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Archive for the ‘Apostasy’ Category

from MSN News:

The number of Americans who don’t affiliate with a particular religion has grown to 56 million in recent years, making the faith group researchers call “nones” the second-largest in total numbers behind evangelicals, according to a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday.

Christianity is still the dominant faith by far in the U.S.; 7 in 10 Americans identify with the tradition. However, the ranks of Christians have declined as the segment of people with no religion has grown, the survey says.

Between 2007 and 2014, when Pew conducted two major surveys of U.S. religious life, Americans who described themselves as atheist, agnostic or of no particular faith grew from 16 percent to nearly 23 percent. At the same time, Christians dropped from about 78 percent to just under 71 percent of the population. Protestants now comprise 46.5 percent of what was once a predominantly Protestant country.

Researchers have long debated whether people with no religion should be defined as secular since the category includes those who believe in God or consider themselves “spiritual.” But the new Pew study found increasing signs of secularism.

Last year, 31 percent of “nones” said they were atheist or agnostic, compared to 25 percent in 2007, and the percentage who said religion was important to them dropped.

Greg Smith, Pew’s associate research director, said the findings “point to substantive changes” among the religiously unaffiliated, not just a shift in how people describe themselves. Secular groups have become increasingly organized to counter bias against them and keep religion out of public life through lawsuits and lobbying lawmakers.

The growth of “nones” has political significance as well. People with no religion tend to vote Democratic, just as white evangelicals tend to vote Republican. The Pew study found a slight drop — about 1 percent — in the evangelical share of the population, which now comprises a quarter of Americans. But the overall number of evangelicals rose to about 62 million people.

Pew researchers said Christian losses were driven by decreases among mainline, or liberal, Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Mainline Protestants declined by about 5 million to 36 million between 2007 and 2014. Pew found 13 percent of U.S. adults are former Catholics. The study put the number of Catholic adults at 51 million, or just over one-fifth of the U.S. population, a drop of about 3 percent over seven years. In 2007, Catholics made up about one-quarter of Americans.

However, Pew researchers acknowledge those conclusions differ from those of some other major studies that found only slight declines or even a slight uptick in the numbers of Catholics in the last couple of years. Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which tracks American Catholicism, puts the U.S. adult Catholic population at 61 million.

Regarding other religions, Pew found an increase in membership of non-Christian faiths, driven mainly by growing numbers of Muslims and Hindus. Despite the increase, their numbers remain small. Muslims and Hindus each comprise less than 1 percent of the U.S. population. The number of Jews rose slightly over the period, from 1.7 percent to 1.9 percent of Americans.

Overall, religious groups have become more ethnically diverse along with the broader population. Latinos now comprise one-third of U.S. Roman Catholics, although fewer U.S. Latinos identify as Catholic overall. One-quarter of evangelicals and 14 percent of mainline Protestants are racial minorities. Membership in historically black churches has remained relatively stable over the period.

The survey of 35,000 people, titled “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” was conducted in English and Spanish from June 4 through Sept. 30 of last year and has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.6 percentage points.

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Matthew 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

So according to the words of Jesus Christ, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is no longer a Christian Church as it places itself in opposition to the words of God!

From The New York Times:

After three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage. The final approval by a majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church’s General Assembly.

The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The Presbytery of the Palisades, meeting in Fair Lawn, N.J., put the ratification count over the top on Tuesday on a voice vote. With many presbyteries still left to vote, the tally late Tuesday stood at 87 presbyteries in favor, 41 against and one tied.

“Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community,” said the Rev. Brian D. Ellison, executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which advocates gay inclusion in the church.

“There is still disagreement, and I don’t mean to minimize that, but I think we are learning that we can disagree and still be church together.” The church, with about 1.8 million members, is the largest of the nation’s Presbyterian denominations, but it has been losing congregations and individual members as it has moved to the left theologically over the past several years.

