Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Is it better to be here, or there?

As I arrived to work, someone passed me in the hallway and said, "Good morning how are you?" I said, "Great! Just great. It's a good day." My colleague said, "It surely is a blessing to be on this side."

I thought about that for a while. I suppose it is a blessing to be on this side of the veil, praising Jesus and worshiping Him and working for Him. He put us here. Therefore, I agree with the sentiment.

However, it is also good to remember that the curse is all around us and it is in us.

Woman, and all mankind, is cursed. (Genesis 3:15-16)

The ground is cursed. (Genesis 3:17-18)

The creation is cursed. (Romans 8:20-21)

The animals are cursed. (Genesis 3:14)

The creation which was once perfect is subject to futility, in slavery to corruption, is cursed and dying. Our hope is Jesus and His kingdom. While we are part of His kingdom now, being indwelled with the Spirit at our regeneration, which gained us entry into it, the glorified kingdom is in heaven. What a day when the curse is lifted and the Kingdom of Heaven descends to earth!

O, it is a double edged sword, wanting to be here and do well, wanting to be there and be glorified. Wanting to shed our sin-nature and desiring to be in the presence of Jesus! But we are not without Jesus now, for prayer is so sweet, our victories here sweeter- because they are accomplished through the Spirit in spite of our sin-nature. Yet we long for release, it is our ultimate aim.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Is there such a thing as the "Seven Deadly Sins" in the bible?

To answer the question in short form: no. There is no list of ‘7 deadly sins’ in the bible.

It's one of those things that's been around so long it seems as though it should be in the bible. Like, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". That's not in the bible either. Or "This too shall pass" or "There but for the grace of God go I."

So where did we get the notion of seven deadly sins? Roman Catholicism, with a lot of help from Renaissance painters, novelists, poets, and cultural icons, which embedded the false notion of 7 deadly sins so that it carries weight even to this day. But first, let's go back to the bible.

Malachi lists 6 sins the priests did that brought destruction upon the nation. As John MacArthur lists them in his introduction to Malachi:

1) repudiating God’s love (1:2–5);
2) refusing God His due honor (1:6–2:9);
3) rejecting God’s faithfulness (2:10–16);
4) redefining God’s righteousness (2:17–3:5);
5) robbing God’s riches (3:6–12); and
6) reviling God’s grace (3:13–15).

Paul makes several lists of sins, but they’re longer than 7. (Galatians 5:19-21, for example).

Proverbs 6:16-19 lists six things the Lord hates, no, seven, but those sins are not the same as the renowned ‘Seven Deadly.’

So why seven? And why are these deadly? Isn't all sin deadly? (Romans 6:23)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Movie Review: Finding Normal

Opening scene. A busy city emergency room. An attractive emergency room doctor is hustling down the hallway clutching a clipboard while talking with a female doctor friend. The friend comments that the doctor only has a few more hours to go in her shift and then she's off to the Hamptons for her new life with fiance. Just then a sick woman pops her head into the hallway, saying "I've been waiting 6 hours...please..." The doctor doesn't give her a second glance, replying, "Let us know when it's been 8." Both doctors laugh, walk away, and resume talking about her upcoming cushy life in the Hamptons.

By this we know that the main character is a physician who lacks compassion and has a high opinion of herself.

Finding Normal is a Christian movie and a very well done movie on all levels. Here is the official synopsis from Internet Movie Database.
The only thing standing between Dr. Lisa Leland (Candace Cameron Bure) and the wedding of her dreams in the Hamptons is a 2600-mile drive from Los Angeles to Long Island. However, a run in with the law in the country town of Normal, Louisiana leaves Dr. Leland with a choice--Jail or community service. Sentenced to serve three days as the town's doctor, Lisa has her world turned upside down by a man she would never expect. Quickly, Lisa finds that there's a lot more to Normal than she could have ever imagined.
Candace Cameron Bure is little DJ from the 1980s television show Full House. She has grown up to be a stunning young woman, and she is Christian. Lou Beatty Jr as the judge is tremendous and steals nearly every scene he's in.

The premise for keeping the Doctor in Normal, Louisiana may be far-fetched, but after all, it's a movie. The rest of the movie moves along beautifully in illustrating that Christian love can melt even the most compassionless, or selfish heart. Dr. Lisa sees people who have different priorities than she does, which are prayer, church, love to neighbor, and a simple lifestyle where the community comes together and shares with those in need, or just to have fun. It doesn't involve high pay, glitzy parties, or fancy cars. It involves pastures, children, God, fireflies, and genuine care for people- including patients.

