Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 24th Show: Discernment Ministries vs. Apologetics Ministries: Is there a difference?

The field of the Christian study of apologetics stems from the command of scripture to:
“Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” [Jude 3]

Jude was not addressing some uniquely called individuals in the church to some special office like pastor or evangelist, but makes it clear in the first verse that he was calling all believers to the task. “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” [Jude 1]

Yet over the years the defense of the faith against “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” [2 Cor. 10:5) has become specialized due to the superabundance of cults, heresies, and isms that attack the faith from within and without the professing church.

To assist all the saints to sort out truth from error, God has raised up para-church ministries to the task of studying, researching and exposing the false ideas that threaten to overturn the faith of many. They give answers using Scripture and reason to equip the saints in their walk with Christ to battle against the deceptions and ploys of the enemy. To be forewarned is to be forearmed in the battle of ideas that would try to shipwreck their faith.

Since the time that Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses to the Door of the Wittenburg Church, defenders of the faith have made their mark on church history by rocking the boat to awaken a sleeping church. In our modern times, men like Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis have written tomes of apologetics resources that have become the textbooks of modern seminaries.

It wasn’t until the formation of the Christian Research Institute in 1960 by the late Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults, that the field of the study of apologetics became specialized according to area of focus. He had an entire research department with researchers who each had their specialty of study. [Though under CRI’s current leadership, there is only the voice on the radio and office workers filling orders.] Other apologetics ministries came along  in the 1970s & 80s such as Watchman Fellowship, Spiritual Counterfeits Project, and Personal Freedom Outreach.

In those days, the terms apologetics and discernment were synonymous and interchangeable. Over the years, the terms took on new meaning as approaches to the defense of the faith diverged.  A division arose between the theologically academic approach and the Spirit-led Bible approach upon the publication of Dave Hunt’s book, The Seduction of Christianity in 1985.

The book got panned by CRI insiders Bob and Gretchen Passantino, whose amillennial sensitivities were offended by Hunt’s recognition of the importance that Bible prophecy played in recognizing the spirit of antichrist at work in the infiltration of doctrines of demons into the church.  [They later wrote a counter-offensive book, Witch Hunt, in which they faulted Hunt for his failure to follow Matthew 18 in not going to every church leader first before quoting from their published writings. Of course the Passantinos never lived up to this twisted logic in their own writing.]

Unfortunately, the Passantinos got the ear of Walter Martin who criticized the book on his Bible-Answer-Man radio broadcast based upon their warped review. At that time I was friends with both Martin and Hunt and became somewhat of a go-between. When Dave showed me a transcript of Walter’s criticism of Seduction I recognized it as a paraphrase of the Passantino’s writing. So the next Sunday I approached Walter after his Bible study that I regularly attended and asked him point blank, “Have you ever read the book?” He admitted to me that he hadn’t and I was astounded. I later went through Hunt’s book and highlighted important points he made with a highlighter pen and gave it to Martin who used it later to confront TBN on live television for the heresies Hunt had documented.

But sadly there was always a breach between CRI and Dave Hunt and any of us independent researchers who incorporated Bible prophecy into our recognition of the spirit of antichrist in the heretical teachings that were infiltrating the church.

Over the next several years, ministries that followed Hunt’s lead, recognizing the prophesied apostasy in the church via ecumenism with Rome, became labeled as “discernment ministries.”  The view that the false teachings in the church were propelling the visible church toward a unification into a global false religious system was not seen as a valid paradigm by the academic type of apologists. So the latter tended to marginalize the former and look down their noses at those who believe we are in the end times. That idea just isn’t very scholarly to them.

Those who dare to believe what the Spirit of Christ has put in their hearts that His return is near are literally mocked and told “we have no need of you.” [1Cor. 12:21] Scoffers have risen up ridiculing us saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” [2 Peter 3:3-5]

So when you hear the term discernment ministries today, you will usually see a common belief that we are in the end times. When you hear the word apologetics, you will probably be around academics who speak using big theological words. It has just sort of  evolved that way. Discernment ministries overall show respect to the academics, but rarely is the compliment returned.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 17th Show: Oral Roberts Remembered

December 15th marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Oral Roberts. The university he named after himself, (a prideful act in and of itself), has honored his memory on the ORU website [].

