Posts Tagged ‘false teachings’

There are some bizarre, outrageous, and flat-out unbiblical things going on in lots of churches. One so-called church sells beer, another worships Mother Earth, others use secular music during worship, others ordain gay leaders, and still others offer yoga. People are free to do whatever they want to try and make God fit their ideas and to offer services that cater to the desires of their congregations, but is this what church is supposed to be? 

What happened to the emphasis on teaching God’s word of truth including sin and repentance, justification, God’s wrath, prophecy, future judgment, and sanctification?

Last week I reported on one of the most heart-wrenching stories I’ve tackled in quite some time. The Roman Catholic Church is reeling from the massive scandal involving homosexuality among priests and the rampant cover-up of sexual abuse that has continued for many decades.

But many Evangelical and Protestant churches have leadership problems of their own. This includes the progressive, seeker-sensitive Willow Creek Church in Chicago whose lead pastors and elders resigned in light of the Bill Hybels allegations of sexual harassment.

Countless churches seem to have lost focus and have gotten off track. We have lost our reverence for a holy God, and practically abandoned the once-solid foundation of the teaching of Scripture which is the primary purpose of the church.

Many conferences and church services today barely resemble the early church and what the Bible teaches, let alone point to Jesus Christ. Some people create gods and church services to suit their own interests while others rewrite Scriptures to justify their lifestyles.

Last month in St. Louis, a controversial conference took place calledRevoice,” apparently aiming to normalize homosexuality and affirm those claiming to be “LGBTQ Christians.” Can you say, oxymoron?

Christian talk show host, Janet Mefferd called for the unbiblical movement to be repudiated, saying:

“Revoice is incremental gay activism, designed to eventually lure conservative evangelicals into accepting ‘gay Christianity,’” 

Next, there’s a progressive church in Santa Cruz, California that not only sells beer, but plans to donate proceeds to big abortion business, Planned Parenthood. Maybe the consumption of alcohol helps the pastor’s sermons sound better. This is a guy who preaches that Jesus was a Palestinian “killed by white supremacy.”

And who can forget our expose back in May on the San Francisco church that hosted what they called aBeyoncé Mass?” It was quite an interesting take on worshiping, “Our Mother who is in heaven,” and endorsing Beyonce as a role model for young girls.

Then there’s a church in Atlanta that put a new twist in their Sunday morning worship show by adding scantily-clad aerialists as a regular part of their services. ‘Why in the world?’ you may ask. Self-appointed “Apostle” Bryan Meadows actually said:

“Because they shouldn’t have to go to the circus to use the gifts that God gave them!”

Just one more or we’d be here all day. Serita Jakes, wife of controversial, megachurch minister, T.D. Jakes, gleefully posted photos on social media of women doing yoga at the church during a women’s event on wellness.

Never mind the practice of yoga is a rooted in Hinduism, a 5,000-year old polytheistic religious system. Its purpose is to bypass the mind and yoke or “unite” a person’s spirit with the Hindu god, Brahman.

Heather Clark at Christian News Network reminds us:

 “… Even the traditional Hindu greeting, Namasté, that is said at the end of yoga classes, is spiritual. When translated, it means, ‘The god in me bows down to (or salutes) the god in you.’”

The Spirit of Christ bows down to no one; He alone is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the only true, living God who is worthy of our true worship.

Romans 8:9 states:

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

And Exodus 20:3 states:

You shall have no other gods before Me.

Prior to building one of America’s first mega-churches, author, pastor, and motivational speaker, Robert Scheuller literally went door to door in the 1970s in Orange County, California, and asked people what they wanted in a church. Not what lost, hurting sinners need, but what they ‘want.’ This of course, has led to the “mega-church” and emergent church movement.

Men focused on church growth took a cue from Schueller and the rest is history. This has been a recipe for disaster in the American church, and it has led to well-deserved comparisons with the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3, and a better understanding of why Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy. In the last days, men would be:

“treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Timothy 4:4-5)

Rather than be active participants in learning and sharing God’s Word, too many church members have been conditioned to sit back and listen to a program or presentation, and perhaps to a bunch of funny stories or analogies instead of being challenged by sound doctrine and the harder teachings of the Bible. Then there’s the music. Lots of talented praise teams are themselves being praised for performing entertaining, although often heartfelt music rather than leading the people to the Throne in the worship of a holy God.

A.W. Tozer once said:

“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment.”

We need to get back to the basics.

True disciples of Jesus Christ in the early church focused on four primary things: teaching the word of God with a focus on Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, prayer, communion, and fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42). They made disciples and they went out and shared the good news. They didn’t care about the approval of people – they sought to obey God. Their faith in Christ cost most of them their lives.

Today, too many churches use entertaining concepts and gimmicks to attract people, but then a new problem arises: in order to keep them in the comfy seats (and giving their tithes), you need to avoid controversial issues and often dilute the gospel so they won’t be offended.

What happens when you give people what they want instead of what they need which is Christ and His truth? Rather than being fed and equipped, countless hungry souls are walking out of many American churches feeling empty and unprepared to do God’s work. This must change.

Advertisements

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

In July of 2013, actress Leah Remini left the church of Scientology after thirty years, upset about the church’s alleged control, corruption, harassment, and abuse. Knowing her outgoing personality, it is not surprising that she didn’t go quietly. Though her disappointment had been building for years, things intensified when Remini began questioning the practice of the church excommunicating people. Cults generally do such things to protect their leaders, as well as cover up lies and questionable practices.

Excommunication occurs when individuals who have been declared “Suppressive Persons” (SPs) by Scientology leadership are kicked out. Members then, if they want to remain in good standing, are forced to disassociate and “disconnect” from the person or risk being disciplined or excommunicated themselves. Due to brainwashing and extreme loyalty to Scientology, families can be and have been permanently split up.

In November 2015, Leah Remini coauthored a number-one New York Times best seller, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. The book is described as an “eye-opening, no-holds-barred memoir about life in the Church of Scientology,” and has led to her own A&E docuseries, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” now in its second season.

This heartbreaking series further exposing the inside secrets of Scientology is what drew me to the story. Interviews featuring tearful and heartbroken participants who left Scientology reveal how they try to pick up the pieces of their lives, often intimidated into silence and estranged from family members who remained in the organization.

From what I’ve researched about Scientology leader David Miscavige’s abusive, authoritarian behavior, his reported mistreatment of people within the church, as well as his untouchable and unaccountable God-like position, much could be written about him. Apparently, when you question Scientology leadership you are immediately brought in and interrogated.

According to PageSix, a source explained Leah Remini was already put through Scientology’s “thought modification” for five years, but when they tried it again in 2013, she said, “Enough.” After leaving the church, news got out and Remini expressed appreciation for the “overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and fans.”

She also declared that she and her family “stand united” in the decision to leave Scientology. In an interview with People Magazine, Remini defended her decision, saying, “I believe that people should be able to question things. I believe that people should value family, and value friendships, and hold those things sacrosanct. …no one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to.”

Jenna Miscavige, niece of current authoritarian leader, David Miscavige, said in an interview that Leah Remini leaving Scientology was definitely not good PR for the organization, since “PR for the most part is all they care about.” Regarding the manipulation of Scientology leadership, Jenna stated,

“Scientology definitely does use families in order to get people to do what they want them to do, they know people care and love their families. So if they have to use the threat of possibly losing them in order to get them to [toe] the line, they’ll do it.”

