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Archive for the ‘Doctrine of Balaam’ Category

from Got Questions:

The term “televangelist” has almost universally negative overtones. Typical responses from people who are asked what they think about televangelists include the following: dishonest, greedy, materialistic, wasteful, and scandalous. The sight of televangelists wearing overly expensive clothing and jewelry, living in ridiculously expensive homes, and driving the most luxurious of cars, has caused many people to turn away from faith in Christ. Even non-Christians can discern that the teachings and lifestyles of most televangelists are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

There is nothing inherently wrong with televangelism. Television, just like any other medium (such as radio or the internet), is simply one way to get the gospel of Jesus Christ out into the world. There are many godly Christian leaders who use television to advance the gospel. Television is not the cause of the problems in televangelism. The problem in televangelism is the unbiblical beliefs of many televangelists. While television itself is not the problem, it does contribute to the problem in that it is far more difficult to discern a wolf in sheep’s clothing on a television screen than it is to discern such an individual through careful, in-person investigation. Television makes it easier for a facade of godliness and life-changing ministry to be presented, when behind the scenes, all that is truly occurring is a fleecing of unsuspecting sheep.

The core cause of many televangelist scandals is the belief commonly known as the health-wealth gospel. Televangelists are the primary propagators of the idea that it is always God’s will for all Christians to be perfectly healthy and financially wealthy. The essential message of the health-wealth gospel is that if you give money, God is obligated to bless you with health and wealth. If you give money, but are not blessed with health and wealth, you either did not give enough money, or do not have enough faith to truly receive the blessing. In this, health-wealth televangelists encourage people to give large sums of money, while preemptively explaining why the people are not blessed with health and wealth as they were promised.

Also known as the “prosperity gospel,” it is decidedly unbiblical. Yes, the Bible encourages believers to give (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6). And yes, the Bible teaches that those who give generously will be blessed by God (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:7). However, the Bible does not teach that we should give SO THAT we will be blessed. The Bible teaches that we should give because we love God and want to thank Him for what He has given us. Our motive for giving should not be so that God will bless us in return. Rather, our motive for giving should be to glorify God and to share the blessings He has given, thereby further expanding His kingdom and promoting the message of the gospel. The message, focus, and motive of the health-wealth televangelists are clearly unbiblical.

While it is always wrong to motivate giving by unbiblical methods, it would at least be somewhat understandable if these televangelists used the money for godly purposes. Sadly, that is most definitely not the case. It is utterly ridiculous to think that it is God’s desire for televangelists to spend the money donated for their ministry on mansions, while there are hundreds of languages into which not even a portion of the Bible has been translated. It is offensive for televangelists to drive cars that, if sold, could feed a starving African village for months. It is abhorrent that televangelists own clothing outfits that cost more than the average family can afford to spend on clothing in an entire year. To those who have been offended by the many televangelist scandals, please understand this – those televangelists do not represent the Christian faith and they are not following either Jesus’ teachings or His example. Televangelist scandals have truly “given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14).

While it is inconceivable that anyone could truly study the Bible and come away with a belief in the health-wealth gospel that many televangelists espouse, it is possible that some televangelists genuinely believe their message is true, biblical, right, and good. However, whether he believes it or whether he is intentionally and knowingly attempting to fleece people, the result is the same: people are deceived, robbed, and hurt.

To those Christians who have been deceived and hurt by televangelist scandals: please do not let your experience with televangelists cloud your relationship with Jesus Christ. Study God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and you will see the true message of the gospel. To those non-Christians for whom televangelism is a reason for your rejection of the Christian faith: do not reject faith in Jesus Christ due to the lies, deceptions, ungodly teachings, and unholy lifestyles of the televangelists. Examine God’s Word for yourself, and if you are to reject the true gospel, at least reject it for what it truly is.

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“What people wanted from Jesus 2000 years ago is exactly what they want from Him today: Happiness, health, material blessings, problem solving, ego boosting, political dominion, in short – heaven on earth.”

from Herescope:

Part 1: Self-Centeredness

By Pastor Anton Bosch

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…”
(1 Timothy 3:1-2a) [emphasis added]

We seldom take notice, when things change very slowly. I am sure you know the story (probably an urban legend) that if you threw a frog in a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump out of the water, but if it is put into the pot when the water is cold and the water is gradually heated, it will stay there until it is dead.

The Gospel in the western world has gradually been changed over the past 50 (or more) years so that what is believed to be the gospel today is no longer the true Gospel but a false gospel which differs substantially and dramatically from the true Gospel. But because the changes have been brought in gradually, no one seems to have noticed.

