2012 – it’s not the Mayan calendar you need to worry about…(Pt 2)

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**Please see my earlier post on the same topic from last year.**

For the past 2 years or more, the world has been somewhat fixated on 2012,  as they’ve presumed the ending of the Mayan calendar means the end of the world.   However, many historians have proven how the Mayan calendar only ends in 2012 because the Mayans figured it was as far a date into the future they needed to concern themselves with in the presumption that others after them would continue on the calendar (which of course never happened).  It’s a bit like the early computers which only had dates pre-2000 & which everyone figured equally somehow meant a similar fate to the world when they rolled over into the New Year.

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What’s in a name?

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Well perhaps more than a name – a term perhaps – this time, it’s the ubiquitous handle of calling oneself a “Christ follower”!  While, for me, it just sounds particularly New Agey, it appears to have been taken on more fully by what’s termed the “Emergent” church and is, at the very least, providing confusion.   For a Christian to take on such a title means little because Mormons and JW’s would consider themselves to be equally a “Christ” follower, but with Mormons in particular, you need to be hugely careful as the words will hold totally different meanings.   They follow a very false Jesus who rather than being the Incarnate Son of God is instead the created brother of Lucifer yet Mormons all consider and describe themselves as being Christians.   So just coming up with a new title of sorts isn’t solving anything and is just going to confuse the masses yet further perhaps.   However, it’s important that those who are true born-again believers in the true Jesus don’t fall into the trap of thinking that labels aren’t important and steer well clear of those like this one which are only designed to cause chaos.

Following is a superb article by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith about this very point.

The Problems With The Purpose-Driven Definition of a Christ Follower

Sometimes it is important to step back and review, reflect and summarize your work and look for valuable lessons learned.

I’ve spent some time this weekend doing just that. I’ve been hosting my radio program for almost 2 years. One of the daily features of my program are the sermon reviews. Each week I review 3 to 4 sermons from seeker-driven / purpose-driven churches. I review them in their entirety and am generally mortified and disappointed at the shallow self-help / felt-needs seminars that have replaced true in depth Biblical preaching in so many of these church’s pulpits. After reflecting on the sermons I’ve reviewed from such churches as Saddleback, Willowcreek, Granger, NewSpring, Elevation, Fellowship Church, LCBC, South Hills, Fellowship of the Woodlands, Mosaic, The Orchard, and National Community, I set out to find one question that could tie all these sermons together so that I could identify the common theme in all of them. Here’s the question I came up with:

If I were an unbeliever and I attended these churches and listened to all their sermons week after week, how would I define the term “Christ Follower”?

Here’s the answer I came up with after reviewing the sermons preached at these seeker-driven / purpose-driven churches over the last 24 months:

Christ Follower: Someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well adjusted self-actualized risk taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a ‘no regrets’ life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage with better than average sex, is an attentive parent, is celebrating recovery from all his hurts, habits and hang ups, practices Biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off the gross and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation.

Based upon this summarized definition, I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is full of people who can fit this definition but who’ve never repented of their sins and trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins. This definition could easily apply to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, it could apply to Emergent Heretics, Unitarians, Muslims and practicing Jews. The reason why this definition of a Christ Follower could be applied to those outside of Christianity is because this is a definition based upon deeds NOT creeds. (Which is precisely what Rick Warren’s so-called “second reformation” is all about.) Even worse, Rick Warren frequently admonishes the pastors that he trains to measure a person’s spiritual growth by their obedience. If obedience were the true measure of one’s spiritual growth then Jesus would have held the Pharisees up as an example of the most spiritually mature Christ Followers on the planet. Instead, Jesus called down woes on the Pharisees because they were outwardly obedient to the demands of God’s law but inwardly their hearts were far from Christ. Plain and simple, the Pharisees despite their obedience didn’t have FAITH. (Matt. 23:25-28, John 5:39-40).

It is frightening but absolutely true that ANYBODY can modify their actions, just like the Pharisees, so that their behaviors conform with this purpose-driven definition of what it means to be a Christ Follower without ever believing the creeds of the Historic Christian faith and without ever trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.

Tradgically, the “Jesus” that is presented in the sermons that promote this definition of being a Christ Follower isn’t the savior of the world who died on the cross for the sins of the world and calls all nations to repentance of their sins and the forgiveness of sins won by Christ on the Cross. Instead, the “Jesus” that is presented in these sermons is a “life coach”, a training buddy and the supreme example of an emotionally well adjusted risk taking leader who lived the ultimate life of significance and purpose. This purpose-driven “Jesus” is there to help you achieve what he achieved and invites you to follow his examples and methods so that you can be Christlike too.