Miscavige also said she felt “completely brainwashed” and, sadly, had to permanently part with the friends she grew up with. Starting at age six until she was twelve, the Church of Scientology forced her to do manual labor for several hours a day such as hauling rocks and digging trench holes for irrigation. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Jenna was admitted to the church’s Sea Organization, a branch of the most dedicated followers, and was forced to sign a billion-year contract that bound her immortal spirit (known as the “thetan”) to a life of dedication. 

Sadly, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, Jenna saw her mother only twice and her father, four times.
Scientology is a religious system of beliefs and practices based on the seeking of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment through graded courses of study and training. A variation of religious humanism, the Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (LRH). He initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics and wrote a book about it in 1950.

Scientology claims it alone “brings man to total freedom and truth,” which we know is a lie. 

A former high-ranking Scientologist who worked with David Miscavige, Mike Rinder is now helping Leah Remini expose the godless practices and beliefs of the so-called church. In fact, Rinder declares LRH’s writings and lectures (tapes) are considered to be infallible “Scripture.” Hubbard is known as the exclusive “source” of the only truth to lead man to all the answers.

Any false teaching in conflict with the Bible is an attempt to redefine the truth of God and Jesus Himself.

Hubbard once openly stated in a 1952 lecture in Journal of Scientology, “The only way you can control people is to lie to them. You can write that down in your book in great big letters.” One tenet of Scientology holds that matter, energy, space, and time (MEST) were created by “thetans” beyond a quadrillion years ago, including alien life on other planets.

Scientology is not at all comparable to Christianity, as the two have very little if anything in common. Scientology is based on humanism, and its teachings lead away from the authority of God and the truth of Scripture.

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

Moreover, there are no scientific reasons to think Scientology will work as advertised, and no studies proving the effectiveness of Dianetics, which has been classified as a pseudoscience. One thing the organization is profoundly good at, however, is generating revenue. Critics – and there are many − claim Scientology is not a typical “religion,” but a system “built chiefly as a cover for exploitive commercial operations” based on financial exploitation, and is “a multi-national racket masquerading as a religion.”

The foundational beliefs of Scientology start with the concept that man is “basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself, his fellows, and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.” Core principles include the belief that man is an immortal spiritual being, his experience extends well beyond a single lifetime, and his capabilities are unlimited…

On the cover of Hubbard’s book, Dianetics, he uses an image of an exploding volcano, referring to the story of “Xenu,” an ancient dictator of a “Galactic Confederacy.” According to Hubbard, seventy-five million years ago, Xenu brought billions of people to the earth and placed them around volcanoes, killing them by blowing them up with hydrogen bombs. Scientology therefore believes that the thetans of these aliens attach themselves to human beings, causing spiritual harm.

Dianetics is the claim that each person’s painful past experiences create a lasting impression, termed an “engram,” on that person’s “reactive” (subconscious) mind. According to Dianetics, these engrams are the root cause of various diseases, conditions, neuroses, and injuries. Engrams are also blamed for psychological disorders from depression to violence.

Biblically, the claims of Dianetics are completely false. There are no prior lives from which to remember pain and trauma (Hebrews 9:27). A person’s primary moral problem is not the memory of pain but his own in-born sin (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Dianetics claims that a person can, through force of will, make himself a better and more moral person. The Bible teaches that true change only happens when a person is reformed by Christ (1 Corinthians 6:10-11). As a mishmash of pseudoscience, Eastern spirituality, and New Age concepts, Dianetics is not only factually false but also incompatible with the worldview of the Bible.

Hubbard stated there were other messiahs prior to Jesus Christ. Writing for Watchman Fellowship, an independent Christian research ministry, Craig Branch stated that Scientology’s own bizarre doctrines can literally be regarded as “doctrines of demons,” and adds:

Claiming to be compatible with Christianity and respectful of Jesus Christ, they write, “Scientologists hold the Bible as a holy work, and have no argument with the Christian belief that Jesus Christ was the Savior of Mankind and the Son of God. . . . There are probably many types of redemption.” All of this is subterfuge; none of it is true. In reality, Scientology is very alien and hostile to Christianity. Hubbard’s many taped lectures, thousands of policy letters and directives, and the so-called secret or hidden teachings contained in upper level courses, provide ample evidence of Scientology’s duplicity and its true beliefs about Christianity.

Scientology teaches that thetans continue to enter into our bodies after we die. One cannot progress unless the engrams mentioned earlier, “aberrations” from past lives, are dealt with. 

Mike Rinder said the words of Hubbard are not treated as allegorical or taken as suggestions by church leaders. They are given the weight of “absolute unalterable truth.”

Based on the 2015 book Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which preceded an HBO documentary on Scientology, here are some of the key points:

  • L. Ron Hubbard’s life was built on a series of lies and bullying.
  • Hubbard sent letters about Dianetics to the American Psychological Association.
  • Scientology’s “clergy” formed as a response to investigations.
  • The church essentially went to war with the IRS over tax exemption.
  • Scientology blackmails its members with private auditing sessions.
  • The church broke up Tom Cruise’s marriage to Nicole Kidman.

Later that same year, Leah Remini published her memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.

Punishing people who dare leave the church is sad enough, but the ruthless tactics sound closer to what the Mafia employs, not a non-profit “religious organization.” The truth is, Scientology has caused people losses of marriage, babies (from forced abortions), possessions, life savings, family relationships, and sanity. But even more tragic is the loss of a future with the Lord in heaven and a relationship with Jesus Christ today.

A serious and obvious question must be asked: with all we know, how in the world do intelligent people ever fall for the lies of Scientology? It is a deceptive and seductive movement filled with sugarcoated teachings, super-human claims, and lofty promises. Another draw is the church’s celebrity members and its massive public relations machine.

Researchers, journalists, and former church members have chronicled the origin and practices of Scientology and view it as an abusive, totalitarian, business cult, wrapping itself in the cloak of religion for reasons of opportunism and expediency.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

(This is an excerpt from the book, Redefining Truth, by David Fiorazo. Click here for much more on Scientology as well as American culture, the church, and world religions.)

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Is it too late for Christians to be more discerning? Satan has deployed enemies of truth into our culture and sadly, we have allowed them to influence us. The agenda had been gradual and subtle decades ago, but today the deception is out in the open for all to see – or ignore.

“If you really want to know the truth, it is revealed through Scripture because God is truth. He is the final authority. As you see people’s bad behavior and sin, including open adultery and sexual perversion, being promoted in our culture, remember they need Christ. Even the loud, proud activists. They are not necessarily bad people; they’re just wrong, and the Lord gives each of us the freedom to accept the truth or pay the consequences.

If we are lovers of God and followers of Jesus Christ, we should not approve of and love things of this world more than Him (Romans 12:2, Gal. 1:10). We certainly should not be celebrating what is evil or sinful, and, as we take a stand for what is right, attacks will come.

We must understand the Enemy’s tactics and how Satan, the Father of Lies, suppresses the truth, twisting words and meanings using everyday people to advance his agenda. I’d probably do the same thing if I were him.

Millions of Americans have apparently disregarded the faith they once held dear or have fallen away from the Judeo-Christian values which previously permeated this nation. Many in the church have been duped by the cult of liberalism and political correctness that basically says anything is permissible except biblical Christianity. We have stopped standing against evil and speaking up in defense of the gospel for fear of offending someone, and when Christians are silent, light is squelched and darkness wins.

