Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Mammon’ Category

From The Resurgent:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  Matthew 6:24

1,984 years ago this week, the world put God on trial. When offered a choice, the world surrendered up God to be tortured, crucified, and killed and asked that Pontius Pilate free the criminal Barabbas instead. The very same people who welcomed Christ into Jerusalem as a King at the beginning of the week, screamed for his crucifixion by the end of the week.

There is no compromise between Christ and the world. Young evangelicals, complacent in the United States and largely left alone, would do wise to remember this. Christians who side with Mammon should remember that Mamon sided with Barabbas.

Read surveys on millennials in churches and most of the surveys suggest these millennials are giving up on or making peace with abortion and gay marriage. The young are tempted to compromise with the world — to split the baby in an effort to love Jesus and be at least liked by the world. The cause of life and marriage has been replaced with opposition to human trafficking. The latter is a noble cause and one I have long championed. But for many, they pick up that cause because there is no one who really opposes it. It gives some Christians the luxury of being against something, without anyone being against them.

Christians in America have gotten soft. We’ve turned the nation into an idol to be worshiped. We’ve become so convinced by the “shining city on a hill” rhetoric we think “It can’t happen here,” regarding persecution of Christians. Joe Carter has a great read on this from a few years ago.

Joe is right. We’ve turned the American ideal of liberty into an idol we worship. The religious liberty in the first amendment is meant to protect the religious as they seek to draw people to them. But the world demands instead that the first amendment be used to draw the religious to the world and silence those who refuse to go along for the ride. In making an idol of our democratic freedom, the irony is that many evangelicals in America are abdicating the use of it.

What Christians in the United States of America, who’ve had it pretty easy for a long time in the USA, have forgotten or never learned is that the world is deeply hostile to the things, and people, of God. Remember, one thousand nine hundred eighty-four years ago today, the world chose to spare a criminal and crucify God himself.

Many young evangelicals who are making the decision that certain sins conflict with their personal beliefs, but they’re otherwise okay with the sin and will leave it alone. They are making a compromise to avoid conflict and be liked by the world. “I’m not one of those Christians,” they think and often say.

They want to be liked. They want the world to like them and to think them a part of the world. They view Christians who are seen as too hostile to others as inferior in spreading the Gospel or too judgmental. They fall victim to the sin of pride that their gospel is greater.

They’ll nod approvingly to the lyrics of Casting Crowns “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” saying, “Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did.”

Unfortunately for them, they’ll be hated anyway, even if they don’t realize it.

The Casting Crowns song, which is all over Christian stations, contains this lyric: “The world is on their way to You, but they’re tripping over me.”

Christ was very clear on this.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

The world is not on its way to Christ. The world hates Christ. The world will not allow a compromise between Christians and the world.

Evangelicals have a tough time on the issue of gay rights and younger Christians on abortion and other issues. If we hold to our convictions, we’re accused of hating. If we point out that sex outside of marriage is a sin, including among people of the same sex, we’re accused of saying they’re going to hell. If we point out the Biblical standard, even admitting we all fall short of the glory of God, we are accused of judging and, therefore, of being a hypocrite.

Christians are called to love their neighbors. Loving their neighbors does not mean turning a blind eye to their sin, or giving tacit approval to sin. Christians should want no one to go to hell. But we’ve arrived at a point where should we even mention this, we’re accused of saying folks are going to hell.

We must live our lives with love toward everyone and be friends to all who are open to being friends. But we should not delude ourselves. At some point the world will make us choose. And if we choose Christ the world will accuse us of hating, condemning, and judging. The world is deeply hostile to the Christian idea of loving the sinner, but not the sin. The world believes we cannot love the sinner if we do not fully affirm them, which means loving, or at least tolerating or accepting, their sin.

If we truly love our neighbor we must pray for their repentance, not accept their sin. If they tell us God made them that way, we must know that we were all born sinners. God didn’t do it. Our fallen nature did. The struggle with sin in the process of sanctification leads us closer to God. Those who revel in sin do not draw close. We don’t need to preach at them or condemn them. We need to love them and live relationally with them using our our stumbling toward Jesus as a way, hopefully, to also draw our friends to Jesus.

The chorus of the Casting Crowns song includes the line, “Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.” Christ’s heart breaks for all the fallen. Many Christians though are not believed when they confess their hearts break toward those who do not even recognize their sin.

Christians are accused of judging and casting stones, as the lyrics of that song claim, when all they are doing is not shying away from the fact that God sets standards. He may say to cast no stones, but he concludes with “go and sin no more.” Young evangelicals have bought into the notion that by proclaiming the standards of the Bible they are judging. They seek accommodation and given tacit approval to sin lest they be accused of judging or casting stones.

There is no accommodation on this issue with the world. Young evangelicals and others are deluded if they think they can seek a compromise with the world.  The world will not let you compromise.  The world will make you care.

