Posts Tagged ‘the church’

Salt-Free Christianity—the Way of Today’s Church

                        bigstockphoto.com

By Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries

We hear of all different kinds of ingredients in food that we should avoid for our health. Salt is high on the list. Today, salt is used as a flavor enhancer, but in biblical times, it had a more important purpose, it preserved meats. It was the most available way to keep meat from going bad.

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. (Leviticus 2:13)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Your body is a living sacrifice to God when you are employed in His service. This is why Paul follows this with not being conformed to the world; if we are conformed to the world, we no longer have salt in our sacrifice.

We can’t tell someone about Jesus without having salt. Especially if that person already has another way he is following. People need light, and they need salt even though salt can sting on an open wound. The Word of God is described as a two-edge sword, a hammer, and WE are described as salt.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:13-14; emphasis added)

Of course we need to keep in mind that to minister to someone means we need to listen, sometimes more than we speak. There is a right time to answer. Firing answers at a person after each thing you disagree with can extinguish what you want to accomplish. There is a time to be a little salt and a time to be a lot.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6)

Also, salt is a seasoning with grace; it is not the main element.

On the other hand, salt left in a salt shaker on the shelf is useless. Are you salt that is being used? Or are you trampled underfoot by your enemies and just sitting on a shelf useless?

We may not be able to preserve the culture from is decline, but we can preserve individuals lives by our being salt.

And yet, how many pastors and leaders are there who have lost their saltiness? There are pastors in the pulpit who avoid mentioning or pointing out what is sin—that is what I call salt-free Christianity. When you have pastors who refuse to repent for teaching wrong doctrine or for their wrongdoing to other people (and they have been confronted and do nothing in response), they have become saltless.

Salt can be removed within the church, no longer preserving biblical doctrine. Losing salt does not come overnight, it takes time. This happens when opportunities to speak out and present the truth are neglected which begins the process. It is when worldly “tolerance” is exercised instead of biblical judgment.

It is the church of Laodicea that does not notice it has become lukewarm and saltless. Members of the Laodicean church show tolerance for any doctrinal aberration, seeking to unite with all under the name of love, peace, and unity.  This backslidden church has stood for nothing for so long that it has little effect on society while at the same time, it has allowed many things contrary to Christ’s teachings to come in. Jesus is outside, knocking on the door.

Eventually God removes His lampstand from churches that do not repent.

We are being taught to be tolerant, to discern nothing, to judge nothing- that is salt-free Christianity.

Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?  It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 14: 34-35)

For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.  Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. (Mark 9:49-50)

As believers in Christ, let us not be part of a salt-free Christianity. We are here to preserve—what we need to be is leaven free, not salt free.

This is Not a Review of “The Shack”

Cedric Fisher

By Cedric Fisher
Truth Keepers

I’m not going to write a review or detailed critique of William P. Young’s book or movie both titled The Shack. The reason is because there are already a number of good reviews available. You can access plenty of information on Lighthouse Trails Research. What I will do is present a warning.

First, I want to point out that there are some heresies and deceptions that one should not need a review to recognize and reject. The televangelist selling God’s favor, which increases with the size of the donation, is one. Another one is a preacher smoking pot or getting drunk on video while claiming that it is the way to get closer to God. One more is the preacher that declares that God has entrusted only him with new revelation essential to understanding the Bible. Likewise, does anyone really need to inform a true Christian about what is wrong with The Shack?

Now for the warning. God’s word declares that the end times will be very dangerous for Christians. There will be many spiritually wicked individuals masquerading as servants of God. They will present heresies and other lies for the purpose of deceiving God’s people. However, some professing Christians declare that it is impossible for Christians to be deceived and apostatize. If that is true, then who is Satan deceiving and who is apostatizing? The lost are already deceived and cannot apostatize from faith that they do not have.

Obviously, the deception has to be very clever. If it were disguised as an orange, it would appear exactly as a genuine orange. Therefore, we can expect lies disguised exactly as truth. However, if people accept enough false oranges loaded with a mind-numbing drug, it stands to reason that false oranges will no longer be needed. Then whatever is being disguised by the falseness will be offered without pretense. Click here to continue reading.