There was a wave of departures in and after 2011, when the presbyteries ratified a decision to ordain gays and lesbians as pastors, elders and deacons, and that may have cleared the way for Tuesday’s vote. With many conservative Presbyterians who were active in the church now gone, as well as the larger cultural shift toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, the decisive vote moved quickly toward approval, according to those on both sides of the divide.

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What these “Hirelings” mean when they say God wants to “bless” the faithful with earthly riches is that they are the ones to be “blessed” with money of those foolish enough to hand it over to them!

from MSN:

The ministry of a prominent Georgia megachurch pastor and evangelist who teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches is seeking donations to buy a luxury jet valued at more than $65 million.

The website of Creflo Dollar Ministries asked people Friday to “Sow your love gift of any amount” to help the ministry buy a Gulfstream G650 airplane. Dollar and his wife, Taffi, are co-pastors of World Changers International Church in College Park, just south of Atlanta.

Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers based around Atlanta who have built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel. Ministers in this tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works.

The ministry’s current plane, acquired in 1999, was built in 1984, has traveled more than 4 million miles and is no longer safe, spokesman Juda Engelmayer said. On a recent trip overseas, one of the engines failed, but the pilot was able to land safely and no one was injured, the ministry’s website says.

“(W)e are asking members, partners, and supporters of this ministry to assist us in acquiring a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace,” the ministry’s website says.

Gulfstream’s website lists an asking price of $67,950,000 for a G650 with a flight record of 1,616 hours and 625 landings since it entered service in mid-December.

Members of the ministry travel for much of the year bringing their message, food and supplies to people around the world, Engelmayer said. They need a plane that’s fuel efficient, faster, with enough cargo capacity and enough seats, he said.

The G650 “flies at more than 92 percent of the speed of sound,” typically holds about 18 seated passengers and can take off with a maximum weight of 99,600, according to Gulfstream’s website.

Numerous online reports quoted the ministry website as saying: “We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality.”

On Friday afternoon, that line was gone, and the website instead said: “Your love gift of any amount will be greatly appreciated.”

When asked about the change, Engelmayer replied in an email: “The ministry operates on the goodness of its followers and has always been a donor based organization. Every gift given is heartfelt and appreciated, and people who wish will give at the level comfortable to their situation and ability.”

Soon after that, the website’s entire page about the plane appeared disabled.

Dollar, who has five children, is a native of College Park and says he received a vision for the church in 1986. He held the first service in front of eight people in an elementary school cafeteria. His ministry grew quickly and the church moved into its current 8,500-seat sanctuary, on Dec. 24, 1995.

Dollar said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press that he renounced his church salary, and his income comes only from personal investments, including a real estate business and horse breeding company called Dollar Ranch. He’s also published more than 30 books, focusing mostly on family and life issues, including debt management.

He said he can get up to $100,000 for a single appearance on his packed schedule of speaking engagements.

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from Charisma News:

For those who had any questions, Rob Bell has now made himself totally clear: He is willing to trash parts of the Bible as “letters from 2,000 years ago” when God’s Word contradicts his views on same-sex “marriage.”

Bell appeared on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program together with his wife, Kristen, to promote their new book The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. In an interview last December, Bell explained that on page 16 of the book, he and Kristen give their “whole hearted affirmation” to same-sex “marriage.”

That was no surprise in light of his announcement in 2013 that he supported redefining marriage. In fact, that had been his position for years, although he had not proclaimed it publicly prior to 2013.

But on Oprah’s show, he and Kristen went much further, dismissing the words of Scripture and criticizing churches that were determined to be faithful to God.

Explaining to Oprah why they included “gay marriage” in their book, Rob said, “One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”

Of course, he’s absolutely right in terms of the importance of intimate personal relationships.

God made us to be relational beings, but in a very specific way. He formed Eve as the fit companion and helper for Adam, the two of them uniquely designed to complement each other in the journey and mission of life.

And Paul’s solution to loneliness (and, even more so, to temptation) was specific as well: “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).

He didn’t say, “Each person should have his or her own companion,” because that was never God’s intent for His creation.

In contrast, what the Bells want to do is take God’s very specific, beautiful blueprint, and radically redesign it in the name of “love.”

To be sure, the church needs to take on the burden of those who struggle with same-sex attraction, helping them in every way possible find personal and relational wholeness in Jesus. But we are hurting them rather than helping them when we think we know better than God.

Rob Bell was then asked by Oprah when the church was going to embrace same-sex “marriage,” to which he responded, “We’re close,” with Kristen adding, “I think it’s evolving.”

Rob then explained, “Lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable, and we’re moments … ,” at which point Oprah chimed in, “Moments away from the church accepting it?”

Rob’s answer said it all: “Absolutely … I think culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense. When you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other, and they just want to go through life with someone.”

So, according to Rob Bell, the church of Jesus should follow worldly culture and deny the plain teaching of God’s Word in order to be “relevant.” (For my thoughts on the idolatry of “relevance,” click here.)

And according to Bell, human feelings trump God’s Word, which can easily be dismissed as outdated—2,000 years outdated, it appears.

I guess what’s trending on Twitter trumps the timeless wisdom of the living Word of the living God.

I guess an emotional appeal carries far more weight than transcendent truth.

That’s similar to what Methodist Pastor Frank Schaeffer told me on my radio broadcast last year, explaining that he had to revise his views on the Bible and same-sex “marriage” after his son came out as gay but would “absolutely” have to restudy the issue if his son reversed his position about homosexuality.

Talk about loving your son or daughter (or father or mother) more than Jesus (see Matt. 10:37)

But that is exactly what Rob Bell is calling for: Go with the culture, stay “relevant,” dismiss the outdated biblical evidence and listen to your emotions.

Kristen, for her part, explained that some churches are just not getting with the program: “There are churches who are moving forward,” she said, “and there are churches who are almost regressing and making it more of a battle.”

How antiquated! How backwards! How embarrassing!

How dare these churches entrench themselves against the onslaught of worldly culture.

How dare they continue to resist the redefining of marriage and the rewriting of the sacred Scriptures.

How dare they hold fast to their position that God’s ways are best.

How dare they not get with the program of liberal progressivism.

The bad news is that many professing Christians are capitulating to culture and abandoning the holy and wholesome ways of the Lord.

The good news is that the Word of God stands forever (Is. 40:7-8; Matt. 24:35), and one day, Oprah Winfrey, with all her massive influence, and Rob and Kristen Bell, with their substantial influence as well, will be mere footnotes in this age of compromise and apostasy, marked as eternally irrelevant by the only One whose opinion matters.

That’s why I pray for their repentance today.

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from STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH:

Recently we shared that a pastor of GracePointe Church, who leads the megachurch congregation that country star Carrie Underwood attends, announced from the pulpit that not only can practicing homosexuals be members, but those in sexual sin can now fully serve in his church and will be allowed to “marry” at the facility.

In his excellent article titled,Witnessing to a New Breed of False Converts, Mike Gendron from Proclaiming the Gospel writes: “How do we evangelize people who believe they are Christians but, at the same time, deny their sin of homosexuality? We know from God’s Word that conviction of sin is an essential part of true conversion (John 16:8-11; 2 Cor. 7:10).

Until the sinner is convinced of sin, he can never be converted from sin. Until sin is thoroughly revealed, Christ cannot be rightly claimed as Savior. As long as sin is rationalized, Christ will be recognized merely as a badge of honor. No one will seek a Savior unless they know they are perishing. We must speak the truth in love to “gay Christians” and tell them that the Lord Jesus saves us from sin, not in sin.”

Here is the article:

Witnessing to a New Breed of False Converts

By Mike Gendron

A new kind of false convert has emerged within the professing church in this generation. They are professing Christians who identify themselves with a particular sinful lifestyle. They call themselves “gay Christians” and they are becoming more and more accepted in many Christian communities. Many of them have been encouraged by a book released last year called God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. The book was written by Matthew Vines who was raised in a Christian home. At age 19, he left Harvard University after his third semester to study the Bible and prove that homosexuality is not a sin and to remove the term “homophobia” that he thought was in the church. In March 2012, he delivered a message about the Bible and homosexuality that called for acceptance of gay Christians and same-sex marriages. Since then, his message has been seen nearly a million times on YouTube and was featured in The New York Times and The Christian Post. Tragically, Vines interprets the Bible through the lens of his sexuality rather than interpreting his sexuality through the lens of Scripture!
There is also the Metropolitan Community Church, which calls itself a Christian denomination, with 222 congregations in 37 countries. It is an outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families and reportedly bases its theology on the historic creeds of the Christian Church. One of its pastors was Mel White, who was best known for his ghostwriting auto-biographies for Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Billy Graham. After years of writing for the Christian right, he came out as a homosexual in 1994 and wrote his autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America.

The apostate pastor of GracePointe Church, who leads the megachurch congregation that country star Carrie Underwood attends, announced from the pulpit that not only can practicing homosexuals be members, but those in sexual sin can now fully serve in his church and will be allowed to “marry” at the facility.

How do we evangelize people who believe they are Christians but, at the same time, deny their sin of homosexuality? We know from God’s Word that conviction of sin is an essential part of true conversion (John 16:8-11; 2 Cor. 7:10). Until the sinner is convinced of sin, he can never be converted from sin. Until sin is thoroughly revealed, Christ cannot be rightly claimed as Savior. As long as sin is rationalized, Christ will be recognized merely as a badge of honor. No one will seek a Savior unless they know they are perishing. We must speak the truth in love to “gay Christians” and tell them that the Lord Jesus saves us from sin, not in sin.

We must tell them that the Bible reveals homosexuality to be a most degrading and indecent behavior that dishonors the body. It is an ungodly and unnatural sin that has been condemned by God, was punishable by death in the Old Testament and given as a divine judgment in the New Testament. It is a twisted perversion of the God-ordained roles for men and women. Of over 30,000 verses in the Bible, not one makes a positive statement about homosexuality. We must encourage false converts to take the Word of God seriously. Those who don’t will be judged by the Word of God on the last day (John 12:48). The Apostle Paul made it profoundly clear: “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). We must lovingly confront homosexuals and share with them that there is forgiveness in Christ. The power of God can set captives free from the bondage of any sin when they are washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11). In Christ, there will be victory and there will be joy and peace.

When God replaces man’s stony heart with a heart of flesh, and opens his eyes to see the light of the Gospel, and he is humbled under the sovereign hand of God, he will turn from his sin to Jesus Christ in gratitude and thanksgiving. Then his mind, his will, and his heart will all join together in the power of the Holy Spirit to put to death the evil deeds of the flesh for the glory of God.

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from Lighthouse Trails Research:

On January 21st, about 30 of contemporary Christian music’s most well-known singers from the last four decades will be joining New Age sympathizer and devout Roman Catholic Roma Downey for a special live online concert called “We Will Stand.” The concert is being presented by CCM United and has a motto of “One Message, Many Voices.’” According to an article titled “We Are United: The Story Behind ‘The Greatest Night In Contemporary Christian Music,’” there could be over a million viewers with a potential reach globally of 40 million.

A CCM United personnel told a Lighthouse Trails researcher in an e-mail that Downey will be opening the concert and will “make other stage appearances.”  Sponsors of the event include the Southern Baptist resource arm, LifeWay Christian Resources, Voice of the Martyrs, and Compassion International. Artists include: Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Don Moen, Mark Schultz, Sandi Patti, Travis Cotrell (Beth Moore’s worship leader), Love Song, Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Green, Dallas Holm, The Imperials,  Nicole Mullen and many others.

It is a sad state of affairs when a concert, billed as “the greatest night in the history of contemporary Christian music,” uses a highly New Age- and Catholic-influenced celebrity to help open and close the event, which is basically making a statement to viewers as well as the church at large that Christianity is compatible with all beliefs. But after all, the cry of today’s “new” Christian is unity, unity, unity, with all faiths and at any cost. This concert illustrates the terrible breach in discernment that is happening in Christianity today.

Lighthouse Trails may be writing a follow up report after the concert, which takes place online on January 21st. In the meantime, these 10 points below are 10 reasons why musicians who call themselves Christians should not be sharing a platform with Roma Downey.

10 Important Things to Consider About Roma Downey’s Spiritual Affinities:

1. Roma is a devout Roman Catholic who, among other Catholic rituals, prays to Mary, as she describes in this video. Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary is a co-redeemer with Jesus.

2. Roma Downey endorsed a 2010 New Age book titled Loyalty to Your Soul by Ron and Mary Hulnick (published by the New Age publisher, Hay House), Downey endorses the book saying:

As a USM [ University of Santa Monica – a New Age metaphysical school] graduate, I know firsthand the value I received from participating with Ron and Mary  in the Master’s degree Program in Spiritual Psychology. I am so grateful to have Loyalty to Your Soul to sweetly remind me of all I have learned. Let’s just say that I went from playing an angel on TV to living more of an angelic life every day. The teachings in this beautiful book have sent me on a journey to the very center of my own being where, wrapped in the safe wings of Love, I feel as though I have come home.

Downey’s endorsement in the Hulnick’s book is nestled in with full-blown New Agers like Barbara Marx Hubbard, Joan Borysenko, and Gay Hendricks (The Corporate Mystic). (By the way, Neale Donald Walsch, the New Ager who said that Hitler did the Jews a favor by killing them, wrote the foreword to Loyalty to Your Soul.)  Clearly, Downey read this book and resonates deeply with it to say what she did about it. To get an idea of this “journey” that Downey is on, listen to a few quotes from Loyalty to Your Soul:

Center your awareness in your heart and consciously look for the Loving Essence in the person in your presence. By doing so, you’re signifying your respect for the Soul before you . . .  Maintain awareness that you’re in conversation with another Divine Being who is engaged in having a human experience. (p. 209)

We ask for the presence, protection, guidance, and Love of the Divine Beings [spirit guides]  who work with each of us. (from the “Invocation” – emphasis added)

When people speak of spirituality, they simply mean awareness of the sacred reality of the Divine Essence within and beyond all creation. (p. 8, quoting favorably a New Age “spiritual teacher”)

You begin to recognize others as Divine Beings, and the situations and circumstances of your life as learning devices. (p. 31)

Those familiar with New Age teachings will recognize such statements as being the core essence of the occult (that man is divine) and that there are spirit guides who help us through life. Loyalty to Your Soul is a contemporary version of A Course in Miracles (the New Age book Warren B. Smithtalks about in his biography, The Light That Was Dark).

3. Roma Downey also endorsed a 2008/2011 book called Angels in My Hair: the true story of a modern day Irish mystic by Lorna Bryne. The book is about spirit guides in people’s lives.

4. Roma Downey graduated in 2010 from the University of Santa Monica’s Spiritual Psychology Program. The school was founded by the late New Age spiritualist guruJohn-Roger Hinkins in 1971 (who also founded the Movement of Spiritual Awareness). Hinkins claimed to have had a spirit guide named Mystic Traveler.  Today, University of Santa Monica  is considered a New Age/metaphysical university. Some teaching points from USM’s Spiritual Psychology program (the program is one of just three degree programs offered at the school):

a. ” If you are interested in really growing as a person and awakening more fully to your Divinity—take this course” (emphasis added).

b. “Soul-centered co-creation [a term used in New Age to signify our equality with God].”

c. “Spiritual Awakening. Designed to provide a practical working knowledge of, and appreciation for, the “giants” in the field of psychology, including Rogers, Perls, Ellis, and [Roberto] Assagioli [a world-famous occultist].”

d. “The Buddhas and the Christs are born complete.

