Friday, May 27, 2016

Strange Fire Q&A: Why have some gifts ceased and others continue? Are we picking and choosing?

One hundred years ago, the modern Pentecostal movement was born. By October 2013 the Pentecostal movement has morphed into the Charismatic movement with its particular brand of false doctrine, had infected much of western Christianity and polluted quite a bit of Christianity abroad. The excesses of the movement include faith healing, reports of raising the dead, babbling tongues, alleged prophecies and direct revelation, disorderly church services and worse. The movement assaulted the sufficiency of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, besmirched the name of Jesus Christ and damaged the faith of many.

John MacArthur and his team at Grace To You took a stand against this movement and sought to bring clarity to why its doctrines needed comparison to the Bible correction. To that end, they organized the Strange Fire Conference, held in the fall of 2013. One of the main purposes of the conference was to initiate a substantive discussion about these issues. It achieved its purpose. Every sermon preached at the conference rebuked the movement simply by preaching the truth, and brought correct biblical doctrine to the fore. Given the outcry, it seems that the effect was immediate.

There were many good questions asked at the various seminars and Q & A sessions held during the conference period, but not all of them could be immediately answered. After the conference concluded, ministers and theologians at Grace Community Church and The Master's Seminary wrote out answers to these unanswered questions, compiled them, and put them on one web page.

The page is a treasure trove of good, solid rebuttals to and practical helps about what to do if encountering Charismatic doctrines in your church, in your family, or in yourself.


Why are the teaching gifts and others in the list of gifts in effect today if the others ceased? Do we pick and choose?
As in all matters of life and doctrine, we must follow carefully the teaching of Scripture. We must be careful to interpret the text and to apply its direct teachings and its principles to every area of life. God has indicated clearly in His Word that some spiritual gifts were given for the duration of the church’s time on earth and some were intended for use only during the establishment of the church. We don’t have the authority to decide which gifts belong in those categories, nor do we desire to make that decision. Our only desire is to follow what God has revealed to us in Scripture. 
The miraculous sign gifts accompanied the apostles and validated them as true spokesmen for Christ (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3–4). The ministry of the apostles and New Testament prophets was to lay a doctrinal foundation for the church (Ephesians 2:20). They laid the foundation on which the evangelists, pastors, and teachers can build (Ephesians 4:11–13). Evangelists anchor new people into the foundation, and pastors and teachers strengthen and grow them from the foundation. 
After the apostles died and the canon of Scripture was completed, the church has carried on through the equipping ministry of evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And now every Christian has the ability to discern truth from error by studying the written Word of God.
For a careful explanation of which gifts have ceased and how we know they were intended by God as temporary gifts, I refer you to Tom Pennington’s excellent teaching in “A Case for Cessationism.” Explore our sermon archive for more detailed exposition on the key passages related to the temporary spiritual gifts, such as 1 Corinthians 13:8–13, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 2:20–21, and Hebrews 2:2–4.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We will not know the day nor the time

This essay was first published on The End Time in June 2009.

Matthew 24 is a major area in the bible that foretells the conditions at the time of the end. Jesus is answering His disciples' questions about when the end shall be and what the end time conditions will be like. It is called the Olivet Discourse.

1. Jesus declined to answer the first question as to when. Mt 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." And He repeats this in verse 42: “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming..."

There are many other instances in the bible where it is stated explicitly the exact time is not revealed. Likely to keep us faithful as much as to throw satan off. However, despite the clarity with which the verse is stated, there are some who still choose to interpret it as something else. "We didn't know then, but we will know now" kind of interpretations. The bible interprets the bible and where it is clear (non-parable or allegory) it means what it says!

That did not stop Steve Coerper from predicting that on Pentecost, Sunday May 31 2009 we would be raptured. His take spun off many others and there was a mini-ripple of excitement among those who decided to believe twisted interpretations of the bible rather than the bible itself. Of course Mr Coerper wrote an addendum on June 1, to all of us who are still here and of course, not raptured. (Ed Note: since 2009, many others have predicted rapture, the Tribulation, down to the day and time. Of course, all have been incorrect.]

While I agree it is exciting to think the Lord may come in the next second, and I credit people for being a watchman and doing his best to alert us to imminence, it is folly in my opinion to interpret it to the time and day! We do know the seasons, and there is much scriptural support for being watchmen and commandments to understand the times of the signs, but we will NOT KNOW THE DAY.