THE CALLING OF THE CHURCH

By Harry Ironside

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1·3)

I. THE FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH

IN VIEW of the exhortation of our text above, we naturally raise the question, What is the vocation wherewith we are called? And that leads us to turn to various portions of the New Testament to consider what the Spirit of God has been pleased to reveal concerning that marvelous society to which every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has been joined by the Holy Spirit.

What is the church? How do we become members of the church? What are our responsibilities as belonging to the church? What is the destiny of the church of God?

I want to be very elementary and shall begin at the beginning by turning to the first place in the New Testament, where we read of the church—Matthew 16. Here, immediately after Peter’s remarkable confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” we read:

[A]nd Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven, and I say also unto thee that thou art Peter [thou art a piece of rock] and upon this rock [I take it this rock refers to the blessed truth that Christ is the Son of God] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:17-18)

Notice, “I will build My church.” Observe, our Lord Jesus Christ did not here speak of something that was in the process of building. He did not say, “I am building My church,” or “I have been building My church,” as though it had been in course of construction either throughout the centuries before Christ came into the world or during the time He was on earth as man, but He spoke of the building of the church as something still in the future.

The gates of hell [that is, the gates of the unseen world] shall not prevail against it.

I get great encouragement from that statement of my Lord, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church that Jesus builds. Sometimes people are very pessimistic regarding the future of the church. They see atheism and unbelief rolling in like a flood and the cults and isms appearing like mushrooms, and they are afraid that the true faith of the church of God will be overthrown by all these things, but we have the assurance of the Lord Jesus Christ that so long as the church of God shall remain in this scene, it will remain undefeated.

An army does not take the gates of the city out to war with it, and the church does not sit on a hill and the gates of hell surround her, but the church of God is a conquering spiritual army carrying on a battle against the powers of hell, and they shall not prevail against her. A right-thinking man does not shut his eyes to the signs of the times and will not be ignorant of Satan’s devices, but he knows that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, and the church of Jesus Christ will not retire from the scene a defeated company.

Here Christ called it “My church” for the first time. He was not speaking of any separate company. He was not speaking of any particular sect or denomination. He was speaking of the aggregate of the redeemed in this time of grace and called them “My church.”

Now let us look further: there were saints of God in the world from the beginning, right down to the time Jesus uttered these words. In a sense, these saints constituted churches. Stephen spoke of the people in the wilderness as a church, an assembly, but we must distinguish between any such companies and that unique company that Christ called “My church.” This church of which He spoke could not come into being until He had died on the Cross, had been raised from the dead, was received up into glory, and sent the Spirit down into the earth, which He did at Pentecost.

Matthew 18 records the next place Christ spoke of the church, and this time it is about discipline in the church, and it would apply just as well to the congregation of Israel. He used the word “church” here in a narrower sense than He did in chapter 16. He spoke of trespass:

[I]f thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone-if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more . . . if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church. (Matthew 18:15, 17)

This is not very often done now. The command is to tell it to the called out company, not to the whole world. The church here is not the aggregate of all the redeemed but a local company in any given place. We are not able to tell it to the whole church of Jesus, but, meeting with a company of believers in a given place, which company of Christian people is an assembly of saints, we should go to them and bring the matter before them, and they will act on behalf of their glorified Lord.

There is not one other word regarding the church in Matthew.

II. THE CHURCH AS THE BODY OF CHRIST

The apostle Paul was the one chosen of God to unfold the teaching of the church as the body of Christ in the largest way. He was not the only one to whom this truth was revealed, but he received the largest revelation (see Ephesians 3:1-6). Paul did not write by consultation with other believers, not even with the original twelve, but he received his message as a direct revelation from Christ. The word rendered “mystery” here means, not something peculiarly difficult and mystical, but a sacred secret. The mystery Paul speaks of is something not found in the Old Testament, not proclaimed by the former prophets; it is something new. It was revealed to a body of holy apostles and prophets. In God’s due time, it was opened up to the other members of the apostolic band and those associated with, them. It is the special truth of what God is doing in this age, taking people from among the Jews and Gentiles and uniting them by the Spirit’s baptism into one body. Into what body? The body that had been formed on the Day of Pentecost.

