Archive for November, 2011

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Samuel Schuldheisz Said What?

November 29, 2011

“Obviously, there are more than ten ways that the Gospel is abused, misused and confused.  Sadly, as long as the Church is militant, that is, in this life until Christ’s return, she will still remain under assault from the devil, the world and our sinful nature.  Therefore, we can expect nothing less than errors, heresies and conflict both from without and from within the visible Christian church, which are both lamentable and grievous.

Even so, and in spite of these villains, our Lord Jesus Christ has promised that His Word will remain (Isaiah 55:10-11), that He will never leave nor forsake His Bride, the Church (Matthew 28:20, Psalm 94:14, Ephesians 5) and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her (Matthew 16:18).  Accordingly, our Lord warns us to beware of false teachers (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:11) who, by deceitful and errors of the Word of the Lord will try and deceive good Christian people in every place.   Therefore, as God’s holy people (1 Peter 2) we are encouraged by the prophets and apostles to likewise speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), declare the Good News (Luke 24:47), and teach the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 2:13) so that we might speak of our common salvation and contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

With that in mind, we examine the top ten ways that the Gospel is abused, misused and confused.  The Gospel is abused, misused and confused:

10. …when it is presented as one of several possible ways to heaven.

9. …when, after delivering a sermon or Bible study on the forgiveness of sins purchased and won for us by Christ Crucified, the forgiven sinners are returned to the threats of the Law (also known as the Law-Gospel-Law Sandwich).

8. …when it is proclaimed that Christ only died for the elect and when God’s sovereignty is declared over and above His mercy.

7. …when people are told that their sins are forgiven in the Name of Jesus, if and when they make a decision to invite Him into their hearts (watch out for backsliders).

6. …when satisfaction, merit, worthiness, or any involvement of the human will are included or allowed as pre-conditions for receiving the free gift of salvation in Christ.

5. …when social statements, public declarations of churches, denominational rulings or other such statements of man contradict the clear teachings of Scripture and the Christian faith.

4. …when it is declared as positive thinking, purpose-driven living, prosperity and success, a personal self-esteem builder, and people who are in need of forgiveness are rather directed to their own struggle, wrestling, prayer and positive attitude for assurance of salvation.

3. …when hearers are directed inward to their thoughts and feelings to find hope, comfort, consolation and the promise of salvation.

2. …when it does not predominate in the study and preaching of God’s Word.

And the number one way that the Gospel is abused, misused and confused is…

1. …when the Gospel is left undefined, assumed and unspoken.
Perhaps you have heard similar statements to the ones just listed.  A list like this encourages us to think critically and Biblically about what we hear, read, watch and take to heart.

But it’s not all bad news.   Even though we cry out with disciples, “Lord, who then can be saved?”, our Lord says in return: “With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:26-27).”   By His water and word, body and blood, He turns sinners into saints, the dead into living and those condemned by the Law into those who are declared righteous in His sight through the free gift of salvation won for us in Christ on the Cross.   In His Gospel – Christ Crucified for our sins – we live and move and have our being, now and forevermore.” – Samuel Schuldheisz, Top Ten Ways that the Gospel is Abused, Misused and Confused, http://www.redeemer-lutheran.net/Mobile/default.aspx?article_id=1000058274, 2011. (Accessed 29/11/2011)

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Creflo Dollar Said What?

November 15, 2011

“Now, you know, we’re under the Blood of Jesus – so we can’t shoot and stone people like we used to. All we have to do is repent and God will forgive us and take us where we need to be. But I tell you man, if it wasn’t for the blood, there’d be a whole lotta us being stoned and being in Hell right now over the tithe. But for the Blood of Jesus, we’d be doomed.

I mean, I thought about when we first built The Dome, I wanted to put some of those little moving bars and give everybody a little card. They’d stick it in a little computer slot. If they were tithing, beautiful music would go off – and, you know: [Creflo sings] “Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the World Dome!”

