sparrow that falls. Jesus is faithful and true and will never leave us nor forsake us.  Maranatha !!

 

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Since my original post I thought I needed to add and clarify something that I’d taken for granted every Christian would do. That is that they would be grounded in the basic, historic and traditional doctrines of the Faith, once delivered to the saints [Jude 1:3]  The Apostle Paul especially tells us that we should follow his teaching and example – what he wrote he had received directly from the Lord.

Every Christian should know what the Gospel is of course. When I was born again I knew that I was saved, but a complete theological understanding of what that meant came gradually with study of the scriptures. I knew God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in a truly personal way, but understanding of how the Trinity doctrine was formed, again came with study. I was fortunate enough after moving from London to Crawley, to join a newly formed Elim church where the emphasis was on the Bible and not on our ‘experiences’ – except that of our salvation. The choruses and hymns for the most part were doctrinal too. It was while there the Pastor loaned me a book called ‘In Understanding be Men’ which set out all the historic Bible doctrines. [As a sad little note – Elim as a denomination has now strayed far – and imagine my shock and sadness to see that my old Elim church has been rebuilt into a Mosque!! If we could have seen into the future, we wouldn’t have believed it…]

I was brought to the Lord in a high Anglican church so my initial grounding in the faith, fortunately, was in the repeating of the Apostles’ Creed every sunday. However, although I believed it, there were many there who didn’t – it was simply just trotted out as a ‘tradition’. More attention seem to be paid to the Book of Common Prayer than to the Bible. The sermon was usually based on explaining away Jesus’ miracles eg. the feeding of the five thousand was simply that Jesus had made those in the crowd who had brought food with them, feel guilty so they shared their sandwiches with everyone else!!

Anyway – the point is that we really need to know what the great Christian Doctrines are to be able to refute the teachings of Cults eg – their favourite is to attack the Trinity doctrine, so we need to know exactly how the scriptures describe the Godhead. Yes – the cults may well use the names Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but their meaning is totally different to ours.  I think I may have taken that grounding for granted, when I advocated that believers should always check out what they hear from their Leaders – especially their latest revelations and prophecies and what they all claim God has ‘laid on their heart’ or has outright ‘told’ them. Time was when I naive enough to believe them and give them the benefit of the doubt if I had any.

If we don’t know really what Bible truth is, then how can we tell truth from error? We will be ripe for deception because we are impressed with man and his ‘ministries’.  The worst deception of course is when we think the Leader/Preacher must be so close to the Lord that he/she couldn’t possibly lead us astray. Being Christian believers, we are loathe to criticise or ‘judge’ anyone [ a misapplied term if ever there was one] , let alone a respected Leader – so the false is allowed to fester along with the true … and that is precisely why things have got so bad in the Church today.

Because Doctrine is considered dry and almost a dirty word now, it gives the green light to relative truth … the teaching that if something works for you then that is your ‘truth’ – mine may be different to yours but all truths are valid. So if there are good testimonies coming out of certain questionable ministries, then God must be in it, and if it’s good enough for God it should be good enough for us too. How dare we question God’s anointed? We should just eat the meat and spit out the bones [ a saying I find really horrible]. I’m not saying that in His sovereign grace, God doesn’t ‘work’ in an individual heart and circumstance – but that doesn’t mean His overall approval of what is going on.

Anyway – enough of all this seeming negative stuff. You can only discern and stand your ground if you are confident in your own scriptural foundation. There is plenty of help out there if you look in the right places. A google search for the historic, traditional doctrines of the Christian faith [ not Roman Catholicism] will be profitable I’m sure. Of course – it goes without saying that we first and always look to God for help. It is He who guides us and if we feel we lack incentive and desire to to study His word, He will instill a love for His word in us if we but ask Him.  It is our food after all and He doesn’t give us a stone instead of bread.We need the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment as we read and we should ask for wisdom in our reading and application. In 2 Tim 2:15  Paul’s advice to Timothy was ‘Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  See also 2 Tim 3:13-17

Never doubt God’s words – always doubt man’s if they are bringing ‘new’ revelations and teachings – search the scriptures.

till next time, Maranatha!     Eileen

 

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“But speak  the things which become sound doctrine” Titus 2:1

“Holding fast the faithful word, as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers – for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers ….” Titus 1:9,10

In my previous post I mentioned my belief that so much deception has been allowed to invade the church because of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Word of God. Of course, I recognise that church Leaders would not agree with that suggestion because they all , without exception, say they use and take their authority from the Bible  –  but the question is – which one?