The Doctor begins to re-examine what it means to be a Doctor and soon understands that without compassion and love, the medical care she had been dispensing definitely has a missing element to it. Now that this missing element had been made apparent to her, she becomes less than satisfied with the promise of her future practice as an expensive concierge doctor in the Hamptons or as she realizes, simply an expensive billing asset for her fiance who started the business.

And of course, Dr Lisa Leland has a love interest in Normal...

There is a subplot that takes little screen time but is important nonetheless. The ACLU wants a white cross standing on public property just outside town to be removed. One telling and well done scene occurs when the Doctor and her potential love interest are in his truck. He had been taking her on rounds to make home visits with some patients on the main road into town. Here is how the conversation went, to my memory-

As they pass the cross, she asks, "What's that?"
He replies, "It's a cross. You passed it when you came to town."
"What's that?"
"You mean you don't know what a cross is?"
"Well I guess so, but what's it doing there?"
"I think it's supposed to help people stop and pause for a moment, think about Jesus."
"I guess I never noticed it before this..."

John 6:44 says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

The movie does a good job of subtly showing how the Lord draws a person to Himself and in the process, changes hearts and minds. That scene spoke to me personally. I had written before about visiting the Colosseum in Rome and spending a great deal of time there and admiring the architecture, history, and scenery. However, it was not until many years later when I was a Christian, that reminiscing one day, I looked at the photo of the Colosseum interior and immediately noticed the simple wooden cross sunk in the center of the underflooring. I had never noticed it before. When the Lord draws a person to Himself, suddenly the mind and the heart begins to be transformed and prepared for the important step of repentance.
What I liked about the movie:
  • The women are modestly dressed.
  • Church is held, and people attend and it is seen to be a positive thing.
  • Neighbors care for each other in demonstrable ways. In one example, the Deputy shares with the Doctor at the church breakfast that if anyone is having a hard time, they make sure to give that person the leftovers.
  • A sermon is given (it's movie-short); the scriptures are handled correctly. As a matter of fact, the preacher (who is also the judge and also the town's doctor) not only refers to "the bible" as many Christian movies do, but he reads the verse and refers to it by chapter and number, something that you will notice is rare in Christian movies. Hardly ever in a Christian movie does the preacher or a character say "In 1st Corinthians, the Apostle Paul says..." as the preacher does in this movie.
  • There is a lot of prayer seen, and prayer is spoken of and the doctor is even taught how to pray. Most happily, the notion of God's sovereignty and providence is strongly inferred and even overtly mentioned. Prayer is not done to "get" something (unlike the miracle asked for, or else,  in another Christian movie I'd reviewed, Raising Izzie), but as a way to have a relationship with God and to discern His will.
  • Jesus is also overtly mentioned. Many Christian movies will give a nod to God but fail to mention the Son.
  • Christians are portrayed as loving and sincere
Here is what one reviewer on Internet Movie Database wrote, and I could not have said it better:
something amazing happens which is eye-opening in that that you come to realize that something so ordinary is basically never seen in this genre of movie. The characters of this middle-America town are revealed to contain large numbers of practicing Christians who seem to actually take their faith seriously as a part of their life, and are nevertheless portrayed as, well, normal folks.

They go to church on Sunday, they attend pancake breakfasts where they actually socialize like normal folks, and they seem like genuinely nice people. They're not a secret glassy-eyed cult; they're not simpletons or hateful bigots who treat outsiders with disgust; they're not covert hypocrites living out endless perversions in private while breathing fire and brimstone at the pulpit... or any of the countless tropes that have been beaten into the ground for decades by Hollywood.

Perhaps most shocking, they also don't express the sort of lukewarm, formalistic faith which is the only sort that Hollywood seems to allow Christians to possess on film--the kind that makes mealy-mouthed reference to "some greater power" while never actually saying the "G" word. Instead, the characters in this town are regular folks who believe in God, and are just fine with that. They're open, non-self-conscious, and frankly, a lot like the actual people of faith in the real world.

But perhaps the most subversive thing that Finding Normal manages is to actually incorporate Christians into a romantic comedy without turning it into a religious film.
Exactly. It's a movie with Christians in it, not a "Christian" movie. Watch, and you will see the difference.

What I didn't like about it:

Nothing. It's all good. I wish Director Brian Herzlinger and Writers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon would write and direct more films like this. In addition to Lou Beatty Jr and Candace Cameron Bure, Finding Normal also stars Andrew Bongiorno, Valerie Boucvalt, Mark Irvingsen.