"Oral Roberts was a great man who profoundly impacted the world for Jesus Christ. We are deeply thankful for his life," said ORU President Mark Rutland.

"ORU is Oral Roberts' most enduring legacy. It represents everything he stood for - from healing evangelism to whole person living to academic excellence," said Thomson Mathew, dean of ORU's College of Theology and Ministry.

The ORU news release stated, “The university was founded as a result of Roberts' obeying God's mandate to build a university on God's authority and the Holy Spirit. God's commission to Roberts was to ‘Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased.’"

Of  course the source of that quote was Oral Roberts himself who had a nasty habit of speaking in first person singular as if channeling God.

But what is Oral Roberts’ true legacy? He was a foundation stone in the great apostasy we see in the church today due to his plagiarized invention of “seed faith.” The idea to twist scripture to say that if you see money as a seed that can be sown in the soil of a ministry or church and that it will have to result in more money  (10-20-100-fold return)  coming into your pocket was actually the invention of Gene Ewing. He has assisted countless televangelists in coming up with direct-mail fundraising appeals and has gotten rich in doing so.

Oral Roberts took this “money as a seed” idea and it has evolved into what became the Positive Confession movement that morphed into the Word/Faith movement that today we know as the Prosperity Gospel. This heresy has had many offshoots so that today some charismaniacs think they can call God’s glory down from heaven with their words.

Charles Capps wrote in "Seed-Faith Book Turns Life Around," from Oral Roberts' magazine, Abundant Life, May/June 1987, “Several years ago one of Oral Roberts’ books came into my hands, entitled Miracle of Seed-Faith. I suppose this book transformed my life as much as any book I have ever read . . . Oral put it in understandable form so that I could put it to work in my life.

And from that Capps went on to systematize the Positive Confession theology that teaches that whatever you think and say can be yours so that all your carnal desires can be met.

The Word/Faith belief that Christians are little gods that can manipulate universal laws to get miracles for themselves spun off from that one seed-faith principle that Pat Robertson renamed the ‘law of reciprocity’ and it has defiled many believers ever since.

Those of us who approach God humbly in prayer asking that His will be done are seen as those of little faith who just don’t know how to use faith principles to get their miracles.

Time has shown that Oral Roberts never heard from God, yet still people lift him up as one who has and should be emulated. Dave Hunt put it well when he wrote:

How about Oral Roberts? You know he had a seven-hour conversation with a 900-foot Jesus who told him to build a hospital in Tulsa that anybody knew wasn’t needed. Promises that there will be miracles, a cure for cancer. 777 beds.  You know three 7s—that’s terrific! I don’t think they ever had more than 246 of them occupied. The thing went bankrupt. No cure for cancer. No miracles. Is that a false prophecy? You have to ask yourself seriously. Was Oral Roberts just lying to us or was he hallucinating or did he really have this conversation? I mean a 7-hour hallucination? That’s pretty long. Did he really have a conversation with some 900-foot being that claimed to be Jesus? That’s quite a delusion! But he continues to be quite popular.”

In a last ditch effort to kick God off the throne, before his death Oral Roberts promised his blind followers that he would look down from heaven upon them and guide them after his death. In a video on the ORU tribute page he said, “You’re in my heart; you’re in my prayers. When I go home to be with Jesus, I will take the memory of you with me and I will be sending back love and peace and joy forever into your life.”

Could this be why some of his loyal followers have claimed to have seen him in their visions and dreams after his demise? Did he make such a claim to divine power before he left so that he could retain his godlike status among his blind followers?