Mammon chose Barabbas and too many young evangelicals are choosing Mammon. One day, if they remain faithful to Christ, they, you, and me will be made to care.

 

Read Full Post »

from The Daily Mail:

Born the daughter of a minister in Georgia, Janice Crouch grew up among all the trappings of the church and a life of holy devotion.

But before she passed away yesterday, days after suffering a massive stroke at her Florida home, the 78-year-old lived a life of enormous wealth funded by her Evangelical TV empire.

Alongside her husband Paul, Crouch preached to millions of viewers on a weekly basis, promising them wealth if only they would open up their own pockets and donate to her.

Using that money the couple bought adjoining mansions in Florida, jets worth almost $60 million and a $100,000 mobile home just to house Janice’s dogs, according to a lawsuit filed in 2012

In a lawsuit filed by granddaughter Brittany Koper after she was sacked from her position as the couple’s accountant, they were accused of receiving $300,000 to $500,000 in meal expenses, as well as the use of chauffeurs.

Koper’s lawsuit, reported by the New York Times, also claimed that staff members at the network, including sound engineers and chauffeurs, were ordained as ministers so their salaries could be tax exempt.

This also made it easier for the Couches to claim their 13 mansions as ‘parsonages’, also exempting them from a good deal of state and federal taxes.

Koper added: ‘My job as finance director was to find ways to label extravagant personal spending as ministry expenses.’

Janice, or ‘Momma Jan’ as she became known, also founded the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, a bizarre theme park that she took to overseeing personally.

Troy Clements, a former executive at the park, said that Janice’s belief that she was doing the Lord’s work led her to justify extravagant spending on personal whims.

Clements told the New York Times that he was once forced to remodel a cafe on site three times in six weeks.

When Janice was challenged on the behavior, she simply responded: ‘No one has told me “no” for 30 years, and you’re not going to start now.’

Clements also said that, when she began the remodeling project, she rented two rooms at the adjacent Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in order to be close to the project.

One room, he said, was for her – while the other housed her two Maltese dogs along with her clothes. The rooms were rented for two years, he added.

Read the full article here.

Read Full Post »

from Got Questions:

In the prosperity gospel, also known as the “Word of Faith,” the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite—God uses the believer. Word of Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God’s will. The prosperity gospel movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated such heresy. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them.

Paul warned Timothy about such men in 1 Timothy 6:5, 9-11. These men of “corrupt mind” supposed godliness was a means of gain and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (v. 9). The pursuit of wealth is a dangerous path for Christians and one which God warns about: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v. 10). If riches were a reasonable goal for the godly, Jesus would have pursued it. But He did not, preferring instead to have no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20) and teaching His disciples to do the same. It should also be remembered that the only disciple concerned with wealth was Judas.

Paul said covetousness is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5) and instructed the Ephesians to avoid anyone who brought a message of immorality or covetousness (Ephesians 5:6-7). Prosperity teaching prohibits God from working on His own, meaning that God is not Lord of all because He cannot work until we release Him to do so. Faith, according to the Word of Faith doctrine, is not submissive trust in God; faith is a formula by which we manipulate the spiritual laws that prosperity teachers believe govern the universe. As the name “Word of Faith” implies, this movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts.

A favorite term in the Word of Faith movement is “positive confession.” This refers to the teaching that words themselves have creative power. What you say, Word of Faith teachers claim, determines everything that happens to you. Your confessions, especially the favors you demand of God, must all be stated positively and without wavering. Then God is required to answer (as though man could require anything of God!). Thus, God’s ability to bless us supposedly hangs on our faith. James 4:13-16 clearly contradicts this teaching: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Far from speaking things into existence in the future, we do not even know what tomorrow will bring or even whether we will be alive.

Instead of stressing the importance of wealth, the Bible warns against pursuing it. Believers, especially leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:3), are to be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5). The love of money leads to all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). In sharp contrast to the Word of Faith emphasis on gaining money and possessions in this life, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). The irreconcilable contradictions between prosperity teaching and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is best summed up in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve both God and money.”

Read Full Post »

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

from MSN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

“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)

Read Full Post »

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:15-16

false teachers

Read Full Post »

From NBC News

Paul Crouch, who built what has been called the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network, has died. He was 79.

Trinity Broadcasting Network reported Saturday that Crouch died after a decade-long fight with degenerative heart disease.

A message was left for Crouch’s grandson Brandon, who wrote about Crouch’s death on his Twitter page.

Crouch and his wife Jan founded the network in 1973 and grew it into an international Christian empire that beams prosperity gospel programming to every continent but Antarctica around the clock. The programming promises that if the faithful sacrifice for their belief, God will reward them with material wealth.

Based in Costa Mesa, the network says it has 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates as well as a Christian amusement park in Orlando.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: