Do false teachers ever get any verses right?

I ask that in all seriousness.  No matter how simple the passage, they always seem to miss the most obvious truths.  A recent example is from false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie in Duck Dynasty Crew Invited To Church.*

No one should be using the name of the Prince of Peace to intentionally tear us apart.

But where does the name Prince of Peace come from?  This is the only reference in the Bible:

Isaiah 6:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Jesus came to bring peace between sinners and their God.  It wasn’t the kind of peace Chuck and other false teachers allude to.

And how can Chuck quote this verse while explicitly denying Jesus’ deity in this passage?  And to Chuck, this had to be a false prophecy, but he thinks Jesus is dead.  How could He then reign on the throne of David?  So why quote the prince of peace portion?

As usual, nearly every biblical reference that these wolves make is theological train wreck.

And even if the verse referred to the kind of peace Chuck thinks it does, how could a radical pro-abortionist like him use it with a straight face?  Crushing and dismembering innocent human beings is as opposite of that kind of peace as you can get, yet Chuck supports the Democrats’ official policy of unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortions.

Run, don’t walk, from false teachers like him.

* Of course, Chuck’s views on Phil Robertson are completely wrong as well. But that is to be expected, as Phil knows that the Bible is the word of God and Chuck thinks it isn’t.

Just your traditional Christmas lake of fire sermon

*** Alternate title, inspired by Bubba’s comment: “Chestnuts roasting on an open lake of fire.” ***

I mean, what else would you preach on?  I know most churches don’t preach on the book of Revelation on the Sunday before Christmas, but a few years ago that is just what we heard.

We were visiting my oldest daughter to watch her perform in the Nutcracker for the Louisville Ballet, where she lived at the time.  We loved going to Sojourn Community Church with her.  They are part of the Acts 29 Network, just as our current church is (and our youngest daughter attends one where she lives).

The church had been going through the entire Bible over the course of two years, so of course at the end of the second year they were in Revelation.  And they didn’t pull any punches, literally preaching on the lake of fire.  These churches have a great balance of grace and truth, and they don’t gloss over what many churches do.  The sermons are a good 40 minutes or so of verse-by-verse preaching.  Yeah!

We had two people visiting with us.  One was a Bible-believing Christian, who really enjoyed the service and talking about the sermon.  The other is very active in a false denomination and goes to church every week.  This usually chatty, upbeat person had nothing to say.  Nothing.  The word of God has that effect on both types of people.

The Methodists get one right

Via Defrocking of Minister Widens Split Over Gays:

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a Methodist minister, was stripped of his clerical credentials on Thursday for violating church law by presiding at his son’s same-sex wedding. The punishment, imposed by the United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania, was requested by the church prosecutor to deter other ministers from blessing same-sex marriages.

Good for them!  Hopefully that sets an example for others to obey the Bible and the Methodist Book of Discipline.

But far from intimidating others, the trial and defrocking of Mr. Schaefer have galvanized a wave of Methodist ministers to step forward to disobey church prohibitions against marrying and ordaining openly gay people.

Members of the United Methodist Church, the nation’s third-largest Christian denomination, have been battling bitterly over homosexuality for four decades. The church now faces an increasingly determined uprising by clergy members and laypeople who have refused to cede, even after losing the most recent votes, at the Methodist convention last year, on proposals to change church teaching.

Yeah, the men of Sodom were pretty stubborn too.  They groped for the door even when God blinded them.  Genesis 19:11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door. Sound familiar?

“After 40 years of playing nice and attempting a legislative solution, we will not wait any longer,” said Matt Berryman, a former Methodist pastor who said he turned in his credentials because he is gay. He now serves as the executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a Methodist gay rights group.

Maybe they should just leave altogether! They obviously have a different religion.

. . .

Church conservatives, however, say they have the momentum. About a half-dozen more ministers are facing church trials, and the defrocking of Mr. Schaefer proves to them that church juries have the courage of their convictions. In addition, they say the church is losing members in its liberal-leaning regions and growing in conservative regions.

Yep.  And growing in Africa, much to the chagrin of the Leftists in the U.S.

John Lomperis, the United Methodist director at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative religious think tank, said the same-sex weddings performed by Methodist clergy were “publicity stunts” that were backfiring.

. . .

Mr. Schaefer is hardly the first Methodist minister to be defrocked for disobeying church teachings on homosexuality. Jimmy Creech was stripped of his credentials in 1999 for performing a same-sex ceremony. Irene Elizabeth Stroud, a lesbian living with her partner, was defrocked in 2005.

Stroud was another fraud, like Schaefer, who entered the clergy under false pretenses.

Mr. Schaefer said at a news conference on Thursday after his defrocking, “Here we are 10 years later, and they are doing the same thing.”

Yes!  The same thing!  Because the word of God doesn’t change!

He added, “The church needs to recognize that things have changed and times are changing and people are changing.”