I think, as a result of all the many different versions [and paraphrases] now in use, the green light has been given for preachers and teachers to make the Word of God mean just about anything they want it to mean. Who’s to say anything is truly right or wrong when what it all comes down to is a simple matter of man’s interpretation?

I write this as a lay person with no authority or qualifications – it is just my humble opinion, drawn from my own observations, experience and research. My contention being that we need to have the utmost confidence that the Bible we read is indeed the infallible, inerrant Word of God, preserved and protected by Him and not a hit and miss exercise of translation and interpretation.

If we don’t have that confidence, it inevitably de-stabilises our firm foundation, so that we then turn to other sources for our spiritual security. Our ‘leadings’, experiences and trust in personal prophecies become on a par with and even supersede Scripture in our daily walk…..   it’s miraculous, it feels right – so it must be right.  The danger is that we can then be led by seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. 1Timothy 4:1

I was first alerted to a ‘problem’ with the Bible when I began to hear preachers throwing out casual comments that a certain word or passage in the KJB was a ‘mistake’  – it either was translated wrong or it shouldn’t be there at all.  It bothered me then and it bothers me now that the reliable Word of God wasn’t so reliable after all!

So, gradually, the KJB has fallen out of favour, not simply because its language is now considered [wrongly I believe] archaic and hard for people to understand, but because its accuracy has been discredited [ironic when you consider the errors and cumbersome language in the other versions].  So -it’s goodbye King James – welcome The Message ! [For a Defense of the King James Bible see my Blog archive.]

Add to this the sentimental/mystical RC inspired tv series ‘The Bible’ and the latest portrayal of Christ in the film Son of God [not to mention The Passion of Christ] and the vain imaginations of man are complete. Naive and gullible Christians fall for it hook,line and sinker!

Anyway – I digress …..    To illustrate what I mean by preachers making the Bible say what they want it to say, I will give just three examples of what I came across, almost incidentally, while looking up other things.   I have named the last one as he is so well known.

The first was a sermon on Healing by a young visiting preacher on an Australian AoG church web site.  He claims the Holy Spirit is his friend and quoting from the Message Bible, apparently when Jesus returned to Heaven after his resurrection ‘ the Holy Spirit greets Him with ‘Great job!’ and Jesus replies ‘Now it’s your turn’ and gives Him a ‘high five’![my summary]

He relates [correctly] how in a certain place Jesus could do no miraculous works because of their unbelief, but then goes on to advocate prayer and taking authority over that unbelief to ‘break’ it. But where did Jesus ever do that?

Regarding Jesus telling some people he healed not to tell anyone, he seems to impute manipulation on the Lord’s part by likening it to when God said to Eve – ‘Don’t eat that’ – she went ahead and ate !  In other words – Jesus knew what people are like and that they would do the exact opposite to what He told them, so He could be certain of  their publicity ….   How much of that idea this young preacher got from The Message , I don’t know, not having read it myself. Maybe I should enlighten myself ….

Anyway – as I see it in John 2: 23-25  the reason the Lord told people not to publicise their healings was because he knew men’s hearts and that they were just seeking after ‘signs’ and not commitment to Him.

My next example happens to be another AoG preacher – this time a young woman. Her sermon was titled ‘The Great Involvement’  – immediately changing the commission for the church to preach the gospel of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into ” go to hurting humanity” – a Humanist Social Gospel.

She relates the story of Paul and Silas [Acts 16] , quoting from The Message Bible and using the ‘visual aid’ of a young lady from the audience and wrapping a rope around her.  She says Paul ‘bumped into’ the slave girl but chose to ignore her. So ” this chick says, ‘ok – you’re gonna ignore me, so I’ll follow you. Not only that  – in her messed up state she yells out: ‘ He knows the way’ –  I’d like him to help me find my way – but – he knows the way!”

