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Archive for the ‘Assembly of God in Apostasy’ Category

“I believe we are nearing the time of persecution in our nation. When the only public voices for Christianity are apostate religious church leaders and organizations, I believe that the net of persecution will then fall on the American Church very swiftly. The true Church is being scattered—slowly and systematically. Right now I do not know of one medium or even small Church of true believers that is standing against the current apostasy. I also do not know of any highly visible professing Christian that is doing so.”

from TruthKeepers:

A Prophetic Warning to the Church (March 4, 2003 1:56 pm)

In my opinion every true follower of Jesus Christ needs to be completely aware of the time that we are living in. If we are not in the last-days, then it is a trial run that is so close that the dangers are nearly identical. Therefore, we need to take heed of the many warnings in God’s Word concerning the great time of deception.

First, we need to recognize how powerful that the deception will be. It will be so powerful that the only means of surviving it will be the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
(Mat 24:24 NKJV) “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Satan will pull out all the stops, hold back nothing, pour out everything in his bag of dirty tricks, and the spiritual atmosphere will be too strong for people who have not spiritually prepared themselves to resist it.
(2 Th 2:9-12 NKJV) The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, {10} and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. {11} And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, {12} that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The spiritual atmosphere will be diametrically opposed to the atmosphere of a great revival. During times of great revival even lost people feel the effects of the renewal of passion for God. During great revivals, sin is driven back into the darkness. Evil workers are exposed for the charlatans that they are. False doctrine is denounced. Prayer meetings and church services take precedence over secular activities. Even the laws of the nation are reflective of the revival.

Today, there are deep doldrums in Christianity. Liars and other phonies are honored while at the same time people who speak the truth are dishonored and persecuted. Homosexuals are ordained as Christian ministers and professing Christians are accepting their ministry. There is little passion for God or His Word manifested publicly. Sodomites not only are pouring out of the darkness to stand proudly in public view, but they have infected our government, public education, and almost every other area of society. False doctrines pour from pulpits, out of religious television, lining the bookshelves of religious bookstores, and inundate the entire religious realm. Practically no one will attend a prayer meeting. Even a school event can replace a church meeting. Our nation’s laws are becoming increasingly reflective of the satanic activity in our government.

I personally know pastors who have given up trying to pastor in this atmosphere. I know other pastors who appear to be just barely hanging on. Many professing Christians are simply flowing with the degradation of the great apostasy; marching to the cadence of Satan. Other Christians are feeling the overwhelming effects of it all. They cannot find an honest assembly of true followers of Christ. Every day they fight feelings of discouragement and depression. The joy of the Lord is very difficult to express and they battle daily with feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, and isolation.

This is the time that we have been warned about. We should understand that every godly act and characteristic is going to be more difficult to perform and maintain. Prayer is a battle. Temptation to loosen ones grip on eternal life is constant and pressing. Urges to relax and roll with the flow, follow the herd, do what everyone else is doing, never ceases the attempt to infiltrate our spirits. Evil workers of unrighteousness appear as workers of righteousness. In fact, it is difficult in some cases to tell the difference on the surface. They appear as ministers and people of righteousness. One should remember to listen to the Holy Spirit warning signals in their spirit. Consider their fruit. What have they ever done for Christ? Ignore how they make you feel or their flattering words and comforting ways. Reject the sensationalism of lying signs and wonders. Remember that few people are driven to hell. Most of them are led there by deceptive spirits.
(2 Cor 11:12-15 NKJV) But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. {13} For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. {14} And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. {15} Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

God’s Word declares that the one act that will doom people to deception and delusion is rejecting love for the truth. The very thing that could save those who are deceived is the thing that they reject. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. If He is in us, we will not be deceived. We can walk through barrenness and never thirst or hunger. We will be filled with righteousness. We can master the deceptive time and rise above the clouds of evil lying signs and wonders.

When people reject love for the truth, the Holy Spirit will depart. They will be left to their own devices to defend themselves against the great deception of the last-days. God will not permit them to be shocked into returning to the truth. If they will not receive His love, His Word, His Son, and His Spirit, they do not deserve heaven. Neither do they deserve to be driven into heaven by specter of fearful calamities. Instead, they will be sent a strong delusion so that they will believe the lie and be damned.

In times past, when catastrophic events occurred, people flocked to church services in fear for their souls. Oklahoma City churches reported huge increases in attendance after the Murrah building was bombed. In a few months, the attendance was back to normal. Evidently, those people went back to their old ways of living under the cloud of deception. The very striking fact about the aftermath of 9-11-01 was that many people did not look to Christian leaders for comfort and answers. Instead, they flocked to events where an evil ecumenical mixture of wizards, witches, and other evil workers of darkness joined with professing Christians to pray for the nation. We saw no increase in attendance in our Fellowship.