Again, the real church recognizes that the word of God doesn’t change.

Mr. Schaefer has four children, three of whom are gay.

Whoa!  That might explain things.  Parents can’t control everything, but lots of them turn pro-gay after their kids come out.  It is almost as if they are rationalizing their bad parenting.  Three out of four is pretty bad!

. . .

The church’s Book of Discipline, which contains its law and doctrine, forbids same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay people, and says that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Efforts to amend the Book of Discipline have been defeated by increasingly wide margins at the church’s quadrennial conferences as delegates representing the church’s growing branch in Africa have bolstered the votes of conservative Methodists in the United States.

. . .

He said he would not consider leaving the Methodist Church for a denomination that has changed its teaching on homosexuality.

“It’s not that easy when a church is your spiritual home,” he said. “All my children have been baptized in the United Methodist Church. I don’t know how to be a minister out of the United Methodist Church.”

He doesn’t know how to be a real minister anywhere.

He said his lawyers had already filed an appeal with a judicial body akin to a church appellate court.

Those watching the trial were stunned when Bishop Peggy Johnson, who leads nearly 900 United Methodist churches in Pennsylvania and who is Mr. Schaefer’s superior, posted a note on her blog this week, saying that she believed the prohibitions on gay ordination and marriage in the Book of Discipline were “discriminatory.”

The prohibitions, Bishop Johnson continued, taken together with the church’s message of inclusion, “has led to confusion by many from the outside of the church wondering how we can talk out of two sides of our mouth.”

This “Bishop” should be fired as well, for disobeying the Bible and the Methodist Book of Discipline and for not understanding basic logic.  There should be no confusion at all.  Christianity is completely inclusive in the sense that everyone, regardless of age, past sins, race, ethnicity, gender, etc., is completely welcome if they repent and believe in Jesus.  But it is exclusive in the sense that it excludes those who continue to shake their fists at God — people like Schaefer and Johnson.  That isn’t talking out of both sides of your mouth, that is common sense.

Remember Arapahoe!

Seriously.  While the lone shooting at Arapahoe High School was tragic, the episode must be considered in its entire context.  Once a bad guy decides to take lives, whether by guns, knives, bombs or whatever, the key is to minimize the damage and subdue the criminal.  That’s what happened here.  In a high school near Columbine and only a year after Newtown, here was a school that actually protected children by having an armed guard.  Thank God for that!

As a VP for an Internal Audit group at a large company, I constantly think in terms of detecting and preventing problems.  We know that some people may be motivated to steal, but we want them to know that the odds are against them.  We put in controls to catch them if they do steal, but more importantly, we do things to prevent them from stealing in the first place.  They either need to not steal at all or at least not steal from us.

Believe it or not, criminals operate on a sophisticated risk/reward model just like the rest of us.  They want the optimal amount of gain relative to the risk of being caught.  In the case of protecting children, having armed guards prevents problems by scaring away the cowardly bad guys and it mitigates the damage if they show up to do their evil deeds.

Sadly for the Leftists, they had to gloss over this great news as quickly as possible and suppress the truth about the shooter.  Just one more case of media bias.  That’s why we need to remember the victories of the Arapahoe model and tell as many people as possible.  The gun grabbers certainly won’t do that.  Via Karl Pierson was a pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-war socialist Democrat:

Pierson also appears to mock Republicans on another Facebook post, writing “you republicans are so cute” and posting an image that reads: “The Republican Party: Health Care: Let ‘em Die, Climate Change: Let ‘em Die, Gun Violence: Let ‘em Die, Women’s Rights: Let ‘em Die, More War: Let ‘em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?”

Carl Schmidt and Brendon Mendelson, both seniors at Arapahoe High, knew Pierson. They said he had political views that were “outside the mainstream,” but they did not elaborate.

That might explain why the mainstream media in general didn’t want to get into his motivations too much. Makes their own ideology look bad. It’s hard for them to report on these things accurately, isn’t it? Can’t report on the armed guard. That makes self-defense look viable. Can’t report on the socialism, because that makes Democrats look bad. Let’s just say nothing and hope people think that he was a Tea Party person. That’s journalism! Whatever fits, they print.

In fact, these shooters are almost always secularists, leftists or secular leftists. See below for past stories.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 4

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.  This is the last question (for now, at least!).

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the fourth question:

How do you determine what traditions to follow from the Bible and which ones you don’t (i.e. women’s head covering, others)?

OK, I’ll be candid: This will be the weakest response of this series.  I just haven’t spent a lot of time on these things.  I think the short version is to consider the context and the principle behind the traditions / commands.  I’m going to punt over to CARM.org for this one.  I’m hoping that our loyal readers will weigh in with more!

The first question is why Paul gave these commands about head coverings and long hair. He did so because the way people wore their hair indicated in the culture of Paul’s day whether one was behaving as a man or a woman. In other words, Paul wanted to retain the distinctions between the sexes. This is a powerful word to our culture where differences between the sexes are routinely denied, and we commonly have gender blending and gender confusion.