This seeker-driven / purpose-driven definition of what it means to be a Christ Follower is fatally flawed and I fear that there will be many people who appear before the judgement seat of Christ saying, “Lord, Lord, we were emotionally well adjusted self-actualized leaders who lived a life of significance and purpose, took risks, enjoyed healthy sex lives in our marriages, celebrated recovery, tithed, volunteered at church and helped dig fresh water wells in Africa” and Jesus will say to them “Depart from me, I never knew you!” (Matt. 7:21-23)

Are you greater than the Archangel Michael??

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Pentecostalists obviously think they are!  They’re casting out demons from Archangel Michaeleverything and anything and many times, set themselves up as mass exorcists who can remove Satan and/or his demons from any area of your life if you will just accept their premise that you are most likely demonized and they can help you get that pesky demon out of your life forever – well, until you next suffer from whatever it was you asked them to pray for you about.   I’ve been “delivered” from demons of fear, resentment, sickness, rebellion, and forgetfulness (!!) amongst others in my time in one notable local Pentecostalist church – worse still, was when they decided I wasn’t well enough to cope with a full deliverance and so undertook a “proxy” deliverance session with me in attendance, and which was (for me) the most satanic thing I have ever undergone at the hands of trusted Christians in a church setting, and which ultimately – what no doubt Satan was ecstatic about – destroyed my faith completely for the next 3-4 years.   So for those of you who’re in this type of church, and think this type of thing is wonderful and see no problems in it – trust me, I wasn’t the only one who suffered radically through this practice at that church at that time, but the sad thing is that despite that knowledge and even after the leadership at that time even acknowledged the multitude of errors it had allowed to occur in many areas of teaching, the church is pretty much exactly the same now as then – might have a different veneer on it, but they still hold to errant charismatic practices without any concern that they’re totally unscriptural.  Check out my other post on “Slain in the Spirit but which one…

Sadly there’s still such a huge drive by many in various churches to push for unscriptural practices because they “feel right” or feed some need to experience God in some new way.   No longer are we contented enough to hold to scripture alone, and thus many are just opening themselves up to dangerous theologies and practices.

But to come back to my post question – if you are involved in “deliverance” ministry in any sense do you think you are greater than Michael??  Before I remind you of what Michael didn’t do, here’s a bit of info on who he actually is:

He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelation. In the book of Daniel, Michael appears as “one of the chief princes”[1] who in Daniel‘s vision comes to the angel Gabriel‘s aid in his contest with the angel of Persia (Dobiel), and is also described there as the advocate of Israel and “great prince who stands up for the children of your [Daniel’s] people”.

  • And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
  • And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
  • Perhaps you missed the scripture where Jude points out that Michael;

    …… the archangel, when contending with the Devil, he argued about the body of Moses, he dared not bring a judgment of blasphemy, but said, Let the Lord rebuke you!  Jude 1:9

    So Michael along with the heavenly hosts is the one who has already battled Satan and lost,  but yet despite that Book cover imagefact, when it comes to earthly matters, he doesn’t get involved.  And so my question stands – if you (as a Christian) lean towards this aspect of your faith i.e. deliverance, as being valid – do you think you have a mandate greater than Michael’s in order to undertake it??    I’m not suggesting there isn’t a time to contend with Satan’s attacks on your life per se – we all are given a mandate to do that, but that’s entirely different to dealing with Satan himself in the way I heard Wendy Alec of the infamously heretical God TV doing today where she shouts about “binding” him and “coming against” him!!    If you disagree – state your case but also consider the possibility you may be wrong in your views scripturally when doing so.

    Are you a “New Age” Christian??

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    Once again, I feel I need to revisit this topic as lately it appears that the depth of deception showering the world currently is growing rapidly. I last wrote about this last year, and since then, things seem to be just getting worse.  It would appears 2/3 of the world considers itself to be “Christian” – primarily because the real term “pagan” is so politically incorrect as to be unusable, and yet about 70% of those who hold that title (of Christian) would really fall into the latter camp of paganism, as they have no concept of what the term Christian truly means – as far as they’re concerned – it is a title given to anyone who is generally “good” or hasn’t murdered anyone. Indeed murder seems to be about the only “sin” that most would say removes that title from someone and place I spoke to recently stated that she felt it was the only title she could have because while she wasn’t a practicing Catholic, she equally wasn’t Jewish or a Muslim so there was nothing left to call herself but Christian, and therein lies the biggest problem of all.