But- if they were non-tithers, the bar would lock up, the red and blue lights would start going, the siren would go off, and a voice would go out throughout the entire dome, “Crook, crook, crook, crook!”

Security would go and apprehend them, and once we got them all together, we’d line them up in the front and pass out Uzis by the ushers and point our Uzis right at all those non-tithing members ’cause we want God to come to church. And at the count of three ‘Jesus’-es we’d shoot them all dead. And then we’d take them out the side door there, have a big hole, bury them, and then go ahead and have church and have the anointing.

Aren’t you glad we’re under the Blood of Jesus? Because if we were not under the Blood of Jesus, I would certainly try it.

Folks, this is a serious thing.” – Creflo Dollar, http://youtu.be/JM3BWAmlXis, Uploaded on 12/01/2010. (Accessed 16/11/2011)

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Paul Washer Said What? (II)

November 13, 2011

“So you draw the net and get people to come forward. Now look at how they do this.

Music. It must play a role because they always make sure they got the right music. That must play a role. Some even dim the lights. Lighting’s important…

Tell me that doesn’t happen. It does. Everywhere.

That’s a cult. That’s manipulation. And I am going to call it exactly what it is. It’s wrong. It’s sin. It’s deceptive. And it has nothing to do with the ministry of Jesus Christ at all or the Apostles. ” – Paul Washer, The Danger of Altar Calls Paul Washer Legacy Conference 2010:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LTwfIuU9gw, (00:00-01:13), (Uploaded September 14, 2010), Accessed 10/2/11)

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Albert Mohler Said What?

November 13, 2011

“One of the most amazing statements by the Apostle Paul is his indictment of the Galatian Christians for abandoning the Gospel. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel,” Paul declared. As he stated so emphatically, the Galatians had failed in the crucial test of discerning the authentic Gospel from its counterfeits.

His words could not be more clear: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, he is to be accursed!” [Gal. 1:8-9]

This warning from the Apostle Paul, expressed in the language of the Apostle’s shock and grief, is addressed not only to the church in Galatia, but to every congregation in every age. In our own day — and in our own churches — we desperately need to hear and to heed this warning. In our own time, we face false gospels no less subversive and seductive than those encountered and embraced by the Galatians.

In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.

Sadly, this false gospel is particularly attractive to those who believe themselves to be evangelicals motivated by a biblical impulse. Far too many believers and their churches succumb to the logic of moralism and reduce the Gospel to a message of moral improvement. In other words, we communicate to lost persons the message that what God desires for them and demands of them is to get their lives straight.

In one sense, we are born to be moralists. Created in God’s image, we have been given the moral capacity of conscience. From our earliest days our conscience cries out to us the knowledge of our guilt, shortcomings, and misbehaviors. In other words, our conscience communicates our sinfulness.

Add to this the fact that the process of parenting and child rearing tends to inculcate moralism from our earliest years. Very quickly we learn that our parents are concerned with our behavior. Well behaved children are rewarded with parental approval, while misbehavior brings parental sanction. This message is reinforced by other authorities in young lives and pervades the culture at large.

Writing about his own childhood in rural Georgia, the novelist Ferrol Sams described the deeply-ingrained tradition of being “raised right.” As he explained, the child who is “raised right” pleases his parents and other adults by adhering to moral conventions and social etiquette. A young person who is “raised right” emerges as an adult who obeys the laws, respects his neighbors, gives at least lip service to religious expectations, and stays away from scandal. The point is clear — this is what parents expect, the culture affirms, and many churches celebrate. But our communities are filled with people who have been “raised right” but are headed for hell.

The seduction of moralism is the essence of its power. We are so easily seduced into believing that we actually can gain all the approval we need by our behavior. Of course, in order to participate in this seduction, we must negotiate a moral code that defines acceptable behavior with innumerable loopholes. Most moralists would not claim to be without sin, but merely beyond scandal. That is considered sufficient.

