Monday, 29 February 2016

Spotting a Counterfeit Part 3

My previous two blogposts discuss my struggles with looking for and talking about other people's errors. Errors and sin is everywhere, that really shouldn't need saying, should it? The New Testament says we are not to keep company with anyone who says they are a brother and lives sinfully (1 Corinthians 5:11, because those outside of the faith are not convicted by the Holy Spirit, but if they truly are of the faith they will feel convicted if we reject their company in response to living in open sinful rebellion. It really doesn't say to continually convince everyone of their errors, although there are a couple of passages that do mention how the church is to deal with unrepentant persons who claim to be believers, I do not see that as justification for continuously bringing up other people's wrongdoings.

The above image link will take you to a blog entry that makes the case that John MacArthur made some grievous mistakes in how he addressed the topic of the excesses we have perhaps all seen replayed which occurred during some infamous "outpourings" that resulted in people barking like dogs, and other behaviours that were less than orderly at best, and perhaps might even be considered blasphemous. 

Excerpt from the link:

(quoting MacArthur):“Mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly.
How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit…visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out of body experiences, trips to heaven, anointings, miracles. All false, all lies, all deceptions attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit . . .

(and then the last hiker's thoughts on the MacArthur quote): Basically, John MacArthur said that I have blasphemed the Holy Spirit–the unpardonable sin. So according to John MacArthur, I am going to hell because my relationship with God involves me believing that He speaks to me. I don’t think he really means that we are going to hell, he can’t mean that, can he? But you can’t throw out the phrases blasphemy of the Holy Spirit without conveying that idea."

Regarding the Charismatic excesses, and those who have written and spoken against it, you can find plenty of information about it online, and I encourage you to do the research prayerfully with your Bible nearby to look up all the related Bible verses that are given by both sides, and study to show yourself approved regarding this, and all things that are important in our walk with the Lord. The above linked blog article is a good place to begin if you are unfamiliar with this topic, but be sure to read all the comments in the comments section as well... I did... there is much food for thought and prayer in that article AND in the comments as well.

You may agree or disagree with "the last hiker", but I wanted to mention a few things that were brought up about John MacArthur in the comments section of that blog article:

1.  John MacArthur said you can repent after taking the mark of the beast if you mistakenly take it during the great tribulation. (I disagree with him)

2. He said he couldn't recall ever repenting or being born of the Spirit, that he had always believed in God even as a small child. (God only knows if he is saved, some think this means he isn't born of the Spirit... as for me, I don't know so I'm leaving that one with Jesus)

3. When he talked about his great family heritage, and about his great grandfather being a pastor in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he failed to mention that his great grandfather was also a grand master in a Masonic lodge and held the 33rd degree. (If you are going to talk about great family heritage would it be good to mention the failings as well?... when talking about my grandmother I doubt I'd drag out her skeletons in the closet, but does that prove a lack of being born again? I personally don't think so)

When I look to men (and also when I focus on myself) I see shortcomings every time. That is why our focus should remain on Jesus and what He has done. When a man such as John MacArthur speaks things that are in agreement with the Bible, I will agree with him. When "the last hiker" says things that is right with what the Bible states, I am agreement with her. When John MacArthur boasts of himself or his family he speaks foolishly (according to the Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 11:16-33). When "the last hiker".... or when I.... try to make excuses for things that require humble repenting, or try to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, we likewise speak foolishly. It is better to hold the tongue and take it to the Lord directly to see if that is the case.

But what this link also shows me is that no one changed their minds on this topic in this discussion. Those who thought MacArthur is right might have disagreed with the above-mentioned points, but still held their position when it came to what he had to say about "Strange Fire" and those who want to hold to signs and experiences having importance and value in a Christian's life, might concede that things such as Toronto Blessing was not appropriate and orderly church behaviour, but still held to their belief that signs, healings, miracles, tongues, etc, have an important place in a true Christian's life. I like the fact that the discussion was done in a civil manner, and it is important to talk about our differences, but if the goal is to change anyone's mind: If the Lord isn't doing it, it ain't gonna happen.

Regarding this topic of John MacArthur vs. the Charismatics I have my opinion, but getting into heated discussions about it won't enlighten anyone. I can pray for those that I perceive are being hurt or deceived, and I can avoid those who are willfully teaching and doing things that are contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches.
That's it.
Edit: well, that isn't quite "it", I posted more about it here

 1Corinthians 5:9-13
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.   But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.



