Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beth Moore's "Bus Stop vision" was not from God, here's why

A new video clip of Beth Moore speaking to a group of people, filmed by Trinity Broadcasting, is making the rounds. It is a 5-minute clip excised from her 30-minute broadcast on that TBN schedule. It shows Moore relating a story of a vision she received when she had been in prayer. Since it seems the clip cannot be embedded, I am going to synopsize the anecdote for you and then explain why this vision she has allegedly received from "God" is untrue and a demonic deception.

Beth Moore : Jesus Knows Your Need

She said that as she prayed "as plain as day" God put a picture "in her mind" of a Houston Bus Stop. It was a particular stop that was about 30 minutes from her home. It was definitely not a stop that was close to her home, as she saw it clearly "in her heart". She explained that she "jotted down what she felt like God was saying. He didn't speak to me out loud, I felt it "in my spirit."

What she said she "jotted down" as her "note" was,
"Take money with you, I will show you who to give it to." ~God
Moore can aver all she wants that she isn't hearing "God" audibly, but she wrote down exactly what "God" said, didn't she. The statement from the entity she says is God is in the first person, isn't it. If it's first person command from God, it is authoritative, and it is scripture. God can't be any less authoritative with Moore than He was with Habakkuk when He said to write it down, can He? So Moore "jotted down" a "note" in response to the God of the Universe commanding her in first person. Such a casual response, isn't it.

Back to the vision.

She then went to the ATM to get money for this jaunt, and she said "I believe I know in my heart how much it was supposed to be. Then I go to the mall and run my errands. It's my husband's birthday in a few days."

Let's stop here. We are one minute and five seconds into the description of the vision. There are many contradictions already.

Ever since Moore has been criticized for her alleged visions, she has changed her story to now say that she does not hear God audibly. In this clip within the first 45 seconds she said she received her summons and command from God-

In her mind.
In her heart.
In her spirit.
In a picture.
Intuition. (regarding the $$)

It's never this unclear when God spoke to the Prophets or Apostles, especially within the same vision. We read that "The Lord said..." He speaks to the prophet, the prophet hears it, records the words, or he performs the task. It's not rocket science. Enough with the inaudible, intuitive, mind-spirit-heart pictures already.

Now to my main point. What we also notice in the Bible is that when the Lord says "Arise and go" or "Follow me" they arise and go. Immediately. At once.

When Jesus said "Come, follow Me", to the fishermen disciples … "And at once they left their nets and followed Him". (Mt 4:20). At once.

When Jesus said 'follow me' to Matthew, didn't he jump up from his tax booth and follow Jesus right then? (Mark 2:14).

And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.

And, didn't Jesus say to the man who had errands to do first, "Let the dead bury the dead" and to the other man who wanted to say goodbye to his family, "Anyone who puts the hand to the plow and looks back isn’t worthy"... (Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:62). When the God of the universe says go do something, you do it at once, or you’re not worthy to follow Him.

Yet, let me understand this. According to Beth Moore, "God" said to Beth Moore, 'GO TO THE BUS STOP!' but Beth Moore went shopping first!? You notice she squeezed God into her schedule and went to the mall first since it was on her way. She actually said that. Since this particular mall was out near the Bus Stop she had been divinely commanded to appear at, she would do her errands there. Convenient. Moore bought birthday stuff first, BEFORE heading to the bus stop that God told her to go to.

I can just see her notes she said she "jotted down."

1. Keith’s b-day.
2. Bus stop for God.
3. Get gas.
4. Pick up milk.

If she was truly hearing from God she would have obeyed immediately. Hearing from God elicits a response in the soul that is convicting, immediate, because the command comes from the ultimate authoritative source. The response of the Prophets and Apostles and Disciples who actually heard from God responded immediately. We see that in just the few examples I shared from the Bible, and there are many other examples. Moreover, He said anyone who does errands first is not worthy to follow Him. What He was saying there is that He is the priority at any given moment.