This may indicate that the great delusion has been delivered to the earth and the package may be opened. If so, people who stand in the shadows, who are trying to live on the fringes of true Christianity, who play on both sides of the fence, who fail to develop passion and intimacy with God, are in deep, serious, trouble. We were warned by God’s Word and His prophets that this time would come. In my opinion, it is here. I encourage everyone not to settle for a casual relationship with God. Don’t settle for a passionless, nonchalant, church meeting where you are not inspired or challenged to stay fresh in your relationship with God. Don’t let your guard down. The hour is late and the time is short. Stand your ground and keep your armor on.

It is going to get very difficult in the last of the last-days, but the most dangerous time is during this initial wave of deception. The reason is because we have gotten used to the blessings of Christianity in a democratic nation. We can get in our vehicles on Sunday morning and there are many church buildings within a short drive from our homes. Someone else preaches to us, teaches us, and does almost every other thing for us. All we have to do is show up. What kind of Christians has this type of “Churchanity” produced? I do not mean to be offensive here, but for the sake of clarity I must be blunt with my answer. In most cases it has produced people that cannot take care of themselves spiritually. Instead, they depend on the three-per-week (or less) church services to keep them spiritual and inspired, and most of them only attend occasionally. They are weak, pampered, religious at the best, and at the worst they are lost, malformed and mutated by years of lack of growth and a viable experience with God. As such, they are no threat to the kingdom of darkness and no benefit to the kingdom of light.

Now, we are going to have to adapt steadfastness of faith to the harshness of the time that we are in. Christians should have been building themselves spiritually during the times of peace. If we had been actually assimilating and applying the Word of God that we have been inundated with, then we would have more than been prepared for this evil time.

We’ve been taught to be weak, to live weak, to need church meetings to a degree that God never intended. Certainly we find strength in fellowship and it is a tremendous blessing to hear the Word of God taught or preached by someone who is anointed. But if we have not developed the practice of feeding ourselves, what are we going to do in the tough times? Paralyzed people and babies have to be fed, but healthy and mature people feed themselves.

Men need to become and remain strong in the Lord and begin taking responsibility for their spiritual duties. The time is coming when men will have to teach their own families. We need to get tough, knowledgeable, and spiritually strong. All of us need to become prayer intercessors. I believe that it is time to consider what is eating up our time and make some serious choices about our activities. If it comes to the point that we cannot find a church building to meet in where God is present and people are sincere, then the only option is to meet in our homes. However, there were times when the Church was even denied that privilege. They had to meet in catacombs and other places that do not even remotely resemble a church building.

I believe we are nearing the time of persecution in our nation. When the only public voices for Christianity are apostate religious church leaders and organizations, I believe that the net of persecution will then fall on the American Church very swiftly. The true Church is being scattered—slowly and systematically. Right now I do not know of one medium or even small Church of true believers that is standing against the current apostasy. I also do not know of any highly visible professing Christian that is doing so.

I could say a lot more, but let me conclude with one more point. The key to understanding that this current apostasy is not going to be resisted by most professing Christians is in the way most of them perceive Christianity. The only way that so many hirelings could be in pastorates is if most of the people want it to be this way. I heard one of the deadest sermons I have ever heard one Sunday morning while visiting a church meeting. A toxic religious mixture oozed from the pulpit and entered the hearts of people who loved to be poisoned so. The sad thing about that church is that it is growing steadily in number. I thought the man might be sick, but I was informed that he was in good health. In other words, he preached that way on purpose. This is the standard for most church meetings today. It does not resemble biblical Christianity. What it is I cannot tell. What it is not is a meeting of true Christians who are aware of the time and striving for intimacy with God. May God help us to understand what is happening!
The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? (Jer 5:31 NKJV)

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from Truth Keepers:

There has been enough said and written about the “Son of God” movie to convince people who are willing to listen to truth. The ones who believe it is a good movie will not change their minds. People that cannot recognize the issues with the movie before they watch it will probably not detect anything wrong about it after they watch it. Nothing I can add will make a difference either way. God does not force people to follow Him, and neither can we force them to accept the truth. The dividing line has been drawn.

The most disconcerting factor in the situation is the unwillingness of people to even consider the facts and God’s word. Instead of saying, “Well I didn’t know that, please tell me more”, they go on the attack. I’m used to being called names, accused of being everything from a heretic to demoniac, but not to the extent that I received during the past few days. The synopsis of most responses minus the diatribes is, “I don’t care what you say, I don’t want to hear it, I like the movie” ala Matthew Hagee. I can’t argue with that.