She goes on to say – ” This went on for several days. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that. Paul – do you not see that this girl is troubled, she is possessed, she’s messed up, she needs someone to involve with her? But Paul went about his way”

She continues – ” after following them around for several days – finally- fed up with her [ruining his nice, polished sermon] – I love it – it wasn’t even spiritual!  The fact is – God doesn’t care how you get there – just get there! He doesn’t care.

After saying a few words about us getting involved in other people’s lives, she refers to ” a few verses earlier, when Paul came across a woman called Lydia, who asked him if he’d stop, get involved and come to her house, Paul said ‘yes’ to Lydia, but ‘no’ to the slave girl. Lydia was a wealthy woman and didn’t look as messy as the girl. She had a nice home and food she could give to Paul- she had benefits attached. Sometimes we have selective involvement. If I involve with you there’s a benefit here for me. There was no benefit with the slave girl”

Well, I hope you are as appalled as I am at this imputed partiality of the Apostle Paul – what a hypocrite she makes him out to be!! She also appears to rejoice at his supposed lack of ‘spirituality’!  Her complete lack of understanding is aided and abetted by her use of The Message.

My last example is notorious Mark Driscoll. He claims his ‘Resurgence’ movement is anchored by a theological foundation of

1.  Jesus -centred  Theology  2. Jesus – modelled Leadership  3. Jesus – empowered living  4: Jesus’ Mission

Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Till you hear his preaching…..  I won’t go into detail here but would direct anyone  interested in his treatment of the Scriptures to visit http://www.driscollcontroversy.com  where you can read his take on Gideon and Noah. Talk about turning the truth into a lie!!

must sign off now – please – if you see any mistakes, inaccuracies , untruths , I would welcome your correction. If you simply want to comment or add anything else relevant – feel free to do so.  God bless …. Maranatha!

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The ‘church’ keeps changing and metamorphosing into something else – as fast as I think I’ve got a handle on what’s happening – it changes again , to go along with the latest fad. It’s scary that so many are now following church growth patterns [ all under the supposed guidance of the Holy Spirit] without even bothering to question or compare it all with the early Church pattern.

Rick Warren’s philosophy has invaded the church at large now , traditional, reformed or evangelical – it makes no difference, so that whereas at one time you could at least separate false doctrine from true, it has become almost too much to unravel ,  a mish-mash of influences that are affecting the very preaching of the Gospel itself.

I’ve known for some years about Marxism and what is called the Dialectic Process, but always associated it with politics, as I suspect most folks do. But I’m prone to search out the truth of a matter when faced with teachings/happenings that come across my path. I don’t like being in a fog [how well I remember being in those good old London, thick pea-soupers!] and the mental ones are even worse…..

So it is that I was able to learn more about the Dialectic Process [Diaprax] and it’s infiltration of the Church – hence everything has to change as the old ways are discredited and the new is in. The old sin- convicting Gospel has gone – enter the new Social Gospel. Even the faithful [to the Word], legitimate Churches seem to feel shamed into being more socially and politically active in the world, afraid maybe of being thought too ‘narrow?  The focus  is on ‘relationships’ with each other and the world – ultimately leading to another Jesus of course. 2 Cor 11:4

For a good understanding of what is going on, please take the time to visit the web site of Dean Gotcher  http://www.authorityresearch.com  He is also on You Tube, and Berit Kjos’  web site  http://www.crossroad.to/articles  for insights into the machinations of the UN.

I know there will be many Christians who will find it too burdensome to investigate for themselves, but it’s good to get into the habit of checking out things you hear or read with a little personal Bible study – especially if you have that little nagging doubt that something isn’t quite right.   It’s imperative that we become lovers of the Truth of God’s word – how else will we know if we’re being deceived?

Some will say – the Gospel is simple and following the Lord Jesus Christ and living in harmony with sincere fellow believers is all that God requires of us – he wants us to be as little children.

That is true initially – but God also requires that we mature and grow in our understanding and obedience of His word. [although 1 Cor 14:20 is said in the context of ‘tongues’ , I believe it applies to all spiritual things …]

The Lord gave Ministry gifts to the Church – Eph 4: 11-15  so that we needn’t be children who are tossed about by the false doctrines of cunning men. Sadly, today those Ministers are often failing us in that they tend not to want to be ‘negative’ and believe the Scriptural warnings are for others, not them – after all, don’t they pray to be led by the Holy Spirit ? Haven’t they done many wonderful things in His Name? mmm ….