I love how a former member of his family summed him up Oral Roberts’ seed faith error. In her book, Ashes to Gold,  Oral’s one-time daughter-in-law Patti Roberts wrote:

“Oral thought I was splitting theological hairs, but it seemed supremely important to me. If we give to God because we think by giving we have somehow placed Him in our debt and He is now required to come through for us and meet our needs, we have, I believe, perverted the heart of the Gospel. Our only motive for giving should be love. When we encouraged people to give in order to have their needs met or so that they would receive ‘a hundredfold in return,’ I believed we were appealing to their sense of greed or desperation, neither of which seemed admirable to meLuther was incensed by the Church’s practice of selling indulgences—offering forgiveness of sin and a shorter period of time in purgatory in return for gifts to the church, I had a very difficult time distinguishing between the selling of indulgences and the concept of Seed-Faith inflated to the degree to which we had inflated it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 10th Show: Right and Wrong Kingdoms

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. – Matt 24:14
Jesus was very clear of what this gospel of the kingdom was. He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” His subjects are the citizens of the kingdom who are not of this world either. They are the strangers and pilgrims who are rejected by this present world and wait for the return of the King who is to set up His kingdom. In the meantime the god of this world is satan and his subjects are ruling.
The Roman Catholic Church historically believed that their Magisterium with the pope as the head and vicar of Christ ruled over the secular powers as Christ’s representatives on earth. They did not believe in the kingdom to come but wanted the kingdom now. Their hierarchy of so-called priests, cardinals, and popes ruled over one another; a total reverse of Jesus’ instructions that His disciples would not lord it over one another.
Today the NAR, New Apostolic Reformation with C. Peter Wagner at the head, are in a struggle with the ruling powers and principalities of this world to “take it for Christ.” They are putting the cart before the horse and joining with other “Christian” organizations to try and put their own people in power such as Sarah Palin. In their selfish ambition, they desire to rule over others in their new hierarchy of apostles and prophets.
One of their so-called prophetesses had a vision of the horses she said God is releasing to bring them the power to accomplish their takeover. Her silly prophecy was published by the Elijah List, the umbrella group of today’s false prophets whom Jesus prophesied would be in abundance before His return.
“Many are saying that they feel a tangible change and excitement in the air,” wrote Elijah List publisher Steve Shultz. “God is up to something BIG, even for this year we're still in. ‘Wow’ to this prophetic word of the hour by Eileen Fisher. It's a must read for the Body. The Spirit was hovering all over her as she gave it... that's for sure. Like Eileen shares below: this land is getting ripe and ready for revival and God's horses of revival are being released. (emphasis in original)

And then Eileen Fisher’s prophecy that she gave November 16, 2010 at the Prophetic School of the Holy Spirit in Colorado Springs, CO, that says in part:
“You are releasing Your horses of revival. They are carrying the anointing, Father, in the saddle bags of glory and mercy. Father, we thank You for the horses that are being released by the Spirit tonight. Father, we thank You that they are going to go throughout our land. Their hoofs are going to go in the Spirit and are going to stomp and crush the plans of the enemy. We thank You that they are coming with fire in their mouths and that they are going to breathe down and melt and dissolve the plans and the schemes of the enemy. We thank You that the saddle is empty because You are putting Your Bride on that saddle. Your Bride is going to learn to rule and reign.”

Yet, the only horses these people are going to see are the four horsemen of the apocalypse who come to carry God’s judgment upon them and all those who dwell on the earth after the true church is taken out of the way in the rapture.
Charles Spurgeon predicted that “a time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.” Well that day is here.
These new false apostles and prophets are too many to list. However, if you saw the group of men and women who commissioned Todd Bentley to be the vessel of the third wave of the spirit in Lakeland, Florida, you can see the leaders. They include Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, Bill Johnson, Wendy Alec, Wes & Stacey Campbell, John & Carol Arnott and others. To identify the NAR leaders who are truly cult leaders, here is a list of their traits: (Source: )
1) They believe that God is restoring the office of prophet and apostles to the church.

2) Claim that they alone have the power and authority to execute the plans and purposes of God.

3) Believe they are building a new foundation for a global church.

