Saturday, January 5, 2013

Part 3: Discerning a Gnostic conference called "Passion 2013," conclusion

I have been blogging a discernment series on what was taught at the Passion 2013 conference held in Atlanta this January. There was a star studded Christian lineup of speakers and singers at the conference. Unfortunately, that did not guarantee that the Word was handled correctly. Much was taught that was heretical. What was not overtly heretical was implicitly denigrating of preaching, the bible, and church as an organization. I had done an examination of the lead singer for Jesus Culture in part 1, and looked at what Louie Giglio said in part 2. Those links are below. All was balanced against what the bible says.

In this part I'll present a bare bones synopsis of what Judah Smith said, and then conclude lower down.

Judah Smith talked with the kids at Passion 2013. It is all the rage these days to pooh-pooh doctrine. To mock religion. William Young did it in The Shack, writing,

--the dusty old King James Bible
--church attendance is "religious conditioning"
--“Images of family devotions from his childhood came spilling into his mind, not exactly good memories
--"God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellect"

The cumulative effect of these subtle denigrations of what Jesus holds dear have an effect. In this piece, Smith is talking about Genesis 1, "Let us make man in our image." He denigrated traditional Christianity, too. He said--

"For those of you who are not scholars, you are wondering who's "Us" and who's "Our"? God, I know this is awkward, but who are you talking to? I suppose you could create an alter-ego, but really, who are you talking to, God? ... For those of you who are so scholarly and have been around church forever, you say, [he makes his voice a sing-song nasal so the mocking quality would become evident] "Clearly that is a a reference to the triune Godhead." For the rest of us that watch NFL games and have a real life, it's a bit [garbled]."

There are several messages here just in this short snippet, and none have anything to do with proper biblical understanding or preaching. Smith taught 60,000 kids that--

--If you've 'been around church forever' you're not a respected elder. You're outdated deadwood.
--Proper study is not to be desired or you risk being branded a "scholar". In my day they were called disciples.
--Studying the bible and going to church means you don't have a 'real life'.
--It is cool to mock the brethren

He also said,

--Without community our world will not see God
--Trusting leadership is not easy (reminds me of the secular revolutionary mantra from hippie 1960s 'don't trust anyone over 30')
--Going to a local place where people know you is not easy (he rarely says "church")
--Jesus is building something. He is not just here just to individually save people.

Parents, is that what you want your child learning? That leaders are hard to trust and church isn't real life? That is what these people are teaching. Before sending your child off to a conference that calls itself Christian, look into the people who are going to be filling your child's mind. Those who claim Jesus may not be all that sterling of a role model as you would want.

Overall, I took away that what was taught to the young adults at Passion 2013 was that visions are normal and to be expected. If you're not having visions and hearing God's voice speaking to you personally, something is wrong with you. Topically addressing the scripture in a skeleton context while filling the rest of the time with personal anecdotes and description of ecstatic experience is a sermon. What we experience in ecstatic mode is to be preferred to diligent study of the word. In other words, the bible is OK, but visions are better. The world's social ills can be fixed with zeal and money. Plus, fixing the world's social ills with zeal and money should be the purpose of my life. A real faith includes volume, excitement, drama, and surfing from one high encounter with God to the next.

You might remember I talked about the time when David Platt's book Radical came out. Christians all over the place got on the bandwagon and decided that their plain-jane faith was unremarkable and they needed an adrenaline shot of daring and a radical change to prove to God that they're really a Christian who means it. Let's contrast the fancy lights and high volume indoctrinaton of charismatic faith preached at Passion 2013 with this-

An Unremarkable Faith
By Tommy Clayton, Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Meet Larry, a thirty-six year old Science teacher. Larry married Cathy 12 years ago. They love each other and enjoy raising their two sons. Larry’s life wouldn’t hold out much interest to the average citizen. His Facebook account doesn’t draw many friends and nobody ever leaves a comment on his blog. In fact, most people would summarize Larry’s life with one word—boring. But not Larry. Teaching osmosis to junior high students, playing Uno with his kids, and working in the yard with Cathy is paradise to him. But the real love of his life is Jesus. Larry’s a Christian. He’s been walking with the Lord for more than 20 years.