It appears that everyone that has spent the past decade ignoring the warnings are incapable of hearing them now. I don’t know all the reasons they chose that path. For some it was bad soteriology and for others bad eschatology. Some professing Christians have become so enamored by the world system that they have no taste for things spiritual. The Apostle Paul wrote concerning endtimes professing Christians:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Finally, there is this word from David Wilkerson.

I keep this foremost in my mind and before my eyes, because every minister of the gospel one day has to face it when he stands before the Lord. He will say, “Son of man, I made thee a watchman. You were to hear the words of My mouth and give them warnings from Me. You were to tell the wicked, ‘Thou shalt surely die.’ And you gave them no warning nor spoke to warn the wicked to turn from their wicked ways to save their lives. These same wicked men died in their sins, but their blood I’ll require at your hands.”

The rest of the message can be found at the following link. True Discernment

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from Herescope:

Profiting from the Promulgation of End-Time CRI$I$ Scenarios 

Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. (Jeremiah 10:2)

The evangelical world has been feasting on a constant diet of crisis for several decades now. Despite the relative peace and prosperity that Americans currently enjoy, fear is being marketed in every outlet. Fear of the future. It is big money for evangelical professional marketeers, many of whom act like false prophets continually prophesying doom and destruction. In fact, so much so, that many Christians now seem addicted to the adrenalin rush that comes via these dire predictions of disaster. It is a Pavlovian thing – spout the CRISIS, and fear-laden followers will respond by pushing the button to buy pre-packaged SOLUTIONS! This phenomena can best be described as prophecy-mongering, a term that has connotations of profiteering from promoting endtime crises.

Crisis-mongering is not a new thing. Chicken Little in the children’s folk tale went around crying, “The sky is falling!” This message has now become “a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.”[1]  Despite the moral of the Chicken Little story, dire predictions are becoming a way of life for many evangelicals. The more exotic, the more titillating, the more dramatic – the more people will get all worked up. It isn’t just fear. Many of these catastrophic endtime scenarios are also extremely evocative, even licentious. It is tough to remain sober-minded when constantly assaulted by horrifying and/or Hollywoodized images[2]  of the future. But being sober is exactly what a believer is supposed to do in these last days – “the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).[3]

Christian Right groups eagerly engage in their cries of “Woe is America!” on a daily basis and, quite frankly, each new dreadful episode of our country in crisis creates an opportunity to raise more support for their particular issue.[4]  Evangelicals love solutions that impose some new housecleaning campaign for America. It is easier to point out the sins of America than deal with the sins within the Church (Matthew 7:3). The solution to America’s crises is inevitably some type of Dominionism – trying to “save” our nation, transform the culture, and gain power and ascendancy over others in the process. But notice it is not by the transformation of the inner man as a result of receiving the Gospel of Salvation. In fact, many evangelical leaders believe that they can invent the future, envision the future, and actually change the future! Some even wanted to develop “alternative future scenarios” because they didn’t like what Bible prophecy really has to say.[5]

Create the Crisis, Propose the Pre-determined Solution  Professionally trained change agents have learned how to create crises and then propose a pre-planned solution. Ironically, some evangelical leaders have warned believers about these very tactics, particularly because it has been a common modus operandi of the political Left for a long time. Creating the crisis is done by things such as fomenting discord, agitating about issues, harping continually on what’s wrong, and even going so far as to create the actual problem. Often this is done via the media, which is a “partner” or “stakeholder” in the issue that is being drummed up. Once people accept that there is a problem/crisis, then the change agents come in with their pre-fabricated solution. This solution is usually onerous and intrusive, and in the political realm it usually means more government oversight and control with less personal freedom.

So, given the fact that many evangelicals already know about this clever and deceptive strategy – create the crisis, propose the solution – why are so many so gullible to crisis-mongering when it comes to believing horrific prophecy scenarios? The answer is two-fold. First, evangelicals all want to trust their “experts” – those leaders who appear in the public eye and state things authoritatively. But many trusted leaders are engaging in this very crisis-solution strategy! They claim to have elite information, intelligence secrets, hidden knowledge, scientific-sounding secrets, or even the ability to be able to decode supernatural things. Some are deemed to have such superior spiritual insights that they are called modern-day prophets![6]  If these leaders were outsiders, or strangers to the evangelical world, wouldn’t skeptical questions be raised about their extravagant claims? People might request tangible proof, biblical documentation, and solid evidence before they believed their purported crisis. But because these prophecy-mongers are “in house,” hyped and marketed by other trusted leaders, they are assumed to hold superior information about whatever crisis they are promulgating. Even known cynics, critics who understand the whole crisis-solution manipulation strategy, don’t seem to raise an eyebrow when someone uses the same strategy wrapped up in endtime crisis guise.