4) Believe they will literally establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Believe in the formation of Joel's Army.

5) Place an inordinate emphasis on angels and the supernatural.

6) Claim extra biblical revelations that can not be scripturally proven
(progressive revelation).

7) Claim that God is doing a "new thing".

8) Frequently say that those not accepting their teaching are "Putting God in a box".

9) Teach that we should never question their authority.

10) They use the term "Touch not God's anointed" frequently when questions are raised.

11) They peg those that question their authority as bound by religion, legalistic, divisive, narrow minded, rebellious, and demonic.

12) Place a greater emphasis on dreams, visions and extra-biblical revelation than they do on the word of God.

13) They believe they will be the corporate incarnation of Christ.

14) They believe they will execute judgment upon those who oppose them (up to and including death).

15) They believe in a one world religion operating in sync with a one world government.

16) They believe in complete unity and believe that there is nothing they can not accomplish through this unity.

17) They believe they can bring Heaven down to earth.

18) They believe that we will be perfected here on earth (manifested sons of god).

19) They believe in aggressively organizing small group networks.

20) They believe in the organization of apostles under pre-eminent apostles.

21) They believe that ALL local churches must be under the authority of a regional or trans-local apostle.

22) They believe each city must have an apostle who has extraordinary authority in spiritual matters over other Christian leaders in the same city.

23) They consider themselves divine, little gods and equal to Christ.

24) They consider themselves the "Defenders of the Faith".

25) Place a great deal of emphasis on mysticism and hidden knowledge
26) Do not believe in the rapture (or believe the wicked are the ones that will be raptured). Most of them believe in Preterism.

27) Stress unity over doctrine and reject the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December 3rd Show: Christmas - Truth & Myth

The new billboards that have gone up showing the magi following the star with the caption, "You Know It's a Myth," is partly accurate. The atheists hope their message will turn people away from the truth of the incarnation of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, but they will only convince fellow atheists. Christians, on the other hand, need to face the facts that there are myths associated with Christ/mas - a mixture of truth and myth. "Christ" represents the truth; "mas" represents the myth.

It is a well-known fact that Christmas and the Advent season is a Roman Catholic invention that blended the truth of the story of the Incarnation with the pagan celebration of the winter's solstice. The pagan feast of Saturnalia was a celebration of the new season and a time of revelry, drinking, and gift-giving. A recent documentary on the A&E channel showed how the pagan celebration was so much a part of Roman culture. Now atheists and other unbelievers seem to want to return to its unchristianized roots.

Yet so much of today's Western culture has already taken Christ out of Christmas. It has become a time of materialism and greed known for its commercialism. Black Friday really captures the spirit of Christmas where people trample over one another to be the first one to grab the latest popular electronic device off the shelf.

Seeing how wordly Christmas is, how should a Bible-believing Christian celebrate it? Or should true believers even acknowledge it? We do have the freedom in Christ to honor the birth of Christ on December 25th or to shun it.

When deciding, consider a very important fact - Christmas is the one day a year that the world actually pays homage to the King of kings. It can be an open door to share the Gospel of Salvation with our lost family members and friends - so why would we let an opportunity go by?

But we must focus their attention on the truth part of Christmas - Christ. Sing the songs that lift Him up and stay away from the songs that celebrate that imposter Santa Claus. Teach our children the difference between the truth of Christ and the myth of the mass and Santa, and refuse to go along with our culture's pressure to lie to our children about who fills the stockings.

The song, "O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas carol:

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine! Oh night when Christ was born!
Oh night divine! Oh night! Oh night divine!

When unbelievers sing "Fall on your knees," I envision the time when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). Even those who curse Him today, such as the ones who put up those awful billboards, will one day bow before Him even before being hurled into the lake of fire.

Christmas in some form will be around, I'm convinced, until He returns. When the two witnesses are killed by the antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation, could it be during the Yuletide season? After all, it will be a time of giving gifts according to the book of Revelation.

"And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” Rev. 11:10