Archive for the ‘Assembly of God in Apostasy’ Category

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,

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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Hebrew Roots teaching is all the rage right now, you are seeing a large number of false teachers running about telling Christians that they cannot properly understand God’s Word or be able to “Rightly Divide” the word unless they understand the Original Hebrew and or keep all of the Jewish Festivals and Old Covenant laws.

As the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:6-9:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,  which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

And: Galatians 2: 19-21:

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

And: Galatians 3:1-4:

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among youas crucified?  This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

And: Galatians 4:21-26:

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

And finally: Galatians 5:1-2

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.  2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

One such false “Hebrew Roots” teacher is a “Dr.” Roy Blizzard, his false teaching is infecting many pentecostal churches due to their abandonment of  Biblical Doctrine in favor of any lying spirit that will make them shake, utter gibberish and have a warm fuzzy feeling!

His false teaching has even infected a former “church” that my family and I attended.

“Dr.” Blizzard has an affectation for Rabbinical Jewish Teachings, and he teaches that to properly understand God’s Word not only must you understand Hebrew but you must interpret that Hebrew using Rabbinical Jewish Teachings.

Not many Christians know it today, but all Rabbinical Jewish Teachings find their origin in the Oral Tradition or Oral Law of the Pharisees. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D., Pharisaic beliefs became the liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism. The Mishnah written around 220 A.D. put into written form those oral traditions.

In Galatians the Apostle Paul is warning new Christians about some who were coming in after he had established the Church in Galatia, and convincing the new Christians in Galatia that they needed to be circumcised and follow the Oral and Written Jewish Law as interpreted by the Pharisees.

This “Dr’ Roy Blizzard is doing the same thing, I have posted an article from him below on Genesis 3:1-7:.

Now to give you some context “Dr’ Blizzard does not believe that Satan exists! He uses modern Rabbinical (Pharisaic oral tradition) teaching to say that Satan, the Devil is actually just allegorical terms for the bad side of human nature, known in Rabbinical Jewish Teaching as the “Yetzer Hara” or evil inclination.

Read the article below and weep for the Christians who are being seduced by this false teacher attempting to drag Christians from the liberty that they have in Christ to the Bondage of Rabbinical Jewish Teachings.

From Bible Scholars:

Genesis 3:1-7

By: Roy B. Blizzard Posted: June 04 2012

The Passage in Translation for today is going to be Genesis 3:1-7.

Biblical commentators have found extreme difficulty in explaining this passage and especially the nature of the serpent. Some commentators have suggested that the serpent was Satan; one who was separate from God and in opposition to God.

In popular thought and language, the concept of evil is strongly associated with the serpent and hence the serpent is chosen out of the animal world as a symbol of evil. However, we must not regard the serpent as an independent entity in opposition to God. A special characteristic that the Bible attributes to the serpent is “cunning.” Since there is no other quality ascribed to him, the intent is to convey that the evil flowing from the serpent emanated only from his cunning. In the ultimate analysis, we have here an allegorical illusion to the craftiness to be found in man himself. That is, the duologue between the serpent and the woman is actually in a manner of speaking, a duologue that took place in the woman’s mind between her wiliness and her innocence clothed in the garb of a parable.

In reality, it is not the serpent that thinks and speaks but the woman who does so in her heart. There is a play in Hebrew on words between the word “cunning” arum and “naked” arummin. They were naked because of their ignorance of good and evil, or their lack of knowledge. However, they were not lacking in cunning. The woman emphasizes that the tree from which they were forbidden to eat was in the center of the garden. And, she adds the additional statement that God had said, “neither shall you touch it,” which of course he had not. But the clause “neither shall you touch it” is simply synonymous with the preceding clause “ye shall not eat thereof.” The woman concludes that the underlying cause must be none other than God’s jealousy. He who knows everything does not wish his creatures to possess the same knowledge as himself.

It seems to be the way of the world for the man to be easily swayed by the woman. However, the man was with her and evidently consenting to the action all the time.

In truth, their eyes were opened but the outcome was not what they had expected. They had hoped that by eating the fruit they would obtain divine knowledge. The cognition that had seemed so desirable to them as to warrant the transgression of God’s precept was vastly different from what they had originally imagined. The first knowledge that they acquired led not to edification but to shame. There is much to be learned from this passage and what follows. But, perhaps we can conclude with “Be careful! What you ask you may get it.”

… to be continued

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But of course he would attack them because they refuse to accept the false teachings of the Catholic church, its illegitimate claim to being the only true church, or the Pope as the supreme head of all Christianity!