Spotting a Counterfeit Part 2

While going about reading some blogs and all-the-while still thinking on what I posted Saturday, I realize that there is a bit more I want to clarify regarding the previous posting, hence the part 2....and it may go on to part 3 and part 4 because there is so much that is jumbling about in my head that I hope I can convey  it in such a way where I can take it point by point rather than jumping all around it and making it more confusing for everyone, including myself, as I often tend to do.

I'll begin with what happened recently on my Facebook page with an ardent ANTI-Calvinist who was set on converting me to seeing how evil John Calvin was, and how all Calvinists today do not follow Jesus but have John Calvin and their leader and pope. We went round and round, I brought up the scriptures that "prove my point" and as he got uglier and uglier in his accusations against me, someone he doesn't know except for what he sees on Facebook, and against my husband when I would bring up something he has said to me, our conversation never came to our agreeing on anything. I hoped the best for him as I "unfriended" him because I just didn't want to continue such a dialogue, and even to myself my words of "I hope someday you get it, that the Lord will open your eyes" sounded mean and condescending.

Is this Anti-Calvinist misled on the topic of Calvinism? Truly he is, I saw it from everything that he said that he didn't do his own research and has only gathered information from those who are rabidly set against it so much so they have exaggerated and distorted pretty much everything they say about it. Was John Calvin perfect? No. He was a human being and therefore just as prone to error as any of us are. There are things that I have learned about John Calvin that I disagree with him on 100% such as his position that he had on the death penalty. 

John Calvin was a product of his time. In his day it was legal to be sentenced to death for heresy. John Calvin supported that legislation, and had Servetus (a Semi-Pelagian -- he held to several unBiblical heresies that would even today raise the eyebrows of anyone who knows their Bible) captured and it led to Servetus being executed by being burned on the stake. It would be the equivalent of today's Christians who support the death penalty for unrepentant murderers, because in John Calvin's day they viewed the murdering of souls more terrible than the murder of a mortal body. I don't support the death penalty, the Lord will end each life at the time appointed to him or her, so I don't agree with John Calvin on this point and neither do I agree with Christians today who want to see anyone executed for their crimes against humanity.

This futile conversation was just another example to me of the futility of arguing over these things. Neither of us was convincing the other of the truth and superiority of our position, and in fact, only brought a sense of further mistrust and dislike of the opposing position. My husband rightly pointed out that I only wanted to prove I was right, and then proved nothing to those who might have been following that conversation and who knew nothing of "Calvinism" or "Arminianism" or "Semi-Pelagianism", and if anything, might have thought less of Christianity if they were indeed unsaved and looking at us Christians fighting over.....who knows what. He pointed out that we have Catholic and unsaved family members who would give up on listening to anything about Jesus from my husband and I, who would simply look at us with an eye of suspicion, if not confusion. 

My husband's final nail in my coffin was this fact: 
There are probably MANY Arminians that are saved but just are a little confused or misled on the sovereignty of God issues, and my arguing with them won't convince them, only the Lord opening their eyes will convince them....exactly my words to my Arminian antagonist on Facebook that was said by me in condescension, yes of course it is true we know nothing unless the Lord reveals it, but my saying so was wrong. At this time we still see through a glass darkly. None of us have a perfect understanding of how all of this fits together, and the Calvinist issue of who chose whom"chicken or the egg" argument we know that God created both the chicken and the egg, and that is the point the Calvinist will make, yet the argument still is one that the answer can only come from God Himself showing us the answer, so why do I have to "Lord it over" others who do not quite understand it? If the Lord revealed it to me, can He not reveal it to them IN HIS TIME? If He revealed it, why do I act as though it was something I in my wisdom was able to gain and now have to try to pound it into other people who don't "get it"?

So, like I said in part 1, my husband reminded me: "Just point people to Jesus, Susan, He will bring them into all true understanding".

Amen, so true. 

In Part 3 I want to touch on the topic of the Charismatic movement...and that might be divided into a Part 4 as well, we'll see how it goes....

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Spotting a Counterfeit

Do you know how to spot a counterfeit? I've heard it many times that the best way to spot a counterfeit is to be so familiar with the true that you don't have to know the various anomalies in the fakes to be able to recognize the forgery. I have also seen that as a teaching lesson for  knowing difference between the real Jesus amongst all the fakes from the cornucopia of false religions and false doctrines that seem to abound more and more these days. I know this....and yet I still tend to look for the errors instead of continuing to keep my eyes on the genuine. This came to an ugly head for me recently when I mentioned to DebbieLynne that I disagreed with a video link she had up. I did say that it was a minor point, but that in my estimation it decreased the impact of the message.

