Friday, June 26, 2015

thoughts concerning the Supreme Court's attempts to redefine morality

I would guess that most of you have heard about the Supreme Court's decision to somehow find gay marriage in the Constitution. Much like the so-called Constitutional right to kill children who have not yet been born, one has to wear special glasses to find this new so-called right, I guess. But, be that as it may, here we are. Hardly a day for rejoicing, when evil is call good and celebrated.

So, what now?
Take these thoughts for what they are worth, I'm putting them out there for consideration. No doubt, others have and will give their opinions and thoughts.
Separation of God and country
For a while, we've accepted a couple of curious ideas —the notion of the separation of church and state along with the notion of a mixing of God and country. I can listen to AFR and hear this in their motto “faith, family, freedom”, I have been to churches which have the country's flag almost as prominently shown as the cross, I can hear and read the non-stop cacophony of calls revival revival revival because that is the only hope for our country and we need to attend the next big conference or rally or stadium event and show people how serious we are and we need to cry out to God for revival and so on and so forth.
Maybe it's time to stop trying to dress God up in the American flag.
Is patriotism and love of country wrong? I don't think so. One can read the biblical book of Romans and see Paul's love and concern for his kinsmen, even as they were rejecting him and his message. One can read the gospels and see Jesus' concern and heartbreak over Israel, even as He was pronouncing judgment on them for rejecting Him.
But love isn't blind. Israel was (and is) a people with a covenant from God, but while Paul lamented his kinsmen's blindness, he also saw that he had another set of kinsmen. He called those who believed in Jesus Christ, who had repented of their sins, his brothers and sisters.
Let me give another example. The family is a good thing, something God created, and is one thing being attacked by this attempt to create a new morality. But Jesus also said that those who follow Him are to hate their father and mother and even their own lives, and said that for those who follow Him that their enemies will be those of their households.
This is a difficult way to think. We'd rather have a simple dichotomy, “This is good here, that over there is evil”, but we are given a more difficult way of thinking, “Love of country and family is good, but that country and family can become your enemies if you follow Christ”.
I'm a citizen of the US, and that's fine as far as it goes. But for Christians, our ultimate citizenship is in Heaven. The bond I have through Christ with the Christians in various prisons across the world, with those being persecuted in various ways, is far stronger and more eternal than the bond I have with anyone claiming only national citizenship.
There are no white hats
To employ this way of thinking in a more negative way, it's become plain that both side of the aisle, politically and religiously, are simply wrong.
It's easy to see how the people on the left are wrong. What evils do they not condone and celebrate? The murders we call abortion and assisted suicide, the various kinds of sexual perversions, government theft and corruption and greed and control.
But it's when I have looked to the right, thinking I'm with the “good guys”, the white hats, that I've seen that they really aren't all that good. I may agree with many of the things they stand for, but...
When I look at the religious right, I see much the same kinds of lust for power as I see on the left. I see compromise, even in regards to the basic Christian beliefs. For political reason (and perhaps other reasons, too), Franklin Graham stopped referring to Mormonism as a cult. I can look at the speakers for the Values Voters Summit, and see a Mormon, a few Roman Catholics, and someone with connections to the New Apostolic Reformation. The leaders of the religious right are people like Peter Wagner, a man who is a partner with the worst of the worst in regards to false prophets, false teachers, fake healers.
If you don't know the word “dominionism” and the ideas behind it, get acquainted with it. To put it simply, Wagner and those with him want power. They think they have a divine command and even right to run the world, to take over what they call the spheres of society, that they must do those things before Christ will return for His mature warrior-bride.