I always try to approach my re-search with an open mind. I do not want to be prejudiced against any ministry or preacher because of what I’ve read or heard. This has been my position since the very earliest days of my Christian walk. I listened to what the JWs and Mormons had to say and read the literature they gave me, some of which sounded legitimate until I investigated further. I often discovered that the rank and file members , had the truth about their Leaders and origins hidden  from them. BUT – these enthusiastic cult members enjoyed the love and fellowship they had with each other and were convinced their respective Leaders could do no wrong, plus – all their thinking was done for them and even false prophecies didn’t appear  to bother them. {sounds a familiar pattern doesn’t it?}

Later, I came across an ad. by the Catholic Enquiry Bureau for anyone interested in finding out about their beliefs to sign up for a series of booklets – which I promptly did.  Again, my interest was in not wanting to dismiss them on hearsay.  Well, as you can imagine – it was even worse than I’d thought because the authority of the Pope and the church superseded anything the Scriptures might say, so they felt free to add all sorts of false ideas and commandments. Now I had it from the horse’s mouth.

It’s much easier and quicker these days to use the internet to look up the Horses’ Mouths web sites and You Tube videos of actual preaching. Plus of course the enormously helpful discernment ministries articles.

The huge deceptions that have arisen within  Christian churches are, I believe, the result of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Bible as the inerrant and  infallible word of God, together with a faulty view of eschatology [end time things]. I will enlarge on this in my next Post.

see you soon,   Maranatha!

 

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I’ve been reading through the Book of Acts lately , mainly in order to compare todays methods of evangelism with what the early church did. Among other things, I couldn’t help noticing that wherever the Apostle Paul preached the gospel, he started right from the beginning of the story – demonstrating Christ in the Old Testament scriptures. Stephen too, prior to his martyrdom , had taken the Jews back over their history.

In our own day and age, with widespread ignorance about God and the wholesale acceptance of evolution as fact, there is a need when preaching the gospel, or witnessing to individual unbelievers, to be able to present the truth about our origins in a knowledgeable and convincing way. We can then go on to present the gospel of Christ as a needful thing .If people don’t believe in God or are agnostic, they won’t see their need of a Saviour. We have to go back to the beginning to present the root of the problem.

The Apostle Paul started where people were at. When he preached to the Jews there was no need for him to convince them of God’s existence, so he went to the heart of the matter after first reminding them of their history. When he preached to gentiles who worshipped many gods, he didn’t have to convince them of a supernatural world.

Why then is the Creation/Evolution debate so neglected in our churches, when it seems such a key to reaching today’s unsaved masses? Why is it regarded  merely as a secondary issue and nothing to do with the gospel?

Of course I understand and know we are saved simply by believing that Christ died for our sins – that faith evidenced by being born again, but we first have to believe that there is a God who made us!

There are a growing number of [misguided] Christians , known as Theistic evolutionists, who believe God ‘used’ evolution as His method of creation  – but if that were the case, then He surely would have told us so?  It amounts to a lie if the account in Genesis says it took God six days but He really took eons of time. Apart from which, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles believed and taught  Genesis literally.

Theistic evolutionists have a huge problem when it comes to the question of sin, simply because God states categorically that all that He created was ‘good’.  There was a moment in time when the curse of sin entered our world, bringing death with it. With evolution however the bad has always been here and death is accepted as a ‘natural’ thing.

But the truth is that it is the most un-natural thing – death is mankinds’ last and greatest enemy – and the norm is to do everything we possibly can to stay alive!   Why do we grieve so when our loved ones die if it’s so natural? Every fibre of our being shouts out ‘NO’ !

Let me tell you here and now that in all the years I was an atheist, I wasn’t happy to be one ….  in spite of being very happy in my personal life, with a husband who was my soul-mate and two lovely children. And even though our first-born son had spina-bifida and hydrocephalous, it had drawn us even closer together as we faced our difficulties.