Paul mostly just refers to the Gospel as “the gospel” meaning that there is no other gospel, and assuming that his readers understand what the term means. But about 30 times he calls the gospel “the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16; 1Corinthians 9:12 etc.) or “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1; 1Thessalonians 2:2 etc.). In fact, Mark opens his gospel with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).

By calling it the “gospel of Christ” the writers of the New Testament are saying that the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, it is founded in, and by, Him. It is completed in, and by, Him. And He is the object and center of the Gospel. Nowhere is this clearer than in Paul’s explicit definition of the gospel:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved… For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV) [emphasis added]

This is about Jesus Christ, not about anyone else. Yes, we happen to be the beneficiaries of His atoning work but the only role we had to play in this great work is that He died “for our sins.” But it is He Who died, Who was buried, and Who rose from the dead.

So, how does the modern gospel differ from the Gospel of Christ? It differs in that Christ is no longer the center and object of the message — but man is. It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, it is the gospel of self, and it is another gospel entirely.

Just think about how this “gospel” is normally communicated. Those who preach the modern gospel talk about you: God’s plan for you, how much He loves you, how you can be happy and fulfilled, how He wants to bless you, make you rich and make you healthy and heal your marriage, etc. While many of these things are all true, the emphasis is in the wrong place. These preachers feel the need to sell people on the benefits of salvation, and so it becomes a man-centered message.

Right through the book of Acts we find that they preached “Jesus the Christ.” That was their message beginning at Pentecost (Acts 2:22) and ending at the last verse (Acts 28:31).

Some may say that this is merely semantics and splitting hairs, and that all that matters is that people come to accept Jesus. No, this is fundamental to the Faith. There are different gospels, and each presents a different Jesus. Paul warned that there would be “another gospel” and “another Jesus”:

“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4 NKJV) [emphasis added]

On the surface this other gospel and other Jesus appear very much like the real Gospel and the real Jesus, but they are both counterfeits empowered by a very different spirit – the spirit of Antichrist (1John 4:3).

The Gospel of Christ and the gospel of self have different messages: The object of the first is Jesus Christ, His person, His work and His glory. The object of the second message is self. This message concentrates on what man can get from God and how everything Christ has done and does, revolves around blessing man.

Responding to these two different gospels produce dramatically different results. The gospel of Christ is unpopular and few respond to it, while the gospel of self is popular and many flock to it (Matthew 7:13-15). They also produce very different attitudes in their followers. Those who obey the Gospel of Christ, worship Him and their lives and doctrine revolve around Him – they are Christ-centered. Those who choose the gospel of self worship themselves, and their lives revolve around themselves – they are self-centered.

Not only do these messages produce very different followers, but they produce entire congregations that are either self-centered or Christ-centered.

These differences are more than a slight difference in emphasis. They are complete opposites. The true Gospel produces repentance and faith in Christ alone. The gospel of self produces arrogance and self-righteousness. The Gospel of Christ leads to eternal life while the gospel of self leads to eternal damnation. Those who have been attracted by the gospel of self are not saved – they have put their trust in a false message with a false savior.

Nowhere are these two gospels more clearly illustrated than in the ministry of Jesus. The Jews preached a Messiah who would fulfill their political, economic and ego-centric goals. Their message was one of self, and ultimately no different than the message so popular today. They had no time for the suffering Servant who would not dance to their tune. They had formed a gospel that had nothing to do with God and His purposes, but that had everything to do with their goals, plans and ambitions. In the process they crucified the Lord of Glory (Acts 2:23) and brought God’s judgment on the whole nation.

What people wanted from Jesus 2000 years ago is exactly what they want from Him today: Happiness, health, material blessings, problem solving, ego boosting, political dominion, in short – heaven on earth. When Jesus refused to give them those things and, rather, offered them the cross and eternal life beyond the cross, they crucified Him and chose Caesar as their king (John 19:15).

Modern christianity has not crucified Him, but they quietly ushered Him out the back door of the church, locked Him out (Revelation 3:20), and crowned self as their king.

“All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:16-18 NKJV)

In the next article in this series I hope to show you more specifically and practically how this is works. . . .

The Truth:

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

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A good example of a corporation that fronts itself as a “church”

“. . . when a fellowship changes into an enterprise, it becomes a prostitute”

When is a “church” supposed to have a “CEO”

from The Los Angeles Times:

Crystal Cathedral Ministries’ church and 40-acre campus will be sold to an Orange County real estate developer for $46 million but leased back by the church in hopes of recovering the landmark venue for its “Hour of Power” broadcasts, federal bankruptcy court filings disclosed Friday.