According to the Bible, Satan’s power over us is already broken, death has been defeated, and the war has been won, thanks to the victory we have in Jesus through His sacrifice, death, and resurrection. The battle and warfare, however, continue – and they will intensify – until the Lord returns.

The cunning schemes of the devil are carried out all around us in this world system over which he has free reign. How does the Enemy work and advance his agenda of lawlessness, chaos, destruction, and unrighteousness? He uses people.

From a rainbow-colored White House to Hollywood hype over the latest perversion, from media selling sexual confusion to corporations proudly promoting political correctness, it is difficult to deny the moral and spiritual decline in America. If there’s any hope of slowing the decaying culture, hypocrisy must be called out, lies must be refuted, and truth must be told.

It is virtually impossible to correct and improve the direction of a country if people, especially Christians, are not convinced there are major problems and that we are way off course. Apathy is another issue killing America, but since we cannot make people care, we need to reach those who may be in the busy, unconvinced, or uninformed categories.

But as we try raising awareness in an intolerant culture that is redefining truth, opposition is guaranteed. The Left is shrewd at using words as weapons to silence those who do not agree with them. Enemies of Christ will not relax or ease up on their agenda, and one of the greatest battles in the country today is being waged by the LGBTQ movement. Author and teacher Peter Heck stated,

“They know the success of their cause depends upon the total abolishment of the Judeo-Christian ethic and the Moral Authority it teaches. That is why any belief that the homosexual lobby is merely a passive group of individuals wanting to peacefully coexist with others who have different beliefs and values is naively absurd.”

The Enemy advances when Christians relax. Though Christianity is growing, particularly in underground churches in persecuted nations around the world, who do you think is having more influence on America today?

The marketers of evil claim they are fighting because of discrimination, oppression, injustice, and inequality. They say they fight for love, acceptance, diversity, equal rights, and freedom. We’re onto their schemes and the tedious talking points trumpeted by the liberal media, the Left, Hollywood, and many within the government education system.

But it is not just those whose new religion is sex, and it’s not just those who claim they just want to “live and let live.” It’s also those who devalue human life and promote moral relativism. Planned Parenthood and advocates of murder cry out, “freedom,” “choice,” “it’s my body, not yours, not the government’s and not God’s.”

The Left is using atheists, communists, socialists, and LGBTQ proponents to blot out God, normalize homosexuality, lie about life in the womb, undermine natural marriage, tear apart the traditional family, create as much chaos as possible, and, well, promote lies instead of truth.

Since we’re talking about methods and people Satan uses to do his work, we should also take a sober look at how our perceptions have changed regarding morality and what has become acceptable or permissible to professing Christians. We must recognize the sin in our own camp and call out hypocrisy in the church when necessary.

We must pursue Christ, invest time in the Word, have accountability and fellowship with true believers, be disciplined, and work harder to build others up while we strengthen our faith and especially our marriages. Jesus told His disciples, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15). Looking at just two of the Ten Commandments, we must acknowledge the epidemic of idolatry and adultery within Christian circles.

We don’t talk often enough about adultery, which is now pretty much accepted by a majority of Americans, including many who claim to be Christians.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

Years before the Supreme Court gave its tyrannical opinion ruling against God-ordained natural marriage in 2015, the agenda was well underway to remove America’s moral anchors. What was most disappointing, however, was to observe the influence secularism was and is having on the American church. Today we can see the undeniable fruit of lacking a solid foundation, with increasing numbers of gay ministers and pastors in several churches and denominations.

The rise of apostasy is a sign of the times as more churches and leadership preach accommodation rather than conviction of sin leading to repentance and salvation. If we are not much different from the world, there’s a problem.

The Enemy is advancing through our country, our culture, and even many of our churches because we have surrendered much ground and have not defended the truth. Though there is always hope for a revival – and I have no idea what it might take for this to happen – the light is dimming in and on America, and the clock is ticking.

Many have already been deceived as the Enemy has had success defining the terms of battle, and in many cases, redefining words. The Left has been promoting sin as normal, natural, and healthy, and when Christians speak up, it leads to charges of intolerance. If we do nothing, even more people will call evil good.”

If most Christians continue to avoid these battles, if we are not established in His truth, and if we refuse to defend the faith, society will rapidly deteriorate. If we do not pray to the only living God to give us wisdom, strength, and guidance, we won’t be able to effectively share the gospel, influence culture for Christ and bear good fruit for Him.

*Book excerpt from Redefining Truth: Delusions of Replacing God and Calling Evil Good by author, David Fiorazo

New Age gurus

Oprah Winfrey has become more influential than most of America’s pastors and religious leaders. Too many people today follow pop-culture icons and celebrities and even many Christians end up believing their teachings. Oprah has launched book sales and resuscitated careers for many authors and spiritual gurus while giving proponents of higher spirituality a platform, particularly those who promote a New Age philosophy.

In one interview on her network, OWN, she asked Deepak Chopra and other leading spiritual thinkers about God; remember, she promotes these folks and their teachings as truth. It went like this:

Oprah: What is your definition of God?

Deepak Chopra: God is the evolutionary impulse of the universe…

Debbie Ford: A spiritual energy. It has no denomination, it has no judgment…

Wayne Dyer: God is the highest place within each and every one of us. It’s our divine self.

Gary Zukav: I don’t have a definition of God, because I’ve never really understood that word…

Marianne Williamson: An all-encompassing love that is the source of all, the reality of all, and the being through which I am.

Eckhart Tolle: God is beyond all the forms of life, but also indwells every form of life as their essence. God is both beyond and within.

Remember this: Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), and in these last days, false prophets and teachers will deceive many professing Christians. Jesus warned true believers many times to be watchful and to “be not deceived.”

Jesus clearly stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me (John 14:6).” He is the Alpha and the Omega, was with God in the beginning, and became flesh (Rev. 22:13, John 1:1-2). Moreover, Jesus created all things and sustains all things (Colossians 1:15-17).

Oprah has made many confusing claims in the past including:

I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity. I’m a free-thinking Christian who believes in my way, but I don’t believe it’s the only way.

(The following is an excerpt from my first book, Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America, from the chapter, “Emerging Into Confusion.”)

In his book, For Many Shall Come in My Name, Ray Yungen describes the term “New Age” as based on astrology. Some believe there are cosmic cycles in which the Earth passes through a time period when it falls “under the influence of a certain sign of the zodiac.” This is a belief system stating that everything exists and revolves around energy containing tiny particles: atoms, molecules, protons, etc.

All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this ‘God-energy’, then we,too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself.

Many New Age proponents strive for a “Christ consciousness” or a “higher consciousness” in an effort to become more aware of these spiritual realms; the most direct way to achieve this is through meditation, “a primary source of spiritual direction of the New Age person.”

There are great resources available on the occult practices and history. It is so important to immerse ourselves into the Word of God and study to show ourselves approved by Him. We must be discerning about things such as: contemplative prayer, “centering prayer” and mantras, the law of attraction, witchcraft and Harry Potter, the Kabbala, spiritual formation, Labyrinth walking, and Wicca.

Teachings promoted by well-known celebrities (or best-selling authors) are dangerous because people tend to believe and follow those they idolize.

How can there be only one way to heaven or to God? – Oprah Winfrey

You may have heard about A Course in Miracles, written by well-known New Age representative Helen Schucman, who claims the book came directly from her inner voice. In the course, the listener is taught there is no sin, they are told not to make the “mistake” of “clinging to the old rugged cross,” and that the name of “Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol.”