Larry’s Christian friends all employ the same word to describe their companion—faithful. He’s faithful to his local church where he’s been teaching Sunday School for nearly a decade. He’s never ignored a legitimate financial need within the body of Christ. He gives sacrificially, but secretly. Larry devotes himself to his wife and family, lovingly shepherding them through every season of life with the Scriptures. He’s faithful to his job and fellow colleagues. He’s managed to share Christ with nearly every junior-high teacher at Oakwood Academy. And although they mock Larry behind his back, all the teachers respect him. It won’t shock you to know Larry pays his taxes and never misses an opportunity to serve his community. Larry’s life commends the gospel. He’s faithful, but he’s unremarkable. Or, is he?

If you’re bored with Larry’s Christianity, it’s probably because you’ve been influenced by a very different idea of the Christian life. Larry’s not radical, or wild at heart—not in the sense of taking careless risks, jeopardizing the stability of his family, or pursuing a life of adventure. You could say Larry is quite content with his station in life, a station given him by God. He aspires to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. Sound familiar?

There’s a stubborn and influential voice within evangelicalism that seems to despise simple yet unremarkable faithfulness. Pastor Tom Lyon acknowledges that when he writes, “The value of a humble and unassuming life seems to have been eclipsed by this upwardly mobile ‘dare to be a Daniel’ brand of Christianity which elevates ambition above maturity and has seated the stable but unremarkable believer in coach class. Something is wrong here.”[1]

Lyon went on to describe what he called the unremarkable Christian: “His aspirations, his thirst for notoriety, his estimate of greatness have all been changed. His horizon has come closer to home. He finds in the Bible no call to be outstanding. He is not without ambition, but his dreams have nothing to do with rising above his fellows. Unless pressed, he prefers anonymity to attention. He is steady. Steadied by grace. And one of the most amazing things about grace is how it works this even disposition.”

That’s not an endorsement for ministerial mediocrity or a call to settle for small, lifeless pursuits. On the contrary, it’s is a plea for excellence—but excellence according to Scripture. A humble, Spirit-filled pursuit of greatness should characterize every Christian’s efforts in ministry, but remember that greatness in God’s kingdom is unappealing to the world, unremarkable. How does the world view your life? John MacArthur writes:

“Christians are to be known for their quiet demeanor, not for making disturbances. Unbelievers should see us as quiet, loyal, diligent, virtuous people…To promote a tranquil and quiet life, believers must pursue godliness and dignity…Godliness can refer to a proper attitude; dignity to proper behavior. Thus believers are to be marked by a commitment to morality; holy motives must result in holy behavior. Both contribute to the tranquility and quietness of our lives.”[2]

Here’s a thought to ponder as you go your way. Had you befriended Larry, how might you react to his faithful, yet unremarkable life? Would you advise him to venture out further, take a radical risk for the kingdom and leave behind the quiet, mundane confinements of his Norman Rockwell life? Or would you commend Larry for how he’s living, giving God glory for such a faithful yet unremarkable Christian? Remember, the handful of so-called radical, risk-taking Christians stand on the backs of men like Larry. They are only able to take their risks because the Larry’s of this world won’t, and Larry wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Who wants a boring faith like that when you can have a vision and tell it to adoring crowds and dance in the footlights? Who wants to study the word, attend church, and serve when you can stamp out sex trafficking in your lifetime or reach an entire generation to bring fame to Jesus? Which brand of Christianity do you want your child to embrace? The vision casting kundalini-dancing, tromping the world kind of faith that eschews doctrine as dry and church as old hat? Or the faithful, dignified, pure, quiet kind of faith that Jesus brought us- and died for?

Don't hesitate in your answer, because just as the debt clock swings inexorably upward every second, so does  the count of another youth lost to satan. Every second that goes by where that good kind of faith is not taught- or corrected- is a second where the tentacles of hyper-Charismatic ecstasy and cultural ambition will remain in your child like a poison. And just like the kids in secular world were taught in 1960- don't trust anyone over 30, the Christian youth of today are being taught, don't trust any pastor over 30. These youth of today will be the pastors of tomorrow. Uncorrected, this trend will doom our faith to a dwindled few, unless we pray battle prayer, and contend for these kids, bringing them back to a knowledge of what TRUE passion for Christ really is.

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Part 1: Jesus Culture and Kim Walker-Smith
Part 2: Louie Giglio

23 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth, a great and yet sorrowful read. Not that I mind, I like to read things that I can pray about, but it is very sad.

    I'd like your opinion on something...Revelation 3:15-16

    I'm not saying that Larry would be wrong, but I want to understand the difference on this. Would he be lukewarm? what would be cold/hot?

    love, from Drew

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    1. Larry is hot in is walk with the Lord. A Christian life like that is what the Lord wants. Persevering over decades is a beautiful testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to aid in resisting sin and in continual regeneration of the body.

      The key is the next verse, 17. It says, "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." Prosperity had caused them to take their eyes from Jesus and trade a Spirit filled life for earthly things. Lukewarmness is a metaphor for non-belief.

      Hotness of vibrant life in Jesus is not the outward things like daring missionary trips or mega-churches with loud bands, it's always about the heart.

      here is a short biblical essay on what it means to be lukewarm
      http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-lukewarm-faith.html

      and here is a longer one
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/66-14/

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  2. Elizabeth, I get chills down my spine and a sick feeling in my stomach (not to mention tears in my eyes) when I read these things. As a mother of four, ages 15-21, I see exactly what you are writing about as my kids can be so easily influenced by these artists and pastors. Sometimes I feel so inadequate to teach them all they need to know before they're out on their own (and for a few, that will be soon). That's why I print out blogs like yours and read them to my kids, and this will be no exception. I pray that they are really listening. I just can't seem to impress on them hard enough the need to study the scriptures, making it one of life's greatest priorities. To know that it is being taught to these precious kids that diligent Bible study is a negative thing breaks my heart. (I just did a 5-part series on the importance of diligent Bible study on my own blog, and by the time I was done, I was convicted by what I had written myself!) If you don't mind, I would like to post a few excerpts from these articles on Passion 2013 on my own blog. Thanks for all the research you do--it means so much to those of us who want to know these things, but don't always know where to get this info. You do a great service to the body by all of your research! God bless!

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  3. Thank you, Elizabeth. I have learned so much from you; possibly more than I have learned from my Pastor!

    God bless you, my friend,

    Kim

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    1. Thank you so much. The Spirit has been generous with giving me time to study. As always, check these things for yourself :)

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  4. from the way Judah Smith is talking and the quotes you've painstakingly provided,, he is in rebellion against authority and most of all the FINAL Authority of God's word. Anyone who shows disrespect to God's word like this

    He mocks those of us who "hold true to the faith once for all given to the saints as if we are "boring"??. Well, of course we seem boring and the word of God seems boring to those who are still dead. when a person is born of the Spirit--- the word of God is NOT just words on a page and the bible is not simply a BOOK we are following that we just read without thoughts or inspiration from the Author or just mere words with no authority behind them, To people like Judah Smith they are just garble.

    "For the rest of us that watch NFL games and have a real life, it's a bit [garbled]." This is what he thinks having a real life is???

    Judah Smith---the letter that KILLS if you are NOT born of the Spirit. Because the man without the Spirit DOES NOT ACCEPT the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.Conversely, the man without the Spirit cannot accept the things that come from the Spirit of God regardless of his mental prowess. (1 Cor. 2:14) This is why we hear of people who tried to read the Bible as non-believers and found they couldn't figure it out, but as soon as they were born again it began to make sense. They didn't suddenly become more intelligent, they simply gained the supernatural insight of the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things. God's word is "living and active" and Jesus said, "these words I speak are spirit and they are life." Yet Judah thinks having a real life is watching the NFL..that just says it all

    Genuine Christianity is NOT boring. The Joy, the fellowship, the peace and the righteousness in the Holy Spirit surpasses all the worldly riches which are passing away. Maybe he needs to check and see if he has been born again and get a REAL life so that he would finally see why he thinks we are boring who hold to the precious word of God!


    1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
    wonderful written article Elizabeth exposing Judah Smith

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    1. Hi Linda,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I didn't even comment much on the main content of his talk, it was too depressing. He was trying to make the case that because God was talking to Holy Spirit and Jesus, they are in actuality a community. He went on for a long time about community, but he never defined it except to intimate that since we are made in God's image, and HE is a community, we must belong to a community too. And do good works. The flaw in his argument, of course, is that just because we are created in His image, does not mean we share His attributes. We are not like Him.