Finding Normal is on Netflix, Google Play, and Amazon for pay. The trailer is on Youtube for free.


Candace's testimony is here.

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert is this week

One of my favorite events of the year will occur this week- the Grace Community Church Christmas Concert. Held at John MacArthur's Church in Sun Valley CA., this concert has grown to be one of the most beloved among of the Christmas Season.

With a mixture of solos, classical music and stirring hymns, it is well worth listening to.

More information here. From the Grace Community Church website:

"We just received confirmation that the Sunday, December 21 concert will be live-streamed at 6:00 p.m. PST from the this page: www.gracechurch.org/live."

"Also, beginning the week after, the concert will be looped every two hours through New Year's Day for your enjoyment. The link will be this page (www.gracechurch.org/concert)."

Please be sure to tune in and you will be blessed by this wonderful ministry of music.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Missionary life is simply a chance to die" - Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was a missionary to India, and was one of the most respected missionaries of the first half of the twentieth century.

She was born in Ireland to a well-to-do family, who raised her as a Christian (Presbyterian). In her Methodist boarding school as a young teenager she accepted Christ as savior. Shortly after, her family's circumstances changed when her father died and the family's finances were severely reduced.

Amy Carmichael As a young women.
From AmyCarmichael.org

She and her mother moved to Belfast, and Amy began visiting in the slums and saw the women there who worked in the factories...or who didn't work at all. Women who worked in the factories wore shawls instead of hats, and were pejoratively called 'shawlies.' Amy's heart went out to them, and she began a ministry for them in care and love, and fully dependent on the Lord to provide. The church crowd looked down on Amy's ministry to the slum women and the shawlies and in fact were rather shocked.

A few years later she moved to Manchester from Belfast and formed another ministry to the young women in the factories and the slums. Amy received a call to be a missionary in Japan. However, Amy was not a well women, suffering from neuralgia. She went anyway, but the language was difficult for her. After a period of disappointment in the behavior of the missionaries there and more illness, 15 months later, Amy sailed for Ceylon and then for home, convinced that Japan was a mistake. After a lengthy recuperation, at age 28, she sailed for India.

Once again, Amy became ill, this time with dengue fever, and again, the missionary ladies' meetings were simply tea-drinking gossip-fests. She felt not just disappointment this time, but despair. However, her early convictions of the Lord's provision, sovereignty, and love sustained her, and falling to her knees in submission, Amy trusted that the Lord would not leave her desolate.

He didn't.
Amy Carmichael with Indian children. From "Things As They Are"

Feeling led to move to the very south of India, Amy lived with a Christian missionary family and began an itinerant mission among the people of the slums, just as she had in Belfast and Manchester. Hinduism was very strong there, and with it, temple prostitution of children. Many, many girls were sold to the temples for the ritual perverted prostitution. In 1901, Amy met her destiny.

A young temple prostitute, 7 years of age, had been sold to the temple priests but repeatedly ran away. On this particular time, an older Indian woman brought the runaway to Amy, by then, known as a loving and understanding woman. The girl's name was Preena, and as she sat in Amy's lap and talked of the perverted rituals done to her by using the rag doll Amy had given her to demonstrate, Amy became shocked. Upset beyond words, she resolved to love these children sacrificially, and Amy's mission became clear. She had found her place of service. It was 1901.

For the next 55 years, without furlough, Amy Carmichael rescued young children and women from temple prostitution or from being sold to the gods and goddesses. A few years later, she began rescuing boys, many of them born to the girls who had been prostituted. Once again, as in Manchester, Belfast, and Japan, some of the other missionaries looked down on Amy for loving the unlovable.
Old India, from Carmichael's "Things As They Are"

Influenced and inspired by George Muller, Amy opened an orphanage, the Dohnavur Mission Orphanage which still ministers today. Many children were thus rescued, taught the Gospel, and loved by Amy and the staff. Soon, Amy was called Amma, which means mother in the native language. She loved sacrificially and constantly.

In addition to her mission work among the children of India, Amy was also known as a poet and a writer. In one of her books, she was so realistic about mission work that her manuscript was rejected. The editor's note requested a rosier picture. Instead, she didn't change a thing, but simply re-titled the manuscript, "Things As They Are" and pursued publication with renewed vigor. Of course, the book was eventually published. (You can read it here on Project Gutenberg or order through Amazon).

Even at that, within a few weeks of the publication of Things as They Are, some in England doubted its truth, and notes were sent from different parts of India conforming the truths that Amy was sharing about life in the slums, the caste system, ritual temple prostitution, and more.