Oprah has done many good things to help people, but does that mean we should trust her theology and religious beliefs? I’m not judging her heart because we are all wicked without the atonement of Jesus Christ. [Some] Christian pastors have warned about the teachings promoted by Oprah. A Course in Miracles teaches that God is in everyone and everything and that “the oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity, and your limitless power.” Wow.

Maybe you’re an Oprah fan and have always defended her, or maybe you had no idea what she believes. In an interview with Oprah, New Age author and mystic Eckhart Tolle criticized Christianity and also took live calls from viewers. Tolle stated:

The moment you say ‘only me belief’ or ‘our belief’ is true, and you deny other people’s beliefs, then you’ve adopted an ideology… and then religion becomes a closed door.

Oprah told the caller to simply realize Christianity is but one of many ways to achieve the higher consciousness, and the belief that one must follow a set of doctrines is a consequence of “ego consciousness.” [Always the opportunist, she should talk about ego?]

She holds that while Christianity is a valid way to achieve high states of spirituality, it must not be considered a unique way, or a “correct way.” Oprah believes God is all love, and she does not subscribe to the teaching that He is also a holy, jealous, just, and vengeful God. She told her audience:

The new spirituality is that you are your own best authority as you work to know and love yourself, you discover how to live a more spiritual life.

Sadly, millions of spiritual seekers have been led astray; and due to Oprah’s popularity, people have opened themselves up to all kinds of practices, religions, and teachings contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and biblical Christianity.

We need to pray for her and for those who may blindly hang on her every word, or the words of any secular celebrity.  Oprah is not the enemy – she is deceived – but she obviously believes she has the answers regarding God, spirituality, and eternity. People need to be warned; countless unsuspecting souls following her and those like her are being led away from the One true God and down a path of destruction… (end of excerpt)

Why is this important? A majority of young people today identify as being spiritual, not religious, and they trust their celebrity role models, even when it comes to bad theology. Some have already fallen for New Age teachings and tragically, many within our church denominations have been influenced by New Age authors and gurus. Sure, Oprah has done some good things with her massive wealth, but countless unsuspecting souls following her and those like her are being led away from the One true God down a path of destruction. Do we care enough to warn them?

More on the New Age or “new spirituality” movement:

Deceived by Higher, “Christ Consciousness,” & the New Age

The New Age Paganism: Infecting the Church like Cancer by Bob DeWaay

Many Shall Come In My Name – author and former New Ager, Warren Smith on Understanding the Times
radio (interview)

The Daniel Plan and a Heaping Cup of New Age

Oprah’s at it again, declaring she’s a Christian

Video: Audience interaction on her show and Oprah denying Jesus Christ and the Bible on live TV

Chrislam

In light of recent world events including the rise of ISIS, and the ongoing slaughter of Christians, many people are still confused about the differences between the teachings of Islam compared to Christianity. The first obvious contrast is Jesus taught love and forgiveness; the prophet Muhammad was a violent warrior who promoted conquest, and killed Jews and Christians.

Here in America, there are over 3.5 million Muslims, but the problem is with a minority of the overall Muslim population that has blended into our society with the goal of implementing acts of takeover or terror. Estimates suggest there are about 250,000 radicals who are patiently working and waiting for the call to jihad. Another problem is very few “moderate” Muslims publicly renounce acts of terror taking place around the world. One cannot help but wonder exactly where they stand.

It is no secret the Obama administration has openly supported Islam since the president’s 2009 speech in Cairo. Ever since the “Arab Spring” in early 2011, Sharia Law was implemented in Islamic countries and the persecution of Christians has reached record levels. Few media outlets reported one year after President Obama released Abu Bakr al Baghdadi from an Iraqi jail, Baghdadi formed ISIS and they have been on a bloody rampage of terror, death, and evil ever since. Where should Americans stand?

The following is a book excerpt from ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA. (See chapter 13, “Counterfeit Christianity”)

Both Christianity and Islam promote a standard of morality and doing good works, but the god of Islam is not the same as the living God of the Holy Bible. The Muslim holy book is called the Quran, which is an Arabic word that literally means “the recitation.” The Quran considers Jesus a prophet, but not the Son of God or Savior. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross, but that he was assumed to heaven by Allah.

“Jesus is like Adam in the sight of Allah. Allah created him of dust and then said to him: ‘Be,’ and he was” (Quran 3:55, 58). In other words, [to Muslims] Jesus was a created being like us with no divine attributes. The Bible however, teaches:

In the beginning … The Word was with God … He [Jesus] was with God in the beginning; all things were created by Him and for Him (John 1:1; Colossians 1:16).

In the Muslim teachings of the end times, Jesus appears before Allah and is asked if He ever claimed to be Allah’s son; Jesus says no. Jesus then gets angry and helps the Muslim Messiah kill every remaining Jew and Christian. The Trinity is also not supported by Allah.

The Bible was written by at least forty different authors over a period of at least 1,500 years, and its unity and continuity are still apparent and cohesive. The Prophet Muhammad is said to have received divine revelation (recitations) from Allah over a period of twenty-three years. Since Muhammad could not read or write, he “recited” the contents of his revelation to fellow companions. They in turn memorized and recited it to the next generation. The companions eventually wrote down what was recited to them on animal skins and bones, large stones, and on big palm leaves.

There are contradictions in the Quran; at times Allah commands Muslims to love Jews and Christians and at other times calls for their death, if they do not convert to Islam. Because there are verses that teach peace, you may hear Islam referred to as a religion of peace. However, other instructions in the Quran order Muslims to kill all unbelievers, especially the more recent verses relating to Jews and Christians. What does a follower of Islam do when two instructions seem to contradict each other? This word is a pivotal key to unlocking the answer: abrogation.

Abrogation is a recurring theme whenever apparent conflicting verses of the Quran are discussed. It means to cancel, repeal, or officially revoke something. In this situation, the later or more recent verses calling for Holy War override earlier verses counseling tolerance or peace.

Committed followers of Islam will settle for nothing short of universal conversion and eventual death to all infidels.
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every finger¬tip” (Quran 8:12). And, “Strike off the heads of the unbelievers, and after making a wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” (Quran 47:4).

One may argue our God commands violence just like Allah does. We must distinguish between commands given to nations and instructions to individuals. In addition, killing while under command and submission to an army is very different than murdering someone as a private citizen. Though there were wars and plenty of violence in the Old Testament, God warned enemies of Israel about his holiness, his covenant, and he used people as his instrument of judgment in the world at the time. Jehovah God even put to death some of his own people who violated their covenant with him, but he never commands us to take our own revenge.

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:18).

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them (Luke 6:28, 32).

“And fight them until there is no fitnah [tumult, disorder, trial, test, unbelief] and until the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease – then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do” (Quran 8:39).

Islam is completely incompatible with a society such as America that values religious freedom. Islam will accept no other religions, no competing economic or political views and no legal system except Sharia Law which would outlaw Christianity. Islam teaches that good Muslims should lie to their enemies to win their confidence. Allah himself lies, and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad accuse Jesus of lying.

This may explain how Muslims have broken every peace treaty they have ever signed with Israel and other nations.

God is not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19).

Since many liberals, media, and progressives are hostile toward Christianity, they have blind support for Islam. They are either deceived, or they are part of the agenda to blot out the Judeo-Christian God from America. Islamic Law calls for potential death sentences for adulterers and homosexuals. Where are the gay protests of Muslims? Christianity teaches us to forgive, to love all men, and preach the gospel. We are to confront sin, but not hate the sinner. Islam also allows the treatment of women as property while Christianity teaches respect.Where are the feminist protests of Muslim women being oppressed or stoned?

Because Islam denies the deity of Jesus Christ, according to 1 John 4:1-3, it is a religion of antichrist. So, if the founder of Islam, Muham¬mad, was actually a false prophet who did not hear from the one true living God, then those who follow him are deceived. Furthermore, in the Quran it states they [Jews and Christians] are deluded and “may Allah destroy them” in Surah 9:30. This proves that to compare Islam to Christianity is like comparing oil and water.

Jesus did not come to earth to bring world peace (Matt. 10:34), and yet there are religious leaders in America preaching common ground with Islam hoping to unify all religions. Nowhere in the Bible does God encourage joining with other religions. On the contrary, He warns against it. It’s not that we shouldn’t evangelize people of other faiths, but typically the faith that bends and compromises is Christianity, leaving a diluted gospel. This doesn’t stop some from attempting to mix Christianity and Islam.

CHRISLAM

“Chrislam” is the idea that Muslims and Christians worship the same God and that there are similarities to unite around. We’ve already established this is impossible and that Allah is not the same as Jehovah God, YHWH. Though both Christianity and Islam have Abrahamic roots, and both religions promote morality, the similarities pretty much stop there. Teachings that line up with Chrislam gain popularity because tolerance has trumped truth in our modern culture. This is a small movement, but don’t be surprised if it gains popularity.

We are to separate ourselves from unbelievers and those who worship other gods:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partner¬ship have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? …or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

Islam allows for lying and deception in order to advance their quest for world domination, so how can we work side by side with those who subscribe to what is called “Kitman,” the practice of deceiving infidels with half-truths? In countries not yet dominated by Islam, it only coexists with other religions because they have not been fully converted to Islam yet. We, however, believe salvation is by faith in Christ alone. Islam rejects this teaching.

I don’t care what evangelical leader backs this common ground movement. Conservative Christians must be loyal and obedient to the truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ and not be concerned with the approval of man. This does not mean we can’t love them and have a heart for the lost. It means we must be cautious about a religion that teaches Jesus was an apostle of Allah and not the only Son of God. John MacArthur explains:

“Islam today is the most powerful system on earth for the destruction of biblical truth and Christianity – thousands of Christians are dying under Islamic persecution, especially in the Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia. Clearly, Islam and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Both claim to be the only true way to God, but both cannot be right. There is no atonement in Islam, no forgiveness, no savior, and no assurance of eternal life.”

UNCOMMON GROUND

In October 2007, leaders of Islam came up with an open letter to leaders of the Christian faith in America called A Common Word Between Us and You calling for peace between Muslims and Christians and an understanding among both religions. They sought to emphasize two of the Ten Commandments; the love of god and the love of our neighbor. What’s wrong with that? Islamic leaders stated, “The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.”

Not only is the world’s future in God’s hands, but the Bible teaches a very different future than other religions believe. Jesus warned about false prophets, wars, and nation rising against nation in the end times. It should also be noted that Islam means absolute “submission.” The Islamic model of the relationship between Allah and his followers is that of a master and servant. Christianity teaches that we are children of God and are privileged to call him our Father.

What did our best and brightest leaders do? Scholars from Yale Divinity School decided to respond to the letter from Islamic leaders by publishing a full page advertisement in the New York Times titled, “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You.” They promised to “work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations.”

The response includes Christian repentance over the mistreatment of Muslims and, yet, does not include any mention of differences between Allah and Yahweh! This leaves us with one of two conclusions: either these liberal evangelicals and scholars are confused and deceived about the teachings of Islam or they are complicit in the goal of a one-world government and the minimizing of Christianity. Muslims are taught that if they are a minority in any country or region, they may smile at the infidel, but never love him in their heart. Could the letter from Islamic leaders be just another way to try to win the trust of America?

The document’s signatories include many well-known church leaders as Leigh Anderson (President of the National Association of Evangelicals), Bill Hybels (Founder and Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church), Tony Jones (Emergent Village), Brian McLaren (Author, Speaker and Activist), Robert Schuller (The Crystal Cathedral), Rick Warren (Saddleback Church), and Jim Wallis (Sojourners, Red Letter Christians).

Having open dialogue about peace and love is fine, but Muslims seem to be fighting with just about every nation they have not conquered or dominated. They are killing one another in the Middle East, and they attack and kill non-Muslims across the globe. Since Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, was born outside of God’s perfect will to Abraham’s servant Hagar, the Lord said the birthright and inheritance would go to Isaac, the son of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Muslims believe Abraham’s first son Ishmael deserved the inheritance which explains the constant fighting and strife in Islamic nations fulfilling God’s prophecy over Ishmael:

He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him. And he will live in hostility toward all his brothers (Genesis 16:12).

In the previous chapter in Genesis, God spoke to Abraham regarding his sons Ishmael and Isaac:

Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir (Genesis 15:4).

To focus on a few common teachings without looking seriously at major doctrines that are diametrically opposed to one another is misguided.

Our real enemy is Satan, our struggle is a spiritual one, and we need to pray for enemies of God to be saved. If this were impossible, Jesus would not have instructed us to “pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44).” Lord, help us to be more discerning and never be ashamed of the true gospel of Jesus Christ – “the way, the truth, and the life.”

 

foolish infidels

Religious Freedom in America

I’ve never done a list like this before, but after reviewing some articles that seemed to really resonate with people, I am encouraged to share them with others who may not have had the opportunity to read them when they were published. The ten articles listed here have been read by approximately 60,000 people; small numbers to full-time writers and national figures, but an amazing blessing to me. You never know who might be influenced by something we have to say!

It’s an honor and privilege to defend and proclaim the truth. My prayer regarding anything I write is that God is glorified, and that Christians not only be encouraged and strengthened in their faith, but that it will lead them to take action and bear fruit. For those that do not believe, I hope to point them to the love, light, and truth of Jesus Christ.

Due to the moral and spiritual confusion in America today, we must get back to the basics: the Bible must be taught and talked about like Christians used to do 50 – 100 years ago. Cultural issues are also important to discuss because as Christians, we see the world through the lens of the perfect Word of a holy God. He never changes! Our words and actions should both line up with a biblical Christian worldview rather than blending in with society and conforming to the world.

I posted about 50 articles and blogs in 2013 and judging by the numbers, those included here were the most popular. It’s very interesting to me that seven of the ten listed below are about individual people. The topics include abortion, biblical truth, media bias, religious freedom, Hollywood, immorality in American culture, racism, false teachings, homosexuality, and the silence of Christians.

I’m also very encouraged by the fact that four of the top six include excerpts from my book, ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA. Let’s start with the most read and viewed article featuring Oprah Winfrey that reached over 15,000 people:

#1.  Learning From Oprah: New Age Spirituality, Racism, and the Influence of Celebrity

Sadly, millions of spiritual seekers have been led astray, and due to Oprah’s popularity, people have opened themselves up to all kinds of practices, religions, and teachings contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and biblical Christianity. We need to pray for her and for those who may blindly hang on her every word, or the words of any secular celebrity.  Oprah is not the enemy – she is deceived – but she obviously believes she has the answers regarding God, spirituality, and eternity.