      And the most obvious flaw, is that God is one God with three essences. Not a community. It was a twisted set of mush that I abhorred completely. I may get flak for this, but his weird emphasis on community (NOT church) it sounded for all the world to me like a fascist leader winding up the young brownshirts.

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    2. Please write more about what He taught! We need to be informed. I am trying to warn the pastors at my church about the dangers of Passion conference. I need proof to give them. Please tell us. We need your help. (Especially since Passion website says that individuals over 25 or 26 can't come unless bringing a group of young people or volunteering at the doors.) It is a real sign of danger to me when parents are not encouraged to come along with their children.

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    3. Hi Anonymous,

      I notice that the Passion 2013 videos are popping up on youtube now. You can watch and listen for yourself without the filter of another person. The whole sermons are coming up. Below is a partial list.

      I looked into your statement that no one over the age of 26 is allowed. I am astounded. I agree completely- when parents and pastors are not allowed to come it sends up many red flags.

      The only way to attend is as a volunteer and you still don't get to hear the sermons. From their FAQ page:

      CAN PEOPLE OVER 25 ATTEND PASSION 2013?
      If you are 26 years of age or older, you may only register to attend Passion 2013 as the leader of a group of students attending the conference or as a Door Holder. Leaders must have a ticket to attend. If you are a leader, we ask that you come with your students. Otherwise, we will need thousands of Door Holders to serve over the days of the conference. If you would like to serve, please fill out a Door Holder application here.

      HOW MUCH OF THE CONFERENCE WILL I BE ABLE TO ATTEND?
      Serving at a Passion conference does not allow for much participation in the conference itself. Please come willing to serve and fully aware that there may not be time to attend the conference at all.

      As a door holder you might get lucky and be allowed to serve in the arena and hear the sermons, albeit apart from your child or student, but you may be told to serve on a team where you would not get to hear even a minute of what goes on during the conference.

      One woman write of her experience as a volunteer--

      "Once in the arena, I requested to work at one of the portal entrances where they needed someone who was "friendly but enforcing" to keep people out of the area due to some sort of restrictions. I asked whether I was allowed to let those with "all access" passes into that area and was told that was okay but that I probably wouldn't have to worry about that unless a production crew member needed in. Several of the volunteers pretended to come into the area to test my ability to be "friendly but enforcing," and I passed with flying colors."

      Hmmm.

      a few of the PASSION 2013 youtube vids I found:

      Judah Smith 45 min
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPbEKX_9ahI

      Louie Giglio full hour sermon
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5xlnEK2sxk

      Francis Chan, 53 min
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciGN9W3SLFU

      Lecrae, Tomlin, Piper, 2 hours long
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIx-AoJaBsQ

      Gary Haugen talking about slavery
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrRGdX-bz70

      song from Jesus Culture
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7OhxCsYkRQ

      Lecrae
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MGiOKnzUms

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    4. Elizabeth, I listened to Fighting for the faith when he was critiquing Judah Smith. I'll be honest with you, It was boring, and I went away empty. I really had a very HARD time listening to him because he really talked about himself. I really struggled to listen to it all. Actually, I truncated the audio because it was garbly gook. I'm not trying to say this out of any kind of disrespect. His message honestly hurt my ears

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  5. Hey Elizabeth, when I hear the word community, a red flag goes up. Over at the Crossroads website with Berit Kjos, they have a section on Rick Warren and in it, he discusses the imortance of community groups and what they are set up to accomplish, even how to deal with resisters.

    Pam

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  6. Elizabeth - I am so grateful to have happened across your blog. I have a very strong discernment streak, which often makes me unpopular in my church. Right now, an adult Sunday school class is studying "Heaven Is for Real." Actually, the high school class studied it first, then because the book was so amazing, the adult class followed suit. I expressed my concerns, only to get shut down with remarks like "why would a four-year-old lie?" Um...I didn't say he lied. I'm just questioning why you would accept his story over what the bible says. Not too many get it. I used to go to a women's bible study that was spiritually uplifting and biblically sound. Then they decided to do a Beth Moore study. I expressed my misgivings about her teaching. The group leader listened to me, then told me she understands my concerns but that Ms. Moore really ministers to women on a deep level and she feels the women in the group will benefit. She changed the time of the bible study due to changes in her schedule. They meet during the day instead of evenings and I work full-time so I am no longer part of the group.