On the other hand all of the mainline protestant denominations are cosying up to the Catholic church, ignoring its false teachings and its false claim as the sole true representation of Christianity on earth!

from The Daily Telegraph:

Visiting the monastery in Erfurt where Martin Luther lived before launching   the Reformation, the pontiff praised Luther’s “deep passion and driving   force” and called for unity between the Catholic and Protestant faiths   in the face of a new evangelism.

He launched a thinly veiled attack on the evangelical and Pentecostal churches   which have been attracting converts from more established faiths, especially   in developing countries.

“Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with   overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the   mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss,” said the   pope. “This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth,   little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon poses a question to us all: what is   this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse?”

The 84 year old pontiff paid tribute to Luther, the theologian who disputed   Church tenets sparking a split among German Christians that led to the   creation of the Lutheran church.

Benedict said: “What constantly exercised him was the question of God,   the deep passion and driving force of his whole life’s journey.”

But the Pope was seen to fall short of offering a tangible olive branch, after   deflecting appeals to relax rules barring protestants from receiving the   Catholic eucharist.

Germany’s top Protestant bishop urged the Vatican to take “real steps for   reconciliation” ahead of the upcoming 500th anniversary of the   Reformation in 2017, which the Protestants would like to mark with Catholic   participation.

On the afternoon of second day of the state visit to his native Germany, the   pontiff travelled to the pilgrimage site of Etzelsbach, near Heilbad   Heiligenstadt, in the former East Germany, to honour those Catholics who   helped resist communist rule.

The tiny chapel was popular with farm workers living under communist rule who   visited the site to pray for the health of their animals.

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1 Kings 18:21:

Elijah stood up in front of all the people and asked them, “How long will you try to have it both ways? If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal is God, follow him.” The people didn’t say a word.

from USA Today:

If World War II-era warbler Kate Smith sang today, her anthem could be Gods Bless America.

That’s one of the key findings in newly released research that reveals America’s drift from clearly defined religious denominations to faiths cut to fit personal preferences.

The folks who make up God as they go are side-by-side with self-proclaimed believers who claim the Christian label but shed their ties to traditional beliefs and practices. Religion statistics expert George Barna says, with a wry hint of exaggeration, America is headed for “310
million people with 310 million religions.”

“We are a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs — our clothing, our food, our education,” he says. Now it’s our religion.

Barna’s new book on U.S. Christians, Futurecast, tracks changes from 1991 to 2011, in annual national surveys of 1,000 to 1,600 U.S. adults. All the major trend lines of religious belief and behavior he measured ran downward — except two.


Religious beliefs, practices shift

More people claim they have accepted Jesus as their savior and expect to go to heaven.

And more say they haven’t been to church in the past six months except for special occasions such as weddings or funerals. In 1991, 24% were “unchurched.” Today, it’s 37% .

Barna blames pastors for those oddly contradictory findings. Everyone hears, “Jesus is the answer. Embrace him. Say this little Sinners Prayer and keep coming back. It doesn’t work. People end up bored, burned out and empty,” he says. “They look at church and wonder, ‘Jesus died for this?'”

The consequence, Barna says, is that, for every subgroup of religion, race, gender, age and region of the country, the important markers of religious connection are fracturing.

When he measures people by their belief in seven essential doctrines, defined by the National Association of Evangelicals’ Statement of Faith, only 7% of those surveyed qualified.

Barna laments, “People say, ‘I believe in God. I believe the Bible is a good book. And then I believe whatever I want.'”

LifeWay Research reinforces those findings: A new survey of 900 U.S. Protestant pastors finds 62% predict the importance of being identified
with a denomination will diminish over the next 10 years.

Exactly, says Carol Christoffel of Zion, Ill. She drifted through a few mainline Protestant denominations in her youth, found a home in the peace and unity message of the Baha’i tradition for several years, and then was drawn deeply into Native American traditional healing practices.

Yet, she also still calls herself Christian.

“I’m a kind of bridge person between cultures. I agree with the teachings of Jesus and … I know many Christians like me who keep the Bible’s
social teachings and who care for the earth and for each other,” Christoffel says. “I support people who do good wherever they are.”

And it’s not only Christians sampling hopscotch spirituality. The Jewish magazine Moment has an “Ask the Rabbis” feature that consults 14 variations of Judaism, “and there are many,” says editor and publisher Nadine Epstein.

“The September edition of Moment asks ‘Can their be Judaism without God?’ And most say yes. It’s incredibly exciting. We live in an era where you pick and choose the part of the religion that makes sense to you. And you can connect through culture and history in a meaningful way without necessarily religiously practicing,” Epstein says.

