Archive for the ‘Defending the Faith’ Category
LTRP Note: Please pray for Roger this week. This week he entered India where he will be speaking to pastors and also deciding if the Bryce Home project will open up in India. Pray for his safety and health and also that the pastors he is speaking to will receive the messages he brings to them. You can listen to his first India report here, which was recorded a few hours before he entered India. It is interesting that just shortly after his long-time friend and co-laborer Caryl Matrisciana passes away, Roger is in the land where she was raised.
“Certain Men Crept In”
By Roger Oakland
(From his latest release, The Good Shepherd Calls: An Urgent Message to the Last-Days Church)
Jude was called by God to send a message to the church. It is clear he was warning the church because the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ was being compromised. Apparently “certain men had crept in” and were the cause of great concern. He began by making an emphatic statement:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3; emphasis added)
Why earnestly? He explains:
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1: 4)
The word earnest means “Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain; having a longing desire; warmly engaged or incited.”1 We must ask ourselves, are we eager to obtain, and do we have a longing desire to contend for the faith?
Now, imagine if you were a member of a church that had received a letter from Jude. He was the half-brother of Jesus Christ. His message certainly must have carried some weight. His letter opened by stating that although he had intended to write and share about the wonderful salvation accomplished through the finished work of the Cross, his mind was somehow changed. Instead, he felt it imperative to deal with a major problem that had developed.
Apparently “certain men” had “crept in unawares” and had become enemies of the simple Gospel. Rather than being messengers of the Gospel, these impostors had become stealth deceivers who needed to be exposed before more innocent followers of Jesus were led astray. What had happened was the very thing Paul had previously warned the church at Corinth about when he had written to them and stated his concern for them in receiving “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
Paul had already warned the church at Corinth about one of Satan’s most effective plans to deceive the brethren. Further, in the Book of Acts, Paul prophetically warned what would occur after his departure from the scene. He wrote:
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)
Paul saw Satan’s plan clearly and warned what was coming. Jude saw it happening in his day. Further, these warnings which are included in the inspired Word of God are timeless and are for the church right now.
What would Paul and Jude write to the church if they were here today? Would their message have changed in any way? Based on current trends that dilute the Gospel of Jesus and make it into a social-humanistic-psychological-what’s-in-it-for-me gospel, definitely not!
Let these same warnings be a wake-up call for us today!
From a Lighthouse Trails Reader:
Saturdays are good because I pick up Joan [not real name], a family member and go early to the Farmers Market. I went into the house, and Joan, who is close to 50 years old, excitedly showed me some Disney character socks she purchased for her friends and herself. They depicted the Evil Queen and two other Characters from that movie. We got in the car, and I noticed she had on her Evil Queen shoes and socks. The conversation goes to Christmas gifts, and she said her 11-year-old son says he wants an X Box so he can play games.
I now had to step in and talk about all the dangers of the current games where the characters have super powers and they are always killing off someone. Joan is in the choir at a Methodist church, and I did go once when the great-grandsons were baptized. The candles, the altar, the flowing robe of the minister, were very much a presence. The bulletin announced a new class given by a lady about finding new thought and prayer life through the mystics.
I tried to tell Joan about the evil behind the games and many other things in this day and age. I told her of the dangers and how they could affect young minds. I reiterated a happening the day before when I was walking around a small lake in our area in which some little kids came up behind me on their scooters. The smallest, about 6 years old, was saying, “Yea, I’m going to grab her and pull her hair out and then throw her into the fire” and other things along that line. Then they both got off their scooters because some ducks were close by and they chased them and yelled at them until they went into the lake. Those kids probably learned the scenario from some of their evil promoting games. I stated that this kind of thing was going to happen in the end times. She agreed that some games were bad and some characters in movies were promoting evil and
had bad super powers and weren’t like real people but that the evil queen she likes from the Disney movie was portrayed as a real person with some powers. But she wasn’t all bad.
Then the topic changed, and Joan told me she was so excited because the Gilmore Girls was on Netflix now. I had never heard of it or watched it, and she said that I’d love it, and I said I’d try it. Well, later I turned it on, and it was full of promiscuity, sexual innuendos, sexual relations discussed with ease, and unmarried people living together. It was all portrayed as if it was all normal every day living. I turned it off.
Then on my doorstep, I received an invitation to a Ladies Bible Study lunch that was happening next month. The leader, who claims she is an ordained minister, also does visitation at a local hospital as a volunteer. She wears a black shirt with the inverted collar and a long black skirt. A LARGE gold cross hangs from her neck. I had confronted her once before on her outfit, and she stated that people and men in particular respected the collar.