    I get frustrated when I try to point people toward using the bible as the one and only foundation for their faith and beliefs and get a negative response. I have to admit that in the past I've probably been a little obnoxious about it. I remember in particular attending a Women of Faith conference. One of the women was going ga-ga because Dr. Phil's wife was one of the speakers. I was already appalled at all the "Jesus junk" being sold in the lobby, the whole celebrity-centric feel to the event, that I turned to her and snapped, "So what?!?!" I immediately was convicted of my rudeness and apologized, but I ruined anything else that came out of my mouth because I acted in arrogance and pride.

    What I've learned to do is pray for wisdom and gentleness in what I speak and to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring discernment to others and also, not to expect people to immediately or always agree with me. However, I will always express concerns where I see biblical truth being twisted or teachings, writings, etc., being touted as an authority instead of the bible.

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    1. It is so unbelievable to me that a class would use a secular book to teach. Here are a couple of resources for you.

      Tim Challies is a preacher and Christian book reviewer. Here is his review of Heaven is For real
      http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/heaven-is-for-real

      Justin Peters is a gentle, wise and dedicated discernment preacher. He spoke recently about the books we're getting flooded with about trips to heaven and why they are false. He examined Heaven is for real, 90 Minutes in heaven, and several others from a biblical standpoint and offers reasons why they are false. Maybe armed with these if the issue comes up again it can be some additional ammunition...

      http://jasonkees.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/your-best-afterlife-now.pdf

      As far as the Jesus junk being sold everywhere, in my opinion it is part of a prophecy from Peter that false teachers will make merchandise of us
      http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2012/10/peters-prophecy-filfilled-false.html

      I am in the same boat you are. Many do not believe when you point out these things. Your words are wise and I'll take them to heart -- "What I've learned to do is pray for wisdom and gentleness in what I speak and to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring discernment to others and also, not to expect people to immediately or always agree with me."

      Blessings to you :)

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    2. Oh, gosh! Linda we are made from the same cloth. I have experienced the same things. I confess to being a little pushy but I just want people to "get it", Then I have to stop and realize that it is God's work and He saves who He wills.
      That is one thing that gets me into trouble. I believe the Bible is very clear in so many places on predestination and election. I have been treated very rudely and told that "we don't teach that here" and I wasn't being unkind or anything. I was treading softly because I know it is a touchy subject. So I have been asked not to talk about it if I am going to remain in the Bible studies.
      Beth Moore is another touchy subject as well as Rick Warren, John Piper, etc.
      I really try to inform and send out emails to all my friends about these things. I'm sure we could go on with things that have come from speaking out. But I always remember that God is in control and all I can do is speak the Truth in love.
      Finding like minded people like you and Elizabeth is really a gift from God and I so appreciate it.
      Thanks so much for all of your thoughtful comments. It is so encouraging!!
      Maranatha!