Now, don't think that dominionism is only a religious right thing. Though he may not use the word dominionism, Brian McLaren is just as set on remaking the world into his own image as Peter Wagner is. But my main concern for the moment with the supposed “good guys”, the ones trying to sport the white hats. But when I look at Wagner and has cronies, I see their hats are just as black as those of people on the left.
I'm not a prophet, and not going to pretend to be one, but I'm going to make a non-prophetic prediction, one that I have a small hope will be wrong but I'm pretty sure is going to happen, because it's already happened to some degree, for example with Graham's compromises concerning Mormonism. I predict that many in the NAR will continue to drift to the left, and will even embrace this new morality. They will dress their compromises up in pietistic rhetoric, they will find sad stories they can use to make themselves appear compassionate, they will end in devouring those who stand against them.
In other words, when power and wealth are your goals, then compromises will find their needed excuses. The NAR is already built on lies and distortions, they have no solid ground to anchor themselves to anything.
Broadly speaking, the Bible tells us these kinds of things will happen
Contrary to the rhetoric coming from the dominionists, the Bible tells us that the world will become a darker and more evil place in these end times. Evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves. The times will be perilous for those with faith in Christ. False messiahs and saviors will rise, and many will be deceived by them.
Mankind doesn't want to change, unless it is that it wants to dive more and more into sin. And it will continue to the demand that the Church accept its sins, approve of its perversions, check off on what it wants. The world will demand that the church become its friend, and if the church doesn't, well, the church will have to pay.
And the US church has not helped itself. It has fed the people in its pews and stadium seating a steady died of theological fluff, promising people their best lives now if they follow the prescribed rituals and say the correct positive words, promising a life of fulfillment and adventure if people make prayer circles and tell the sun to stand still and be audacious and other such things. People in churches think they are lions when they are merely lambs, and not even God's lambs, only meat for the world's grinders. Pastors who pose as tough guys will topple like houses of cards, and their people will follow them.
We are being disillusioned. Let us rejoice in that, and repent of believing the earlier illusions. The US is not Heaven, it is not God's Kingdom. I have a greater kinship with many of the people whose sufferings are told on the Voice of the Martyr's website then I do with many politically conservative and liberal politicians and activists.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

book review—Forever Ruined for the Ordinary by Joy Dawson

basically completely unbiblical

I simply have a hard time believing anyone takes the teachings and methods in this book seriously. How can anyone with an ounce of discernment think this author is teaching them anything biblical in this book?

“I want to make it crystal clear that we should never just open the Bible randomly, and casually put our finger on a verse, and automatically go and do whatever it says. What if we did that and read that Judas hanged himself (see Matthew 27: 5), then repeated the action, and landed upon the verse which says “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 37)?” (Kindle Locations 551-553). Yet what she recommends is not really any better. Many of the stories she relates about herself and others involve taking biblical verses and even phrases out of context, and pretending that they have a meaning that they don't have. She relates telling a young man to marry a certain woman because of a phrase in II Kings 14. a phrase that in context was used in a mocking way. She relates a time a woman got her pastor to pay for a friend to attend a conference based solely on the fact that she opened her Bible and found her pastor's name in Ezekial 27:15, without regard to the context of that verse.

She calls this “quickening”. Another reviewer compares it to the Magic 8-Ball toy, which I think is more accurate. The Bible nowhere teaches or encourages such a haphazard and trite way of reading and understanding the Bible. Worse, I think this is a kind of fortune-telling, and simply because it involves using the Bible doesn't make it any better; if anything, it makes it worse, because it trivializes the Word of God. Instead of encouraging people to a serious study of biblical teachings, this encourages them to simply open up the Bible and scan the pages until something “pops out!”, or to think they are getting random biblical verses in their minds and then try to shoehorn what that verse says into some kind of personal message for them and their situations.

This book is all law, all legalism. You have to do things her way, you have to do all of the steps she tells you to do, you have to follow all of her principles, and if you fail at even one point, well, you may get some bad messages from demons, you may act presumptuously, you may get kidnapped, or you may end up not being able to speak at all. But the steps and principles she's made up are not anywhere found in the Bible. No epistle teaches that, if the people in the churches want to get messages from God, then they need to silence their own voices, rebuke demons, then sit around quietly until God finally decides to give them some kind of unclear message or out-of-context scriptural passage.

“Unconditional obedience is the key to a successful Christian life. Think about that!” (Kindle Locations 1546-1547). There may be some truth there, but it's only at best half of the truth. Because none of us are completely or unconditionally obedient. There is little hint in such a mindset that one would join Paul in lamenting “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall save me from this body of death”, or in agreeing with him that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief”.

If the misuse of biblical passages isn't enough of a bad sign for you, here's a pretty plain one—she recounts in this book a time this “god” who speaks to her in feelings and impressions wanted her to do something in support of something Benny Hinn was doing. Hinn is a known false prophet, a fake healer, a prosperity gospel shill who has enriched himself with false promises and false words he claims are from God, he has even preached that we are “little gods”. The God of the Bible would not tell someone to do anything in support of such a false minister.

But I do think that there might be a few people who could be grateful for this book, those who work at putting together conferences and scheduling speakers for them, because this author would likely be a nightmare for them to deal with or to trust.

As someone who was in YWAM for a few years, I'm very glad to be away from this kind of feelings-based way of trying to figure out God's will. Sadly, I was one of those people who took these kinds of teachings seriously, trying to look inside myself and interpret my feelings to see what God might be trying to say to me through them. Perhaps it goes without saying, but it was incredibly unhelpful and very untrustworthy. Reading a book like this now, I can see how unbiblical this author's teachings are.