Second, evangelicals are susceptible to prophecy-mongering because disaster is indeed imminent! We don’t know the day nor the hour (Matt. 24:36), but Jesus is going to return and before that happens Scripture states that things will wax worse and worse (2 Tim. 3:13). Believers are told to “discern the signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3). There are plenty of “wars and rumours of wars” (Mark 13:7) and many other things to indicate that the time is getting close. In fact, potential disasters are a dime a dozen. Every day brings hundreds of new catastrophic scenarios that loom on the horizon. The Christian Right gets all worked up about the environmental crisis advocates’ claims of global warming, but they have their own calamitous commotions. Should Christians get all revved up about these things – even before they happen, IF they are going to happen? Jesus’s answer to this was very short and sweet: “see that ye be not troubled.” Why? Because “for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6).

One of the more troubling aspects of prophecy-mongering is that those who are creating the crises are proposing solutions for the future. First of all, without engaging in a lot of semantic twisting and decoding of penumbras,[7]  these inventive crises can’t be found anywhere in Scripture. But, worse, their solutions can’t be found in Scripture either. Their solutions often have to do with conducting spiritual warfare. Even real warfare.[8]  Some have twisted and distorted biblical eschatology into an endtime crisis that requires that the church defeat its enemies, subdue the earth, and restore paradise conditions.[9]  They teach that Jesus can’t come back until all of these other dreadful and scary extrabiblical things happen first – based on their own stories they made up, or extrapolated from occult sources. Question: since when is Satan a reliable expert about the endtimes? John 8:44 says that the devil is a liar and “there is no truth in him.” Yet these prophecy mongers rely heavily upon Satan’s literature, and his dark imagery and falsehoods heavily pervade their crisis scenarios.[10]

What are the signs that believers should be watching for? They are listed specifically in the Bible. In fact, before one jumps on signs, there are explicit warnings to not get carried away. Jesus warned that there would be false men claiming to be “Christ” and “false prophets” who would have the ability to “shew great signs and wonders” to such a great extent, that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). In other words, signs can be treacherous and deceptive. So much so that Jesus warned that desiring signs showed a sign of lack of faith (John 4:48) and the Apostle Paul warned believers to beware because Satan can cause signs in order to deceive: “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9, 6-12).

At the very end there will be never-before-seen signs in the physical heavens, and a pronounced rise in terrifying things that happen on earth (earthquakes, famines, pestilences), both which Jesus treats in a matter-of-fact manner in Luke 21. They’re going to happen. Scary? Yes! Should we react in fear? No! Our reaction should be joy! “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

What should be the response of believers to all of this crisis-mongering? Christians don’t need to be scouring ancient pagan myths, borrowing from the occult or studying the Kabbalah. They don’t need to be overcome by fearful conspiracy theories, stories of government cover-ups, or exotic tales of science fiction-like monsters invading the planet. Jesus specifically states that He has told His children all they need to know about the endtimes in one very profound and brief statement: “Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24:25).

That’s it! “I have told you before!” Jesus has told us everything we need to know about the last days ahead of time in His Word. Period. End of crisis! We need no longer be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). If everyone stood on this verse the prophecy-mongers would go out of business!

Perhaps if Christians weren’t so gullible about prophecy-mongering, those racketeering and profiteering from crisis prophecy schemes would suffer an economic shortfall and have to close up shop. But endtime crisis prophecy is very alluring. It puts vivid images in the head, and tells wild tales with elaborate and complicated storylines.[11]  Like a good fiction series, always developing new twists in the plot to make readers want to read the next chapter, endtime crisis hooks the avid reader/listener. What’s next? What can happen worse?[12]  Notice how many times it requires paying money to find out what’s next. Prophecy mongering isn’t for free. The whole point of keeping captive audiences is so that they’ll buy the next new installment in the thrilling chilling story![13]

The Real Crisis and the Real Solution

  • QUESTION: what is the WORST CRISIS facing humanity?
  • ANSWER: The lost, the unsaved who will go to Hell if they don’t hear the SOLUTION of the Gospel message of Salvation and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

Christian – If this CRISIS with its truthful SOLUTION is not your primary FOCUS in life, then you need to search plain Scripture and re-discover the simplicity of the Gospel.