      Pam

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  7. Hi Elizabeth,
    My name is Lindsey and I was at the Passion Conference. I came with my discernment filter on because I knew that Jesus Culture was going to be there. My husband and I have been battling with the idea of worshiping God through Jesus Culture songs because the Lord saved me from that heretical movement that is tolerated at Bethel Church. I read your conclusion and you must understand that from the whole conference, not once did I feel as if I was lacking or question God's relationship to me. I actually was encouraged to seek God more. Never once was I encouraged to seek after visions and experiences, but I was encouraged to look into the eyes of Jesus. I appreciate you writing to try and help us, but you must understand JESUS CHRIST IS Lord, and though some motives and things there weren't inerrant (Just like me and you), Christ still is Lord and can use anyone or anything for His glory and purposes. I believe that God still speaks today. I don't seek after visions and dreams as my source of Hope and I didn't hear ANYONE speak of that, even though Jesus Culture is truly all about that. As I was praying through Jesus Culture's concert, I sensed that it's okay to Worship God!!!!!!!! I don't have to worship Jesus Culture. If my heart is pure before God, why can't I worship God through the words of SOME of their songs that are Biblically sound? It sounds like you're giving Jesus Culture more power than God, like God is not able to be worshiped with a pure heart through the words of some of their songs? Now, some songs I can't worship to because of the repetitive nature and words that don't sit well with me... So, I understand that aspect. It's better to just leave them out of your music all together because inside their music does have suddle messages.... I agree with that. And I did not sit well with Judah as well; he seemed to use worldly means to get our attention, I understand that completely. But apart from that, I was blessed, encouraged, and even challenged in my walk with Christ through this conference. I guess my conclusion is this; Discernment IS so important and VITAL, but it can't become an idol to us, in which we never receive ANYTHING the Lord is telling us because we're too busy being critical. Everything, I mean everything must line up with God's Word....or should be THROWN out. My question is, do you think just because one aspect of God's Word isn't perfectly stated to your liking, does that mean God can't by His Holy Spirit show that person?! I mean, none of us are inerrant, only God and His Word is. We must not put ourselves on a throne thinking we have it all together-- we all have to learn and need to walk in the Truth. I just see you stamping PASSION 2013 as wrong when I believe God spoke and moved in amazing ways, despite some heresy!! Not many people know what's going on at Bethel Church in Redding, but the word needs to be spread. Jesus Culture did not speak in tongues there I believe because they knew it wasn't there place and it wouldn't be accepted unless there was an interpreter like the Bible says! I am with you on discernment, but you not being there makes it kind of hard for me to receive what you say, especially making bold statements like "we were encouraged to seek after visions and dreams..." that's a blatant lie, we weren't at all. I was there. Anyways, I just felt like I needed to share what was on my heart because I understand how important discernment is. I also remember being apart of the heresy that is spreading from Bethel church.... I guess I just don't know exactly how to deal with it but to warn everyone I know about it! I don't think Louie and his team know about what goes on at Bethel Church, no one really does... it's scary.

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    1. Hi Lindsey,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Very well thought out.

      I wasn't giving more power than God to Jesus Culture, I was saying that if they believe in visions that are patently false and think they are from God when they're really from satan, then nothing good can come from them, even if heir song lyrics have no overt heresy in them. A bad tree does not produce good fruit. Luke 6:43

      You asked, "do you think just because one aspect of God's Word isn't perfectly stated to your liking, does that mean God can't by His Holy Spirit show that person?! "

      It is not about whether something is to my liking. It is not about thinking that some people are inerrant and some are errant. No. It is about saying things that are contrary to the bible. If someone is teaching things that are not in the bible, the teacher is false. If someone is teaching something that is twisted from the bible, they are false. See scriptures below. We are not to tolerate them. We are unwise to ignore the fact that secret agents of satan are out and about. No one is immune and no conference is spared.

      2 Peter 2:1, 2 Corinthians 11:13, Galatians 2:4, 1 John 4:1, Jude 1:4 to name a few...and then there's this-

      1 Timothy 4:1-- The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

      You said you read the conclusion, thank you so much. I also encourage you to read part 1 and part 2 if you have time. There are additional scriptures and information as to why I came to the conclusion I did.

      Best to you :)

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    2. Very well said, Lindsey, your garden is very fruitful....

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  8. PlanetShakers, another band that comes from Australia is a mirrored image of jesus culture will be at the Rock Church in San Diego for a 3 day conference 17-19 of January. And then in March jesus culture will be in San Diego at the Civic Theatre. This invasion is in ramp up mode and needs to be countered and exposed for what it really is...a false counterfeit. Q. How do you know a counterfeit? Can you tell? Do you really know what you believe and why? Are you being seduced with New Age Occultic Mysticism re-packaged in hip new marketing and not even have a clue?

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  9. Hi Elizabeth,
    From a personal experience i aggree with some of your claims. I used to listen to pastors like Judah Smith, Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince and all their teachings were powerless to me. I couldnt't stop a sin that was controling my life for years, and you know they say that God doesn't see your sins anymore if you believe Jesus.
    I wanted to accept this doctrine but my soul was restless like something wasn't right about this.
    To keep things short, God released me from the bondage of that sin after i REPENTED from it. For me it was the fear of God that changed me. I can't explain this fear of God, but it litteraly gave me power over that sin, and you know that "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free"
    These people teach that if you keep sining God will still accept you in the Kingdom. Then why did Jesus say "If you love Me you will keep My commandments"; or why did Jesus rebuke 5 of the churches in Revelation and told them to repent?
    Another thing about Larry's living for God. I believe that we should do what the early church did when it was lead by the Holy Spirit. The Word was followed by signs and wonders.
    God Bless you.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. The Holy Spirit in us helps us resist sinning, but we still sin. Don't expect to ever stop sinning until we're glorified in heaven. However the glory of the Holy Spirit's ministry is that he helps us slow it down, and so, the trajectory of our sanctification is always upward and more. This means we're holier than we were last year. And the year before that. & etc.