Moore squeezing God into her schedule to make it more convenient for her day is not Christian obedience. She is actually teaching her listeners to diminish God's authority by demonstrating her casual and disdainful response to His command. She is showing her audience how to satisfy the flesh before you obey God. And she is teaching them to deny the sufficiency of scripture by claiming to have heard from "God," and further diminish scripture because she wrote what he "said" in first person. Or had "jotted down" the "note". As my friend said on Facebook as per our conversation about this 'vision', giving the Apostle John in Revelation 1:10 the same kind of response Moore gave,
I was in the Spirit on Patmos when the Lord came to me. I said, "Hold on a minute, I'm making some fish for my wife's birthday dinner."
Sadly, aside from the thousands to tens of thousands or millions who tuned in to her show on TBN and saw it originally, a quarter of a million people have additionally viewed the clip that was posted later. We are truly living in a time of deep biblical illiteracy. You can combat that by reading your Bible and praying for the wisdom from the Spirit to illuminate it to your mind.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

The clip is also on GodTube here.

Further Reading

Essay: What does it mean that the Bible is inspired?

Essay: Is God a Bad Communicator?

Sermon: Spiritual Shipwreck of the Word Faith movement

Video clip WWUTT: Visions and Voices from God (Beth Moore, 1:30 min)
"How can we know if what they are hearing or seeing is truly from the Lord? There is a very simple test you can apply. Does their personal revelation agree with the Bible? If the answer is no, they are either making stuff up or the voice they are hearing isn't from God. If the answer is yes, then you don't need their word or vision, it's in the Bible. ..."
Audio clip: When We Understand the Text (WWUTT).
Taking a couple questions from listeners, one is a criticism and another looking for clarification on the WWUTT video featuring Beth Moore. (20 minutes).

Re-post: Adorning His doctrine

First published here in February 2013

We read in the "Pastoral Epistles", Titus and Timothy, what to do that is consistent with sound doctrine. The pastoral epistles are: "those letters written by Paul to Timothy and Titus in the New Testament. So, they are 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. They are called pastoral because they are letters with instructions for pastors, congregations, and general functions within the church."

We read what people are supposed to do in order to display the highest qualifications for behavior and character.

I want to note the first sentence of Titus 2:1-10,
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Paul is telling Titus to teach according to sound doctrine. Paul does not particularly outline what the sound doctrine is, at this point because the point of the letter is to encourage Titus to display and hence his flock to display certain behavioral attributes. In displaying these attributes in life, they will be acting consistently with sound doctrine.

In an interesting parallel, Paul gives Timothy a list of behavioral attributes, too. The difference is, Paul's list to Timothy includes behaviors that are contrary to sound doctrine. Here is the list:
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:8-11)
Anyone displaying these negative attributes in their behavior are acting against sound doctrine.

The second thing to focus on is the reason we are to behave consistent with the good doctrine we have been taught. It is so that the name of Jesus will not come under reproach. If we behave against sound doctrine, the adversary (satan, that old dragon) will be able to use us to bring reproach upon Jesus' name.

In the unbelieving world, it is very easy to avoid Christians. Their mind is darkened, so they do not see us.
"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart." (Ephesians 4:17-18)
Two kingdoms are co-existing side by side, locked in a war. The opponents are- satan's army and his unbelievers whom he influences, and Jesus's army and His saved believers. The unbelievers do not really see us but they are aware of our presence. What I mean is, unbelievers as a whole do not think about Christians in their daily lives. It is very easy to have no contact with Christians, be unaware and uncaring about Christian life, and go for long periods of time not hearing or seeing Christian language or behavior. It is like oil and water. As we know, oil and water may occupy the same space in a glass, but they do not mix.

And also as we know, the kingdom of Jesus is not of this earth. (John 18:36). It is in heaven. So how will the unbeliever see the kingdom of God?

When we behave in the sterling way as Paul outlined to Titus, the veil parts. The unbeliever sees the Kingdom. He sees it because the Light is so bright! He cannot avoid seeing the Kingdom that dwells among them because the Light is so bright!
"for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you." (Luke 17:21b)
We ARE the kingdom, the veil parts, they see us when we act according to kingdom attributes. How will the unbeliever see the King, unless they see the Kingdom? Jesus is in heaven on His throne, but the kingdom He created is within us for this present age. The unbeliever will see it if we act according to sound doctrine, as Paul urges Titus.

Never let anyone tell you that 'doctrine doesn't matter.' It does. It is not just head knowledge but it expresses itself through behavior that brings the Kingdom forward and lets the blind to see the unreproached name of Jesus.

Paul ended that paragraph by saying that we may adorn the doctrine of Christ the Savior. The word adorn is defined – "properly, to beautify; to adorn, make compellingly attractive, very appealing (inviting, awesomely gorgeous).

We are not gorgeous but Jesus in us is gorgeous! Let us pray for the strength and wisdom to go forward each day so that we may adorn Him, and be compellingly attractive in the eyes of those who are living in such darkness. We have been told how to act, and how not to act.

In 1415, Henry V was severely outnumbered as they prepared for battle at Agincourt. This battle was dramatised by William Shakespeare in the play Henry V featuring the St. Crispin's Day Speech in which Henry inspired his much outnumbered English forces to fight the French. It was a stirring moment in the film adaptation when actor Kenneth Branagh gave the speech. It was the speech when the King said, once more into the breach, dear friends. I was inspired to jump up and fight against the opposing forces! It was unusual for a king to call his army men 'friends.'

Our King has given us a stirring speech, too. It is the bible. His doctrine is the inspiration for us to leap up and go into battle. But our battle is not in flesh and blood nor with swords. Our battle is through our behavior and our words, and the love we carry for our King, a remarkable eternal king who calls US His friends. Would you fight for Him in truth and kindness and gentleness so that we may adorn Him?

Kay Cude poetry: The Character of Sin

Click to enlarge. Published with permission
Artist's Statement:
I was compelled to say something that spoke encouragement for "the saved to continue on," even while recognizing and knowing the true character of sin, the taste and its aroma. Our efforts to reach the lost becomes harder each day; the news-media ridicules Christ's redeemed, and with deceptive words, demands we not speak Gospel Truth. But we must "continue on." I must keep fresh in my mind that previous centuries of the lost hated Christ, and that this present century of the lost will hate us (even as we the "saved" seek their rescue).

Monday, July 25, 2016

Left Behind author Tim LaHaye, passes away

Christianity Today reports today that sadly,
Tim LaHaye, the best-selling author best known for the Left Behind series, "graduated to heaven" early this morning after suffering a stroke at age 90. His family announced the news of his passing at a San Diego hospital on his ministry Facebook page.
In my early days of Christianity, I read most of the Left Behind series. A lot of people did. Here is an article about the series from earlier in July, before Dr LaHaye's passing.

End times author breaks down prophecy and fiction
A popular author who helped invigorate pop culture interest in Christian eschatology with the release of the first book in the "Left Behind" series 21 years ago is surprised by the novel's monumental impact. ... Years later, it not only continues to fly off bookshelves, it has been the impetus for at least four apocalyptic-themed Hollywood films.
It's hard to imagine it's been 21 years, even though I was not a Christian for 10 of those. The series referred to is a series of fiction books written from the point of view of non-believers living through the rapture, the rise of the antichrist, and the Tribulation. Though in the books, most of the main characters convert to Christianity subsequent to the Rapture. The books' backdrop is Christian apocalyptic, unlike most of today's apocalyptic books, TV shows, movies, and video games which present an apocalypse from a secular point of view. The "Left Behind" books present the real apocalypse, though sanitized and fictionalized.

The series contains 10 books written by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, which seek to illustrate according to the Bible, what the period known as the Tribulation (wrath of God) will be like. The authors novelized the Rapture and the subsequent Tribulation period and brings to life the reality of this overlooked and maligned section of eschatology, or 'last things'.

I was and still am intrigued by the Rapture, the time when Jesus comes back in the air to snatch up all His believers from all parts of the globe, to take us to the New Jerusalem which is in heaven for the duration of the Tribulation. I'm fascinated by it and look forward to it eagerly. I hope I'm alive when it happens but if I'm dead, by no means will the living precede me. (1 Thessalonians 4:15). We believers will encounter various things in heaven while the 7-year Tribulation plays out on earth, such as giving an account to Jesus and our works either burned up or turned to gold and silver.  (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). Then Jesus and His saints return to earth for His Second Coming, Jesus kills the last non-believers, (many of whom will be gathered at Armageddon), rescues Israel who is by now redeemed, and establishes his kingdom on earth which will last for 1000 years.