I received a text from a friend who goes to the Calvary Chapel church at the conference center, and she said I should come to church. I have told her repeatedly that it is becoming part of the apostasy. I had asked the pastor a year ago his views on Christian Yoga, and he wouldn’t answer even after I gave him literature on the topic. I see him now about once a week at a local elementary school. We exchange pleasantries. He said I could come back, and I told him that he hadn’t answered me on where he stands on Yoga and further more as an employee of the Conference Center, Brian Brodersen, who is his boss, is definitely going in the wrong direction. He finally e-mailed me his answer in which he stated he didn’t know about Brian Brodersen’s directions for the church or his joining up with Rick Warren or the Pope, but he would check it out. As for Yoga, he is “wary” of it.
I had one sane interaction toward the end of the day. A lady friend and I on the same page share the Lord with each other and some of our friends, and we pray they will listen before it is too late. We agreed that most people are content to live in the “Bubble” of life that goes on and they have their cocktail parties with the “plastic” people who tell jokes, talk about their shopping sprees, and live for the next day to do it again.
Enough of the insanity. I went to bed and continued reading a book by Dave Hunt Urgent Call for a Serious Faith. That is the answer.
We need to hold fast to Jesus. He is our life line. He is our Savior.
A Sister in California
The video below is a tribute to Lighthouse Trails author Ray Yungen who passed away on October 16, 2016 by Spiritual Research Network founder and director Chris Lawson. Chris has put together a special YouTube tribute page for Ray with several lecture videos by Ray. Click here for that page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrnkfIeSWQFG8uqkR3bfVng/featured.
NEW BOOKLET: FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It? by Cedric H. Fisher is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 10 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?, click here.
By Cedric H. Fisher
God’s Word gives us examples of faith in the fire, faith in the flood, faith when outnumbered by the enemy, faith when facing an indomitable foe, faith in prison, faith during torture, faith when destitute, hungry, and thirsty, faith on stormy seas, faith to lose everything and faith to receive it all back again, faith to procreate though infertile, and faith to die. Every instance of faith thus described is manifested in adversity or great need. To find examples in Scripture of faith operating in a peaceful and bountiful climate would be a difficult task. I’m not sure there are any at all.
The Bible likens God’s way of purifying the faith of a believer to the refining process of gold. Peter writes:
. . . that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)
The refining process of gold requires that it be heated to a molten condition whereby the impurities (dross) float to the top and are skimmed off. The prophet Malachi describes this process as an illustration of how God purifies the believer:
[A]nd he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)
Some might contend that the peaceful climate is the result of faith. That may be true, but it is not faith in operation. Good health is the result of exercise, but it is not exercise. If our comfortable status is faith, then the testings of faith would not require adversity. Further, there would be no biblical examples of godly men and women exercising faith to overcome adversity.
The obvious truth is that the appearance of faith tends to be relatively dormant in times of peace. We are sustained by the benefits of our relationship with God. However, when a true Christian believes he can go through life without any adversity, such a person is being set up to be “channeled.” Now, what I am referring to by “channeled” is this: when someone tries to avoid adversity, he is actually setting himself up to be manipulated and channeled by Satan who is always at work to make it difficult and painful for devoted believers to obey God’s will.
Let me elaborate on this line of thought. If a Christian believer intends to be a light that shines in darkness, he becomes a target of evil entities. If he stands up for and speaks the truth, he will suffer. If he accepts, assimilates, and defends the values of godliness, he will suffer. If he refuses to go with the flow of nominal Christianity or worse, apostasy, he will suffer. If he refuses to deviate from God’s Word in a time of great compromise, he will suffer. If he has a prophetic calling, he might even lose his life for Christ’s sake.
Consider this scenario: A professing Christian has witnessed the suffering of a fellow believer who is being a true witness for Jesus Christ. The professing Christian has tried to do the same and experiences similar sufferings and consequences. As a result, he decides to avoid manifesting any fruit of Christianity that causes contention, rejection, or persecution. He is considered one of the nicest, most gregarious, kindly, friendly, and positive people. Everyone loves him and speaks well of him. What’s more, he is flexible and capable of mingling with any belief system. Nearly everyone enjoys associating with him, and he has excellent rapport with all of them. Secular and religious people of all stripes laud him as an example of a true Christian. And he does not want to lose that status, so he makes every attempt to make sure he doesn’t end up suffering again.
However, such a Christian does not match the examples of what the Bible describes as true Christianity, nor does he match the example of Christ Himself. In reality, such professing Christians, in their efforts to avoid the consequences and sufferings of true Christianity, are being “channeled” by Satan and his imps. Upon seeing this compromising attitude, these adversaries of our souls can re-circumvent lives (i.e., change the direction one is going) by causing situations that re-direct that person in his walk because he wants to avoid suffering, ridicule, and rejection for standing in and defending the faith.