Here is one such confirmatory note, proclaiming the truths of the 'more pessimistic' side of missionary work.

From Rev. T. Stewart, M.A., Secretary, United Free Church Mission, Madras.
This book, Things as They Are, meets a real need—it depicts a phase of mission work of which, as a rule, very little is heard. Every missionary can tell of cases where people have been won for Christ, and mention incidents of more than passing interest. Miss Carmichael is no exception, and could tell of not a few trophies of grace. The danger is, lest in describing such incidents the impression should be given that they represent the normal state of things, the reverse being the case. The people of India are not thirsting for the Gospel, nor "calling us to deliver their land from error's chain." The night is still one in which the "spiritual hosts of wickedness" have to be overcome before the captive can be set free. The writer has laid all interested in the extension of the Kingdom of God under a deep debt of obligation by such a graphic and accurate picture of the difficulties that have to be faced and the obstacles to be overcome. Counterparts of the incidents recorded can be found in other parts of South India, and there are probably few missionaries engaged in vernacular work who could not illustrate some of them from their own experience.
Missionary Elisabeth Elliot and her husband Jim were greatly inspired by Carmichael. I wrote of the Elliots and their missionary work in the jungle of Papua New Guinea last week. In an Elisabeth Elliot newsletter from 2002, Elisabeth quoted Amy Carmichael's realistic challenges of missionary work. She wrote,
“I would never urge one to come to the heathen unless he felt the burden for souls and the Master’s call, but oh! I wonder so few do. It does cost something. Satan is tenfold more of a reality to me today than he was in England, and very keenly that awful home-longing cuts through and through one sometimes—but there is a strange deep joy in being here with Jesus. “Praising helps more than anything. Sometimes the temptation is to give way and go in for a regular spell of homesickness and be of no good to anybody. Then you feel the home prayers, and they help you to begin straight off and sing, ‘Glory, glory, Hallelujah,’ and you find your cup is ready to overflow again after all.”
From her own eye-opening experience of personally reduced circumstances, to further eye-opening first-hand visits to the slums of Belfast, to the disappointments of fellow missionaries and church goers too well-to-do to help the poorest or most downtrodden, to Japan to Ceylon to England to India, which eventually brought her to Tamil region of south India, Amy Carmichael is a picture of sacrificial love and strength through God's grace and provision. At the end of her life, Amy was bedridden for a period of years. It was at this time she flourished in writing her devotionals and poems and books. There are so many publishers have lost count even as the originals have disappeared. A standard number is that Amy wrote 35 books.

In a letter from a prospective missionary, one young woman asked Amy what it was like to be a missionary. Amy wrote back, "Missionary life is simply a chance to die."
Source
Amy never returned to England. She remained in India and it was there where she died in 1951. She did not want an elaborate grave nor a tombstone. Her place of bodily rest is marked simply with a birdbath the children erected, and a single word. Amma.

Of Amy Carmichael's struggles, a very few recounted here. This short essay of a remarkable life does not include the illnesses, riots, rumors, prison threats, arsons against her, and much more. Amy better than anyone knew that missionary life many times meant death, threat of death, or near-death. The Tamils were NOT hungry for the Gospel and in fact called Amy a "soul-stealing woman." She endured the earthly worst.

However, Amy also exemplified the spiritual best. Every day in India, Amy died to self and sacrificially cared for the country's cast-offs, abused, neglected and poor. She endured with God's strength and provision, and she left a legacy that inspired a new generation of missionaries. God always raises up a banner for His name, and for half a century in India, His banner was named Amy Carmichael.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading:

Amy Carmichael—A Portrait of Sacrifice

Amy Carmichael: the Torchlighters episode for children

Amy Carmichael: Facts and Extensive reading List

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Logos 6, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), plus tons of other resources!

Pastor, Blogger and Christian Book Reviewer Tim Challies has been reviewing the bible software Logos since version 3, I believe. I've been reading his reviews with interest because I like to study. I've been wondering if it is time to move from my hard copy library (all 10 books) to a software library. However, it takes me a long time to pay out money for what I can get for free. I use biblehub, a free online resource featuring an online bible, commentaries, parallel verses, various translations, maps, the original languages, dictionaries, pictures, and more.

However, it also takes me a long time to study a passage while groping around by myself, cobbling together the various things I want so study. I copy and paste, scribble notes, forget where I was going, and start over again.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The most dangerous people in the world

There are dangerous people in the world. We know that some are more dangerous than others. Some people are extremely dangerous. Dictators can be considered among the world's most dangerous people. Pol Pot, Hitler, Lenin, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi among many others through time go down into the history books as heinous criminals committing mass murder.