But the material world was all there was and I had to face reality and  accept that fact. – after all, Science had proved we came from apes.  I certainly wasn’t aware of any counter arguments to say otherwise. I wasn’t interested in the dream world of wishful thinking that religious people lived in, however comforting that would be. I wanted Truth, and no Scientist believed in God did they??

Leaving aside for a moment, the mysterious workings of a Sovereign God, I might have found that truth sooner had  church people been educated by their Leaders to know the arguments for and against evolution/creation. But how can they defend what they don’t know? Back then [in the 60s] ignorance I suppose could be forgiven – but today, thankfully, there are several excellent Ministries championing the  truth of God’s word and the Creation cause.

But I can’t help feeling really disappointed at the dearth of churches taking regular advantage of the offers of speakers from the likes of CMI for instance. What golden opportunities are missed to equip believers and reach out to the atheist/agnostic with the whole gospel. It could be the first step to their salvation.

In these days of deception, churches would rather follow the way of ‘socialising’ to reach the unsaved. It’s so much easier to invite someone to a picnic or ‘love’ them into the Kingdom. Of course I’m not saying that people can’t be saved that way – it’s just not the scriptural method is it? Why have so many become ashamed of presenting the Gospel truth when it is the power of God to everyone who believes? Romans 1:16

I am a ‘nobody’ when it comes to authority and I’m in no position to tell anyone to do anything whatsoever, all I know is , I am passionate for God’s truth and I love to write about it, in the hope that the Lord may use it to help fellow believers to get better equipped  in these deceptive days. So this is a plea to please take advantage of the information available on creation web sites.

You can receive Creation Ministries International’s [ CMI.uk here] daily email Infobytes, or subscribe to their superb Creation Magazine. They have speakers who will do presentations in your church [Philip Bell/ Dominic Statham/Phil Robinson].

I live in West Sussex [UK] and there is an excellent ministry, The Creation Science Movement, based in Portsmouth [www.csm.org.uk]. You can subscribe to receive their Journal by post . It’s the oldest creation ministry anywhere I believe, founded in 1932.  They have recently re-opened their permanent, free exhibition called ‘The Genesis Expo’ [contact them for opening times]. I would love to visit it myself but I need to rope somebody in for a lift!

There are others too eg Answers in Genesis

with many blessings to everyone,   Eileen

 

 

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I don’t like to think that I am being overly critical and seeing error where there is none, but in the course of researching the obvious questionable teachings and practices in the current church scene, I come across what appear to be genuine, sincere ministries, committed to the gospel and to the Bible , and I have to re-examine myself and the scriptures to see if I’m wrong after all, because on the surface all seems well …..  they don’t appear to be following or part of any extreme groups.

These churches’ websites show they are very active in evangelism and almost all are proclaiming great blessings, over-flowing congregations, together with prophecies, visions and the like telling of revival in their midst and spreading throughout the whole world.  Undergirding all this is a huge desire for change – as one ministry puts it  – ‘to turn the tide of anti-christian pollution in our society’.     So why – instead of rejoicing with them – do I get an uneasiness that compels me to dig a bit deeper and look behind the scenes so to speak?

This uneasiness is usually triggered by noticing what a high opinion they tend to have of themselves. There is certainly no lack of ‘self-esteem’. Of course, I suppose you could say that their confidence comes from the belief that God is ‘showing up’ at their meetings and in answer to their prayers, sometimes over many years of lean results.  I can so easily find myself confounded in the face of so many testimonies of wonderful changed lives and miraculous moves of God,  which seem to be the proof that God is indeed at work. BUT – I have to return time and again to the solid ground of God’s word and it’s warnings of deception by seducing spirits.

Church growth seems to be what it’s all really about. They may disassociate themselves from the teachings of Rick Warren, but they nevertheless pick up on his ideas, consciously or unconsciously.

The mission these days seems to be less about saving individual souls, than ‘impacting’ and making a difference in your locality and christianising the world. The main aim is to show non-churched people how loving and friendly we are as God’s family and what better way than via a social gospel that will meet their emotional needs.

To that end also, we have to break down the old denominational barriers to achieve unity and co-operate in our common cause  –  no separation from the world for the truths sake allowed here!

