Archive for the ‘works not grace’ Category

“The god of the average American church is not the God of the Bible. This god has an over-inflated and distorted sense of love, does not bring harsh judgments upon sinners, is never offensive to anyone regardless of their teachings or lifestyle, openly accepts sin, and is offended by the idea that he is sovereign over creation. He wants you to have a better marriage, a better job, a bigger car, and above all, he wants you to think he’s cool.”

from ZONICA:

His words took me by surprise. They were all at once a kind compliment and a stunning rebuke. He walked up to our booth at the conference and said, “Wes, I really enjoyed your session this afternoon. You know, of all the seminars I’ve attended at this conference, you’re the only who actually taught out of the Bible.”

Yes, you read that right. It was a Christian conference in the Midwest. There were probably a thousand people there and a hundred or more breakout sessions over the two day event.

This wasn’t the first time this had happened to me. A few months ago I had a similar situation at another Christian conference. Again, I did several breakouts over the three day event. After my last session, which was the last speaking event of the conference, a man walked up to me and said, “That was the best talk of the entire conference. You actually quoted the Bible.”

A Devastating Trend

Across much of evangelical Christianity in America the Bible has become a secondary or non-existent source of teaching. In many places, it isn’t even referenced at all on Sunday morning. In others, a verse may be quoted to start the message, but then the rest of the time is filled with a solid dose of the pastor’s “wisdom,” either from his vast “experience” or his scholarly “learning” at some quasi-pagan seminary.

Still other churches, who claim to be “Bible-based,” avoid many of the major teachings of Scripture for fear they will offend our oh-so-sensitive culture. They’re playing the marketing game, and the total teachings of Scripture just don’t fill the seats.

And then you have those who take the Bible and distort it to accomplish their own ends, namely, building self-help clinics for personal profit.

Across the nation, the Bible is becoming less and less a part of the life of the Christian church. We are quick to rail against the Catholics, Mormons, or Jehovah’s Witnesses for using another authority for their teaching (that is, a source of teaching other than the Bible itself), but we so conveniently overlook the fact that we do the same every day.

American Christians don’t know the Bible. They know what they’ve heard on Sunday morning for years or what they think the Bible says based on their own reasoning or ideas. But the true teachings of Scripture are far from their minds and lips. Let me give you another example.

A couple of times a year a new book will sweep through the church and create a great stir. Everybody will be talking about it, and many churches will quickly put their congregations through it. “This will revive your church!” they say. “This will revolutionize your ministry!” they proudly claim. But invariably, when I pick up the book myself, I’m often left thinking, “What’s so new and revolutionary about this book? This is taught all over Scripture. Our people should already know this!”

The content of the books we rave about is content we should have learned a long time ago. And not from some new release by Zondervan or Nelson, but from the Bible itself! What we need to revive our churches and revolutionize our ministries is not another book by some clever Christian pundit, but the Word of Almighty God Himself.

One of the Major Problems for the American Church

Our churches are a mess; we’re full of sin, self-centeredness, compromise, and conflict. Most churches are failing, and most of our youth are leaving. We’re in deep trouble to say the least. However, the main cause of our troubles is not the atheists, the ACLU, the Supreme Court, or the administration in Washington (as we so like to believe); the main cause is our shallow knowledge of the Word of God.

As we face our difficulties—like overcoming sin, standing against compromise, and finding victory in conflict—we no longer have the wisdom of God to guide and instruct us. We’re left with our own wisdom, and it always fails us.

But there’s another terrible consequence of marginalizing the Bible in the life and teaching of the church: Over time we become idolaters.

In biblical times, and in fact in many places around the world today, idols were formed by taking something from creation (a tree, a rock, a bar of iron), shaping it into an image, and then ascribing to that image the characteristics of the god desired.

But today, in modern American Christianity, we have put a new twist on creating idols. We take the God of the Bible, the true God, pull Him down from heaven, and remake Him into the god both we and our politically correct culture will accept.

The god of the average American church is not the God of the Bible. This god has an over-inflated and distorted sense of love, does not bring harsh judgments upon sinners, is never offensive to anyone regardless of their teachings or lifestyle, openly accepts sin, and is offended by the idea that he is sovereign over creation. He wants you to have a better marriage, a better job, a bigger car, and above all, he wants you to think he’s cool. . . . .

read the full article here.

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from Apostasy Watch:

If you have your Bible, if you have your Bible I’d like you to turn with me to Acts chpt. 20. I’d like to read a few verses from this passage which I believe are very apropos today.

Talking to the elders in the church of Ephesus as he is preparing to go to Jerusalem where he will be bound by the Jews, and later to die. The apostle writes these words or speaks these words and Luke records them. I take you to record this day v.26, Acts 20:26. That is a direct quote from Ezek. 34 where the scripture says if you do not warn the wicked man of his wicked and he dies in his sin, I will hold you accountable for it. So we are suppose to warn the wicked of the wickedness they perform and also of the judgment of God upon them. If we don’t we become accessories after the fact of their sins.

So, Ezek. 34 is what Paul is definitely referring to. I want you to know I am free from the blood of all mankind because I am giving you the whole counsel take heed there unto yourselves and all the flock unto which the Holy Spirit has made you rulers. The Greek word episcopos- a ruler to fend or tend therefore the church of God which he has purchased with his own blood. “For I know this after I leave you savage wolves shall enter in among you and will not spare the flock.” No mercy and notice this from your own selves men shall arise speaking contrary things to draw away disciples after themselves. Therefore watch and remember for a period of three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day to the point of tears.” Now there is a twofold warning to the Christian Church.