Moralists can be categorized as both liberal and conservative. In each case, a specific set of moral concerns frames the moral expectation. As a generalization, it is often true that liberals focus on a set of moral expectations related to social ethics while conservatives tend to focus on personal ethics. The essence of moralism is apparent in both — the belief that we can achieve righteousness by means of proper behavior.

The theological temptation of moralism is one many Christians and churches find it difficult to resist. The danger is that the church will communicate by both direct and indirect means that what God expects of fallen humanity is moral improvement. In so doing, the church subverts the Gospel and communicates a false gospel to a fallen world.

Christ’s Church has no option but to teach the Word of God, and the Bible faithfully reveals the law of God and a comprehensive moral code. Christians understand that God has revealed Himself throughout creation in such a way that He has gifted all humanity with the restraining power of the law. Furthermore, He has spoken to us in His word with the gift of specific commands and comprehensive moral instruction. The faithful Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must contend for the righteousness of these commands and the grace given to us in the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. We also have a responsibility to bear witness of this knowledge of good and evil to our neighbors. The restraining power of the law is essential to human community and to civilization.

Just as parents rightly teach their children to obey moral instruction, the church also bears responsibility to teach its own the moral commands of God and to bear witness to the larger society of what God has declared to be right and good for His human creatures.

But these impulses, right and necessary as they are, are not the Gospel. Indeed, one of the most insidious false gospels is a moralism that promises the favor of God and the satisfaction of God’s righteousness to sinners if they will only behave and commit themselves to moral improvement.

The moralist impulse in the church reduces the Bible to a codebook for human behavior and substitutes moral instruction for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Far too many evangelical pulpits are given over to moralistic messages rather than the preaching of the Gospel.

The corrective to moralism comes directly from the Apostle Paul when he insists that “a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus.” Salvation comes to those who are “justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” [Gal. 2:16]

We sin against Christ and we misrepresent the Gospel when we suggest to sinners that what God demands of them is moral improvement in accordance with the Law. Moralism makes sense to sinners, for it is but an expansion of what we have been taught from our earliest days. But moralism is not the Gospel, and it will not save. The only gospel that saves is the Gospel of Christ. As Paul reminded the Galatians, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” [Gal. 4:4-5]

We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God.

The Church must never evade, accommodate, revise, or hide the law of God. Indeed, it is the Law that shows us our sin and makes clear our inadequacy and our total lack of righteousness. The Law cannot impart life but, as Paul insists, it “has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” [Gal. 3:24]

The deadly danger of moralism has been a constant temptation to the church and an everconvenient substitute for the Gospel. Clearly, millions of our neighbors believe that moralism is our message. Nothing less than the boldest preaching of the Gospel will suffice to correct this impression and to lead sinners to salvation in Christ.

Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.” The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Moralism is not the gospel.” – Albert Mohler, Why Moralism Is Not the Gospel — And Why So Many Christians Think It Is, http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_print.php?id=4388, 9/11/2009. (Accessed 13/11/2011)

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Kenneth Hagin Said What?

November 6, 2011

“Kenyon’s influence on my ministry has been minute. Only his teachings on the name of Jesus have much to do with my theology. I absolutely deny any metaphysical influences from Kenyon. I teach not Christian Science, but Christian sense.” – Kenneth Hagin. (Quoted by Hank Hanegraaff, Counterfeit Revival, 1997 citing Vinson Synan, “The Faith Of Kenneth Hagin”, Charisma & Christian Faith, 15:11, June,
1990, pg 68.)

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“Why did He need to be begotten or born? Because He became like we were – separated from God. Because He tasted spiritual death for every man. And His spirit and inner men went to hell in my place. Can’t you see that? Physical death wouldn’t remove your sins. He’s tasted death for every man. He’s talking about tasting spiritual death. Jesus is the first person that was ever born again. Why did His spirit need to be born again? Because it was estranged from God.” – Kenneth Hagin, How Jesus obtained His Name, Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Audio Tape #44-H01.

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“You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was… the believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” – Kenneth Hagin, Word Of Faith, December, 1980, pg 14.

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“Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” Kenneth Hagin, The Incarnation, The Word of Faith 13, December, 1980.