A good believer is one who seeks to obey Jesus Christ and His Word. A sincere Christian must stop and ask if all this prophecy-mongering is edifying – or terrifying. Is the storyline about Jesus Christ? Is HE the main character? Or is it full of dark tales about demonic things? Is the Bible becoming all mixed up in your mind and blurred with wild tales of creepy creatures and nightmarish monsters? What is all of this imagination and future-forecasting doing to your thought life? Are you focused on praying for the lost and leading the unsaved to the Lord? Or are you hungering for the latest tidbit of pending calamity? Is all of this endtime hype leading you away from your first love (Rev. 2:4) and simple devotion to Jesus Christ Who died on the cross for your salvation? Are you living your life in holiness and purity? Or are you wandering after sensations and stimulations?

The Apostle Paul concludes his lengthy discussion about the endtimes in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 by exhorting believers to stand fast, to have hope, to be comforted, and to be established in the Word and holy living. This does not sound like people overcome by catastrophic crises and waves of fear. It sounds like the sober-minded believer who is looking forward to that “blessed hope” of Jesus’s soon return (Titus 2:13).

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, Which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work. (2 Thess 2:15-17)

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from Herescope:

It has become obvious that Shepherding-Discipleship is not merely an aberration that affects individual personal lives, but is a broad-based ecumenical outreach designed to conform the entire Church to an authoritarian structure with the purpose of achieving dominion over the temporal world system. – Al Dager,
1990,[1]

Scurrilous: Grossly or obscenely abusive, characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive jest, vituperative, venomous, censuring, insulting, offensive, vulgar, aggressively hostile, belligerent, opprobrious, scornful, defamatory, malevolent, pejorative, contemptuous, ignominious, truculent, cruel, fierce, vitriolic, antagonistic, intimidating, obstreperous, contentious, pugnacious, scathing, salacious.[2]

Shepherd: A shepherd or sheepherder, is a person who tends, feeds, or guards flocks of sheep. The word stems from an amalgam of sheep herder.[3]  Pastor (Greek, poimen) means “shepherd.”[4]

currilous Shepherds have been around since the earliest days of the church. The main trouble is many of them are in disguise: Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing. Sheep often do not believe that they literally exist. Like many other Bible stories these days, Sheep are led to think that a Wolf in Sheep’s garb is simply a parable, a myth, a fable. That’s it. No danger!
Therefore, before examining Scurrilous Shepherds it is first necessary to remember the warnings from Jesus Christ Himself and His Apostle, Paul:

  • Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-16a)
  • I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men. (Matthew 10:16-17a)
  • I send you forth as lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:3b)
  • [A]fter my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Acts: 20:29b)

There is another problem. Sheep don’t believe that Shepherds can be EVIL. In fact, most Evangelical Sheep these days do not believe that Man has a fallen nature since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. This is a direct result of the Humanistic Psychology Self-Esteem Movement of the past four decades with its emphasis on the Basically Good Nature of Man. As a result, there is a pervasive corrupted view that “man is basically good but he occasionally screws up.” This Humanistic error enables a Fatal Fraud – that all Shepherds are good, and they only have the best interests of Sheep at heart. For Sheep this is a Dangerous and Deadly Deception.

Here is the key point to remember: The Lord Himself warned that there are Scurrilous Shepherds and that they wear a clever disguise – a Sheep Costume! A Wooly – not a furry – cloak covers them! And a Sweet-looking Sheep facial mask covers their true complexion! They may even smell like Lanolin!

A Saintly-Seeming Shepherd may not be readily apparent as a Wolf until one examines his fruit (Matt. 7:16a). Fruit is the key to identifying a Bad Shepherd. A Scurrilous Shepherd may appear to have benevolence, goodwill, charm, charisma, spiritual acumen, and the best interests of the Sheep at heart. But amazingly, despite all of these external good-sounding credentials, the Lord warns that appearances can be deceiving. Fruit may take a long time to manifest, but eventually it does come forth. Sadly, by this time, many Sheep have been ravaged.

Scurrilous Shepherds are known to walk the walk (actions) and talk the talk (verbal). They may seem to be right on track biblically. But “inwardly” – meaning lurking beneath the Wooly exterior – can be found a Ravening Wolf. Meek, lost, hungry and needy Sheep will find this to be a very disconcerting thought. Who would want to believe the worse about a Shepherd that they have come to love, trust and depend upon?
If appearances are so deceiving how can anyone recognize a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? Interestingly, the Lord gives another important clue to identifying Shepherd Wolves: they are ravening! “Once prey is brought down, wolves begin to feed excitedly, ripping and tugging at the carcass in all directions, and bolting down large chunks of it.”[5] Note that this activity is often done in packs. Here is the key difference, an object lesson from the animal world:

  • “Sheep are exclusively herbivorous mammals.”[6]
  • Wolves are almost always carnivores. The “wolf generally specializes in vulnerable individuals of large prey…. [T]hey are not fussy eaters.”[7]

Another biblical clue explains why Shepherd Wolves are ravening: “Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.”(Ezekiel 22:27) A Scurrilous Shepherd is motivated by power and greed over the Sheep, especially for his own financial gain. In our ecumenical age, any Rascally Rapacious Shepherd get gain entry into the church by another doorway, especially in order to plunder them – to steal, kill and destroy. (See John 10:1;10) All one has to do is turn on Christian TV! A Scurrilous Shepherd will fleece the sheep, stealing money that should be going to real mission work or to support local churches! . . . . . . .

read the full article here.