Don’t they know the Church needs to be doctrinally sound to be in God’s will?  The Holy Spirit led the Apostles and the early Church into all truth and as we follow their New Testament example, so we will be led too. It’s just as important to follow the right practices and methods of evangelism too.

There is much targeting of young people – they are much easier to manipulate and influence – especially if music is made the attraction. Disturbingly, I came across this quote by James Ryles who had a dream in 1989 : ‘ And I remember the dream thinking to myself, wow – this is like the Beatles music was new. The Lord spoke to me and said, ” What you saw in the Beatles – the gifting and that sound that they had – was from me. It did not belong to them. It belongeth to me. it was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ” [ Harvest Conference, Denver 1990]        I can see no Biblical precedent for using music in preaching the gospel , or ‘worship’ as a means of evangelising the lost, or    for entertaining anyone!

I don’t know when the title ‘Worship Leader’ crept into the church , but it has always made me cringe.  It misuses the word worship and in actuality is simply a ‘churchy’ name for a Musical Director.    I always thought that worship was something from the individual, redeemed heart to his/her Saviour and Creator. My Bible tells me that is the only true worship that God will accept.  ‘ But the hour comes and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH: for the Father seeks  such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH’. John 4:23,24

        Christians are told to  ‘be filled with the Spirit; speaking to YOURSELVES in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord’. Eph:5:18

        The gospel of Christ needs no extra trappings to make it more palatable – the gospel itself is the power of God to save. ‘ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek’. Rom 1:16    Genuine gospel preaching will produce genuine conversions and teaching the truth of God’s word will produce true disciples.

           What are all these new converts taught I wonder?  Most likely that they must submit to their Leaders , attend as many church meetings as possible, find their ‘ministry’ in the Lord [ what an asset if they are a musician!] ; but will they be taught to check everything out with scripture? will they be warned to treat any ‘leadings’ with caution? will they be warned of false prophets and teachers and deception in the church? Probably not – we don’t want to be too negative do we??

          So – if todays prophetic utterances are correct and God is moving by His spirit , bringing great revival to the whole earth, in answer to  all the dedicated ‘prayer ministries’ and spiritual warfare activity – then logically, we cannot be in the Last Days – for we are told of a great falling away of the church before the Lord’s return.  And yet – the world is certainly fitting the pattern of ‘as in the days of Noah’ and it is getting increasingly difficult to live as a Christian in our sin-sick world.

           I have known great anxieties and fears in my life and some very stressful situations over the years that have almost overwhelmed me  – but it has always been the word of God that I’ve turned to and it has kept and sustained me.  Christians have been taught to run to other Christians for help, but they are not always the answer and some will let you down. Don’t live your Christian life off the faith of somebody else  – be strong in the Lord. It is the Lord and His word that we need. It is only through the scriptures that we know His will, how to follow Him, how to keep from deception and how to pray.

        I have been fortunate in having to deal with cults and aberrant Christian teachings from the beginning of my Christian walk, so I have been aware, by God’s grace ,when things haven’t been right scripturally. And now that the church at large is falling away , in spite of my own temporary doubts and sometimes confusion  – I have to be true to my own convictions and my prayer to the Lord, as always, is that in His grace and mercy He will use what I write to help others  – just as I myself have been helped by the many articles written by other concerned believers. Their insights and experiences have been of enormous value, often simply confirming what I’d only suspected.

May God bless and keep you,      Eileen

 

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Before getting into specifics about William Branham I will give a bit of general background to my own experience.

It seems to me that one of the easiest ways for a Christian to be led away from Bible truth is when their admiration for or interest in a particular preacher, ministry or place becomes their main focus.  Add to that the erroneous belief that a true Christian cannot be deceived and you have the potential for a shipwreck ahead – hopefully not permanent!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that when my husband and I were very young in the faith, we joined the local Elim church and were taken under the wing of a very nice man, David, who came regularly to our home to teach us from the Bible.

We were enthralled as he related stories to show us that God  was still doing miraculous things , just as He did in the early church, in the ministries of the great healing Evangelists around at that time [late 60s -70s]. He explained that God was restoring the five-fold ministries [Eph 4:11] to the church and fulfilling Joel’s prophecy as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts.