Greenlaw Partners of Newport Beach will lease the cathedral and other core elements of the property to the church administration for $212,000 a month and guarantee exclusive lease rights for 15 years, according to the Chapter 11 exit plan filed in Santa Ana.

The successors to founder Robert H. Schuller also retain the option of buying it back for $30 million within the next four years, although a major financial turnaround in the church’s fortunes would be necessary to afford repurchase. For the four months ending in April, the church’s net loss was $1.14 million.

In creditor filings prior to Friday’s reorganization plan, it was reported that the Crystal Cathedral is “greatly exceeding” budgeted expenses and that the church would have burned through the $2 million it had on hand in operating revenue over the last six months if not for federal bankruptcy protections.

The indebted church hierarchy also will sell a condominium it owns in Laguna Beach that was valued in the reorganization plan at $999,000.

The ministries’ plan for exiting bankruptcy, which lawyers said could be confirmed as soon as Aug. 15, listed six classes of “unimpaired” creditors to be paid from the sales proceeds, with the county tax authorities designated as the first priority followed by Farmers & Merchants Bank, which holds a $36-million mortgage on the ministries’ real estate.

More than 550 creditors were included in the filings, but only a handful were designated as eligible for full repayment.

A reorganized ministries leadership will be led by CEO Chief Executive Sheila Schuller Coleman, the founder’s daughter, whose salary will be set at just under $70,000 a year. The church will also hire a chief financial officer whose salary will be capped at $300,000 a year and tasked with overseeing revitalization of the church’s revenues. In the six months prior to April 30, donations and support decreased by $4.6 million over the same period a year earlier, the filings reported.

Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy protection in October, saying it owed creditors more than $50 million.

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Not to mention that Joel Osteen is Biblically illiterate! He does not understand Christs OWN words in regards to there being false christ’s and false prophets who will come in Christ’s name:

Matthew 24:24:

For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.

Joel Osteen considers Mormons & Jehovah’s Witnesses fellow christians because they believe in a “christ”

from “Study your Bible Online”:

My fellow residents of the Nashville area have probably seen the billboards around town.  If not, maybe you have noticed the Facebook ads, or caught the recent Tennessean article.  All of these are advertising “A Night of Hope.”  The speaker for this event is Joel Osteen.

Joel Osteen is a well-known “preacher.”  He has a best selling book and is the “pastor” at one of the largest churches in America. Joel Osteen is a Word of Faith preacher, or commonly called a “Health and Wealth” preacher.  His sermons combine pop psychology with a sprinkling of Scripture.  The message is positive claiming that God desires for Christians to be wealthy and healthy and the key to unlocking these blessings from God is to empower your faith.

I could write a whole series about the problems with the word of faith movement (and I think I will at some point), but I want to focus on the idea of hope in this post.  Joel Osteen is supposed to have an evening of hope.  Hope is something people are looking for in all times, but more so during tough times.  I have no doubt Joel will have a large group buying tickets for this event.

I am saddened though because if the event is anything like the other material I’ve heard and read from Joel, what is being offered is false hope.  False hope to people struggling with money, that if they would use their faith (as if faith is some magical force) that God would make them rich.  False hope that they could be healed if they just read the right verses and declared God’s promises for them.  Preying on individuals during tough times, or anytime, is despicable.  The truth of the matter is Christians get sick and die.  Christians lose their jobs.  Putting hope in these things is false hope.

The true hope that all Christians have, and all people need is the hope offered in the gospel.  The hope that our sins are forgiven and that we have peace with God and joy no matter our circumstances.  This hope allow us to endure anything this life has to offer.  It is the hope, that Paul states in Philippians, allow us to be joyful both when he have more than enough, and when he have less than is needed.  It is the hope that even if we die of sickness that God will raise us from the dead to a land without sickness.  It is the hope that there is a better life awaiting us all.

True hope is in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That God became flesh, lived a perfect life, died, was buried, and was raised on our behalf.   Don’t buy this false hope.

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from Fox News:

Members of a small Baptist congregation in Texas say their pastor denied them communion after they refused to give him their tax refunds, MyFoxHouston.com reports.

Parishioners at the Houston Unity Baptist Church claim the pastor, John Goodman, asked members of his congregation to hand over their tax refunds to the church.

“He said for all those who are getting a tax refund, ‘How many are you are going to give it to the church?'” said one church member, who spoke to the station on condition of anonymity.