There was no other body into which the Gentiles could be brought.

“That the Gentiles should be made fellow heirs.” Fellow heirs with whom? Those Jews who were already converted. They entered into partnership with the Jews. Paul said, “whereof I was made a minister [of this].” It was to tell the Gentiles who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ that they are no longer strangers and foreigners to the covenant promises of God but are made fellow citizens with the Jews of the household of God.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)

I like the humility of Paul. What a lowly place this mighty man of God was willing to take!

The implication is clear: the Gospel had already been preached among the Jews and many had believed, and now in a special sense it was given to him to go out and proclaim it among the Gentiles that they might enter into the same testimony and have the same blessing.

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.(Ephesians 3:10)

This is unto angelic hosts, unfallen beings, who look on redeemed men and women and learn the riches of Christ.

Here are saints on earth, since the Cross and Pentecost—many Jews, others Gentiles, come to the same common ground, God meeting them all as sinners approaching Him through the redeeming blood of Christ, which are cleansed from every stain, given a new life and nature, and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit Himself, and then everyone is linked up by the Spirit with their risen, glorified Head in Heaven; and so intimate is that union that they are as close to Him as the members of my body are to each other.
The principalities and powers looking down on the world and seeing the work of God here, that is, grace picking up sinful Jews and Gentiles and making them one in Christ, are the angels who glorify God for the work He is doing, and they learn the wisdom of God. This is what God is doing now. This body relationship is spoken of in Ephesians 4:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)

There you have this corporate union with Christ. He is the Head, and every believer is occupying some place in that body.

I do not know what part of the body I am. The members of my physical body do not know what part they are. The consciousness is in the head; so with the spiritual body, the consciousness is in the Head up yonder, and He knows what each one is placed there for. My brethren, what a wonderful thing it is for each member to be in good working order! If one member of our body is not functioning right, the whole body suffers, and so Scripture says of Christ’s body, if one member suffers all the members suffer with it, and if one be honored, all the members rejoice together. If you are not going on with God and living for Him, if your life is not a godly life, you are like some member of the body out of order and failing to function. If you are living for God and walking with God, you may not be conscious of it, but you are a help and blessing to all the other members.

III. THE CHURCH AS A BUILDING

We are not only pictured in this wonderful epistle as members of the body of Christ, but in Ephesians 2, we are pictured as each one part of a building. Here we have our heavenly citizenship. Here is a new household:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Believers constitute that spiritual house.

Notice how he used the word “fitly.” In chapter 4, “fitly joined together,” and in chapter 2, “fitly framed together.”

A master builder is very careful that every stone fits properly, that every board is properly fitted together; otherwise the beauty and perhaps the safety is marred. It is the work of the Spirit of God to fitly frame the building together. Peter speaks of us as lively stones come to the Living Stone and thus are builded together into an house of God.

IV. THE CHURCH AS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Ephesians 5:22-27, 30, 32:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish . . . For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones . . . This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Here, he has changed the figure. You do not sanctify and cleanse your body to present it to yourself; it is part of you. He has changed the figure from the body to the bride, and I dare say as he penned these words, he thought of Hosea when he was commanded by God to do something that was most repugnant, to illustrate God’s dealings with Israel, and typically the Lord’s dealing with the church. He had to go to the slave market to buy his wife, and the Spirit pointed her out. She was vile, filthy, contaminated, and a slave, but he took her and cleansed and clothed her, and presented her to himself, and yet she was not faithful to him, and he had to buy her back again. This is a picture of Israel. She is called the bride of God, and later on the wife. These are just symbols. Christ has to cleanse the church in order to present her to Himself a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle. It is a figure of a wife presented to her husband.