One thing I am grateful for is that the Left Behind series brought prophecy (last things, eschatology) to the forefront of Christianity. The series ignited interest in prophecy. Prophecy had been marginalized and dismissed as an unworthy sphere of Christian study and sadly, for a generation or two, pastors in seminaries were not taught it. This means that throughout the 70s and 80s and 90s many pastors in turn did not teach their sheep about last things, and generations of believers grew up not knowing about the most important topic in the Bible- Jesus' return. His return is something Jesus spoke of more than any other. The longest discourse Jesus gave was about His return. (Matthew 24:1 – 25:46).

There is criticism of the Left Behind series. I looked into the criticism and it seems to be stemming from various quarters and for various reasons which I'll enumerate:

Catholics and Orthodox: they do not like the book because they do not believe in the Rapture. They believe they (and not Protestants) will be gathered to Jesus when He returns at the Second Coming. There is no rapture, no two stage return. However, they don't believe in the Jesus of the Bible either, so we can ignore their criticisms.

Postmillennialists: These are people who adhere to a segment of eschatology that believes the Second Coming WON'T happen before the establishment of the 1000 year kingdom (Revelation 20). The Left Behind authors hold to the Premillenial belief believe that Jesus will literally return to the earth before (pre) the millennium begins, because He is the One who sets up the kingdom. Because Jesus will return before the kingdom is established, we can dispense with the postmills' criticisms. Post-rapture and no-rapture crowds have the same criticisms.

Eschatology-dissers: This is a term I made up just now, lol. But it's based loosely on the concepts presented in the linked heading, which is the verse from 2 Peter 3:3 about the mockers and scoffers. What they are mocking and scoffing at specifically is prophecy of the Second Coming. The "dissers" I mention are a segment of theologians who condescend about all things last things. They believe it isn't a worthy area of study. Some of that negativity surrounding prophecies have merit, and we’ve done that to ourselves. Decades of date-setters and false prophets claiming to have received personally delivered divine insights which fail time after time, as a result have jaded people and brought disrepute onto God’s glorious prophecies. Some of the criticism is that the Left Behind series "date-sets", which it does not. The authors never set dates, they just novelize what the Bible says about what will happen in the future.

Others claim the authors engaged in "newspaper exegesis" which is to look at prophecy through current news and claim to have insights as to near term fulfillments. The authors never did that either. So we can ignore criticism of the series based on eschatology dissing, date-setting, and newspaper exegesis.

There are three things Paul consistently warned us not to be ignorant about:

1. Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1)
2. Satans’ schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11)
3. Last things (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

And what are three things that are giving the true Christians of the faith most trouble to defend right now? Those exact three.

With LaHaye's passing, interest might again be aroused in the series of books. So if you are interested in the series, I have 3 caveats about it I'd share with you. First, I read the series when I was a babe in Christ. I didn't detect any wrong theology at that time. But then again if I re-read the series now, I might.  As always, be careful about fictionalized Christianity. It is true that eschatology especially seems to attract a weird crowd in these days since Left Behind opened the door.

Second, the Tribulation will be the most horrific time that will ever occur on the earth, and that is a promise from Jesus Himself from Matthew 24:21. It will be hell on earth, untold and unimaginable horrors, as God lets sin overtake the earth FULLY. However I found the books to be quite sanitized. If the authors sought to being terror to the heart in relating what it will be like to endure God’s wrath, they failed. They made it seem more like an adventure than a horror. More like an inconvenience than a monstrosity.

However, I acknowledge that the real horrors of the Tribulation really cannot be told. If they did, they'd be violently pornographic, so I understand the restraint to which the authors limited themselves. But just be aware that the Tribulation won’t really be like it is depicted in the books. It will be a gazillion times worse.

Third, please note that Tim LaHaye is an avowed anti-Calvinist. I don't know if he was one before he wrote the books or became so anti-Calvinistic later. Calvinism is biblical, so its something to be aware of in the books. I can't remember if there is a rejection of the Doctrines of Grace in the books or if there was an over-emphasis on free will. His anti-Calvinist stance might permeate the book to a great or a subtle degree. I don't know, but be aware.