The principle Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 11:3 is male headship. Men have a unique God-given authority in the family and the church for leadership. Men are responsible to protect and provide for women, and women are to humbly submit to their leadership and to assist men in their leadership roles. Such differences in role don’t indicate lack of equality, for Christ submitted to the Father but was equal to him (1 Cor. 15:28).

The issue Paul addresses isn’t really head-coverings and length of hair in and of themselves. In the culture of Paul’s day a woman not wearing head covering in worship would signal rebellion against male headship, and in the same way a man’s wearing long hair would suggest that he was denying his masculinity. What matters in the passage, then, are not the exact customs, but the principle or truth communicated in the text. If a woman wears a veil today, it doesn’t suggest to people in our culture that she is rebellious.

We need to apply the principle of male headship and female submission to our culture today. We can apply the passage as follows. Men would deny their masculinity if they wore a dress, and a woman denies male headship if she did not wear her wedding ring or refused to take the last name of her husband.

Here is a truly in-depth analysis of the various interpretations of this passage.

I do think we need to take care when saying something is symbolic or a tradition.  Otherwise, people could abuse scripture.  The larger context of the universal differences between men and women are a foundation to work from.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

** The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 3

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the third question:

How do you deal with questions around homosexuality? This is a tricky subject because this is a high school audience and sexuality has to be taught respectfully and with sensitivities to the teens and young ladies in the classroom.

This is a huge and contentious issue, and one that Satan is using to keep people from the faith and to divide entire denominations.  Many people use the homosexual issue as an excuse not to even consider Christianity.  That may tempt some people to gloss over the topic or misstate what the Bible says.

Yes, we should be sensitive with it, but when you consider about how aggressively the world pressures us with its false views I think we should be more bold in equipping young people about the details.

Make no apologies about what the Bible really says, because it couldn’t be more clear.  Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people** (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).planned
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

Then there is the question of love.  If you really love people you won’t affirm behavior that is spiritually, emotionally and physically destructive.

But do you have to convert people to your views on homosexuality before sharing the Gospel with them?  No.  Of course you shouldn’t water down the truth, but what you really want to do is share the Gospel and let God do his work on their hearts.  As I noted in this post, you don’t have to fix someone’s sins before telling them the truth about Jesus.  The point is to let Jesus do that!  We should approach all people with humility, because we all have temptations that we’ve given into.

It is easy to quickly affirm what the Bible says (“Yes, homosexual behavior is a sin”) but then shift to the Gospel (“But even if it wasn’t a sin you would still be a sinner in need of a Savior . . .”).

Don’t be shy about pointing out the lies of the LGBTQ movement.  People aren’t “born that way,” and even if they were that wouldn’t justify acting on the behavior.  Quoting the Bible doesn’t make LGBTQ people commit suicide any more than saying “don’t get drunk” makes alcoholics kill themselves.  “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron and those unions can never produce children or ever provide a mother and a father to a child, so the government has no good reasons to get involved in those relationships.

Make no mistake: The LGBTQ lobby wants to silence Christians.  Lots of us may end up in jail before this is over.  It may not be long until you won’t be employable if you don’t affirm the lie that the behavior isn’t sinful.

Here are some links that go into more detail.  This is a crucial issue so I encourage people to read them.  Feel free to use the PowerPoint slides if you like (I prepared them for a series of Sunday School lessons).

Problems with pro-gay theology  

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology  

Responding to same-sex marriage arguments

PowerPoint slides: Refuting pro-gay theology

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

** The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Do false teachers ever get any verses right?

I ask that in all seriousness.  No matter how simple the passage, they always seem to miss the most obvious truths.  A recent example is from false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie in Duck Dynasty Crew Invited To Church.*

No one should be using the name of the Prince of Peace to intentionally tear us apart.

But where does the name Prince of Peace come from?  This is the only reference in the Bible:

Isaiah 6:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Jesus came to bring peace between sinners and their God.  It wasn’t the kind of peace Chuck and other false teachers allude to.

And how can Chuck quote this verse while explicitly denying Jesus’ deity in this passage?  And to Chuck, this had to be a false prophecy, but he thinks Jesus is dead.  How could He then reign on the throne of David?  So why quote the prince of peace portion?

As usual, nearly every biblical reference that these wolves make is theological train wreck.

And even if the verse referred to the kind of peace Chuck thinks it does, how could a radical pro-abortionist like him use it with a straight face?  Crushing and dismembering innocent human beings is as opposite of that kind of peace as you can get, yet Chuck supports the Democrats’ official policy of unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortions.  

Run, don’t walk, from false teachers like him.

* Of course, Chuck’s views on Phil Robertson are completely wrong as well. But that is to be expected, as Phil knows that the Bible is the word of God and Chuck thinks it isn’t.