#2.  Game On: Blotting Christ Out of Christmas – Already?

Activists successfully removed prayer, the Bible, and God from schools, but they can never take Jesus Christ out of the hearts of believers. According to a 2012 Rasmussen Reports poll, 82% of American adults voted in favor of celebrating Christmas on public school campuses, and 76% believe Christmas should be more about Jesus than Santa. Going directly against Jesus’ own words to “Let your light shine among men,” some [activists] are trying to get Christians to be silent and hide their faith under baskets.

#3.  America’s Culture of Death: We Need Abortion Control, Not Gun Control

Ninety-six. Remember this number. A baby is aborted at a Planned Parenthood facility somewhere in America every 96 seconds. In that same amount of time, Planned Parenthood receives about $1,056 taxpayer dollars. That equals eleven dollars a second and allows them to abort 910 lives every day. How did it get to the point in America where we kill our own and call it a choice? It sure did not happen overnight, but it does occur – Every 96 seconds…

#4.  Is This the Beginning of the End for Miley Cyrus? 

Most of us recognize a desperate cry for help when we see one. We shouldn’t expect secular celebrities to live according to God’s Word because Christian values are either foreign or offensive to them. As for the salvation of Miley Cyrus who claimed to be a Christian years ago, only God knows her heart. She and countless other celebrities need the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. No one is without hope, but the Bible warns us the Lord’s return is close…

#5.  Obama’s Ideology Propels Scandal-mania

Government has become an enemy of American citizens and this administration is very good at using the tactics of distraction and diversion. With more of us becoming outraged while the media protects this administration, it will be fascinating to see this epic drama played out. The sad truth is many Americans today don’t care that prior to his election, Obama’s handlers concealed information about his college years and no official records were ever made available – a first in our history. No college transcripts, published records, or papers had been released. What were they hiding?

#6.  Cotton Candy Christianity: Joel Osteen’s Gospel of Neutrality and Omission

So let’s clarify here: Pastor Joel Osteen feels it is not his calling to get deeply into the Bible or to talk about sin. He also prefers not to think too much about other religions, but he believes Mormons are Christians. Maybe you’re a fan of Joel Osteen. You may have read his books and have watched him on TV and are having a tough time accepting this. I strongly encourage you to pray about everything he or anyone teaches. If you sincerely seek God’s truth, He will reveal it to you. Osteen pres­ents a kind of self-help program under the guise of Bible instruction. There’s nothing wrong with optimism, but pastors [and teachers] need to stick with the Word of God.

#7.  Ducking the Issue of Sin: Should Christians Be Silent?  (Duck Dynasty, A&E, GLAAD, and Phil Robertson)

If we love someone, we’ll tell them the truth. If we believe Jesus is the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12) and we fail to warn others, we don’t really care about them. The way Christians demonstrate their love for non-believers is by addressing sin so they can repent and receive the grace God offers which leads to everlasting life (Ephesians 2:8). Less than 4 % of the U.S. population is LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender)

The problem has been diagnosed. The moral decline in America is evidence we cannot rely on church leaders because people are obviously not getting the message. If Christians fail to speak about the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the issue of sin; our society will only grow worse, the battle more intense, and the hostility more volatile. One thing is certain: silence never saved anybody.

#8.  Gay Marriage is not God’s Marriage

God created the heavens and the earth, and mankind is made in His image. God’s plan for marriage is woven through Scripture and has been implemented throughout history. Marriage predates kings and governments. By the intricate engineering of the male and female bodies, science also confirms we are uniquely designed for procreation and for the opposite sex.

The media has influenced public opinion to the point where more Americans are softening towards sin; this includes Christians. A recent Pew Forum survey on media coverage exposed the truth; in their reporting, the media supported same-sex marriage 5 to 1 hoping the public would soon think it is inevitable.

#9.  The Hypocrisy of Selective Outrage: Zimmerman vs. Martin (Graphic content)

Few in the media report on the travesty in many inner cities in America where black on black deaths continue to increase with the violent crimes. According to the FBI, 91% of black victim homicides are committed by other blacks. Few in the media report on the massive numbers of black babies being aborted at Planned Parenthood and other Gosnell clinics, especially in minority neighborhoods. Where is the public outcry over these deaths?

If you’re open to truth and are willing to research, you’ll find unreported stories similar to the following atrocious, disturbing tragedy: WARNING – GRAPHIC…

#10. The Anguish of Abortion: What They Won’t Tell You

Father Frank Pavone once said, “America will never resist abortion until America sees abortion.”

Thanks in part to advances in technology such as ultrasound imagery, it’s clear and easy to see a growing and moving fetus inside a mother’s womb which has raised awareness that an unborn child is alive, human, and abortion is murder. Americans have tolerated the evil of legalized abortion and have become so desensitized to violence and death that we don’t see eliminating innocent human life as a brutal or selfish act – or at least we don’t speak up about it enough. God have mercy on our hardened hearts.

(If one of the above links does not work and you’re really intrigued by the title, simply do a search for the article as they are often published on several sites.)

*Three more I recommend:

Gosnell Trial Proves Massive Media Malpractice  

Alfred Kinsey and Sexual Anarchy in America 

Media Forced to Report the Truth about Obamacare?

Religious Freedom in America

 red letter bible

When someone believes social justice is more of a biblical priority than social issues, chances are their faith is based on the politics of man rather than the inspiration of God’s Word. Founded by Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo, Red Letter Christians are one such group of liberal progressives whose purpose is to counter the influences of the conservative Christian movement and traditional evangelicals.

Another founder, Catholic writer Richard Rohr, believes we need to earn our way to heaven. Still another, homosexual advocate Brian MacLaren, refutes the inerrancy of Scriptures. Trying to appear apolitical, these opportunistic ideologues criticize Republicans and conservative Christians while pushing their own political agendas.

According to apologist, Richard Haas

Another major problem with the Red Letter Christian movement is its cherry picking approach to the use of Scripture. This group will concentrate on certain parts of the Bible that promote their agenda while excluding other parts of the Bible that are either contradict or do not fit the Red Letter Christians agenda… Groups like the Red Letter Christians while seeming tolerable and peaceful in their purpose are actually undermining and dishonoring Christ and His kingdom.

The following is an excerpt from the book, ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA:

Every word in the Bible is written exactly as God wants it to be. Our faith in the integrity of Scripture begins with permanence:

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).

Bible publishers probably had good intentions when they highlighted the teachings of Jesus by printing them in red letters, but this has helped some emergent church leaders find another way to cast doubt on the entire Bible. Jesus Christ is the Truth and He is the Word – the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus came to fulfill the law, the Old Testament. Every letter the apostle Paul wrote points to the perfect person of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament, the Gospels, and the New Testament are all in complete agreement and harmony.

Red Letter Christians teach that the sayings of Jesus are somehow more holy, sacred, or inspired than the rest of Scripture, but we know the whole counsel of God is perfect.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teach­ing, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

One obvious agenda for this false teaching is to justify homosexual­ity [and minimize abortion].

These popular evangelical authors pit God and the apostle Paul against Jesus by telling their followers Jesus didn’t specifically address homosexuality. By this they imply Jesus must approve of that which He did not address directly. This is ludicrous and would also lead to the false conclusion that Jesus also approves of cannibalism, rape, or vampires since He didn’t specifically mention them. This is their logic.