In the long run, I find the Bible the most helpful on understanding "last things" like the Rapture and Tribulation and Second Coming. Novelizations just can't do the topic justice, so why dabble in it when the Bible is available? However, I understand wanting to be entertained in a clean, Christian way. My statement is one of opinion, and is not prescriptive in any way.

I don't think the Left Behind books will do a reader devastating harm, but not a lot of good either. They WILL instill in you a picture of the Tribulation that just doesn't measure up to how it will really be. Which is kind of harmful in itself, though no one can rightly picture what an earth full of sin & God's anger will be like, completely.

If you want to read a quality, solid book on the Tribulation that will make your heart stop in fear (because it’s biblical, not because it’s sensationalized) read John MacArthur’s "Because The Time is Near" a quick explanation of the book of Revelation. Your heart will be in your throat and you’ll want to go out and witness to everyone you see, which is what prophecy is supposed to make us do, because, ‘the time is near’.

In the end, I AM grateful for LaHaye's (and Jenkins') work on the Left Behind series. If there are any terrible doctrinal issues with the books, let me know. Meanwhile, we mourn the passing of another soldier, and celebrate that fact that hopefully he is in fact safe and loved in heaven, his long years of labor suspended for a period of rest and refreshment at the Lord's abode.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Discerning of Spirits: What it is and why it's important to your local church body, and the church-at-large

The level of doctrinal Christian error and demonic activity in this present world is staggering. The spiritual war is cosmic and invisible. (Ephesians 6:12). But recently someone followed my blog on Wordpress. In doing my diligence I perused her blog to see what they were about. What I found absolutely horrified me before the Lord, as much as it worried me for the woman's soul.

The tagline to her blog is -
The writing of the Holy Bible continues, published by G.ROY. God dictated unto me the words coming out of His mouth through the use of his prophets and I wrote them out in this blog (web log of God) for the instruction of us whom ends of the world are come. Sometimes some highlights are thrown in to help people understand the context by which the prophecy was worded out. I am not deciding what is to be written and called a prophecy. God speaks, I write word for word what was said!
Immediately one praises the Lord for His patience in not doing to this writer as He did to Ananias & Sapphira, (Acts 5:1-11) or Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:7) for profaning His holiness. The unmitigated pride and deep demonic delusion evident in that blog's About section is stunning. And yet there's more.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Sheep: from The Scripture alphabet of animals

I suppose you think you already know as much about sheep and lambs as I can tell you, and perhaps you do. Yet I dare say you never took up your Bible to see how many times they are mentioned there, or how many beautiful things are said about them. 
Abel, who, as you know, was the third man that lived on the earth, was a "keeper of sheep;" and there have always been a great many shepherds in the world from that time to this. Some of the men who lived in old times had a great many sheep. Job had seven thousand, which God allowed to be taken from him; but afterwards gave him twice as many-fourteen thousand. At the time when Solomon’s beautiful temple was dedicated to God, he offered a sacrifice of a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. 
If you want to know how many that is, try to think of a pasture with a hundred sheep in it-then think of a hundred pastures, just like it, with just as many sheep in each-then think of those hundred pastures taken twelve times over, and you will begin to understand how many there were. It is not common with us to have persons whose whole business it is to take care of sheep, but that was always the way in Bible countries. 
This was not done by servants, at least not always; for a great many rich men employed their children as shepherds. Rachel, who was afterwards the wife of Jacob, "kept her father’s sheep"-so did Jacob’s twelve sons-so did Moses for his father-in-law. 
Cook, H. N. (1842). The Scripture alphabet of animals. New York: American Tract Society.

Kay Cude: The Light of Our Salvation

Click to enlarge. Kay Cude: published with permission
Artist's statement:
For me, the lone tree speaks of God's wonderful handiwork, not only representing His gift of nature, but brings to mind that His redeemed are not alone, but safely tucked within His Might eternally. And as the brilliance of the sun pierces boldly through the dark-ending of the storm, one thought leads me to another -- remembrance of Christ's death and resurrection. Then speaks to His beloved redeemed: the "things" of this world are now more clearly seen through the light of His Salvation! We must daily pause to remember...