While out and about today, my husband and I discussed various ways we can get it wrong, and that we can point to errors and shortcomings and flaws every moment of every day and still never come to the point that we discover and disclose all the wrongs in this world. Is that what Jesus meant by saying that we must not hide our light but rather put it on a candlestick (Luke 11:33)? Should we go chasing down every error and every false teacher and point our fingers at them continually? Or will their falseness become apparent if we light up the darkness with the light of Christ? 

My husband wisely said the Bible warns us to avoid those who teach and do falsely. It really doesn't say we are to make a point of continually pointing out those who do not get it right, it just says we should simply avoid them. Yes there are verses where Paul mentions some persons by name to warn others of their evil and destructive ways, but to be honest I do not see the instruction in scripture that we are to make that our way of life in showing our obedience to Jesus.

Romans 16:17-19
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.   For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.   For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

If we truly continue following Jesus, only looking to Him, continuing in all humility and sincerity to seek His will in our lives, we won't have time to concern ourselves with pointing to the sins and follies of others...and by continually pointing out flaws, big and small, being busybodies in the affairs of others doings, we take time away from worshiping and honouring Him who deserves all our attention, and honour, and praise. Certainly there are times when we are to warn the unbeliever in his way as the Lord gives us the utterance to speak, but more often than not the way we live our lives should show the light of Jesus enough to convict others of sin, and the fountain whereby cleansing and healing is to be found by the Holy Spirit in our lives.

So let us continue in welldoing:

Romans 12:15-21 
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.   If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.   Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.   Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Shaking the Dust....

Matthew 10:11-15  And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.   And when ye come into an house, salute it.   And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.  Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

There is someone that I've been carrying a burden over for a couple of years now, somehow I feel responsible for her having turned away from Jesus as those in the gospel of John turned away from Him after following Him, seeking blessings and miracles and signs, and He confronted their shallowness, and instead of being humbled by it and asking forgiveness, they turned and walked away from Him, never to follow Him again (see John chapter 6, and particularly that fateful moment of turning away at verse 66)

I know there will be those that won't humble themselves to the truth, if they humble themselves, it is to look "good" to others who may be watching them, so they can get kudos for their "goodness" and "humility"....much like the Pharisees did while Jesus walked on earth. I tend to want to help them see the error of their way. Maybe if I word it just right they will see, then they will understand....but am I better than the Holy Spirit? Can my flesh improve on the truth of God's word as He convicts their hearts causing a reaction that the Holy Spirit was unable to achieve without my helpful assistance? 

Well....I got told today to listen and obey my Bible and shake the dust off my feet and leave...a blunt way of telling me to take a hike....and she is right, of course, that is what I'm supposed to do. Being told by her to do so I take as a final call, the curtain has dropped on her performance where my interaction with it is concerned...we are completely done, and whether she ever turns to the Lord in repentance or, like the John chapter 6 people, never does, I will not know, it isn't for me to know. It isn't for me to try to change the outcome. I have been told to leave it alone.

Yes, of course that is true, and the world is offended by the Truth because the world rejects Jesus...however, I don't want to do talk about the Truth, about Jesus, just to be offensive, to prove anything to Him, or to the world, or to my friends. We are to tell the truth, and the truth will offend, but the truth also cuts both ways. What others are guilty of I am also guilty of. When others reject Jesus, I also have rejected Jesus. When others "get it wrong" I have and still do also get it wrong. So does that mean I should not say anything, to anyone, about everything??? I would have to be a mute in order to be able to accomplish that. No, evil triumphs when "good people" say and do nothing. The Bible says "none are good" except God, so does that mean I should shut up because I am not good, only God is good after all, and He can handle His own business without my interference. Except He has also said that whoever is ashamed of Him He will be ashamed of when we meet Him...and if I never talk about Him wouldn't it be because I am ashamed to do so? As much as I talk about Jesus, that isn't going to be my problem, mine is the opposite. I just don't want to give up, it feels like giving up, and my stubborn Dutch blood won't let it happen.

Yet I can take a hint...especially when it is delivered with a sledge hammer. "Why don't you do what the Bible tells you to do and shake the dust off your feet!?"....not a very subtle suggestion, eh? An instruction that I can follow, in the Lord's strength....not kicking dust in her face, just shaking off the remnants of any bad feelings I may have regarding the whole situation, and leaving it with the Lord, for Him to deal with perfectly, in His time. 
Yes, I can of course trust Him with that.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

An Allegory

A recent conversation on Facebook on the topic of "Calvinism" went like this:

From an Arminian "friend" :)

A man having 100 dogs took them to the far end of a long driveway. Having placed 96 of them in a cage he attached a long rope to the remaining 4 and went to the opposite end of the driveway. Once there he called, with a general call, to all of them. None of them responded. The ones in the cage of course could not and the others could not understand the meaning of the call. Taking the rope in hand the man proceeded to force the 4 to come willingly. (force to come willingly, this is the exact statement used in the book “The Five Points of Calvinism to describe the actions of God the Holy Spirit.) The 4 the man now called elect and born again. These were to be showered with treats and happiness forever. On the remaining 96 he poured flammable liquid and set them afire with a flame that would burn forever because they had not responded to his call.
All of this was to demonstrate the love and mercy of the man and show forth his glory.
I much prefer the allegory of the man walking down a long road when on the side of the road he sees a door over which is a sigh which reads “Whosoever will may come”. He steps through the door into a glorious wonder world. Looking back at the door that he just came through he sees another sign that says, “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world”.
If the allegory of the man and the dogs is not an accurate picture of Calvinism please correct me. If it is accurate then please join me by passing through the door, which is Christ, and receive Him by faith as the Lord of your life.

My reply:

Your allegory fails because all of the 100 dogs that are to represent all of mankind would have to be in the cage  because creation is less than perfect, only God is perfect, God had made all of creation good at creation however it isn't perfect because only God is perfect. To make your allegory line up with scripture, the dogs would have to ALL be in the cage, and then it is God who opens the cage door and drags a few of the dogs out that are actually content to remain in a cage that is destined for eternal fire...
....and to make your allegory even more correct with the Bible, the dogs have to be blind, lame, and actually in every way dead, and then God takes only some of them, according to His purpose, revives them back to life, gives them sight, and ability to walk as He drags them unwilling and unable to come by their own ability, He drags them out of their terrible situation, and only THEN do they realize with amazement (after they have been dragged out)  what  they have escaped.

Winter Storm

Outside my window today....

Don't really want to but have a couple of things to do, so I'm going to pray up and layer up and head out....then when I get back I'll snuggle up with another sermon or two :)

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Death and Dying

A few months ago a "used to be fellow blogger" posted about a death in the family, and that her family tragedy is further proof to her for the non-existence of God. It was a very blahzay  blogpost that went on about how it doesn't matter anymore, she's not angry, not upset, not anything... nothing but "oh well, life goes on for absolutely no purpose whatsoever, and I'm so glad I discovered that....I'm so smart!"

Last night, watching The Gaithers, they showcased a family, the Feeks. The husband and wife (Joey and Rory) sing gospel songs and of course it showed them singing on the show, and they held and showed off their baby Indiana. They talked about the recent event in their lives, Joey's cancer, and their battle (chemo, surgery, more chemo) to fight the disease. Joey looked frail and thin yet at peace. She talked about her chats with hospital staff, that she was believing God for a miracle of healing, ALTHOUGH if it was His decision that her time on earth was done, she knew that His plans for her are much better than anything she could dream up for herself. The hospital staff, she said, told her how she inspired them through their smaller struggles, and gave them hope to keep trusting in Jesus's better plans for those who love Him.

Last night I thought about the contrast of the two stories that the above mentioned situations tell. It made me sad for the people in that former situation, and that the second inspires me in all of what Joey is going through God is working out His better plans, no matter what anyone wants to believe or not believe.

God is sovereign, and there is peace in that.

 I hope and pray that the Lord will bless everyone that reads this, and I also hope you will join me and many others in praying for Joey and her family, and that He gives you the peace that surpasses understanding.

Friday, 5 February 2016

A Mild Winter

So far winter here in the north has been mild and quite wonderful...last night we had a little snow, however the roads are still clear current temperature is slightly below 0 Celsius (28 F anything in the plus area is still great!!!)

(earlier this week...most of winter has looked like this so far...)

....and this morning:

we got about an inch of snow...

Well, I've got lots to do, so, gotta go, I hope the weather is wonderful where you are as well.

Be well and enjoy all good things that come from above:

James 1:17 (KJV)  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.