[W]e are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

This reminds us that when Adam received Eve, he said, “she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Paul is now quoting (in verse 31) from Genesis. Paul is here telling us that the mystery of marriage illustrates the relationship between Christ and the church.

We have seen the church then as a redeemed company, as the body of Christ, as a glorious building in which the Spirit of God dwells, and as the bride soon to be presented to the Lamb, Who died to redeem her. That in itself speaks of her destiny.

V. THE CALLING OF THE CHURCH

What, then, is the calling of the church of God?

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4- 7)

Sitting in heavenly places does not mean we are now sitting together “with” Christ Jesus.

Now we are sitting “in” Christ, not “with.” “With” Christ will be our happy portion by and by when Christ comes and takes us home, that in the ages to come He may show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Show means that He might exhibit. The church, then, called out of sin and darkness, redeemed to God with the precious Blood of Christ, and linked to the Head with the Spirit, will be one with Christ throughout all the ages to come, and so whatever experiences our Lord may be called upon to go through we shall go through with Him. We shall reign with Him and be with Him when He is all and in all. Our portion will be with Him through all eternity.

Let us, therefore, walk worthy of the calling wherewith we are called.

(You may read more by Harry Ironside at www.harryironside.com.)

Identifying Wolves—Past and Present

By Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International
& The Good Shepherd Calls Ministry

Both Old Testament and New Testament writers warned ravenous wolves sneaking into flocks led by false shepherds and cleverly harming the unprotected sheep. This is a fact of life throughout history. Perhaps Jude, the half-brother of Jesus said it best:

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. [1]

These “certain men” Jude was writing about were wolves who had an agenda to fleece and devour the flock. Obviously, this was happening in the church that had been planted shortly following the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. Very little time had passed before they had “crept in.”

But nothing is new under the sun. Paul predicted this would happen as stated in the book of Acts:

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. [2]

The apostasy in the book of Jude was certainly a fulfillment of Paul’s prediction. However, delving back into an earlier time, it is apparent that the forefathers of Paul and Jude were plagued by similar deceptive plans to dupe those who were called sheep. It would take pages and pages to exhaust the references found in the books of the major and minor prophets in the Bible with regard to those who were neglecting, abusing, and leading innocent sheep to the slaughter. As one example, we look to a plea of Jeremiah found in the 23rd chapter. He proclaimed:

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. [3] To read this entire article and for endnotes, click here.

Letter to the Editor: Concerned With the Spiritual State of the Church

Dear Lighthouse Trails Staff/Editors:

Thank you for your sound, accurate and helpful articles that expose the true nature of contemplative prayer. I appreciate your respectful and thorough responses of the questions submitted by various writers/inquirers. I believe the idea still holds true today that a child in a classroom raising her/his hand to ask a question represents a dozen other children sitting quietly who desire to have that same question answered. You similarly have helped many by answering the one.

I deeply appreciate your web site and the readings and videos offered. Over the years I have become more concerned with the spiritual state of the church. Reared in a conservative Bible believing church and presently a pastor’s wife and seminary graduate, I am troubled by the lack of biblical preaching from the pulpits let alone the spiritual condition of most congregations. It is truly frightening!

I wanted to comment on one specific thought you expressed in an article titled, “The Desert Fathers-Borrowing From the East.” Beginning with the third paragraph from the bottom:

The account of Cain and Abel is a classic biblical example of spiritual infidelity. Both of Adam’s sons wanted to please God, but Cain decided he would experiment with his own method of being devout. Cain must have reasoned to himself: “Perhaps God would like fruit or grain better than a dead animal. It’s not as gross. It’s less smelly. Hey, I think I will try it!”

I would agree with this statement, but further add that Cain chose the works of his hands (the grain offering) over the blood sacrifice (the burn offering) – Leviticus1 and 2. He knew what he was doing, he was doing it his way. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). After Adam and Eve sinned they covered themselves with fig leaves – God killed the animal and covered them with skins. Again, we see man trying to cover over his sins with the works of his hands and God reminding man that His way is the only one. There must be a blood sacrifice! (Even Satan requires blood sacrifices from his followers, the pagan nations surrounding Israel were indeed just this, worshipping/sacrificing to Satan. And today it is no different.)