Goodman has admitted to denying his congregation communion but said he did so because church members overall have failed to support the church financially — like giving money toward its new parking lot. He said only four or five members of the church actually donate, and he called the rest of his congregations “devils,” MyFoxHouston.com reported.

“I asked if there were any other members, which I know it is, that got income tax money. I ask if they would like to contribute it over here to the new parking lot,” Goodman said in an interview with the station.

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from Apostasy Watch:

Soon after an 8.9 quake and tsunami devastated Japan, Rod Parsley ministries swung into action. Never one to squander a fund raising opportunity Parsley quickly had a webpage in place to exploit the tragedy and extract money from his naive followers

 Japan earthquake-tsunami
DISASTER RESPONSE

Parsley exhorts his partners to give for the immediate relief of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims but true to his covetous heart he cleverly gives himself complete discretion over how the funds will be spent.

Your immediate and generous tax-deductible gift will help respond to the Japan disaster and help Pastor Parsley preach the Gospel to a lost and hurting world through our Breakthrough television broadcast.  How many of these donated dollars will go to disaster support? Your guess is as good as mine. In fact, Parsley is under no legal obligation to tell us how he will spend these funds and you can bet he never will. By including support for his television broadcast in the appeal Parsley has legally made this a general donation to his ministry. He now has the sole discretion over the use of this money. Some of it may go to Japanese disaster relief or it may not. It’s all up to Parsley. Once you give, it’s his money and he doesn’t have to be accountable to you or anyone else.

…………They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;  2Peter 2:14-15 NKJVWhat sort of person would use the suffering of millions of people as an opportunity to raise money for himself. Rod Parsley, that’s who. Of course he’s not the only one. We’ve already seen Kenneth Copeland get busted for promoting a non existent disaster relief ministry

Guys like Parsley and Copeland are modern day snake oil salesmen. They:

are wells without water – 2Peter 2:17
are spots and blemishes – 2Peter 2:13
carouse in their own deceptions – 2Peter 2:13
speak great empty words – 2Peter 2:18
allure through the lusts of the flesh – 2Peter 2:18
promise liberty but are themselves slaves of corruption – 2Peter 2:19
will surely perish in their own corruption – 2Peter 2:12

Caveat Emptor! Buyer Beware!Ministry Watch gives Rod Parsley an F grade for financial transparency.

Both Parsley and Copeland ministries show up on the Ministry Watch 2010 Donor Alert List

If you desire to give to ease the suffering of the Japanese people we encourage you to do so by way of a reputable organization such as the Red Cross or Samaritan’s Purse. There is absolutely no need to give through ministries who are completely unaccountable for how the funds are spent.

Copyright 2011
Steve Lumbley
Apostasywatch.com

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from Gay Christian Movement Watch:

Joel Osteen leads 44,000 people (per their own claims) at Lakewood Church, but when he is in the public spotlight his lukewarm and tepid response to moral issues leave millions scratching their heads about him. The question: is Joel just a figure head pastor? Is someone else writing his sermons and messages? Its sad and tragic that a person with such influence lacks the spiritual authority to speak truth and stand by it without apology.

The super pastor’s recent appearance on a CNN talk show caused people on both sides of the issue of homosexuality to criticize him. Osteen appears to not want to anger anyone, so he attempts to soften the truth after he’s spoken it. But that makes him sound unconvincing on either. Jesus warned against lukewarm positions when it came to the truth.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

And does the rest of the passage describe America’s largest and richest local church?

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Rev 3:15-18

The Christian Post reported that while homosexual activist leaders derided his words as “dangerous and irresponsible”, Rev. Albert Mohler stopped short of praising him. Clearly, Osteen seemed to only add more confusion to the issue.

LGBT group the Human Rights Campaign called for an immediate apology, arguing that his statement “adds a burden to those already struggling to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“One would hope Mr. Osteen would use his pulpit, with an audience of over 7 million people, to tell all human beings that they are loved just the way they are,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Instead he chose to send a dangerous and irresponsible message.”

Evangelical leader R. Albert Mohler, Jr., who does not agree with Osteen’s “updated version of prosperity theology,” was glad to hear the renowned pastor – who reaches 10 million television viewers nationwide – affirm the Bible’s teaching. But Mohler stopped short of praising Osteen.

“Thankfully, he did not deny that homosexuality is a sin. We can only have hoped that he would have given a more bold answer, followed by an equal boldness in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said in a commentary Thursday.

Although he has been “pastoring” some fourteen years now, Osteen seems no closer to principled stands than he was when first questioned about the issue. . . . .

read the full article here.

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