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Believe it or not, the Assembly of God use the “Myers-Briggs” test in their “We Build People” adult education program as a way for people to find their “spiritual gift”. It is how spiritually blind the AOG has become. Myers-Briggs was developed from the theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung who was an atheist!

1 Corinthians 2:13- 16:

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

from Got Questions:

There is no magic formula or definitive test that can tell us exactly what our spiritual gifts are. The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts as He determines (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). A common problem for Christians is the temptation to get so caught up in our spiritual gift that we only seek to serve God in the area in which we feel we have been gifted. That is not how the spiritual gifts work. God calls us to obediently serve Him in all things. He will equip us with whatever gift or gifts we need to accomplish the task He has called us to.

Identifying our spiritual giftedness can be accomplished in various ways. Spiritual gift tests or inventories, while not to be fully relied upon, can  definitely help us understand where our gifting might be. Confirmation from others also gives light to our spiritual giftedness. Other people who see us serving the Lord can often identify a spiritual gift in use that we might take for granted or not recognize. Prayer is also important. The one person who knows exactly how we are spiritually gifted is the gift-giver Himself—the Holy Spirit. We can ask God to show us how we are gifted in order to better use our spiritual gifts for His glory.

Yes, God calls some to be teachers and gives them the gift of teaching. God calls some to be servants and blesses them with the gift of helps.  However, specifically knowing our spiritual gift does not excuse us from serving God in areas outside our gifting. Is it beneficial to know what spiritual gift(s) God has given us? Of course it is. Is it wrong to focus so much on spiritual gifts that we miss other opportunities to serve God? Yes. If we are dedicated to being used by God, He will equip us with the spiritual gifts we need.

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from Herescope:

The Cult of Evangelical Leadership

Sacred Cow
“Most errors in matters of faith are contagious and infectious; the reason is, because ordinarily an error is broached by some, and entertained by others, in satisfaction to some lust, as favouring some evil desire and inclination of our minds, and so naturally pleaseth those who have the same evil propensions.” – Matthew Poole[2]

Billy Graham was probably the first real superstar in the rising evangelical pop culture. Some men had fame, but Billy had charisma and was widely admired. He possessed stage presence, a handsome face and good hair, a zeal mixed with just the right dose of humility, access to big arenas and unlimited crowd appeal. He was the first Big Star.

Mankind has always desired heroes to worship. And some men have been extraordinarily gifted, dynamic, and attractive – possessing superior talents and abilities. It is human nature, after all, to put eminent men on pedestals and exalt them as bigger-than-life Super Heroes. Some men are thought to be more than mere mortals.

Hollywood contributed to the celebrity ethos in America, and even Jesus Christ became a Superstar in the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera of 1971. Rock ‘n roll artists paved the way, turning themselves into instant Idols. The Beatles led the music culture far beyond Elvis into the visionary pursuits of Eastern mysticism, transcendental meditation and drugs. Idolatrous teenage fawning over rock stars was mightily facilitated by altered states of consciousness. Star-following became a way of life in America. Fans, a term derived from “fanatic,” became the norm.

From the earliest days of the modern evangelical movement the church followed the same sociological patterns as the culture at large and elevated certain men to Superior Status. By the late 1970s, as the broader evangelical media became an integral part of the American church landscape, leaders naturally – and unnaturally – arose. The television ministry became a new channel for popularity. In this climate of excess, Robert Schuller built his exotic Crystal Cathedral. The old humble revival meeting circuit gave way to the popular conference circuit. Prominent leaders like Pat Robertson and Dr. James Dobson rose to the forefront. Evangelical Stardom was birthed.

Soon it became popular to name drop. “I attended a conference where Joyce Landorf spoke,” a friend bragged in 1978, “and I got to meet her IN PERSON afterwards!” The glitz, glitter and glamour of stardom had rubbed off just a little on a lesser mortal. Stardom flourished wherever Fans multiplied.

Somehow Born-Againers never quite repented of their proclivity to follow the Stars. And a cult of leadership idolatry arose and became utterly acceptable. The only ones who seemed to notice with dismay were pastors who watched their own dethroning as their sheep flocked to the new ministry experts. Stardom took over the lucrative job of herding the sheep/fans.