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“[Man] was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority… God made us as much like Himself as possible… He made us the same class of being that He is Himself… Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God… [The] believer is called Christ… That’s who we are; we’re Christ.” – Kenneth Hagin, Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, 1989. pg 35-36, 41.

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“Man is a spirit who possesses a soul and lives in a body… He is in the same class with God. …We know that God is a Spirit. And yet [He] took upon Himself a man’s body… when God took upon Himself human form, He was no less God than when He didn’t have a body. Man, at physical death, leaves his as he was when he had his body.” – Kenneth Hagin, Man of Three Dimensions, Tulsa: Faith Library, 1973.

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“It seems strange that the Church has majored in “manner of life” or “behavior”, rather than eternal life, which determines in a very large way the manner of life. Receiving eternal life is the most miraculous incident in life. Often we call it conversion or the new birth. Some call it “getting religion,” but that’s not what it is really. It is, in reality, God imparting His very Nature, substance, and being to our human spirits.” – Kenneth Hagin, The God Kind of Life, Tulsa: Faith Library, 1981, pg 1-2, 9.

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“God’s method of physical healing is spiritual. It is not mental as Christian Science, Unity and other metaphysical teachers claim. Neither is it physical as the medical world teaches. When man heals, he must do it either through the mind or through the physical body. When God heals He heals through the human spirit,
Life’s greatest forces are spiritual forces. . . . Love and hate, faith and fear, joy and peace, are all of the spirit.” – Kenneth Hagin, Spirit, Soul, & Body; Part Three: God Heals through the Spirit of Man,” Word of Faith, December, 1977, pg 5.

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“Here is a picture of Christ in awful combat with the hosts of darkness. It gives us a glimpse of the tremendous victory He won before He rose from the dead. The margin of King James reads, “He put off from Himself the
principalities and the powers.” It is quite obvious and evident that whole demon hosts, when they had Jesus within their power intended to swamp Him, to overwhelm Him, and to hold Him in fearful bondage. But the cry came forth from the throne of God that Jesus had met the demands of Justice, that that man’s
redemption was a fact. And when that cry reached the dark regions, Jesus arose and threw back the host of demons and met Satan in awful combat. God has made this investment for He has made this deposit on which the church has a right to draw for. Oh that our eyes would open, that our souls would dare to rise in the
realm of the omnipotent where that name would mean to us all that God the Father intended it to mean! In one sense, this is practically unexplored table land in Christian experience.” – Kenneth Hagin, The Name Of Jesus: The More Excellent Name, The Word of Faith, April, 1976, pg 4-6.

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“What does identification mean? It means our complete union with Him in His Substitutionary Sacrifice. This gives us the key which unlocks the great teachings of identification. Christ became one with us in sin that we might become one with Him in righteousness. He became as we were to the end that we might become as He is now. He died to make us live. He became weak to make us strong. He suffered shame to give us glory. He went to hell to take us to heaven. He was condemned to justify us. He was made sick that healing might be ours.” – Kenneth Hagin, The Resurrection! What it Gives Us…, The Word Of Faith, April, 1977, pg 5.

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“Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” Kenneth Hagin, The Incarnation, The Word of Faith 13, December, 1980.

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“Of course, Jesus stands in a class by Himself, personally, and as Deity. But when it comes to ministry, Jesus does not stand in a class by Himself…Even though Jesus was the Son of God, and divine blood flowed through His veins, yet He was ministering on earth as a human being—a prophet anointed with the Holy Spirit.” – Kenneth Hagin, Hear and Be Healed. Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1987, pg 8.

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“Jesus id not minister with His divine attributes while He was on earth. He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. ….The Bible says that Jesus voluntarily laid aside His power and glory as the Son of God (Phil 2:6-8) and ministered as a man filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit—the same way we are to minister.” – Kenneth Hagin, Jr. God’s Irresistible Word, Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1989, pg 36.