Now we are speaking this morning on the warnings of God, the warnings of God. This passage tells you that after the apostles would leave the Church there would be savage wolves, they are characterized as wolves. Ravenous wolves who will enter in, and they will not spare the flock. Which means they will attack the flock from without, they will penetrate the sheepfold and they will chew up the sheep. Now that’s as clear as crystal right here. I know this after I leave, this is going to happen.

We have those savage wolves today. We have theologians in theological Seminaries and departments of religions of schools who literally chew up the flock. They chew up the people who are studying for the ministry and then they spit them out into our pulpits where they can chew us up. These are the savage wolves who come in not sparing the flock. Apostate’s in positions of authority in the Christian Church. Apostate’s who advocate the ordination of homosexuals, forbidden and cursed of God. Apostate’s who deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Apostate’s who will ordain you if you deny the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection, and the 2nd coming. Apostate’s who dominate our denominational structures and our educational institutions. Apostate’s who have come in and are chewing up the church. That is very clearly stated here that we are to lookout for these people. Paul said I warned you day and night for three years to the point of tears. Very important. . . . .

read the full sermon here.

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from The Last Crusade:

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school
of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly
searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with
Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across
a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short
version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:

Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece
and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution;
it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and
became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19
years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand
and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding,
“An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha,
the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not
imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was
self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless,
I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked
such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be
a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going,
and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued,
“But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or
spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the
presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were
on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was,
“Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought
aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about
her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a
business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her
question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically,
is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we
love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

… I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not
know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates
in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what
we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would
bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him
for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we
can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business,
merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded
to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty
intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love
someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone,
is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered
the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?”
I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does
what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but
only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would
happen if God stopped paying me?”

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover
my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of
God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He
never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please
understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The
issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is
the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings
in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have
earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any
conditions? It took several months to work through these questions.
Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by
my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed
with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in
my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved,
but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute?
There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for
that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both
places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no
substitute or unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I
mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another
look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

-Dr. David Ryser.

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from OneNewsNow:

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says it’s “heresy” to believe that an individual can be saved through a sinner’s prayer of repentance. 

In her opening address to the church’s General Conference in California, Jefferts Schori called that “the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”    

The presiding bishop said that view is “caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus.” 

According to Schori, it is heresy to believe that an individual’s prayer can achieve a saving relationship with God. “That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy.” . . . . .

read the full article here.

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“However, after denying the Christian label, CCF then argued it was indeed a Christian group because of the “good works” it does for children”

so  “good works” means your a Christian”? Hmmm . . .  another case of a group thinking it knows more than God himself!

Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

from One News Now:

Last month the Christian Children’s Fund announced it is adopting a new strategy to continue its work in aiding the world’s impoverished children. Along with the new strategy comes a name change — specifically, removal of the word “Christian” from its title.  

The new name, ChildFund International, was approved at the Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) Board of Director’s meeting on April 21 and will take effect July 1. As AlertNet.org reports, CCF hopes to continue easing the “burden of poverty for children and their families” under the new, “globally unified” branding.
CEO Anne Lynam Goddard, who became president of CCF in 2006, says the board examined the traditions of the ministry over the past 70 years and wanted to revamp the image to continue serving others over the next 70 years, since an estimated 53 million additional people will be forced into poverty because of the current economic crisis.
CCF boasts helping more than 15.2 million children and families in 31 countries since its inception. It has provided nearly $3 billion in aid to poor families, mainly through monthly child sponsorships. Goddard notes the philanthropy’s goals of helping ensure a child’s health and growth from birth to young adulthood will continue so that the children will one day become world-changers themselves.
However, the adoption of the new name ChildFund International is not the first rebranding the ministry has undergone. CCF, founded in 1938, was first christened China Children’s Fund but changed to Christian Children’s Fund after its work expanded outside of China.
In recent years, CCF has received criticism as many ask whether the group has actually lived up to its “Christian” name. The name change likely comes as no surprise to the people at MinistryWatch, a group that “profile[s] public charities, church and parachurch ministries.” In 2004, MinistryWatch questioned whether having the title Christian Children’s Fund was misleading to Christian donors. and prompted an investigation of the philanthropy.

According to a May 2004 Donor Alert, their research concluded that CCF calls itself a “non-sectarian” group and does not have a statement of faith, nor is it a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. CCF admits they are “not an evangelical organization in that [they] do not teach religion as part of [their] program activity and [they] do not try to convert beneficiaries as part of [their] program efforts.”
However, after denying the Christian label, CCF then argued it was indeed a Christian group because of the “good works” it does for children. However, MinistryWatch believes CCF’s work is closer to “community development” than ministry because donated funds are spent on an entire community instead of going directly to help the child being sponsored.
MinistryWatch also concluded Christians may be bothered that CCF partners with “traditional healers” in Third World nations, which MinistryWatch believes can be construed as “occult practices.” Additionally, CCF employees are not required to be professing Christians.
MinistryWatch released the alert nearly five years ago, urging CCF supporters and donors to reconsider donating to other ministries that have clear Christian messages, claiming that a true Christian ministry hopes to “bring those that they serve into a relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Goddard, however, asserts the most significant change comes from within a community. “As we change a childhood, we change the world,” she says.

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hmmm . . . .  doctrine does not matter and Mormon’s are saved, but honoring God means you do not eat Pork or Shellfish! sounds like works to me!

Romans 6:14:

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Matthew 15:11:

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

Someone should tell Joel it is not a sin to eat pork or shellfish, but that you will not go to Heaven if you do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible and that works count for nothing before God!

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