      It is the Holy Spirit's power you felt in helping you break you of your aggravating, besetting sin! Isn't He wonderful!

      We keep His commandments because we love Him, just as Jesus said. We're so grateful to Him for freeing us from sin's power on earth, and sin's presence in heaven, that we WANT to keep His commandments. Unfortunately, since we still have a sin-nature, we still sin. But like I just said, the Spirit helps us reduce the incidents.

      The early church experienced signs and wonders because the sings and wonders were for a specific, temporary purpose. That purpose was to authenticate the men bringing the message and paying the foundation of the church. Jesus did miracles so that He would show He is God. He selected Apostles to bring His message after He was gone and gave them the power to show that they were directly appointed BY God. This was important because they didn't have the written word yet. Now, we have the bible as His word.

      However once the message was out and the Apostles died, their purpose in laying the foundation of the church was done and so were their signs. The signs were dying out even as the NT was being written.

      Here are scriptures relating to the apostles, the qualifications to be an apostle and why they did signs and wonders: (1 Corinthians 9:1, Acts 9:15, Acts 2:43; 2 Corinthians 12:12).

      And this is a good essay about signs:
      http://www.gotquestions.org/sign-gifts.html

      Now we have the completed bible and the Holy Spirit so we do not depend on nor do we seek signs and wonders.

      Here is a good essay on not seeking signs and wonders, with bible scriptures
      http://www.gotquestions.org/signs-and-wonders.html

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  10. How many people got saved at this conference??? Easily several hundred. There's no such thing as a perfect conference. Someone can find issue with just about anything. How about we just praise the Lord for what he did at this conference and recognize the burden these folks have for young people instead of ripping it?

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    Replies
    1. How about we hope that at least the people leading the conference are actually saved? No, no conference is perfect, but at least the devil shouldn't be on stage. I've got my standards, you know :)

      Matt, if you have an opinion as to why this conference was biblically solid, it would be good to share in more detail why, from the bible, instead of just tearing the author down as a poopyhead.

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  11. Thanks for this post. As for Mr Larry being an 'unremarkable Christian', here's what I'd like to say; First, it is tempting to agree that Mr Larry is a remarkable Christian because he's sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those around him thereby being a true light of the world as Jesus says. However, what really makes one a remarkable Christian is bringing glory to God by doing the specific things He instructs us to do. Here's what Jesus had to say in John 17:4

    "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do" NIV

    Knowing full well that it is only God's opinions that count, as long as we obey His specific instructions to us as regards how we are to spend our life on earth, we are REMARKABLE in His sight no matter what the world or even fellow believers may say to the contrary.

    So, if God has called Larry to leave the comfort of his immediate environment for a season to spread the gospel, then no matter how many Sunday School lessons he handles, in God's sight he is not being remarkable because obedience is better than sacrifice. Therefore, Larry as well as every believer, is remarkable only as long as he lives out God's purpose for his life.

    As for the "influx" of watered down gospels, we need to take our place as believers in the place of prayer, interceding constantly for ministers both within and outside our local churches.

    More importantly however, we must give ourselves to studying God's word and prayers, while relying on the Holy Spirit to live out God's word. We must never look down on other believers who have in our opinions, lower spiritual standards than we do like the Pharisees of Jesus' day did. On the contrary we must commend ourselves to God's mercy, praying for them in love and correcting them in the spirit of humility knowing that it is by God's grace that we stand firm.

    Finally, don't forget to also pray for me. I am so happy that there are still believers like the Bereans who review everything they hear with God's infallible word. I LOVE YOU ALL WITH THE LOVE OF CHRIST.

    Your brother-in-Christ
    From Nigeria.

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4000 posts!

Dear Reader, As of yesterday I have published 4000 essays at the End Time. My goal has been to share thoughts on the three general topics ...