In the New Testament – Romans chapter 3 (Burnt offering – Leviticus 1), Romans chapter 5 (peace offering-Leviticus chapter 3) and Romans chapter 12 (grain offering – Leviticus 2). I cannot take credit for this. It is presented in my husband’s sermons/teachings and from the years he has dedicated to studying God’s word and seeking God’s face, that have given me a more complete view of the Scriptures. Recently he preached from Leviticus at New Covenant PCA where he is serving as an interim pastor.

Thank you again for your diligence, gentle and yet firm stance for truth, God’s Word. I believe the church has entered into a new season, one that many are ignorant of. The tactics the devil used from the beginning of time have not changed. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” (Gal.1:6-7) May we continue to faithfully listen and obey God’s Word, for it is God breathed, while persevering to the end!

For His Kingdom,
 P.K.

What’s Wrong With a More Social Gospel?

by Paul Proctor
Free-Lance Writer
(used with permission)

In an article for Christianity Today titled, “A More Social Gospel,” C.L. Lopez writes about a new evangelical emphasis emerging on college campuses:

There has been a definitive shift in how campus ministries think about connecting with students,” said Kara Powell, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary. “More and more campus leaders are realizing that the gospel is both personal evangelism and justice.

The gospel is “justice”?

If there is any “justice” to the gospel, it is that the Lord Jesus Christ took our “justice” on the cross to satisfy the debt we incurred in our rebellion against God. But that’s not what “social justice” or the “social gospel” is about.

Lopez continues:

Scott Bessenecker, associate director of missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, said students within the organization’s 850 groups on 562 campuses have focused more on social causes in recent years.

As Mr. Bessenecker points out, their “focus” is “more on social causes” which, frankly, is not the gospel Christians are called to proclaim. Still, he added:

[We] want to engage students with a Jesus who walks among the marginalized,” Bessenecker said. “InterVarsity is trying to help students embrace and engage the social dimensions of the gospel in a way that will inspire individuals to say, ‘I want to follow this Jesus.’

How many Jesus’ does Mr. Bessenecker think there are?

First of all, when one talks about the “marginalized” in general, they are usually referring to those outside the mainstream of society. But then, one could make the case that all minorities feel “marginalized” at some point along life’s way, from African Americans to fundamentalist Christians to homosexual activists to witches.

In fact, I would dare say that most individuals have, at one time or another, felt to some degree, “marginalized.” So, in this context, statements like Jesus “walks among the marginalized” might have a universal appeal and even sound compassionately Christian, but in reality, may not be at all biblical or even relevant with respect to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. And that is my concern here.

Moreover, it has been my experience that whenever someone refers to “a Jesus,” they’re probably not talking about the Jesus of the Bible, but instead, a less scriptural and more worldly personality that appeals to “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” – a “Jesus” more useful in advancing earthly agendas than those of heaven.

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” – 2nd Corinthians 11:4

The social gospel and its increasingly popular “social justice” campaign is not an acceptable substitute for preaching repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Its promoters all too often set aside the vertical, spiritual and eternal issues of sin, rebellion, obedience, holiness and reverence toward God in order to redirect the focus toward more horizontal, physical and temporal values. In the end, the flesh is, for a time, fed and comforted, but the souls of sinners are left abandoned to biblical ignorance because disobedient do-gooders have spiritually sidetracked the Church and its mission.

And then there was this in the CT piece:

Josh Spavin, an intern with the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Campus Crusade for Christ chapter, said traditional evangelistic outreach still works, but times have changed with this generation.

It “still works, but times have changed?” Sounds like dialectic doubletalk to me – designed to carefully steer the undiscerning in a new worldly direction without alarming or offending anyone.