We were not sufficiently knowledgeable in the scriptures ourselves at the time to question, nor did we see the need to challenge anything we were being taught. He was a lovely Christian man, we got on well with him and he knew his Bible inside out [it seemed to us] –  so what could possibly be wrong? It was years later that we learned these were the heretical teachings of the Latter Rain movement. He also was a member of the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship who also believe the same.

Well –  the Pastor of our church did not approve and forbade David to meet with us anymore. There was no explanation why , so the inevitable happened and we eventually departed the Elim church and became a small house fellowship. We later met in a small building as our numbers grew.

Then – I think through David – we began to have connections with a church community in Chard, Somerset,  which everyone got very excited about because of the wonderful things that were happening there.

A preacher came from Chard specifically to teach and encourage us all in the gifts of the Spirit. But something he said set the alarm bells ringing. His words were: ” If the [first] voice you hear isn’t the Holy Spirit – then who are you being led by?”  This seemed very unwise counsel to my husband and I – especially as no mention was made of the need for conformity to the scriptures.

Needless to say, things began to happen in the meetings , including being ‘slain’ in the Spirit, as discernment and caution flew out the window in this newfound confidence and freedom.

When we tried to voice our concerns we were faced with anger and the general caution was not to ‘quench the Spirit’ because this was all part of God’s end time outpouring and restoration of signs and wonders to His church.

During our association with David the name of William Branham cropped up regularly. He was much admired and held in almost reverential awe by his followers. We were impressed by the ministry God had given him. We were completely ignorant about him and listened in wonder to the accounts of miraculous healings by this great ‘man of God’.

I am always willing to be objective about people and not to simply accept what may be personal prejudices about anyone , so to that end I read accounts both for and against. I am amazed now at the true picture that emerges from some of those who were close to him and  that William Branham was so accepted [and still is] in pentecostal/charismatic circles without question. There are some enlightening and very interesting videos and articles on line and I’ll put links at the end of this post.

One of the first things I came across was a video by Ed Byskal[?] . It’s titled ‘I Am A Witness’ and begins with a quote from Luke’s opening words to his gospel account. So – you would think it’s a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t you? But NO – it’s his witness to William Branham!

A young looking Ed B. explains that he wants to share his personal experiences so that “you may know with certainty the things of which I am a witness” Luke 1:4   So, the whole video is a defence of and excuses for WB’s many false prophecies and heretical teachings. It seems WB was a humble servant of God with faults and failings, but so exalted and blessed by God with the miraculous, that it made any false teachings and prophecies of no account!  EB , tragically seems to have made it his life’s calling to defend WB – unless of course the selective videos are giving me an unfair picture.

WB had psychic phenomena happening at his birth and throughout his childhood. These included voices, visions and angel visitations, which always frightened him .  This is not surprising when you read that his extremely young parents were not Christians and believed in  fortune telling.

If WB’s followers were/are aware of all this – it doesn’t seem to phase or bother them because they place God’s ‘anointing ‘ above His word. I came across this quote from the FGBMF  ‘Voice’ mag 1961. ‘In Bible days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the sacred records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.

I will end with a concerned appeal to those who think that Christians cannot be deceived – you are in a danger zone if your focus and admiration is on a particular person, ministry or ‘revival’ location  – however spectacular the signs and wonders and however humble and sincere they may be.  Your focus must always be on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle’s teachings as they are revealed in the Bible.  ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ Psalm 119:105

And don’t let yourself be put off, if, when you think something is wrong and unscriptural, you are told not to ‘judge’, not to ‘touch God’s anointed’, ‘not everything God does is in the Bible’, ‘you have a critical spirit’, or that Bible believers ‘worship’ the Bible or are legalistic.

These are just fear tactics [probably because they are in fear themselves] to keep you quiet and in bondage to their authority.  Don’t be afraid to follow up your doubts and be a good Bible searching Berean.  Read everything in context and get an overall view of what verses are actually saying and don’t let others do your thinking for you. 2 Tim 2:15 and 2 Tim 3:16,17  seem appropriate here.