These re-directed channeled Christians have, in effect, turned down their light to a non-offensive level. In fact, they are not actually lights at all, but shadows; they lie somewhere between light and darkness. The path they walk weaves around every uncomfortable and inconvenient situation; they walk in a state of delusion because deceit has become the norm for them. Christ warned about this type of fruitless follower.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)
The apostle Paul described what would befall the ones who truly desire to live godly in Christ. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Peter also wrote about the suffering of true followers of Christ. He mentioned the suffering of believers eighteen times in his first letter.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Isn’t it interesting (and tragic) that so many modern-day Christians believe it is strange to suffer and that it is not God’s will. They believe they are supposed to be constantly happy, blessed, healthy, wealthy, and peaceful, while enjoying life in this temporal realm. The terms “happy,” “blessed,” “peaceful,” etc, are relative. Those emotions are based on a life ordered by them, not by God. They avoid all negativity. They have no productivity because it is inconvenient.
Heretics find a willing audience in these individuals because they never resist darkness. To do so would be too uncomfortable and painful. Their lives are empty, swept, and ordered (Matthew 12:44). They’ve maintained a shiny neon shell of godliness, but there is no substance inside. The will of God is not included in their order. Standing up for truth, being a true light that exposes evil, obeying God when the price is rejection, or worse, harsh persecution, are not in their order of things to do.
The focus of that type of professing Christian is on milking God’s Word and kingdom of all the benefits without incurring the costs of genuine relationship. They are “professors,” but not possessors. They never exercise faith because they avoid the situations where faith is needed. There is no sense of true victory in them. There must be constant stimulation from a source other than God and His Word.
I think of the so-called present-day “Christian” music and how so much of it lacks the substance to build one’s faith. This faith-less music does not exhort people to repent, fully surrender to God, pray, and refrain from lifestyles that caused their defeat. Instead, the great majority of the songs put the entire responsibility of ones deliverance from sin on God; and while it is true that only God can break the bondage to sin, it is also true that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Hebrews 11:6). The backslider and hypocrite are treated as helpless victims instead of rebels who need to acknowledge their sin and repent. We certainly need His forgiveness, but He has made it clear that repentance, denouncing our sin, and surrendering to His will is our responsibility. (Remember the old hymn, “Kneel at the Cross”?) And you sure won’t hear too many songs in today’s churches that talk about the sufferings of Christ that we must also be prepared to endure. In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he so eloquently describes the role and the results of our willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake:
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings. (Philippians 3:7-10)
Christians who do not exercise their faith but rather run from it end up in a miserable and decrepit spiritual condition. And allowing such a thing to happen does not honor God at all. For one thing, it ignores and rejects all He has given us for victory, the “precious promises” He gives us for living godly lives consecrated to Him. To such people, the substance of faith is more a happy thought or luck charm than it is a supernatural infusion of iron will to fight the good fight and win:
[W]hereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8)
The damage of the so-called “positive confession” aka “Word of Faith” heresy has been to strip out the heart of a warrior and replace it with the heart of entitlement-mindedness. Even committed followers of Jesus Christ can be affected by this fallacy if they are not watchful. When they suffer and feel alone and rejected, they wonder if God has abandoned them. That is actually an opportunity for faith to go from embers to blazing brilliance.
As long as we are humans and children of God, we need the trials. When distraction and disfocus dim our view of God’s glory or our humanity incrementally cools us to a temperature less than hot, we need the fiery trials. In essence, we must embrace them. Paul said he actually took pleasure in them (because he knew the benefits of them):
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
From my own experiences during fiery trials, I can testify that the pain, the angst, and other suffering are conquered the instant I surrender to the flames. It is like falling backwards off a steep cliff into the hands of God. There is no parachute and no stopping halfway. If He doesn’t catch you, then you will hit the bottom and die. That is literally the goal of faith—to trust God with your life and everything in it. All that is not put into His hands is unprotected and causes us angst and suffering. However, when all is surrendered, we receive a deep serenity that the fire will not burn anything except what needs to be consumed. That’s when the gold shines.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9; emphasis added)
Remember, the destiny of Christ was a cross. Our destiny is also a cross. Only when we accept that destiny, will we understand. Newness of life has its birth and growing pains. But the heart of a believer in Jesus Christ holds this proverb by its roots:
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18; emphasis added)
In the meantime, let us not grow weary of the trials and tribulations of this life, knowing that God is doing His work within us for His glory:
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)
Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?, click here.
For more by Cedric Fisher, click here.