    So, my question today, is to those of you in that camp – you’ve always considered yourself to be a Christian but never given much thought to why or what it might mean.  Perhaps if I point out what it isn’t it may help you better decide.   It is NOT a title by default i.e. the one to take purely because you don’t consider yourself a Jew or a Muslim so therefore by default, you must be a Christian.    Nor is it a title you can have just because you don’t break all of the Commandments in one go (but do so regardless).   And neither is it a title you can have because your parents are Christian and/or you regularly attend a particular church (without much care to what’s said within it) or you’ve read the Bible from cover to cover. There are so many confused people out there who hold the title but deny everything the title demands.

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    Are you a fan of the “patchwork” Gospel??

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    I have a friend who is.   Not hard to spot these days as she’s in good company with many of those who are supposed to be pastors who are too.   If you don’t consider scripture to be the inerrant Word of God (and thus above the words of anyone on this earth including the Pope!), anpatchwork quiltd you feel that it’s been changed over the years by the multiple translations and rewritings etc, so you figure you can’t accept it as it’s provided, but would still call yourself a Christian, then you are also a fan of the “patchwork” Gospel, whether you realise it or not.   Because if you feel that way, the only way you can thus read scripture is to figure that you’ll take whatever bits out of it seem to make sense to you, or which don’t offend your senses too much and leave the rest out comfortable in considering it to be errant or not how God intended it to be written – after all, Jesus “couldn’t possibly be the only way to God” and He really didn’t say “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” but just intimated that His way was “a better way of many” (anyone recognise those statements of late from one of the most famous female icons of this decade?).  Sadly she too is a fan of the “patchwork” Gospel.  

    page with holeMy point primarily is this – IF you are that type of person who doesn’t consider scripture to be accurate in any part of it, then on what do you base your statement that you are a Christian??   You can’t say it’s because you believe in Jesus – how can you, if you can’t be sure that the portions of scripture that speak about Him are accurate.   How can you trust that He is Who He said He is?   And if He isn’t, then why would you want to be considered a follower?   What portions of scripture do you consider are accurate – just those bits that are warm and fuzzy and talk about love??   All very well and good, but it ain’t going to get you into heaven, which is where I’m presuming you want to go?   How can you trust “your” God, if you figure the half of what He tells you is wrong or do you have some other means of discerning His Will that the rest of us are missing out on perhaps?   How do you decide which bits to believe and which to ignore??   How can you have any hope in the future, if you can’t trust what’s happened in the past?  How big is YOUR God??   And I bet (like my friend) you then try to fill in the gaps with bits and pieces of other religions (hence the term “Patchwork” Gospel) that equally sound nice and comforting and tickle your ears and feed your need to not have to deal with anything awful like the word “sin” in your life.   You know it’s there but if you can ignore it in the bible, and don’t find it mentioned in other religions then it’s easy to just pretend it’s not something you need to concern yourself with.   But hey if you don’t believe in the concept of sin – then you certainly don’t need a Saviour do you??   So either stop calling yourself a Christian and instead use the proper term of “New Ager” or stop to recognise the SIN you are committing by not giving God His due and recognising His Power to ensure His Word is what He means it to be.   You are in danger of blaspheming the One you may state you serve – Jesus – John stated that He IS the Word and Jesus Himself stated that His Words would be eternal which is proving true thus far – no other writings have survived as long as scripture, in the way it continues to impact the world.   And the biggest difference about the Gospel message is how it  challenges and changes lives in the most incredible way.  

    Of course, I’m SO silly for believing that God is big enough to be able bible graphicto ensure His Word says what He wants it to unto every generation, and that He can ensure its accuracy throughout.  That’s not to say that there aren’t some rather nonsensical versions floating around on the scene these days, but I suspect even those, He will use to His Glory to ensure that those who are willing to search will see them for the erroneous versions they are.   Ultimately we are beholden to seek Him (and not man’s version of Him) and if we truly do He will be true to HIS Word and meet us in our need and reveal Himself to us.   May He open your heart to accept His Truth for what it is!

    NB:  Another site of interest on this topic is Truth or Fables