These leaders argue that since Jesus taught about loving “the least of these,” how can we call someone that Christ commands us to love, sinful? Jim Wallis notes that the early church shared everything when he said,  

“In those red letters, Jesus calls us away from the consumerist values that dominate contemporary American consciousness.”

Wal­lis and Campolo have gained cult-like followings by speaking against the Christian establishment and against Republicans as they make the rounds on the college circuit. They can disagree with parts of the Bible if they’d like, but what amazes me is that people fall for it.

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).

Red Letter Christians advocate unrestricted big government, often equating the welfare state with the Kingdom of God.

Jan Markel of Olive Tree Views believes they are practicing a form of Neo-Marxism. Markel points out these leaders promote tolerance and mercy while claiming conservative evangelicals spend too much time worrying about abortion and homosexuality. Markell stated:

“Red-letter Christians champion ‘social justice’, the cause of illegal immigrants, environmentalism, high taxes, discrimina­tion issues, socialized medicine, and getting rid of the death penalty. …This crowd loves to spend other people’s money. They put down conservative Christianity when, in fact, it is conservative Christians who are first to step up to the plate whenever there is a disaster at home or abroad!”

Red Letter Christians profess to hate religion and love Jesus. Though there is not a clear statement of faith on their website, they do list the Apostle’s Creed and give a charge to follow the words of Jesus (not the entire Bible). Their list of contributors and recommended authors is a roll call of the progressive evangelical hall of shame.

When someone’s theology seems to be driven by a desire to justify and promote a political agenda or a sinful lifestyle rather than honestly interpret what Scripture teaches, that’s called handling the Word of God deceitfully. We must confront that which comes against truth.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV).

beware_of_false_teachers

osteen and crowd

The following is an excerpt from the book, ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA, chapter 13 – Counterfeit Christianity:

Author, televangelist, and senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Joel Osteen seems like a very likeable and well-meaning Christian man. His ministry reaches about seven million people every week in countries around the world through radio and television. Prior to October 3, 1999, Osteen produced the church’s television program for seventeen years. With no biblical education or experience, Joel Osteen succeeded his father. Prior to his father’s death, Joel had only preached once in his entire life and had no theological training.

Today, he is one of the most popular, well-known Christian leaders in America. Barbara Walters named Osteen one of the year’s “Ten Most Fascinating People,” and his popularity earned him some attention at ABC News as one of the “10 Most Fascinating People of 2006.” His church rakes in approximately $70 million every year.

Televi­sion news anchor Chris Wallace interviewed Joel Osteen on Fox News Channel and began the segment by saying Osteen “offers a message about personal growth and positive thinking, which may explain why he’s now pastor of America’s largest congregation.” Wallace asked him what Osteen thought it was about his message that people want to hear. Osteen replied:

“I don’t know if I know exactly, but I think the fact that it’s positive, it’s hopeful, and I talk about everyday life…. And, too, I think, Chris, there’s a lot of negative things trying to pull people down, and I think people respond when you tell them that, hey, there are good things up ahead.”

What Osteen just described sounds like a motivational pep talk. Apparently, others notice how seldom Osteen dis­cusses what the Bible teaches on issues such as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, marriage, and other religions. Chris Wallace also asked why Osteen doesn’t get involved in politics or talk much about “abor­tion and gays and the social issues.” Joel Osteen explained:

“Well, it started back with my father. He never did. And I just don’t feel comfortable as well. I don’t feel like that’s my main gifting. And I feel like when I stay focused on encouraging people, and giving them hope, and helping them live their everyday life, I think that’s where I can have the most impact.”

He’s in good company. Non-views have become the evangelical norm, and Osteen takes the neutral route. Critics say Osteen preaches a word-faith prosperity gospel lite, which I like to call ‘Cotton Candy Christianity’. He can be overly positive and at times out of touch with human suffering. One popular quote by Joel Osteen is, “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.” So all we need to do is focus on being good and doing good? Tell someone who is confined to a bed with an incurable disease, or someone who lost their home, job, or lost a loved one that they’ll always be blessed in abundance.

In a 2011 interview with the Washington Times, Osteen told editors that he saw faith in America at an all-time high. He said that yes, people are struggling, but “our message is so much about hope.” He naturally evaded most political questions saying, “I don’t really take sides,” as it divides the people, adding that he prefers to “stay in my own lane.”

Many of us would like to hear Joel Osteen dig into the Bible and give a bold presentation of the gospel of Christ without apology. When Mitt Romney ran for president of the United States, Osteen received a few questions from people about Romney’s religion. From the Wash­ington Times interview:

“I believe that [Mormons] are Christians,” Mr. Osteen said. “I don’t know if it’s the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with. But you know what, I know Mormons. I hear Mitt Rom­ney – and I’ve never met him – but I hear him say, ‘I believe Jesus is the son of God,’ ‘I believe he’s my savior,’ and that’s one of the core issues.

“I’m sure there are other issues that we don’t agree on. But you know, I can say that the Baptists and the Methodists and the Catholics don’t all agree on everything. So that would be my take.”

Even though denominations may not agree on a few nonessential doctrines, they all base their faith on Christ and the Bible, not the Book of Mormon. Osteen has stated on several other occasions that Mitt Romney, a Mor­mon, “believes in his savior just like I do.” What does that even mean?

Joseph Smith founded Mormonism and Latter Day Saints (LDS) less than 200 years ago. Mormonism teaches God was once a man who progressed to Godhood, there is no Trinity, Jesus was not born of a vir­gin, and he is not eternal. We can safely say this is another gospel which is cautioned against in the New Testament. Smith also taught all other religions are of the devil and according to Mormon teachings, Joseph Smith “received visitations from Moroni, an angel of light.”

Mormon leaders have also taught that Jesus’ incarnation was the result of a physical relationship between God the Father and Mary. They believe Jesus is a god (small “g”), but humans can also become gods and salvation can be earned by a combination of faith and good works. Osteen must be careful because God will scrutinize his state­ments as leaders have the power and responsibility to influence many lives. In Joel’s case, it’s millions of lives.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (James 3:1) Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Did you ever wonder why there is so much opposition or resistance to Christians? The God of all creation is our help and strength. We pray to a living God while the bones of the gods (or founders) of other religions can be found at their tomb or burial site. We have a Savior who overcame death and the grave leaving an empty tomb that shouts to the world that Jesus is alive.

During interviews on his book promotion tours, Joel Osteen often gives similar responses about being positive, changing your life, devel­oping better habits, not being stuck in the past, doing the best you can, and [claiming] abundance. Osteen claims Jesus wanted us to live a “great life.” What about orphans? Street kids. Prison inmates. What about the handicapped, shut-ins, dis­abled Veterans, or the persecuted church? How [exactly] is a great life defined?

Jesus said that in this life we can expect trouble, but to take heart because He has overcome this temporary world. (John 16:33). Jesus also talked about His kingdom in heaven and never mentioned visualizing a nicer house, car, boat or financial blessing. Christ came to give us life, to destroy the devil’s work, to preach the good news to the afflicted and brokenhearted (Is. 61:1). He set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

Osteen says that talking about sin isn’t his main calling and that he’s “trying to make God more relevant” in our society. Let’s look at how Joel Osteen responded to a few more direct questions from Chris Wal­lace about Mormonism, from the 2007 interview on Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: “Is a Mormon a true Christian?”