World Trade Center on 9/11
Terrorists are certainly dangerous. The 9/11 terrorists who killed 3,000 people by suicide bombing via airplane were shockingly absent of any sense of conscience whatsoever. The 9/11 terrorist leader who organized the US terror attack Osama Bin Laden was supremely dangerous.

The ISIS militants are a dangerous group, beheading with impunity and terrorizing populations all throughout the Middle East.

Sociopaths/serial killers are among the most dangerous people on the planet, also. We shudder at the very thought that we might be captured and tortured all for the corrupt whims of a conscience-less, evil mastermind.

Throughout history, the names of Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, bin Laden, Jack the Ripper, Al Capone, Charles Manson remain shudder-worthy because their crimes of evil were so shocking.

But none of those are the most dangerous people on the planet. It seems crazy to even think that there is a more dangerous class of person more devastating than a war-starter, dictator Hitler. That there is a more sinister evil among a community than serial killer Ted Bundy. There truly is is a more dangerous person in the world.

Who could it be? Who is worse than the man known for burning millions of people alive in a gas oven? Worse than the serial killer's evil at the end of a sharp knife? Worse than a terrorist whose very name indicates their putrid heart filled with terror and crime? Who??

Beth Moore.
Pope Francis.
Rick Warren.
Billy Graham.
Ellen G. White.
Creflo Dollar.
Aimee Semple McPherson.
Joel Osteen.

False teachers within Christianity. No dictator, serial killer or terrorist can hold a candle to the evil that false teachers do. Why?

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28).

All a dictator can do is oppress you or kill your body. Jesus is life giver and eternal Judge, and it is He who determines where your immortal soul and resurrected body will go when your short life on earth is over. Fear THAT. What false teachers do is nudge you, compel you, jostle you down the eternally broad road to hell. They appear as pleasant sheep but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. They're soul killers, and that is eternally worse than anything any dictator or terrorist can do.

Some of the harshest language in the New Testament is reserved for false teachers. The damage they do to your soul is likened to gangrene, a stealthy and putrid killer of the body. Except, what false teachers bring is death to the soul. False teachers are a serious problem.

Was Jesus polite to false teachers? No. See video- 2 min.


How can we spot false teachers? The bible mentions them frequently (as false prophets, wolves, sons of hell, spies, hypocrites etc) The bible condemns them frequently. So let's take a look.

First as mentioned above, they come in disguise. They look like sheep but they are actually preying on you as a vicious wolf. (Mt 7:15). They won't look like a false teacher and they won't sound like a false teacher. Galatians 2:4 reminds us that false teachers come in as spies, stealthily. (2 Peter 2:1).

False teachers substitute the call of God with their own made-up call, whether it is to self- esteem, or pride, or earthly gain, false teachers always shift your gaze from Christ as the central point of life. They can speak well, mesmerizingly sometimes. If we take the most extreme example of a false prophet, the antichrist, he appears at first to give everything to everyone what they want, and insinuates himself into a solid position of influence by smooth speech and flattery. (Daniel 11:32). False teachers are good at what they do.

Another way false teachers shift your gaze from the Holy One is to substitute empty rituals for the simplicity of the grace of Jesus. Walk a labyrinth. Meditate contemplatively. Pray in a circle. Fast in this way and this often. Light a candle, confess to a priest, speak the rosary. John MacArthur said in his sermon "How to Evangelize Religious People", that the more a religion has symbols, (and by extension, rituals) the more false it is.
And this is how it is, my friend, with false religion. They love the symbols. When we were in Moscow a few months ago, slipped into a Greek Orthodox church--literally repulsed by extravagant symbolism. You stand in one spot and this parade goes on of people with all these elaborate dressings and head dresses and waving censors, and icons all over everywhere. It literally blasts your senses; it's so garish, bizarre, and people walking in endless circles and mumbling incomprehensible drivel and waving things in the air--and these poor, sad souls trying somehow to connect with the external. But religion that has nothing inside proliferates the symbolic. Look at the Roman Catholic Church, just full of it...full of it. False religion loves symbols.

False teachers bring false rituals along with the eventual religious symbolism as their doctrines mature.

The nursery for false religion is false teachers infiltrating the real religion, Christianity. If it comes to your church, stop it before it gets to that point.
"Suppress the heretics while they are young, that is, when they begin to show their malice and destroy the vine of the Lord." