Archive for the ‘AOG’ Category

an update here: A Response to Posts Critical of “Watch Bloggers”

I saw this article this past weekend and I was a bit stunned in a number of different ways:

1. It is an unbiblical statement as we are all called in God’s Word to be Watchmen and “good Bereans”

2. It comes from a Pastor in a denomination where the vast majority of its churches no longer have Biblical “elders” but instead have 501c3 corporate style Business Boards who do not know God’s word, take no part in providing oversight in what is taught or preached in their churches, the Pastor is a corporate style CEO where the “Pastor is Master” !

3. It comes from a denomination whose national leadership have increasingly compromised Biblical Truth, therefore abrogating their position as True Spiritual leaders and Biblical elders.

4. The Pastor who wrote the article is a Pastor who does not operate his church on the model of a plurality of  Spiritual elders who oversee and protect the spiritual health of the local church and the pastor as but one of those elders, but instead has a 501c3 Corporate style Business Board with the Pastor as CEO, where the “Pastor is Master” and if there are any “elders” they are “ruled” by the Pastor and his agenda.

The established visible churches have abrogated their role in guarding the Gospel and have instead put denominational allegience ahead of Allegience to God and Biblical Truth. Hence the need for Online Discernment Ministries to fill the gap and make people aware of the rapid disintegration of Biblical Truth in the vast majority of Churches.

Denominational “Professional” Pastor’s have put job security ahead of standing on Biblical Truth out of fear of being kicked out of their denominations and losing their pulpits, pension plans, and denomination perks!

Lets see what God’s Word says about the watchman position not only being reserved for ancient prophets, present pastors, seminary graduates, professional apologists, or just someone else besides you or the people you go to church with.

The fact is that the New Testament is full of exhortations for us to live godly, obedient lives. Doing that involves watchfulness, soberness, alertness, and even recognizing the enemy’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11) and warning others away from sin and satanic deception:

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”  (James 5:19,20)

Watching and warning were regular inclusions in Paul’s letters to the churches. Paul himself showed characteristics of a watchman and then urged the readers of his day and now us to “imitate” him as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1). Paul modeled for us what Godly concern and sounding a trumpet looked like.

The writer of Hebrews tells us to grow in maturity and to imitate others who demonstrate faithfulness:

“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak to you in this manner. (The writer had previously been warning of the dangers of immaturity and apostasy). For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but IMITATE those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:9-12)

Peter tells us to be watchful (“sober; vigilant” 1 Peter 5:8), and the entire letter of Jude is a watchman’s warning, clearly identifying false teachers and crying out to church people like you and I “To Arms!!!” Of special note is verse 3:

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary (Lit: “compelled or pressured from the outside”. This construct is used 18 times in the New Testament) to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly (“Fight hard”) for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Jesus Christ Our Lord is the ultimate Watchman and “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). He left a brilliant pattern for us to follow of One who knew no compromise as He proclaimed the truth. By doing that, He displayed “salt” and “light” to fallen mankind and then asked us to be those same preserving and illuminating elements in the world we live in. (Matthew 5:13,14)

Worthy of mention is the fact that Jesus never shied away from taking the tough stands against the corrupt teachings and false religion in His day. He clearly declared the truth about hell, a real devil, the horrors of sin, and coming judgment.

The scriptures are obvious and vast so we wont include them all, but these writers and the Lord Himself demonstrated qualities and actions that were watchful and protective. If we are to try to imitate our Lord and Savior and live Godly examples, then our lives need to reflect clear seeing, bold warning, and alertness in this dark time.

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from Slice of Laodicea:

bentleyThe “evangelist” who made his name kicking a cancer patient in the stomach and boasting of kicking an elderly women in the face with his biker boots left the center ring of the Pentecostal circus after refusing to reconcile with his wife because of his adultery and marrying his girlfriend. Now fellow false prophet, Rick Joyner, is helping Bentley plot his return to the spotlight. After all, what the world needs now is more Todd Bentley, right?

J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, stuck his neck out and dared to call Joyner and Bentley wrong for what they’re doing. He went further and attacked the “greasy grace” of Christians today who refuse to hold anyone accountable for their conduct and console the perpetrator while ignoring the victims. Grady comments:

“Many Christians today have rejected biblical discipline and adopted a sweet, spineless love that cannot correct,” Grady said. “Our grace is greasy. No matter what an offending brother does, we stroke him and pet him and nurse his wounds while we ignore the people he wounded. No matter how heinous his sin, we offer comforting platitudes because, after all, who are we to judge?”

Rick Joyner immediately charged Grady with being self-righteous. (Boy, does this sound familiar, Mr. Grady!) No Rick, the truth is your protegé has no business in public ministry, is obviously suffering from psychotic delusions, is abusive to others and is in dire need of repentance for the sake of his soul. Further, Mr. Joyner, Todd Bentley’s 100-night freak show brought untold shame on the name of Christ, disillusioned countless ill and desperate people who believed Bentley’s lies, and demonstrated the total lack of spiritual discernment in millions of “Christians” today.

One anonymous Pentecostal source in the CT article says the following:

“I’m now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the Antichrist when he shows up because they have no discernment.”

Correction: A large segment of the charismatic church has already followed many anti-Christs because they have no discernment. That goes for non-Charismatic Christians as well.

So, brace yourself for Todd Bentley’s soon return. The Big Top has already been erected, the popcorn is being popped, and the sawdust is already in the three rings…

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from The Christian Post:

The world’s largest Pentecostal denomination has appointed a new general secretary less than one week after the man who previously held the post resigned over “ethical misconduct and an inappropriate interaction.”P

The appointment of Dr. James Bradford, pastor of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Mo., was announced Thursday morning by Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood during a meeting at the denomination’s headquarters, also in Springfield.

According to an announcement by the Assemblies of God, Bradford, 56, was unanimously appointed by the Executive Presbytery and will assume the duties of the general secretary’s office effective immediately.

“I have known Jim for many years,” Wood said, “and find him a stellar Christian leader in every way.”

“We pray God’s wisdom and presence on Jim and the family,” he added.

Last Friday, Wood had the unfortunate duty of announcing the resignation of the denomination’s previous general secretary, John M. Palmer, who confessed to a one-time incident that involved ethical misconduct and an inappropriate interaction with a woman that did not involve any physical intimacy.

“We are deeply saddened by this failure,” said Wood, according to the denomination’s announcement last week. “John has had a sterling record in the Assemblies of God as a church planter, pastor, and national leader. This failure on his part is an aberration from a lifetime of faithful service to the Lord, his family, and our Fellowship.”

While Palmer’s ministry as general secretary concluded immediately, Wood said he trusts that at a future time, “following a period of rehabilitation yet to be determined, his ministry within our Fellowship will continue with great effectiveness.”

He also encouraged members of his denomination to keep in mind Paul’s letter to the Galatians, to whom the apostle exhorted to restore gently anyone who is caught in sin and to “carry each other’s burdens,” thus fulfilling the law of Christ.

“We ask for prayer for John and Debbie and their family,” Wood stated.

Palmer had served as the general secretary of the General Council of the Assemblies of God since November 2007, the same time Wood was elected to lead the Pentecostal fellowship of some 20 million believers worldwide.

Though Palmer’s successor, Bradford, has immediately taken up his duties as the denomination’s new general secretary, he will also continue to pastor his Springfield church through Easter.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were no updates on the website of Central Assembly, centralassembly.org, nor on Bradford’s blog regarding the new appointment.

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Colossians 2:18-19:

(commentary in blue)

Let no man beguile you of your reward (concerns false doctrine) in a voluntary humility (refers to self-abasement) and worshipping of Angels (pertained to the Gnostic teaching; this false teaching claimed man could not go directly to God through Jesus Christ, but rather must reach after God through successive grades of intermediate beings, i.e., “Angels”), intruding into those things which he has not seen (refers to going outside the revealed Word of God), vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind (“mind of the flesh”, which means its not the mind of God)

And not holding the Head (failure to look totally to Christ and the Cross will ultimately lead to destruction), from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered (Christ is the source of all nourishment which comes by the means of the Cross), and knit together, increases with the increase of God (proper Faith in the Cross guarantees spiritual increase)

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Discernment Ministries Letter dated 8.21.99) Dear Friends: It was indeed a great encouragement to listen to a recent tape from Times Square Church. Dave Wilkerson is to be commended for his courage to take a stand for truth! The message can be found transcribed in this month’ newsletter. Many Christians are feeling that we are in times of great change. Yes, things are rapidly changing around us, but if our feet are planted on the Solid Rock, we are secure!

Recent happenings at the General Council of the Assemblies of God bear out the changes out that are even re-shaping denominations. As most of you know, a Resolution was taken to the General Council by some of the Southern New England pastors who are concerned that the Assemblies of God maintain Biblical integrity in view of the “changes” that are transpiring. The following is first hand report on the reception of that Resolution. Keep in mind that Resolution was entitled, “A Return to Biblical Integrity”!

“The Resolution entitled, “A Return to Biblical Integrity (Resolution 16) came before the Council on the last day of business which was Friday, the 13th of August. One of the authors of the Resolution noticed that the Resolution booklet contained only Resolutions 1-15. The booklet had been printed prior to adding Resolution 16 to the General Council agenda. It was requested therefore, that Resolution 16 also be made available to the Council. That was not forthcoming.

On Friday at about 3:30 p.m., the Resolution Committee Chairman, read the text of the Resolution and immediately informed the Chair that he had a motion to present to the body. The motion called to POSTPONE Resolution 16 indefinitely and to have the doctrinal purity committee write a position paper on the concerns raised by Resolution 16. The motion was seconded and some debate ensured. The Chair would only allow debate on the motion to postpone indefinitely. This Parliamentary move effectively ruled out any dialog concerning Resolution 16 itself.

Three of the signers did attempt to speak against the move to postpone indefinitely. One was allowed to complete his statement, two were ruled against. They were not allowed to finish their comments and their microphones were turned off in mid-sentence.

from Cephas Ministry

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Ephesians 4:14-15:

that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

The Lighthouse Trails Reasearch article below is from 2006 but very timely today because of the Assembly of God denomination at the highest levels being infiltrated and subdued by Brennan Manning’s false teachings.

See this article: Assembly of God Fall Further into the Ditch: Contemplative Prayer Seminars at Central Assembly

I have been receving some frankly astonishing communication from AOG’ers who see nothing wrong with Brennan Manning.

One even said they called Central Assembly and asked them what Brennan Manning was going to be teaching and the church had this to say:

“Brennan Manning will teaching on how to truly believe and receive the reckless, relentless, and unconditional compassion of God the Father through His Son, and how we all can say with John’s gospel, “I am the one Jesus loves.”

And the person took that as his teaching was therefore Ok! Now that is pretty much a canned statement and doesnt really say what specifically Brennan Manning will be teaching . I mean that statement could have been made by a Mormon!

The fact is Brennan Manning believes that we do not need to be forgiven of our sins, and that God accepts us just as we are. He even accepts Homosexuals as they are! and we just have a negative self image issue and we can have our self image changed to how God see’s us!

An excerpt from Psychoheresy on the Ragamuffin Gospel:

Over the years, the growing consciousness of radical grace has wrought profound changes in my self-awareness. Justification by grace through faith means that I know myself accepted by God as I am. When my head is enlightened and my heart is pierced by this truth, I can accept myself as I am. Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind-games, or pop psychology. It is an act of faith in the God of grace (Ragamuffin Gospel p. 49, italics his).

“In Manning’s psychologized view of grace, self-acceptance is seen as the key to growth. Manning’s God is a universal Father of man, undistinguished from those with whom He has a special redemptive relationship. Manning’s gospel offers acceptance of self, not deliverance from sin.”

“Manning gives his view of the redemptive process:”

For “experiencing God’s love in Jesus Christ means experiencing that one has been unreservedly accepted, approved and infinitely loved, that one can and should accept oneself and one’s neighbor. Salvation is joy in God which expresses itself in joy in and with one’s neighbor.” (Ragamuffin Gospel p. 63).

“This is clearly a psychological salvation, not the full, eternal redemption purchased by Christ’s death and resurrection.” . . . .

Church history in America would suggest that the fall of God-centeredness during the 19th century and the rise of man-centered, method-focused evangelism and sanctification would supply an ample framework for the acceptance of the works of psychologists and psychology advocates like Manning.

from Lighthouse Trails Research:

Brennan Manning, a popular writer and speaker, is considered by many to be a kind of expert on the topic of God’s grace. Philip Yancey, editor for Christianity Today magazine, says “Brennan Manning [is] my spiritual director in the school of grace.” On the back cover of Manning’s book, Ragamuffin Gospel, Max Lucado states: “Brennan does a masterful job of blowing the dust off of shop-worn theology and allowing God’s grace to do what only God’s grace can do – amaze.” Few Christians would argue that we need God’s grace, and in fact it is only through that grace that we can even approach God. Scripture is clear about this:

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Ray Yungen, author and research analyst, says of Manning:

His appeal is easy to understand when one hears Manning in person. His manner is very genuine and down-home. Many admire him for his passionate and dynamic character. When he relates how his mother mistreated him as a young child you cannot help but feel his pain deeply. (A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 82)

Yungen adds, “However, despite all his admirable qualities and devotional intensity, he teaches contemplative prayer as a way to God” (p. 82). And here lies the problem. When we understand the premise of contemplative, we realize that it is impossible to promote both grace and contemplative at the same time. Grace and contemplative are on opposite sides of the pole. They completely contradict each other. John Caddock, in his excellent article, “What
is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is it So Dangerous?
” discusses this ragamuffin view of grace:

Manning makes statements which imply universalism. In The Signature of Jesus, for example, he says that contemplative spirituality (which he calls paschal spirituality) “looks upon human nature as fallen but redeemed, flawed but in essence good” (p. 125). For Manning the life, death, and resurrection of Christ mean that all are redeemed. There is nothing to be done to gain the life of God. Everyone already has it:

He has a single, relentless stance toward us: he loves us. He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners. False gods-the gods of human understanding-despise sinners, but the Father of Jesus loves all, no matter what they do. But of course this is almost too incredible for us to accept. Nevertheless, the central affirmation of the Reformation stands: through no merit of ours, but by his mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of his beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of Grace (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 18).

Manning says that God loves “all.” He is not speaking here merely of the compassion God has for the world which moved Him to send His Son to die for us (John 3:16). He is saying that God has already restored all people to a right relationship with Him. Notice that he first says “he loves us” and then “he loves all.” Clearly us, the first person plural pronoun, in this context includes everyone. Then, in the same context Manning goes on to say that “we have been restored to a right relationship with God.” We, there is the same group as the all mentioned earlier. All have been restored to a right relationship with God. Manning wants us to overcome our psychological fog so that we can realize it. The Good News is that everyone is already saved. The biblical view that all are lost and that only when a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior he passes from death to life (John 5:24) is foreign to Manning and contemplatives.

So while on the surface, Manning appears to be teaching God’s grace, it is a “grace” that has been distorted and twisted. And woven dangerously throughout Manning’s writings is a spirituality (contemplative) that will lead his followers more into the arms of mysticism and altered states of consciousness than into the arms of Jesus Christ.

Caddock goes on:

[T]he key to spirituality, according to Manning, is a special type of prayer which he calls “contemplative prayer” or “centering prayer.” For the uninitiated, this may not seem ominous. It may sound like what God calls us to do in His Word. It is not. It is ominous. It is a practice derived from Eastern mysticism. In The Signature of Jesus, Manning writes, “The task of contemplative prayer is to help me achieve the conscious awareness of the unconditionally loving God dwelling within me” (p. 211). He also says, “What masters of the interior life recommend is the discipline of ‘centering down’ throughout the day” (p. 94)…. He instructs the reader in the practice of centering prayer:

“[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer”(p. 212)! …

The second step, according to Manning, is to “without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word [or phrase] inwardly, slowly, and often” (p. 218)….

The third step concerns what to do when inevitable distractions come. The answer is to “simply return to listening to your sacred word. Gently return your mind to your sacred word” (p. 218). Finally, “after a twenty-minute period of prayer [which Manning recommends twice daily] conclude with the Lord’s Prayer, a favorite psalm, or some spontaneous words of praise and thanks” (p. 219).

While such instruction leaves little to doubt as to Manning’s affinity towards contemplative, his consistent promotion and obvious admiration for numerous mystics is even more remarkable. In Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning favorably quotes Basil Pennington, Sue Monk Kidd, Anthony de Mello, Henri Nouwen, Francis de Sales, Gerald May as well as Marcus Borg, and Alan Jones. Every one of these names is connected with New Age mysticism and a unbiblical view of the gospel. Alan Jones, in his book, Reimagining Christianity says:

The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it” (p. 132).

In spite of Jones’ obvious disdain for the message of Jesus Christ dying on the Cross to save sinners, Manning favorably quotes him, not just in Ragamuffin Gospel but four times in his book The Signature of Jesus. Actually, Manning quotes a who’s who of Eastern style meditation teachers in that book. Some of them are: Thomas Merton, Anthony de Mello, Basil Pennington, David Steindl-Rast, William Shannon (Silence on Fire) and Henri Nouwen. These names are some of the most serious contemplatives there are. And by that, I mean they believe (or did believe when they were alive) that God is in every human being thus all are saved. If this were true, then God the Father made a terrible mistake in sending his Son to die, for it would have been an unnecessary act.

Unfortunately, the type of grace that Manning and these other authors promote is so intermingled with New Age thought that it is not the grace that Hebrews 4 speaks of but is rather a belief system that leads followers down a pantheistic, mystical path and further and further away from the Cross. In Manning’s more recent book, Above All, he says: “[T]he god who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased, is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist (p. 58).” Manning actually took this idea, nearly word for word, from William Shannon, author of Silence of Fire. But Manning has made a habit of quoting Shannon. Ray Yungen elaborates:

[W]hen Manning quotes from (and even recommends in one interview) William Shannon’s book, Silence on Fire, one would expect to find a common ground somewhere between the two of them. Yet Silence on Fire contains nothing that would inspire a true evangelical. In fact, it is filled with universalist statements that would offend anyone with doctrinally-sound evangelical sensibilities. One portion states, “[T]here is a oneness in God that unites all women and men … The goal of all true spirituality is to achieve an awareness of our oneness with God and with all of God’s creation.”

Alan Jones, whom Manning also repeatedly quotes, calls the doctrine of the Cross a vile doctrine. This rejection of the biblical view of the Cross by Jones and Shannon is similar to that of Brian McLaren who says the doctrine of the Cross and Hell are “false advertising for God.” Such a view insists that a loving God would not send his Son to a violent death on a Cross, and yet we know that He did do that to His Son, who took the place for others who because of their sin, deserved such wrath. Now that is what I call true grace.

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Update 01/15/09: See this update about Brennan Manning’s Teachings.

This is very sad and makes my heart ache for where the Assembly of God as a denomination is headed!

Central Assembly of God in Springfield Missouri is near the General Council of The Assembly of God’s Headquarters and many in the leadership of the General Council are counted in its membership.

You can see the details of the Brennan Manning conference on Central Assembly’s website here.

Jim Bradford, the Senior Pastor at Central is considered to be the top candidate as the next Head of the Assembly of God’s Evangel University.

Brennan Manning is a Roman Catholic and a former Franciscan Monk who advocates Contemplative “Prayer” and “Spirituality”. Contemplative Prayer is actually just renamed Hindu Transcendental Meditation.

Contemplative “Prayer” originated in the 4th Century A.D from what were known as the “Desert Fathers”. These were apostate Monks who spent their time in seclusion “meditating” in the caves in the remote deserts of Arabia, repeating a word or phrase over and over until they went into a trance,.  

This contemplative or “centering” prayer involves a person emptying their mind and concentrating on one word or phrase, and continually repeating it until the person reaches a “spiritual” trance state. And this is exactly the same as Hindu Transcendental Mediation.

And in the 2oth century a Trappist Monk by the name of Thomas Merton popularized Contemplative Prayer after he regularly travelled to the far east to make contact with and explore  Eatern Religions and Hindu Transcendental Meditation techniques.

Merton claimed to “have had a religious experience while viewing enormous statues of the Buddha”. Oddly enough Merton died in a freak accident on one of his trips to the far east exploring Eastern Religions. He was electrocuted while getting out of a bathtub when he touched a poorly grounded electric fan.

How sad that The Assembly of God Leadership has not only welcomed in Rick Warren’s apostate teachings but now the leadership is welcoming in Idolotrous Roman Catholic and Hindu teachings!

This tells me that the AOG is clearly reached the end of the road as a denomination that speaks Biblical Truth! 

from Save The AOG:

It has been reported to me by very recent members of Central Assembly of God, our flagship church, the church where many of the A/G Leaders attend, that Pastor Jim Bradford has hosted a Willow Creek 40 Days of Prayer seminar AND that he has scheduled a highly visible proponent of contemplative prayer to speak at Central Assembly. In fact, I verified with Central Assembly’s own web site that Pastor Bradford is so excited to present Brennan Manning in conference starting January 30th, 2009. Just pay 25 bucks and you too can be part of this exclusive event!

I can only logically conclude one of two things here: first, I would have to question Jim Bradford’s discernment, or second, I would wonder whether Jim Bradford is not a dupe of the Rick Warrens, Brian McLarens and Earl Crepses out there, but rather a fellow disciple of the New Age (Old Hinduism).

Neither alternative would be good. In the first case, a shepherd who has no warning bells go off when a wolf is near, is a danger to his flock and ought to be replaced. But, in this instance, Jim Bradford is inviting the wolf right into his sheepfold. In the second case, we have a hireling fattening his flock for the wholesale kill by Satan himself. God will not allow the introduction of Hinduism (an age old practice of inviting demons to enter into ones empty mind and daily activities) into our churches without punishment.

Why do I say Hinduism? Because contemplative prayer is simply a 21st century renaming of Transcendental Meditation, the Hindu practice of clearing ones mind to allow demons to enter in and speak. Contemplative prayer (CP) is putting oneself into a trance.

NOWHERE in the Bible is there any mention of putting oneself into a trance. The ONLY trances mentioned are those induced by God Himself! In CP, the practitioner EMPTIES their mind.

When God puts us into a trance, He FILLS our mind with His thoughts and His WORD. Think on this: in nature, whose boundaries were set by God at Creation, any empty vessel makes itself prone to be filled by the next and nearest opportunity. For instance, a city built below sea level is fine as long as the levies that surround it hold. But, as in Katrina and New Orleans, when the levies broke, the sea rushed in and mixed with the sewage creating uninhabitable space.

And finally, emptying our minds is disobedience to God’s command in Philippians 4:8 to THINK on these things referring to a list of traits which concretely describe the character of God Himself. Scripturally, I could go on and on. . . . . .

Read the Full article here.

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Romans 2:5-11:

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,  who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,  tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;  but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For there is no partiality with God.

Romans 3:9-18:

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written:

“ There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; 

There is none who does good, no, not one.”  “ Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;  “ The poison of asps is under their lips”; “ Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “

Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.”  “ There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

from Contend:

George O. Wood, Esq.
General Superintendent of The Assemblies of God
CC: Entire Executive Staff
Mr. Wood,
Your Executive Director of AG US Missions made the published statement that;
“No one deserves to spend eternity in the lake of fire”.
This was in regard to the AG Purpose Driven clone, Invasion of America. How bold of you to prepare everyone to proclaim that no one deserves to go to the lake of fire. How dare you. Is this the message your sect in the AG is advocating now as evangelism? Telling people they do not deserve to go to the lake of fire = Evangelism? The Bible says that every man has sinned and deserves the Lake of Fire. Everyone. We are to warn men of this fact. Your open position is the basis as you know for the surreptitious Universalism of Purpose Driven.
It is worth noting that this year’s The World Missions Summit 2 theme of “Everyone” reflects this predilection to the Purpose Driven Universalism you are influencing the AG with. Mr. Smith’s repeated assertion that the United States can be Universally saved (none will perish) is more in line with some fabrication of the anti-christ than with the Bible.
I do hope you condescend from your loft to account for this in some way. Of course you will both.

Smith letter to the Church

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h/t to Independent Conservative:

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from Lighthouse Trails Research:

Many Christian believers smirked when Shirley MacLaine stood on the beach in her made-for-TV movie, Out on a Limb exclaiming, “I am God!” Today, Marianne Williamson exclaims that we are all “God” and is introduced by Tom Brokaw on a primetime NBC special report about September 11 as one of our “religious leaders.”1 Gary Zukav, a man who personally endorsed the Barbara Marx Hubbard book that describes the “selection process,” tells us in his post-September 11 television appearances how we can all spiritually grow and bring peace to the world. And Wayne Dyer, in a post-September 11 PBS fundraising event, stands in an historic New England church and tells his national audience that the world would be a much more peaceful place if everyone adopted the “brilliant” teachings of A Course in Miracles.

Traditional Christian believers frequently mention the analogy of the frog that is so slowly and gradually boiled in a kettle of water that it dies before ever realizing what is going on. Yet many believers fail to realize that the very same thing is happening to them as they tell that story. How else do you explain the rapid rise of the “new gospel” movement with hardly a word of concern within the Church about what’s been happening? As “new gospel” advocates continue to publish bestselling books and flock to the airwaves in ever-increasing numbers to advance their cause, there is a strange silence in Christendom. Does the Church have any idea what is going on?

So often we have heard the impassioned refrain, “We can never let what happened in Germany ever happen again.” And with all of the Holocaust memorials, survivor testimonies, and multitudinous books on the subject, we have done a pretty good job of convincing ourselves that we will never make the same mistakes the German people did in allowing someone like Hitler to rise in their midst. We think that Americans would never stand by and allow something like that to happen here in our country. Our democratic processes and old-fashioned common sense would never allow it.

In the introduction to a 1999 publication (Sixth Pressing) of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Konrad Heiden describes how everything that Hitler was about to do was telegraphed in his early writings:

For years Mein Kampf stood as proof of the blindness and complacency of the world. For in its pages Hitler announced – long before he came to power – a program of blood and terror in a self-revelation of such overwhelming frankness that few among its readers had the courage to believe it. Once again it was demonstrated that there was no more effective method of concealment than the broadest publicity.2

Somehow, Christians don’t seem to grasp Jesus’ warnings about the tremendous deception that characterizes the time of the end. Perhaps deceived into thinking that we can’t be deceived, we don’t take seriously enough His warnings that a Hitler-like antichrist figure will one day rise to rule the world – and that many people calling themselves “Christians” will support this spiritual counterfeit who will actually come in the name of Christ. Our adversary wants us to believe that these warnings are for another people at another time. Yet through Scripture, and in our heart of hearts, the Spirit of God tells us that they are not. As we study the Bible, and as we watch and pray and observe the events all around us, we come to understand that these future times described by Jesus are now suddenly and undeniably upon us.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul warns of their vulnerability and susceptibility to false teaching in the name of Jesus. He suggests that if someone approached them with “another gospel,” “another Jesus” and “another spirit” they might very well go along with it (2 Corinthians 11:3–4). Earlier in that same letter Paul had indirectly encouraged the Corinthians not to be ignorant of their adversary’s schemes and devices, lest they be taken advantage of (2 Corinthians 2:11). Paul told the Ephesians that it is a shame that we even have to talk about the things of darkness, but when we expose them they are brought into the light (Ephesians 5:12–13). He also told them that he had not ceased to warn them night and day for three years that men who were “grievous wolves” would “arise” in the Church “speaking perverse things” as they attempted to lead men away from their faith and into the enemy’s camp (Acts 20:29–31). Let us beware of these same warnings today.

It is extremely disturbing to see the website of a Colorado-based Christian leader listed as a recommended resource in the back of a 1998 Barbara Marx Hubbard book entitled Conscious Evolution.3 It is equally alarming to find out that this individual is also a member of the same World Future Society that lists Barbara Marx Hubbard as one of its co-founding and current board members.4 And that this respected Christian leader serves as the secretary of a World Future Society subcommittee that once gave Hubbard a special award for her outstanding contributions to the field of religion.5 But perhaps what is most unbelievable is that the Colorado Springs Christian leadership lets him get away with it. Apparently, being “unequally yoked” with a woman who (at the direction of her “Christ”) has “re-written” the Book of Revelation and authored the “selection process” is not a major concern for church leaders – leaders who are actually starting to sound a lot like Hubbard themselves.

And it is, indeed, very disturbing to see many Christian leaders today using many of the same words and expressions commonly used by their “new gospel” counterparts. “New revelation” describing how a great “move of God” is going to take believers “pregnant with destiny” to “a new spiritual level” and into a “new dimension” sounds a lot more like the “new gospel” than the traditional Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are Christian leaders leading the church ever closer to the cross, or ever closer to the “Planetary Pentecost”? Why is there almost no call for spiritual discernment within the Church (except to warn believers not to be deceived into doubting their appointed Christian leaders)? Why is spiritual experience taking precedence over spiritual discernment? Why are there so few warnings about a counterfeit “new gospel” movement that maligns the person of Jesus Christ and threatens the lives of His followers? Why is “new revelation” in many ministries starting to supercede God’s written Word? Why are Christians only being prepared for blessings and not for persecution? What in the world is going on?

Expecting only revival and the return of the true Christ, will the Church be deceived by the one who will come in the name of Christ and pretend to be Him? Caught unawares, will the Church mistake the counterfeit Christ’s “Planetary Pentecost” for the great “move of God” they had been told to expect? Are we getting set up for the great delusion described in the Bible? Is there any good reason not at least to consider that possibility?

The prophet Daniel makes mention of the God of “forces” in conjunction with antichrist (Daniel 11:38). The “God” of the “new gospel” asks Neale Donald Walsch, “What if I am not a ‘man’ at all, but rather, a Force?”6 The “Christ” of A Course in Miracles states that there is an “irresistible Force” within each person.7 Marianne Williamson explains that this “universal force” can be “activated” within each person and has “the power to make all things right.”8 The “new gospel Christ” tells Barbara Marx Hubbard that on the day of “Planetary Pentecost” a “planetary smile” will flash across the face of all mankind; that an “uncontrollable joy” that he describes as the “joy of the force” will “ripple” through the one body of humanity.9 Benjamin Creme describes the event “as a pentecostal experience for all.”10 The “Christ” of A Course in Miracles tells how the world ends in “peace” and “laughter.”11

Has anyone wondered whether this same “Force” may be counterfeiting the Holy Spirit in churches and may be producing “revivals” and “moves of God” that are not really “revivals” or “moves of God” at all? Is the “God of forces” in the process of preparing the Church for the “Planetary Pentecost”? Should we not be doing a more thorough job of testing the spirits? Have we put our faith and trust in Christian “leaders” rather than in God? Have we all talked ourselves out of the end times? Have we all agreed that persecution is not something we need to be concerned about? Have we prayed to God that we would not be deluded or deceived?

Ten years ago in my book, The Light That Was Dark, I wrote the following: “Clearly many who said they were of ‘the faith’ would soon become a part of the deception too, if they weren’t already.”

Were we already witnessing the great “falling away” predicted in the Bible? Was the “mystery of iniquity” talked about in the Scriptures already doing its deceptive work with “all power and signs and lying wonders”…? Would people calling themselves Christians abandon their faith in the Bible and the Bible’s Christ? Would they join an ecumenical movement that in the name of love and God and unity would sacrifice the truth of the Bible and perhaps one day merge with the new age itself?

Jesus warned that such a faith would lead not to life but to ultimate destruction: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13–14).12

Could it be that the reason the Church is so unaware of the “new gospel” movement is because it is being led by that same spirit and heading down that same broad way? Is it happening now, right in front of our very own eyes?

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