There was money to be had in Stardom. Sacred Cows are Cash Cows. The Stars thrived on publicity. They published books, wrote articles, went on tours, ran the gamut of conference circuits, and addressed receptive audiences from behind the fancy new plastic podiums in rising megachurches. Some Star Performers launched their own media outlets, and others formed mega-ministries. Their name became their brand name. Evangelical show business became big business.

The parachurch ministries, which had previously lurked in the background as small mission-minded groups, mushroomed into the mainstream. A plethora of parachurch organizations arose to meet every possible sociological, psychological, economic or theological need. Each parachurch group featured its own Superstars – rank Showmen who marketed their niche product to the pan-evangelical church at-large. Some were Snake Oil Salesmen touting their wares, deceptive and deceitful.

Meanwhile, “felt needs,” a desire-driven psychology, was the profitable fuel feeding the new Priesthood. “What he said made me feel so good; it felt so right,” was the popular refrain. Formulaic methods of crowd arousal were mixed with exuberant sessions of emotional catharsis, creating a sensation of hyper-spirituality. A Star had to know how to make people feel happy.

Other Stars were propped up as the Scholarly Elite – the psycho-spiritual Experts, the business Gurus, and/or the mystical Change Agents. Sometimes, as in the case of Leonard Sweet, one man exemplified all three! Churches were Big Business after all, especially the megachurches. Consultants were needed to enhance ministry performance and profits. These purpose-enhanced, self-esteem-driven programs were based on secular management systems and tightly controlled standards. Big Box church leaders were trained to herd sheep into caged programs with pre-determined outcomes. Stifling. Sucking the life out of the sheep in order to obtain pseudo-spiritual results.

Leadership Network, aptly named, trained an entire generation of evangelical leaders in the mechanics of sales and service à la Peter Drucker. Marketing dynamics became an essential component of the new evangelical methodology, replacing genuine conversion with a bell curve to shift the paradigm. Note: Laggards could never become Leaders. Only those willing to push the envelope of transformational change need apply for Stardom. Thus, a new fad-driven culture emerged in which the latest craze dominated the evangelical media outlets. Conferences and organizations proliferated under every agenda-propelled Star. Fads for Fans!

The Image-driven Pastor became the mark of new leadership. An emerging pastor must become an Icon – the next Evangelical Idol. Slick Superstars were stage-managed, and careers were launched by Leadership Network, which specializes in guruship training via indoctrination in change theory. New-style “hip” churches were invented, attractional theologies were concocted, and carefully hand-selected Celebrities were placed on blazing career paths to head up the Emergent movement. A “hip” image-conscious counterculture was expected to push the boundaries of biblical orthodoxy into the New Age. Each new Leadership Network-fashioned Charmer developed his own brand name. “Image is everything.” Iconographic leadership.

Being at the top got chummy. Leaders endorsed other leaders. The Cult of Leadership became self-promoting and self-perpetuating. Backscratching Stars scored brownie points with other like-minded Stars. There was room at the Pinnacle of Success for more Spiritual Elites. The basic ground rule at the top was simple: “Only Endorse, Never Question.” The escape hatch, in case an associated Venerable Star fell off the deep end or became controversial, was also simple: “Deny Association If Expedient.”

Servant-Leaders promulgated the myth of humility and asceticism. These were the new worldly Monks who enjoyed monetary success while chanting medieval mantras, publishing rambling books, and contemplating their rising spiritual acumen. It wasn’t enough to have worshippers and admirers. Plans grew more grandiose. They would charm the socks off of peons in the pews by jumping on the stewardship bandwagon to change the planet. Social justice, eradicating poverty and global transformation – how hip! The “missional” church would become Planetary Stewards. Stardom for Stewards!

Smoke and mirrors characterized a certain segment of the leadership phenomenon. These men, naming it and claiming it, rose to fame and power by hype and extravaganza. Money, travel, influence, popularity, and extreme materialistic prosperity characterized a new breed of Braggadocios who thrived on incessant publicity and multiplying flocks of admirers. The more money promised, the more faithful followers to be had. Become rich by sending $uperpastor $tatus your dollars. Gold dust might even fall on your head!

The New Apostolics traveled with their own band of self-appointed Prophets – Celestial Cheerleaders who gave them the extra-spiritual endorsement of exaltation. More than elites, these Apostolic Stars brazenly proclaimed their Superiority over not just mankind but even Heaven itself! Their aim would be Divine Dominion, and to enforce it they organized their followers into downline networking schemes that promised prosperity and passion, even godhood. They built their empire on the elite Gnosticism of secret spiritual messages that only their own self-anointed Mucky-Mucks could decode. Their pedestals would become Mountains where they claim they will reign. King of the mountain. With the downline sheep under their feet. Tithe upline and the man at the top becomes the Doyen of Dollars. A powerful and prosperous Stardom indeed.

Read the full article here.

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This is the farce that the Assembly of God has degenerated into!

from The Daily Mail:

A youth pastor, as well as his church is facing criminal charges for a mock kidnapping of a youth group that was meant to be a lesson in religious persecution.

The Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown, Pennsylvania, as well as 28-year-old Andrew David Jordan were charged with false imprisonment and simple assault, authorities said.

The church staged the event in March. Mock kidnappers covered the teenagers’ heads, put them in a van, and interrogated them. Neither the young people nor their parents were told beforehand that it wasn’t real.

The mother of a 14-year-old girl, identified only as K.T., filed a complaint with police after she returned from the ‘object lesson’ traumatised and covered in bruises, and with a cut lip.

According to the York Daily Record, K.T. had been attending events at the Glad Tidings Assembly for less than a month.

‘This is a sad case for all those involved,’ Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico told the Associated Press, adding that while the church’s and Jordan’s intentions were not necessarily harmful, ‘they in essence terrorized several children.’

‘We need to protect children, no matter where the harm occurs,’ Mr Marsico said, adding that a grand jury recommended the charges. He noted that some of the teenagers in the group were not members of the church, and that a semi-automatic rifle was displayed in the exercise.

A message left at the church was not immediately returned, and there was no phone listing for Jordan. Neither had defence attorneys listed on court papers

The girl, who has asked to remain anonymous, described her terror to abc27.com in March: ‘They pulled my chair out from underneath me, and then they told me to get on the ground,’ she told the station.  ‘I had my hands behind my back. They said, `Just do as I say, and you won’t be hurt.’’

The girl said she and about 17 other teens were taken to the pastor’s house, where it appeared he was being assaulted, covered in what looked to be blood.

Eventually, she said, the adults in charge revealed it was a staged event, telling the traumatized teenagers that Christians in other countries battle with realities like that every day.

One of the two ‘kidnappers’ was an off-duty police officer who was carrying a real gun, according to abc27.com. However, the gun was unloaded at the time of the raid.

The girl was shocked that no one told her and the rest of the youth group the raid was only a drill. ‘They heard me crying,’ the girl said. ‘Why not right then and there tell us it was a joke, when you see me crying?’

Glad Tidings Assembly of God’s pastor, John Lanza, told the Associated Press in March that the church is ‘so saddened’ that the girl was traumatized at the youth meeting.

But he said his intent was never harmful – instead, it was designed to prepare them for what they might encounter as missionaries.

Lanza didn’t disclose the names of those involved but said the mock kidnappers included an off-duty police officer and a retired Army captain.

‘It was a youth event, to illustrate what others have encountered on a regular basis,’ he said, adding that the focus of the lesson was ‘the persecuted church’ in other countries.

Lanza said there were about 17 students at the meeting and the mock kidnappers covered the students’ heads, put them in a van and interrogated them.

Neither the students nor their parents were told about the raid beforehand, he said, though it was discussed with the parents of one youth who might have health issues.

Lanza said the church has conducted similar events at least twice before, adding that ‘there was much thought given to the safety aspect.’

‘If anyone was ever uncomfortable, they would be removed’ from the exercise, Lanza said, though part of the idea was to shock the students with the experience.

Lower Swatara Township police Chief Richard Wiley declined to comment until an investigation into the raid is complete. The names of the mother and daughter who complained haven’t been made public.

There could be consequences if the teens didn’t know what was going to happen and didn’t agree to be a part of the event, Dauphin County First Deputy District Attorney Fran Chardo said.

Tom Copeland, who studies international affairs and terrorism at Geneva College, a Beaver Falls school that emphasizes a ‘Christian worldview,’ questioned the wisdom of submitting a youth group to a mock kidnapping.

‘It just seems inappropriate for that age group. You would think there would be permission from the parents,’ Copeland said, adding that he’s never heard of anything like that happening at a church.

He said that while there have been highly publicized episodes of violence directed against Christian missionaries in other countries, it seems those countries’ local religious groups are more at risk.

Lanza said members of the church have made numerous mission trips overseas and have learned to be cautious. He said they were planning a trip to Mexico but reviewed current news and advisories and decided it was unsafe.

Lanza said he ‘would love to’ apologize to the girl and her mother but feels he can’t until the police investigation is done.

He said the church wants to keep doing the program but would make changes.

‘I would find a way that we could continue to keep the shock value,’ he said, ‘but I would find a way to inform the parents (beforehand).’

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