5.  In 2010, Roma Downey did a “meditation” CD for psychic medium John Edward’s 2010 book Practical Praying: Using the Rosary to Enhance Your Life (see video of John Edwards). As of Jan. 17, 2015, John Edward’s is still selling the Practical Praying book advertising Roma Downey’s CD meditation contribution. John Edward is best known for his psychic TV show in which he talked to the dead. Downey has been on his show and allowed him to channel her mother.

6. New Age actress and ordained minister  of a New Thought church, Della Reese, plays a significant role in Downey’s life. In addition to Reese teaming with Downey for 9 years in the popular TV series Touched by an Angel, Reese is Downey’s daughter’s godmother and also officiated at the weddingof Downey and Mark Burnett.

7. Downey has been on the Oprah Show to promote her and her husband’s production Son of God. Oprah is the most influential New Ager today.

8. Downey and Burnett are proponents of Tony Robbins, a prolific New Ager. “For 25 years, Hollywood power producer Mark Burnett has applied Tony’s strategies to his life. This past year, he decided it was time to invite his wife, Roma Downey, and their 3 children to share in an experience they won’t forget.”(4)

9. Downey resonates with Eckhart Tolle, another very prolific New Age author and teacher. Warren B. Smith has written about Tolle and his New Age/New Spirituality views. One article about Downey quotes her as saying: “My kids go to school about a 40-minute  drive away. I’m open to the group’s opinion about what we listen to on the  way there. On the way back, I get my own selections—books on tape by  Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins . . . My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating’” (First for Women magazine, 03/31/14, pp. 44-45). To get an idea of what Eckhart Tolle believes, listen to a quote by him:

Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence. – (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, p. 104)

10. Former New Age followers Caryl Matrisciana, Johanna Michaelsen, and Warren B. Smith have renounced and repudiated their former New Age beliefs and have even written books warning others about the New Age. On the contrary, Roma Downey has never renounced her New Age involvement and continues to promote it in one form or another. Interestingly (and significantly), Lighthouse Trails author Greg Reid personally handed Roma Downey a copy of Warren B. Smith’s book, The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace at the 2014 National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention right after she finished premiering The Son of Godmovie. Roma Downey is in a perfect position to warn the church about the New Age, but rather she is bringing the New Age into the church. Greg Reid capsulates this situation well:

Roma and Mark’s open door credentials to the evangelical church is that they are committed Catholics. That, and the movies themselves, were apparently proof enough to the higher leadership of the evangelical churches to give them carte blanche. They have been, 100%, embraced as one of us.

NO ONE has asked the crucial questions: Is Jesus the only way to God? Do we all have the “Christ spirit?” Are we all Divine? Is the Bible the infallible Word of God? Knowing that the Bible forbids necromancy, are you sorry you worked with John Edward? Is what you learned from John-Roger’s University compatible with your Christian faith? Unless Roma and Mark have gone through a massive conversion since last year, then they are still the same people who listen to audio books by New Age Gurus Ekhart Tolle and Tony Robbins, and who follow a brand of spirituality that is so strong that, as Mark said of Roma, “You’re so self-realized you’re practically levitating.”

Why are none of these questions being asked? If we didn’t know, now we do. If leaders DID know and chose to ignore it, or considered these things “little differences,” then God forgive us for our spiritual blindness and willingness to let crucial spiritual darkness enter in for the sake of a movie they think will lead the masses to Christ. (from Reid’s article Son of God—Trojan Horse)

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“I always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules imposed by Christianity. All I wanted to do was create and play rock and roll…”

This is a recurring theme in “Christian” music, musicians and singers who want to hit the “Big Time” and see the “Christian” music scene an easier route than through the secular music scene.