2. We focus on the signs in Matthew but often forget this part: verse 13: "But he that shall endures unto the end, the same shall be saved. " What hope!!!!

We can endure, we have all the strength of the Eternal God under our feet to support us. Think of the surface simplicity of those words: 'he shall be saved.' SAVED! What blessings await! What glory and honor we can offer our Lord in person! What an eternity He offers us, glorified in body and soul! SAVED means saved from hell, from sin's judgment, from everlasting darkness, pain, tribulation, torment that the chains of sin hold us under.

Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

It matters not that the we are witnessing His efficient dismantlement of earthly and carnal idols. Because we are saved, we sing in the midst of chaos! "Many will see and put their trust in the Lord". If you're saved and you know it, act like it. Your confidence will be a blessing to someone!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Potpourri: should women teach men, writer's block, common false Gospels, & more

Patrick Deenan discusses How a Generation Lost its Common Culture
The essay discusses how the educational system has contributed to a massive and widespread ignorance in today's youth, a dearth of critical thinking, and wide-eyed panic when asked simple questions about history.

A good reference to Common False Gospels, with scripture included to refute them

Sunny Shell with an oldie but a goodie on What Do Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, and Sarah Young have in common?

Being missionally legalistic? Desiring God discusses.

God’s Big Work and Your Little Mission
Many people wrongly believe that Christianity is simply a new set of rules and guidelines for how to behave. More recently, due to the widespread emphasis on missional living, it’s the “missional to-do list” that now determines our personal righteousness. In both cases, people find themselves feeling more like spiritual slaves than gospel-freed children of God.

I posted this the other day in a stand-alone piece but it's too good not to post again. Here is Kevin DeYoung with 15 discernment diagnostics 

The false teachers like Beth Moore, Christine Caine and others have provided a poor example to women in terms of how far they can go with teaching men, and when they stand in for pastors at the Sunday Pulpit. Christianity Today articulated this trend in an unfortunate article stating, What Happens When We See Women Teach the Bible, because "a figure like Beth Moore shows evangelical women what’s possible".

Yes, Moore does show us what's possible, but not what's biblical. A generation of younger women have now been inoculated against the prohibition of women teaching men in church and other orthodox settings. Recently Housewife theologian Aimee Byrd started the downhill slide, while Mary Kassian still seems to be holding to biblical truth. Here are two articles on the subject.

I agree with the second, by Kassian, (except for #7, that bullet point I disagree with). I do not agree with Aimee Byrd's overall stance, sadly.

Aimee Byrd:What is Sunday School? What Does it Appear to Be? And Who Can Teach It?

Mary Kassian:Women Teaching Men- How Far is Too Far?

And then Wendy at Practical Theology for Women has a response to Kassian's piece. Good food for thought in all.

Tony Reinke is a Christian who writes about writing. He noted this week the difference between writing as a prose/novelist and writing non-fiction as a journalist. Having been both, I liked his comparison. He said the following in the piece titled Writers Block and Research,
You never want to solve a research problem with language. You never want to become such a fine writer that you can thread the needle and get through a thin patch in your research because you’re such a great prose artist.
I thought about how pastors do this with writing sermons ... and then about how bloggers do this...and prayed I never fall into that trap! Anyway, I recommend his blog.

Robin Schumacher is a great writer who produces substantive pieces. He offers this piece in the wrongs of the charismatic movement, saying,
I wasn’t necessarily upset that nothing supernatural occurred to me that night, but it did cause me to start researching the whole idea that the miracle gifts described in the New Testament were still active today. What I discovered many years ago needs to be understood – I think now more than ever – by all Christians, especially those involved in charismatic assemblies.
Go to Real Wrongs of the Charismatic Movement for more.

Sonnet 18, often alternatively titled Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, is one of the best-known of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. My favorite quote from that sonnet is

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

In Maine, where I lived for 30 years, this is truer than true. Summer was fleeting and rather almost mournful because as soon as you began to relax and enjoy it, summer was over. I'm in Georgia now, and for me, the length of summer is just right. Even though there are false teachers, wayward theologians, charismatic chaos, and all the rest, birds still sing, gentle warm air wafts, children play, teachers educate, and life goes on. God made a beautiful world and for me, summer highlights its beauty more than any other season. (Except maybe spring, lol).

Whether you live in Arizona or Maine or Florida, summer is here with the opening threshold of Memorial Day upcoming in just a few days. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer. For me, this means school is over and my labors as a teacher's aide will cease for a spell. I don't think anyone looks forward to summer more than educators...unless perhaps it's the kids!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

List of links warning why Jen Hatmaker should not be followed

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3).

I'm taking a cue from Michelle Lesley and making a list of links that point you to credible women who warn us against the influence of false teachers. This list warns about the negative influence of author, blogger, and speaker Jen Hatmaker.

Jen Hatmaker’s Messiah Complex
Timothy J. Hammons writes of Hatmaker regarding "her lack of discernment, lack of understanding, lack of conviction, and the fact that she thinks that by being overly dramatic and emotional in her appeals, it all must be OK."

Christine Pack wrote on her Facebook page of four specific concerns with Hatmaker's teaching.  4 concerns with Jen Hatmaker's teachings.
I view Jen Hatmaker as the “heir apparent” to Beth Moore’s mantle. Hatmaker has made a career out of her charismatic personality, and her ability to garner followers through social media. This (the social media aspect) is something of a new phenomenon: popular bloggers (like Hatmaker) can post something to social media, and have literally hundreds of thousands of people see it in just a few minutes.

Hatmaker is so involved with the IF:Gathering that several articles below wind together their concerns with both the gathering and Hatmaker, who is one of the founders of that particular social justice/feminist movement.

Sola Sisters gives a strong warning about the IF:gathering and included is a solid section warning against Jen Hatmaker
Who is Jen Hatmaker? I've just started looking at her myself, but already, I'm seeing typical emergent double-speak for "I reject the authority of God's word and bend with the culture." But don't take my word for it.
IF:Gathering…is it a movement of God?
This author asks readers to "Consider how Hatmaker poses and then answers a fictitious problem of faith" and, "Hatmaker explains that faith does not erase doubt, insecurity, or fear, it just helps to overcome them. However, faith and doubt are so antithetical to each other that where one exists, the other does not exist. Faith eliminates doubt as light eliminates darkness. If faith cannot remove doubt, it is completely incapable of victory over it. Teaching that the existence of faith and doubt as both/and is eastern thought. God’s word is clear that the existence of faith and doubt are either/or. (Matthew 14:31 and James 1:6)."

The Bible has many warnings regarding false teachers and the destructive heresies they bring. Note the verse posted at the opening does not say they will bring minor mistakes, or easily overlooked oopsies, or honest errors from a sincere heart. The word that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write is "destructive". In the Greek, that word is apĆ³leia and it means-
destruction, causing someone (something) to be completely severed – cut off (entirely) from what could or should have been. 
Ultimately, people following Hatmaker or any false teacher will end up completely cut off from Christ and destroyed as the false teachers will be destroyed. This certainty is affirmed in another verse which promises the same thing. In Revelation 2 there was a false prophetess Jesus metaphorically called Jezebel. Though He gave her time to repent of her heresies, she would not. So Jesus promised to kill her and also those who followed her. (Revelation 2:20-23).

False teaching is a serious, serious thing. It will destroy your witness and ultimately your soul. No wonder Paul says,

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Divine personal encounters with God?

Charlatan: A false teacher who claims to have had a personal visitation with Jesus and/or God, such as Beth Moore, Jesse DuPlantis, Mike Bickle from IHOP, Kim Walker Smith and others. The next appearance of Christ will be seen by the entire world, not by a few, in secret.

"Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it." (Matthew 24:23-26).

WWUTT stands for When We Understand The Text, and their website and Youtube channel is a great resource rebutting common false teachings and fallacies in Christianity these days. Their videos are usually 2 minutes or under but are clear and verse-packed.

In addition, for 10 to 12 minutes a day, Monday to Friday, WWUTT studies the Bible and they also answer e-mail questions in these longer videos. Subscribe on iTunes here or on Podbean here. For questions and comments, send an e-mail to

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Praise Jesus, the Person

My favorite, favorite passage.

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5, ESV)

I find this passage even more moving in the King James Version

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in his great sermon, "Christianity: The Only Hope" that, and I paraphrase,

Christianity is not a belief as in men who believe this philosophy or that philosophy. Christianity is a fact. It is about the Person of Jesus Christ, what He did and what He said, and the meaning of His Person. Those who say in these modern times to focus only on the teaching and that it doesn't matter if Jesus was a man or a man-God or a teacher or whatever that we've got the teaching and that's what matters. "They've got it all wrong," MLJ said.

Christianity is a Person. This was the theme of the first century Church. It is the theme of the Gospel according to Luke, and it is the theme of Luke's book Acts of the Apostles. It is about the PERSON of Jesus Christ and all that He began to do and teach.

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,  (Acts 1:1)

We are witnesses to the person of Jesus Christ. We are not witnesses to a teaching, but to a person. The Apostles consistently talked about Jesus, they never started with the social situation or the political situation but spoke of Jesus and the Resurrection. They went to people and spoke of the Person.

For the full effect of the sermon go to the link above. On this Sunday and then every day, re-orient your thinking toward Jesus as Person, who He is and why He came. This Psalm of David speaks of WHO.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

Lars Justinen, "Robe of Righteousness"

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My husband has cheated. Now what?

"Mawwiage, the blessed arrangement, the dweam wifin a dweam", or so said "The Impressive Clergyman", if you remember the funny scene from the classic film The Princess Bride.

Though the scene is funny, it is true that marriage is a blessed arrangement. God created the institution of marriage to be a picture of His loving, intimate relationship with His people. In the Old Testament, His people were Israel, and then after Pentecost, also the Church.

However, God knew that man is faithless, fickle, and adulterous. Many times, Israel strayed from her one true love- The One True God. Israel’s departure from their covenant with God pained Him many times.

Wives, as with everything in life, if we are in a situation where our husband has strayed, the Bible comforts us and informs us of how to go on. Let's look at the Old Testament first.

Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”

Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

He even told the Prophet Hosea marry an adulterous woman, as a picture of His relationship with Israel.

Hosea 1:2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.

Thank God His love and promises are true and sure.

Hosea 2:19-20, I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.

New Testament: In His incarnation, Jesus was the God-Man come to preach righteousness and repentance and to teach disciples who would declare His name and His glory among the Gentiles. He is gathering members for His church, and those who are given entry will participate in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. In Revelation 19:7–9, John had a vision of the heavenly multitudes praising God because the wedding feast of the Lamb. Again we see the picture of Marriage in His relationship with us, this time, virginal betrothal of His Bride (Church) to Himself.

As a Man, Jesus was also betrayed by those closest to Him. Not by a wife, as Hosea was, but by one of His closest friends, who sold him to death for 30 pieces of silver. Peter betrayed Jesus three times, and even fled from Him. Judas was the world’s biggest betrayer, having been with Jesus from the beginning, seeing His miracles, and learning from Him, yet sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Though man has acted adulterously with God, Jesus still loves His elect. Moreover, Jesus is our High Priest and can sympathize in every way with those who have been betrayed, because he has been betrayed.

If you are a wife who is struggling to overcome a similar situation in your marriage, do not feel like your prayers go no higher than the ceiling. They rise to the ears of our Priest who intercedes for us, and to His heart. How own heart was wounded and betrayed but He forgave and and is King and Groom to those who betrayed Him. He loves you, a sinner, and He loves your husband, a sinner. He shows no partiality.

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Psalm 103:10-12 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Luke 17:3-4 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

So…HOW does one go on after a betrayal? Only through the righteous strength of the Holy Spirit. Only through His Word, and prayer, and choosing to behave in ways that are consistent with holy living [no matter what the spouse is doing or what we think he is doing] can we overcome our sinful tendencies toward bitterness, jealousy, suspicion, and anger if a betrayal unfortunately occurs in the marriage.

I know it's painful. I know. The academic and theological tone of this essay is grounded in a close-up knowledge and experience of the devastation of adultery. It's the worst feeling to know your husband has sought after another. It is a direct violation of his body and your body. I've also seen that specific despair on the face on friends who have undergone the grievous process of adultery revealed. And yet, with God, restoration and forgiveness is possible.

 Here are some articles that may help.

Who is an Adulterer?

Healing From the Pain of Adultery

Forgiving Your Spouse after Adultery

Picking up the Pieces