NB:

For articles on William Branham I would recommend http://www.Letusreason.org.  If you go to the left side bar on their home page you will be able to scroll down to Latter Rain and click to see them.

A You Tube search will find Ed Byskal’s video titled I Am a Witness. There are several other interesting and informative videos there too.

Another ministry that concerns me is The Healing Rooms  and John G Lake.  Let Us Reason has some excellent articles on him too.

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Some Christians seem to think that walking in the Spirit means to excercise the gifts or be led in their daily walk with God via supernatural means, or to read their Bible a lot or be much in prayer. But to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh, according to the Apostle Paul [Gal 5:16-25]  is to show forth love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,  and temperance.  If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfil the desires of the flesh. If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under law.

How often have we had really strong feelings about something that has turned out to be wrong?  The[ fallen] human mind is a strange and powerful thing and can certainly lead us astray and the Bible has a lot to say about the vain imaginations of the heart.

I wouldn’t pretend to understand or know how and when God moves by His Spirit [see John 3:8] but all too often Christians claim that God is guiding them in specific ways and directing them. I’ve always been extremely wary of those who say – ‘the Lord told me this or that’ because very often they are mistaking their own very strong feelings or impressions for the voice of the Holy Spirit, thinking that because they are a child of God it must be His voice.  When events prove them wrong they are very reluctant to admit they were wrong and will provide other explanations.

When the Lord has clearly shown us something in His word – is it then right to spend much time in ‘seeking His will’ for us ? Are we putting our feelings before everything else? For instance – if we see from scripture that our church is digressing from the path of truth – we obviously should defend the faith. If it’s set on its path then we must ‘come out of her’  – if only for our own spiritual welfare, let alone the Bible tells us to.  It is our fleshly feelings that don’t want to rock the boat or think how much we will miss our friends [or even family] and their fellowship, or even the wonderful music, plus the relative safety of staying.  Our feelings may tell us that the ‘time is not right’ and we hope and pray the church will change …. but eventually it dawns on us that it won’t.

It becomes more serious however when Christians experience visions, dreams, near death experiences or angel visitations and bring little or no scriptural discernment to bear.  Indeed, ‘ discernment’ becomes simply a matter of their own feelings again – it feels right  so it must be right – irrespective of what the Bible says.

From whence come false teachings? Well – from these very ‘supernatural’ sources. All Cults stem from them and unfortunately more and more genuine Bible- believing churches are following mystical experiences and ‘signs and wonders’ – believing them to be from God.

For the Born again Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a straightforward reading of the Bible and a genuine love for the truth will keep you on the straight and narrow. But as sure as eggs is eggs, if you have a separate source of teaching or revelation eg angelic, or prophecy [your own or someone else’s] telling you God is doing a new thing or ‘revival’ is on the way,  then the warning bells should be ringing loud and clear – no matter how trusted, famous, admired or important the ‘channel’ might be.

It is the job of seducing spirits to lure believers away from the Word of God and what better or more effective way than through a paranormal experience?  In our day, whole denominations are falling under their influence as Leaders and followers trust their feelings and experiences over and above God’s Word.

Almost every church website I’ve had occasion to look up, display the same ‘visionary’ message and use the same buzz words/slogans/ religious ‘in words’ and usually present the same evangelistic theme.  All this ‘unity’ would be excellent if it were centered on the true Gospel, but sadly it is encased in the social gospel of Dominionism.

Even those churches who may not have embraced false teachings completely, still show their  influence by the language and methods they use for church growth and evangelism  – probably without even being aware they are. It’s become a mixture of a little bit of Dominionism, a little bit of Latter rain, a little bit of Kingdom Now, a little bit of Word of Faith, a little bit of Shepherding, a little bit of  New Apostolic Restoration, with a little bit of Mysticism and Emerging thrown in. The list of ingredients in this mix is endless!

Oh dear –  this all sounds very gloom and doom I know – but it is undeniably happening and is an important sign of living in the Last days.  The Apostle Paul couples it with the rise of the Antichrist in 2 Thess 2:1-12  BUT – he goes on to say verses 13-17:

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning  chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.  Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught , whether by word or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and stablish you in every word and work.

What a wonderful God and Saviour we have …. His word is so precious !

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