To our Lighthouse Trails friends:
Joy and I wish to convey our overwhelming gratitude for all the letters and gifts that came pouring in after our July 3rd house fire. And for the many caring people who have asked for an update, we are still awaiting the restoration of our home after the fire that erupted from a seemingly innocent electrical outlet in the basement. Due to many unanticipated factors, it looks like it will be at least another six months before it will be ready for safe occupancy. For a couple of people who routinely ran homeless programs and homeless shelters in our younger years, it has been quite an experience to be without a home ourselves. Living primarily in various motels, we will soon be moving into our sixth place since the fire. To complicate the whole situation, prior to the fire we were in the process of having 70 pine trees felled and removed from our yard. Because of the four-year California drought, bark beetles had killed most of the beautiful pine trees that had graced our yard—many of them 80-100 feet tall. Tree specialists will be working around the construction people in what had been our very quiet home and yard. Throw in a few personal health concerns and the sad passing of our two dear friends and co-laborers Ray Yungen and Caryl Matrisciana, and it has, needless to say, been quite a year. Nevertheless, we are standing fast, hanging tight, and continuing to press on!
In terms of ministry, earlier in the year, I spoke at several conferences and churches in California and Canada and wrote several booklets. After the fire, I spoke in California, Oregon, and Wisconsin. After the shock of the fire wore off we were able to get an expanded 2nd edition of Another Jesus Calling: How Sarah Young’s False Christ is Deceiving the Church published along with another booklet for Lighthouse Trails. Ironically, the booklet titled Trusting God Through it All: What Scripture Tells Us was published just prior to the fire. I have found myself reading that particular booklet more than once since the fire.
Again, we are very thankful for those who have called, written, and helped support us through this process. We look forward to a new year of addressing necessary issues and doing whatever we can to update and encourage the body of Christ through our books, booklets, articles, and presentations at conferences. It should be a very interesting and challenging time for us all.
We wish everyone a blessed and joyful New Year. May we all press on toward the higher calling of our Lord.
Lighthouse Trails Editors’ Note: Please remember Warren and Joy Smith in your prayers this coming year. For as much as they have been through, Warren continues in his determination to reach out to the body of Christ with his warnings, exhortations, and encouragements. We hope you will also prayerfully consider supporting Warren’s ministry financially. Warren gave up a successful career as a social worker and hospice care worker over fifteen years ago to write False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? Since then, God has brought Warren into a full-time writing and speaking ministry. While the Lord has sustained the ministry, it is not without its ongoing challenges, especially considering Warren is not part of an organization that covers him financially. If you would like to send a year-end donation to Warren, you may do so by using his PayPal account or by mailing a check in his name in care of Lighthouse Trails (P.O. Box 908, Eureka, MT 59917). Another option is to support him through regular monthly donations which can be set up also through his PayPal account.
Lighthouse Trails has now mailed out the third letter along with two booklets to about 130 Christian leaders in the U.S. As we reported earlier this year in our article titled “Lighthouse Trails Publishing to Make Contact with Over 100 Christian Leaders to Warn About Jesus Calling,” we prayerfully made the decision to start sending short letters and selected titles of our booklets to those who are considered major Christian leaders in America. Our list is currently at 130 names.
Our first mailing included a copy of Warren B. Smith’s booklet 10 Scriptural Reasons Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book and was sent out in March of 2016. Our second letter was sent out in May of 2016 and included two booklets: Ray Yungen’s 5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer and Roger Oakland’s Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome.
In this third mailing, we sent the leaders two booklets: Setting Aside the Power of the Gospel for a Powerless Substitute by David Dombrowski (chief editor of Lighthouse Trails) and Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (And Important Reasons Why it Shouldn’t). The following is the contents of the third letter:
Dear Christian Leader:
We are sending you two booklets that we publish, which we hope you will find helpful in understanding some of the serious problems the Christian church is facing today.
Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation explains what the Spiritual Formation movement is, how it is tied in with the contemplative-prayer movement that originated with the Catholic Church, and how pervasive it has become in the evangelical and Protestant church today.
Setting Aside the Power of the Gospel for a Powerless Substitute is an exhortation for pastors and leaders to remember that the Bible says the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God. It is this very power that has the ability to change lives; but so many in today’s church have taken a hold of powerless substitutes and then wonder why Christians are not growing in maturity, strength, and wisdom.
We hope you will read and prayerfully consider the messages in these two booklets.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails
You may view the list of leaders we sent this letter and the booklets to by clicking here (although we have since added a few more names).
Dear Lighthouse Trails Editors:
It seems that a new phrase might be in order to describe what’s going on in the church. When we see or hear someone endorse a practice that goes contrary to the Word within the church especially, I guess we could call that “a biblical emergency” for lack of a better term. We could call those who are out on the front lines warning us about these practices “first responders” in a certain sense, similar to the terminology that applies to those responding to a fire, a robbery, etc.
With contemplative prayer, mantra meditation, and other unbiblical practices having entered into the church, I would say the church has that kind of emergency situation. It’s a very unusual way to describe that.