The part about us “testing the spirits” is not just accepting what people say, play, or sing about, its being with them and seeing what they do on a daily basis, what they say, and what they personally believe!

from Stand Up For The Truth:

Newsboys is a group loved by millions around the globe. A guest post by George Perdikis over at the Patheos website (via “The Friendly Atheist” column), proudly proclaims he has lost his faith, and tells the story:

I Co-Founded One of the Most Popular Christian Rock Bands Ever… and I’m Now An Atheist

In 1985, I co-founded Newsboys, one of the most successful Christian rock bands in history. You may have heard the band’s music in the film God’s Not Dead. The band’s album of the same name hit No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart.

And I’m now an atheist.

How did that happen? Well, let me go back to the band’s founding.

After being kicked out of Seaton High School in 1981, my parents sent me to Bethesda Christian School. I only lasted six months there, but in that time, I met two drummers. One of them, Peter Furler, had a bigger drum kit than the other guy, so I jammed with Peter. We played together in the garage as a duo for a few years and became good mates.

Peter’s family moved to Nambour, Queensland in 1983. We were reunited in 1985 when I was posted from Adelaide to Amberley Airforce Base near Brisbane. I would drive up the coast every weekend to jam with Peter.

Sean Taylor was part of a different group of guys I played with. We both had a lot in common — we both enjoyed Rush. I invited Sean to join Peter and me, and our duo became a trio.

John James became the fourth member of the group soon after. He went to our local church and sang in the choir. We shared a similar sense of humor. It seemed logical for him to pick up the microphone.

Peter, Sean, John, and I started out as a cover band playing parties, pubs, churches, youth groups, parks — anywhere someone would have us. As we grew in confidence, we began to add some original songs to our repertoire. The band evolved quickly. Within a few months I had given up my career in the Air Force and moved in with the Furler family to concentrate on music full time.

The choice to become a “Christian Rock Band” was heavily influenced by Peter’s parents, Bill and Rosalie Furler. As fundamentalist Christians, the only acceptable form of music was the kind that worshipped God. Bill and Rosalie were like second parents to me and, for that reason, I never questioned their advice.

When John needed a place to stay, he moved in with the Furlers as well. For the next few years, John, Peter, and I shared a bedroom and spent all our free time writing songs and rehearsing our asses off. We might have been classified as Christian Rock, but, musically, I felt we were as good as any secular band. With forty solid songs under our belts, we became the Newsboys.

Our big break came in 1987 when the Christian band Whiteheart invited us to support them at Festival Hall, Brisbane. They liked our music and, within a few months, we found ourselves in New Jersey recording our first album, Read All About It. I co-wrote the first two Newsboys albums and toured with them until 1990.

I always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules imposed by Christianity. All I wanted to do was create and play rock and roll… and yet most of the attention I received was focused on how well I maintained the impossible standards of religion. I wanted my life to be measured by my music, not by my ability to resist temptation.

I left the band in 1990 and went back to Adelaide. There, I got married, taught guitar, played pubs and clubs, built homes, and had two beautiful daughters.

As I carved out a life for myself away from the church, I began my own voyage of inquiry into what I believed. My perceptions started to transform when I became interested in cosmology in 1992. I soon found myself fascinated by the works of Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Brian Cox, and Richard Dawkins. I learned so much and was blown away by all the amazing scientific discoveries and facts. When my marriage dissolved in 2003, I turned my attention to human psychology.

By 2007, I renounced Christianity once and for all and declared myself an atheist.

The Christian music scene is populated by many people who act as though they have a direct hotline to a God who supplies them with the answers to the Universe. There seems to be more ego and narcissism amongst Christian musicians than their secular counterparts.

Recently, the Newsboys were featured in the movie God’s Not Dead. The movie demonstrated the pervasive attitude of Christians. They demonized everyone while giving a pass to their own particular brand of Christianity, making themselves look like fluffy white angels with perfect, synchronized lives.

The truth is — from someone who knows what went on then and what goes on now — the Newsboys aren’t as holy as they profess. Instead of wearing a mask of “righteousness,” they should acknowledge that they are struggling as much as everyone else.

Now that’s a movie I’d like to see.

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