OSTEEN: “Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his Savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me….”

WALLACE: “So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?”

OSTEEN: “I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know. I certainly can’t say that I agree with everything that I’ve heard about it, but from what I’ve heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that’s a common bond.” (Emphasis mine)

So let’s clarify here: Pastor Joel Osteen feels it is not his calling to get deeply into the Bible or to talk about sin. He also prefers not to think too much about other religions, but he believes Mormons are Christians. He focuses on the positive and promotes a word-faith the­ology that the more you do or say something the more you will get as a result. I know this teaching well because I followed it for several years in my early Christian days. It is both addictive and deceptive. Who doesn’t want to be happy and “up” all the time? Most of us realize that not only is this unbiblical, it is not realistic.

osteen's book covers

The tragic thing is hoards of people are being influenced by Osteen’s limited theology, and they end up looking at God as some kind of genie. On page 306 of Your Best Life Now, Joel claims, “It’s our faith that activates the power of God.” When the emphasis is on the power of our own words instead of the power of the resurrec­tion, something’s wrong. He goes so far as to say it’s more important to speak to your problem than pray about it (pg. 124).

The following quotes are from Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen:

“The first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision. To live your best life now, you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experi­ence it” (p. 4, emphasis his).

“You will produce what you’re continually seeing in your mind…. If you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you … God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas and cre­ativity” (p. 5).

“God wants you to live an overcoming life of victory. He doesn’t want you to barely get by. He’s called El Shaddai, ‘the God of more than enough’” (p. 33).

“You will often receive preferential treatment simply because your Father is the King of kings, and His glory and honor spill over onto you” (p. 40).

“Our words have tremendous power, and whether we want to or not, we will give life to what we’re saying, either good or bad…. Words are similar to seeds, by speaking them aloud, they are planted in our subconscious minds, and they take on a life of their own…. Get up each morning and look in the mirror and say, ‘I am valuable. I am loved. God has a great plan for my life. I have favor wherever I go. God’s blessings are chasing me down and overtaking me. Everything I touch prospers and succeeds!’ (p. 122-123)

“It’s going to happen…. Suddenly, your situation will change for the better … He will bring your dreams to pass” (pp. 196-198).

There’s nothing wrong with trying to be positive, but where is this found in the Bible?

Maybe you’re a fan of Joel Osteen. You may have read his books and have watched him on TV and are having a tough time accepting this. I strongly encourage you to pray about everything he or anyone teaches. If you sincerely seek God’s truth, He will reveal it to you. Osteen pres­ents a kind of self-help program under the guise of Bible instruction. There’s nothing wrong with optimism, but pastors [and teachers] need to stick with the Word of God.

People who follow Osteen’s happy formula and then fail to get the positive results he promises end up disillusioned and worse, get mad at God and fall away from him. Don’t you think Christians are responsible for telling people what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear? You won’t get that from Mr. Happy. Smooth talk. Positive vibes. Prosperity and abundance. Flattering speech. Deceptive doctrine with a smile…. Cotton Candy Christianity.

Osteen and oprah

Not convinced? More overwhelming facts and info. on Joel Osteen:

‘Staying in his Lane’ – Joel Osteen’s Gospel of Affirmation Without Salvation

Where Has the Passion for Doctrine Gone?

Truth Source on Joel Osteen, False Teachers

Joel Osteen Rebukes Apostles Paul, Peter, and John

Fire Behind the Smile: Joel Osteen and the Bible

False Promise of the Prosperity Gospel

Joel Osteen and Jesus are Mutually Exclusive

Oprah1

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful, wealthy, and influential women in the world, added fuel to the racial divide in America this week while promoting her new film, The Butler. Winfrey suggested that just because people are not using the n-word doesn’t mean they’re not racist. Also weighing in on the recent Martin/Zimmerman verdict, Oprah stated:

“But to me it’s ridiculous to look at that case and not think that race was involved.”

It is not, however, her views on race that concern me as much as her views and criticisms about the Bible. Oprah has been more influential than some of America’s pastors and religious leaders. Too many people today follow their pop-culture icons. Oprah has launched book sales and resuscitated careers for many authors and gurus while giving proponents of higher spirituality a platform, particularly those who promote a New Age philosophy.

The following is an excerpt from Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America, from the chapter entitled, “Emerging Into Confusion.”

In his book, For Many Shall Come in My Name, Ray Yungen describes the term “New Age” as based on astrology. Some believe there are cosmic cycles in which the Earth passes through a time period when it falls “under the influence of a certain sign of the zodiac.” This is a belief system that everything exists and revolves around energy containing tiny particles: atoms, molecules, protons, etc.

“All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this ‘God-energy’, then we,too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself.”

Many New Age proponents strive for a “Christ consciousness” or a “higher consciousness” in an effort to become more aware of these spiritual realms… the most direct way to achieve this is through meditation, [which is] “a primary source of spiritual direction of the New Age person.”

There are great resources available on the occult practices and history. It is so important to immerse ourselves into the Word of God and study to show ourselves approved by Him. We must be discerning about things such as: contemplative prayer, “centering prayer” and mantras, the law of attraction, witchcraft and Harry Potter, the Kabbala, spiritual formation, Labyrinth walking, and Wicca.

Teachings promoted by well-known celebrities are dangerous because people tend to believe and follow those they idolize.

“How can there be only one way to heaven or to God?” – Oprah Winfrey

You may have heard about A Course in Miracles which was written by a well-known New Age representative, Helen Schucman, who claims the book came directly from her inner voice. In the course, the listener is taught there is no sin, they are told not to make the “mistake” of “clinging to the old rugged cross,” and that the name of “Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol.”

Oprah has done many good things to help people, but does that mean we should trust her theology and religious beliefs? I’m not judging her heart because we are all wicked without the atonement of Jesus Christ. [Some] Christian pastors have warned about the teachings promoted by Oprah. A Course in Miracles teaches that God is in everyone and everything and that “the oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity, and your limitless power.” Wow.

Maybe you’re an Oprah fan and have always defended her or maybe you had no idea what she believes. In an interview with Oprah, New Age author and mystic, Eckhart Tolle criticized Christianity and also took live calls from viewers. Tolle stated:

“The moment you say ‘only me belief’ or ‘our belief’ is true, and you deny other people’s beliefs, then you’ve adopted an ideology… and then religion becomes a closed door.”

Oprah told the caller to simply realize Christianity is but one of many ways to achieve the higher consciousness, and the belief that one must follow a set of doctrines is a consequence of “ego consciousness.” [Always the opportunist, she should talk about ego?]

She holds that while Christianity is a valid way to achieve high states of spirituality, it must not be considered a unique way, or a “correct way.” Oprah believes God is all love, and she does not subscribe to the teaching that He is also a holy, jealous, just and vengeful God. She told her audience:

“The new spirituality is that you are your own best authority as you work to know and love yourself, you discover how to live a more spiritual life.”

Sadly, millions of spiritual seekers have been led astray, and due to Oprah’s popularity, people have opened themselves up to all kinds of practices, religions, and teachings contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and biblical Christianity.

We need to pray for her and for those who may blindly hang on her every word, or the words of any secular celebrity.  Oprah is not the enemy – she is deceived – but she obviously believes she has the answers regarding God, spirituality, and eternity. People need to be warned; countless unsuspecting souls following her and those like her are being led away from the One true God and down a path of destruction.

17