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Archive for the ‘Heresy’ Category

The Church…

Have you considered what the church is?

 

The more I consider the meaning and the significance of what it means to be included in both the invisible church of God and the visible church the more important it has become to belong to church that does church the right way.  As a Protestant, we of course would draw a distinction between the edifice we call the church and the people we call the church.  I remember a conversation I had close to fifteen years ago with a gentleman who had been nearly ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, he said:

“You Christians do not even have a proper church… you don’t even need a building to have a church service, yet you call yourselves a church?  We have churches.  We have the buildings in which we perform the mass.  All you need is a tent and some chairs and you call that a church”.

Even though I was a very young Christian at the time, all that I remember saying was, “Amen”.  

Of course the church is more than building it is the people.  But what is the purpose and the reason to have a church service? Why do we as believers of the one true God need to assemble?  It is now possible to sit at my desk in pajamas with a cup of coffee while listening to the morning service at the mega-church of my choice.  That somehow doesn’t seem to fit in with what the Bible tells us of these assemblies and what they were for.  

I seem to have more questions than answers…

Is the church service only meant for the believer?

Should a non-believer participate in singing worship songs?

Is the service meant to evangelize to the lost or teach the sheep?

How should we dress?

How often to have communion?

How should the pastor present the word of God, through stories and jokes?  

Should the message be dumbed down?

Should offensive or hard passages no longer be read from the pulpit?

Should we have a pulpit?

Should the worship music be about a great performance rather leading the people in the worship of God?

How loud is too loud when it comes to worship?

Can the pastor really know all of his flock?

Is a big church bad for true believer?

Is it really possible for a church to start in the shallow end and more than ten years later be even shallower than when it first started?

All comments and additional questions welcome.

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It appears as though Pope Benedict XVI, in an effort to be more ecumenical,  is going to rehabilitate Martin Luther.

What is going on in Rome?  In September of 2006, Pope Benedict made comments about Islam that, not surprisingly, angered the Muslim community.  He later took it all back, visited Turkey and bowed in the direction of Mecca and offered prayer.  In July on 2007 the Vatican released a brief which basically said that the Roman Catholic church was the one true church, in so doing they alienated all others including the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches.

Martin Luther was branded a heretic and excommunicated from the church.  Now they want to say that he didn’t really mean to split up the church?  For what purpose?  If Rome is the one true church, why would they need to reach out to false believers?

Are you still infallible after you say, “Ooops! My bad, Dog.”

Here is what Dr. White had to say

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Jesus… is not the Messiah?

For quite some time, John Hagee has been one of the larger supporters of Israel. He is one of the most outspoken supporters in the evangelical community in America having founded an organization called Christians United for Israel. Earlier this month Hagee’s new book was released called In Defense of Israel. In this book, Hagee attempts to show how the Christian community needs to do more than just pray for Israel. John Hagee’s adoration of the nation of Israel has led him to write a book that can be seen as being antichrist. In his blind love of a nation that is apostate, he has made claims that Jesus was not the Messiah and that the Jews cannot be held accountable for denying Him.


Is this what happens when one takes Dispensational Theology to it’s logical conclusion? He sees a clear distinction between the Church and Israel which has lead to him making these claims.

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How often do you hear of a Christian using the word Heretic? Hopefully, not often and if it is used, hopefully it is being used properly and not being thrown around unnecessarily. Dropping an H-Bomb can at times be more hurtful to the bomber than the one being bombed. I began to think about the use of the word and how I’ve heard (or read) its use in the past. Too often though, it is used improperly and out of context, this may me due to the fact that in the past heretics were burned at the stake but not any more. Maybe we need to re-introduce this practice but also apply that if the person accused of heresy is not found to be one then the accuser should be treated as a false witness and given the same punishment. I think this will stem the tide of the word being thrown around so much.


On Sunday, October 14, 60 Minutes ran a piece on Joel Osteen, the personable pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston who is on national television espousing his brand of the Wealth and Prosperity gospel. He is not a big showman with gaudy suits and lots on jewelry. He is very charming, good looking and has a great smile but not once have I heard him say anything about sin, hell, repentance or heaven for that matter. His brand of “gospel” is for temporal benefits, sadly since he never mentions hell or mans sinfulness, he doesn’t preach that man needs to be saved from his transgressions. If I could ask Joel Osteen one question it would be, why then do we need Jesus? The reason I bring this up is because in the piece, Dr. Michael Horton of Westminster Theological Seminary, California was also interviewed. He was asked what he thought of Joel Osteen, he replied by saying that he was a heretic. I am not expert on Joel Osteen, but I think that Dr. Horton is right in calling him a heretic.


There is much divisiveness in the Church these days where there should be unity. Many times there are issues that shouldn’t keep us apart, keeping us apart. Something even as trivial as what Bible translation one reads is enough to have one labeled a heretic. There are people who claim that the only true word of God is the King James Bible, the rest are merely perversions and those that read anything but the KJV are heretics. Before his passing, Dr. Jerry Falwell called those who hold to particular redemption, heretics. Chuck Smith, founding pastor of Calvary Chapel called Calvinists, blasphemous and even said that the teaching of the Doctrines of Grace are satanic. Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries, on his webcast The Dividing Line, rebutted the comments made by Pastor Chuck on his radio show. Dr. White begins the portion with Pastor Chuck about 15 minutes into the show. Even when I attempted to have a dialogue with Mr. Scott Berner over his YouTube videos regarding Calvinism, he merely resorted to name calling.


What is happening here? Why are we being so quick to denounce other Christians? I think my non-Calvinists brothers are still my brothers. I can, hopefully, by the grace of God take my non-Calvinists brothers to scripture and show them that they are wrong for believing what they do. What I can’t do is take them to scripture and show them that their belief is sinful and will take them to hell and if I were to tell them so without showing them, then I am in the wrong and in need of forgiveness for such an accusation.


I borrowed this following portion from The Assembling of The Church Blog.


In 2 Peter 2:1, Peter warns that false prophets and false teachers will bring “destructive heresies” with them. These false prophets and false teachers will not be known for disagreeing with other believers, but instead they will be known for “denying the Lord” (2 Pet 2:1), “sensuality” (2 Pet 2:2), “covetousness” (2 Pet 2:3). Thus, these false prophets and false teachers are not ones who simply disagree with other Christians, but those who deny that Christ is Lord, and live a life that demonstrates that they are not children of God.Perhaps, from this connection of “heresy” with false prophets and false teachers in 2 Peter 2:1, we should also recognize why these people are called “false prophets” and “false teachers”. Perhaps one of the most important passages to help us understand what it means to be a “false teacher” is 1 Timothy 1:3-11. Here, those who teach “other doctrines” are those who teach contrary to the gospel (1 Tim 1:11). In many other passages, the authors of Scripture encourage their readers to teach and live in accordance to the gospel of Jesus Christ – that is, the good news that God has provided a way for all people to accepted as his children.

So, according to Scripture, who are the true “heretics”? Heretics are those who deny the gospel of Jesus Christ. Heretics are also those who live in a manner contrary to the gospel – that is, according to the flesh, not according to the Spirit. Similarly, heretics are those who cause and encourage divisions and dissensions among the followers of Jesus Christ.

When Person A calls Person B a “heretic” for a teaching that Person A disagrees with, but which is not contrary to the gospel, and when Person A refuses to fellowship with Person B because of that teaching, then, according to Scripture, Person A is actually the “heretic”. Person A is the one causing division among the followers of Christ and is thus promoting true heresy.

So, let’s be careful, thoughtful, and prayerful before we drop the “H” Bomb. It could be that we are the true “heretics”, not necessarily because our opinion is “wrong”, but because our words and actions are divisive – and this is the type of heresy that Scripture warns us about





We need to think twice before dropping an H-Bomb on another Christian.

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Here is an article by James White of AlphaΩ Ministries, it is a top ten list of why you shouldn’t convert to Catholicism.

An Excellent Question from the Mail Bag
James R. White
Last week I received the following e-mail, and I felt it would be best to share my response here on the blog.

Dear Mr. White, For someone considering converting to Catholicism, what questions would you put to them in order to dicern whether or not they have examined their situation sufficiently? Say, a Top 10 list. Thanks.

When I posted this question in our chat channel a number of folks commented that it was in fact a great question, and we started to throw out some possible answers. Here is my “Top Ten List” in response to this fine inquiry.
10) Have you listened to both sides? That is, have you done more than read Rome Sweet Home and listen to a few emotion-tugging conversion stories? Have you actually taken the time to find sound, serious responses to Rome’s claims, those offered by writers ever since the Reformation, such as Goode, Whitaker, Salmon, and modern writers? I specifically exclude from this list anything by Jack Chick and Dave Hunt.
9) Have you read an objective history of the early church? I refer to one that would explain the great diversity of viewpoints to be found in the writings of the first centuries, and that accurately explains the controversies, struggles, successes and failures of those early believers?
8) Have you looked carefully at the claims of Rome in a historical light, specifically, have you examined her claims regarding the “unanimous consent” of the Fathers, and all the evidence that exists that stands contrary not only to the universal claims of the Papacy but especially to the concept of Papal Infallibility? How do you explain, consistently, the history of the early church in light of modern claims made by Rome? How do you explain such things as the Pornocracy and the Babylonian Captivity of the Church without assuming the truthfulness of the very system you are embracing?
7) Have you applied the same standards to the testing of Rome’s ultimate claims of authority that Roman Catholic apologists use to attack sola scriptura? How do you explain the fact that Rome’s answers to her own objections are circular? For example, if she claims you need the Church to establish an infallible canon, how does that actually answer the question, since you now have to ask how Rome comes to have this infallible knowledge. Or if it is argued that sola scriptura produces anarchy, why doesn’t Rome’s magisterium produce unanimity and harmony? And if someone claims there are 33,000 denominations due to sola scriptura, since that outrageous number has been debunked repeatedly (see Eric Svendsen’s Upon This Slippery Rock for full documentation), have you asked them why they are so dishonest and sloppy with their research?
6) Have you read the Papal Syllabus of Errors and Indulgentiarum Doctrina? Can anyone read the description of grace found in the latter document and pretend for even a moment that is the doctrine of grace Paul taught to the Romans?
5) Have you seriously considered the ramifications of Rome’s doctrine of sin, forgiveness, eternal and temporal punishments, purgatory, the treasury of merit, transubstantiation, sacramental priesthood, and indulgences? Have you seriously worked through compelling and relevant biblical texts like Ephesians 2, Romans 3-5, Galatians 1-2, Hebrews 7-10 and all of John 6, in light of Roman teaching?
4) Have you pondered what it means to embrace a system that teaches you approach the sacrifice of Christ thousands of times in your life and yet you can die impure, and, in fact, even die an enemy of God, though you came to the cross over and over again? And have you pondered what it means that though the historical teachings of Rome on these issues are easily identifiable, the vast majority of Roman Catholics today, including priests, bishops, and scholars, don’t believe these things anymore?
3) Have you considered what it means to proclaim a human being the Holy Father (that’s a divine name, used by Jesus only of His Father) and the Vicar of Christ (that’s the Holy Spirit)? Do you really find anything in Scripture whatsoever that would lead you to believe it was Christ’s will that a bishop in a city hundreds of miles away in Rome would not only be the head of His church but would be treated as a king upon earth, bowed down to and treated the way the Roman Pontiff is treated?
2) Have you considered how completely unbiblical and a-historical is the entire complex of doctrines and dogmas related to Mary? Do you seriously believe the Apostles taught that Mary was immaculately conceived, and that she was a perpetual virgin (so that she traveled about Palestine with a group of young men who were not her sons, but were Jesus’ cousins, or half-brothers (children of a previous marriage of Joseph), or the like? Do you really believe that dogmas defined nearly 2,000 years after the birth of Christ represent the actual teachings of the Apostles? Are you aware that such doctrines as perpetual virginity and bodily assumption have their origin in gnosticism, not Christianity, and have no foundation in apostolic doctrine or practice? How do you explain how it is you must believe these things de fide, by faith, when generations of Christians lived and died without ever even having heard of such things?
And the number 1 question I would ask of such a person is: if you claim to have once embraced the gospel of grace, whereby you confessed that your sole standing before a thrice-holy God was the seamless garment of the imputed righteousness of Christ, so that you claimed no merit of your own, no mixture of other merit with the perfect righteousness of Christ, but that you stood full and complete in Him and in Him alone, at true peace with God because there is no place in the universe safer from the wrath of God than in Christ, upon what possible grounds could you come to embrace a system that at its very heart denies you the peace that is found in a perfect Savior who accomplishes the Father’s will and a Spirit who cannot fail but to bring that work to fruition in the life of God’s elect? Do you really believe that the endless cycle of sacramental forgiveness to which you will now commit yourself can provide you the peace that the perfect righteousness of Christ can not?

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Mosaic? Or Mo’Psycho?


Mosaic, an L.A. based church… uh, I mean community is the center of the emergent movement in the southland. As with most emergent churches they try and stay away from calling themselves a church, they want to be seen as a community, inclusive to all.

Several months ago I was speaking with a friend from church. We were both looking for a new place to worship and not long after he began to attend services at Mosaic. I had never heard of it before, but was leery of it from the name alone. I checked out their site but couldn’t really find anything concrete, either good or bad. They are not a confessional church, that is they do not hold to any of the early church confessions like the Westminster Confession of Faith or the London Baptist Confession of 1689.

I listened to a few of the sermons(?) by Erwin McManus, whom doesn’t claim to be the pastor but cultural architect of Mosaic. He is an engaging speaker but has nothing biblical to say. He has nice catch phrases but he is devoid of any real, scriptural teaching. He can expertly take verses out of context and eisegete them masterfully. He will read from the Bible, but then proceeds to tell you a story that does nothing to illuminate the passages he read. If you feel up to it, listen for yourself. Or read this, it gets more disturbing the more you know about it.

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There is a slow decay in the Church today and it is rotting in many places from the inside out. Many of the works of the Reformers have been called heretical and otherwise have been usurped by the emotion and spiritualism of man seeking to replace GOD as the ultimate authority regarding truth, knowledge, beauty, art, logic, science and reason. Sinner are now called “seekers”, there is no talk of sin only health and wealth, repentance has been replaced with acceptance.

Recently the Evangelical Lutheran in America passed a resolution allowing openly gay clergy to continue in committed same sex relationships. I am not adept in the German language but I am willing to go out on a limb and say that when Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, he included all verses that state that sex outside of marriage is a sin and that gay sex too is a sin. Surprising? Yes… and no. It surprises me when people claiming to be belivers totally ignore the written word of GOD. Why don’t they stop pretending and just live like hell!

Check out the article

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