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“We [the church] are Christ.” – Kenneth Hagin, As Christ is – So Are We, Tulsa: Rhema, Cassette Tape #44H06.

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“Every man who has been “born-again” is an Incarnation, and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”  – Kenneth Hagin, As Christ Is – So Are We, Tulsa: Rhema, Cassette Tape #44H06.

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“The Lord said to me, “If you give a message for an individual, a church, or a pastor, and they don’t accept it, you will not be responsible.  They will be responsible.  There will be ministers who don’t accept it and will fall dead in the pulpit. I say this with reluctance, but this actually happened in one place where I preached.  Two weeks from the day that I closed that meeting, the pastor fell dead in the pulpit… Why?  Because he didn’t accept the message that God gave me to give him from the Holy Spirit.” – Kenneth Hagin, I Believe in Visions, 115.

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“There are two things to notice about the God kind of faith.  First, a man believes with his heart.  Second, he believes with his words.  It isn’t enough just to believe in your heart.  In order to get God to work for you, you must believe with your words also.  Jesus said, “Whosoever shall say … and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).  This is the unalterable law of faith.” – Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Hagin Faith Lesson No. 21 – The God Kind of Faith, http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/kenneth-hagin-faith-lesson-no-21-the-god-kind-of-faith/, (Accessed 07/11/11).

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“The God kind of faith is the kind of faith in which a man believes with his heart and says with his mouth that which he believes in his heart, and it comes to pass.

Jesus showed that He had that kind of faith, for He believed that what He said would come to pass.  He said to the tree, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”

This is the kind of faith that spoke the world into existence… How did He do it?  God believed that what He said would come to pass.  He spoke the word and there was an earth. He spoke into existence the vegetable kingdom.  He spoke into existence the animal kingdom.  He spoke into existence the heavens as well as the earth, the moon, the sun, the stars and the universe.  He said it and it was so.  That is the God kind of faith.  He believed what He said would come to pass and it did.” – Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Hagin Faith Lesson No. 21 – The God Kind of Faith, http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/kenneth-hagin-faith-lesson-no-21-the-god-kind-of-faith/, (Accessed 07/11/11).

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“A measure of faith is dealt to the sinner through hearing the Word.  Then he uses it to create the reality of salvation in his own life.” – Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Hagin Faith Lesson No. 21 – The God Kind of Faith, http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/kenneth-hagin-faith-lesson-no-21-the-god-kind-of-faith/, (Accessed 07/11/11).

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“Defeat and failure do not belong to the child of God.  God never made a failure.  God made us new creatures.  We are not born of the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of the will of God.  We are created in Christ Jesus.  Failures are man-made.  They are made by wrong believing and wrong thinking.  I John 4:4 says, “… Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Learn to trust the Greater One that is in you.  He is mightier than anything in the world.” – Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Hagin Faith Lesson No. 21 – The God Kind of Faith, http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/kenneth-hagin-faith-lesson-no-21-the-god-kind-of-faith/, (Accessed 07/11/11).

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“God created the universe with words.  Words filled with faith are the most powerful things in all the world.

The key to the God kind of faith is believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth.  Our lips can make us millionaires or keep us paupers.  Our lips can make us victors or keep us captives.  We can fill our words with faith or we can fill our words with doubt.  We can fill our words with love that will melt the coldest heart, or we can fill our words with hate and poison.  We can fill our words with love that will help the discouraged and broken-hearted, with faith that will stir heaven.  We can make our words breathe the very atmosphere of heaven.

Our faith will never rise above the words of our lips.  Jesus told the woman with the issue of blood that her faith had made her whole.  Thoughts may come and they may persist in staying.  But if we refuse to put those thoughts into words, they die unborn.  Cultivate the habit of thinking big things.  Learn to use words that will react upon your own spirit.  Faith’s confessions create realities.  Realization follows the confession.  Confession precedes possession.” – Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Hagin Faith Lesson No. 21 – The God Kind of Faith, http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/kenneth-hagin-faith-lesson-no-21-the-god-kind-of-faith/, (Accessed 07/11/11).