Sociologist Robert Bellah first saw this phenomenon emerging in the 1980s. In a book he co-authored, Habits of the Heart, he introduces Sheila, a woman who represents this.

Sheila says: “I can’t remember the last time I went to church. My faith has carried me a long way. It’s Sheilaism. Just my own little voice. … It’s just try to love yourself and be gentle with yourself. You know, I guess, take care of each other. I think God would want us to take care of each other.”

Bellah, now professor emeritus at University of California-Berkeley, says, “Sheila was a jolt to some at the time. But to a lot of people, it wasn’t a jolt at all, they had been living that way for a while. Don’t romanticize the past. Fervent religiosity was always in the minority. Just because people showed up in church didn’t always mean a deep personal conviction or commitment.”

Bellah sees two sides to the one-person-one-religion trend. On the positive: It’s harder to hold on to prejudices against groups — by religion or race or gender or sexuality — if everyone wants to be seen individually.

“The bad news is you lose the capacity to make connections. Everyone is pretty much on their own,” he says. And all this rampant individualism also fosters “hostility toward organized groups — government, industry, even organized religion.”

Today, even the godless disagree on how not to believe, says Rusty Steil of Denver.

He grew up Lutheran and retained his parents’ “strong moral code,” but, he says, he couldn’t stick with “ancient myths of people trying to make sense of the world.”

“I don’t find much comfort in imagining there’s an all-powerful God who would allow people starving and all the natural and man-made disasters,” Steil says.

Steil calls himself a “live-and-let-live atheist,” as apart from the virulently anti-religious variety such as Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, or “those who actively promote disbelief.”

Paul Morris, an Army medic at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and veteran of six tours in the Middle East, says he has seen Christianity, Judaism and Islam in action, for better and for worse, and, frankly, he’ll pass.

Morris grew up “old-style Italian Catholic,” but says he never felt like his spiritual questions were answered. So, he says, “I just wiped the slate clean. I studied every major religion on the face of the planet. Every one had parts that made sense, but there was no one specific dogma or tenet I could really follow,” Morris says.

“So now, I call myself an agnostic — one who just doesn’t know. What I believe is that if you can just do the right thing, it works everywhere.”

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from Perfect Peace Plan:


. . . . . Not satisfied with the destruction they have already wrought, the AOG is taking them to court again: Notice of Appeal was filed in the Appellate Div. of St. Lawrence County Supreme Court against local AOG Church. . . .

. . . . . All of these Scriptures apply to all Christians in the church throughout the Church Age.  But apparently George Wood, General Superintendent to the Assemblies of God, and Duane Durst, District Superintendent of New York District of Assemblies of God do not apply these Scriptures to themselves

However, even the chief Apostle Paul himself did not seize or hijack local churches, so how does any pastor, general superintendent, district superintendent, or bishop have the biblical authority to do so?  Durst and Wood have also defied Paul’s instructions in which he TWICE gave instructions for giving financially to the church, diametrically opposed to what the AOG compels members to do and what AOG major partner and collaborator Rick Warren requires in compelling members to tithe.  How could the Apostle Paul be clearer?  ALL giving must NOT be out of compulsion:

2Cr 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Note this is not each church, but each individual man.  There should be no patrolling of local churches to see if they are tithing or not.

Paul also twice eternally damned the Judaizers in Galatians who were trying to put Christians back under the law, which would include compulsory tithing as though it were a Temple tax. . . . . .

read the full article here.

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from a two-year old article but still very relevent for today.

from Living The Way:

“We don’t put God in a box… He puts US in a sheepfold. And the protective fence He gave us in the New Covenant age is the Word of God, the Bible! He gave us boundaries so we could stay safe, KNOW Him, and please Him. The fence is our measuring rod. It says that what is inside is safe. What is outside is error. It is by the bible alone that we may judge rightly how far we can go. The extra-biblical signs, wonders, miracles, manifestations etc. are the garbage that the wolves (false prophets and false teachers) have laid outside the fence to tempt us into venturing out and they will be our destruction.”

Thomas Brooks wrote that God’s “fence” has two attributes:
1. protection (Job 1:10), “Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns?”
2. affliction (Hosea 2:6-8), “I will hedge up her path with thorns. I will wall her in…”

The hedge of protection—is to keep His people from danger.
The hedge of affliction—is to stop His people from wandering.

The hedge of protection—is to keep them in God’s way.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep them out of sin’s way.

The hedge of protection—is to keep them from suffering.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep then from sinning, and to put them upon returning to God.

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