The article went on to say:

Students tend to not just take it unless they experience it or see it in someone else’s life,” Spavin said. “It is still the same gospel and it is still the love of Christ that is being shared – it is just a different tactic.

“For by tactics are ye saved?” Is that what the Apostle Paul taught in Ephesians?

The “love of Christ” is obedience to His Word, not doing what is right in our own eyes to “connect” with people and win their favor so they might hopefully hear the truth someday. If we put our relationships with each other over and above our relationship with Jesus Christ and withhold the whole counsel of God so as not to offend, not only are we breaking the two greatest commandments given, we are yielding to the flesh and prince of this world.

I would say the greatest failure of the Church today is its unwillingness to say and do the unpopular thing. Too many Christians busy themselves these days trying to come up with new ways of being admired and desired by the world rather than simply being obedient to the Lord they claim to love.

With a self-sustaining focus on acquiring evermore results and relationships (i.e., “church growth”) by way of pragmatism and consensus, none of which is biblical, today’s Christians are, by and large, being persuaded and trained week after week to embrace surveys, marketing principles, public relations programs and people skills as their new commandments with dialectically-trained consultants and facilitators posing as prophets and preachers – people pleasers who know how to work the crowd and steer the herd while selectively applying the scriptures as needed to maintain a biblical appearance of righteousness and religiosity.

We’re essentially giving people what they want at church these days in hopes they will reciprocate with more participation and support. How is this “tactic” any different from those used on Wall Street and in Washington D.C.?

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.– 1st Corinthians 1:18

Related Articles:

“They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus” – How Conservative Christians Are Being Manipulated and Ridiculed, Especially During Election Years

“Contextualization” of the Gospel – A Free-Falling Catastrophe

Will the Evangelical Church Sell Out the Gospel for a Dominionist Political Agenda?

Book Review: Have Heart – Part Two – The “Canaanization” of the Church

As the religion of the Canaanites tested Israel’s fidelity to Jehovah, so the emerging New Age Religion of our culture—which merges the realities of earth and heaven (As above, so below) and blends the spirituality of what’s out there with what’s down here—tests the faith of today’s Christian in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Part 2 of Do the Dead Communicate with the Living? 
 By Larry DeBruyn

Death is a regular visitor in an irregular world. In our culture with its cultic fixation upon youth, health, beauty, brains and brawn, Christians, of all people, should be prepared to cope with death. To help others deal with the loss of a loved one who is a believer, Pastor Steve and Sarah Berger have written Have Heart: bridging the gulf between heaven and earth. Using the Bible and their “sanctified imagination,” the authors inform readers how they are dealing with the death of their beloved son, Josiah. In a public forum, at what they perceive to be the risk of ridicule, they state their case that those in Heaven are aware of and can actually be present with loved ones on earth.

In both the culture at large and amongst growing numbers of evangelical Christians, interest in the “connectivity” between this life and the next, between earth and heaven, is on the rise.[15] Both children and adults report visiting Heaven.[16] A few even claim they’ve been to Hell and back.[17] Others report “conversations” with Jesus.[18] But, the highway between earth and heaven appears to be run both ways. Deceased persons are now also reportedly appearing to earthly family, friends and acquaintances. One CNN writer calls these postmortem visits “crisis apparitions.”[19] Numbers of publications claiming to connect this life with the next can be noted, books bearing titles such as The Spirit Whisperer: Chronicles of a Medium, After Life: Answers from the Other Side, One Last Time: a Psychic Medium Speaks to Those We Have Loved and Lost, and Crossing Over: the Stories behind the Stories.[20]

Sometimes, living persons initiate ritual contact with deceased loved ones through mediums and séances. On other occasions, as the CNN writer reports, apparitions just “happen.”[21] It is claimed that these ethereal appearances—whether in or out of a body, no one knows—support that after death, there’s “life and love.” While such experiences are increasingly contemporary, they are not new.[22] For centuries apparitions of Mary, as well Jesus and others, have been reported throughout the world.[23]   Click here to continue reading this book review, see footnote material, and also to read the introduction and part 1.


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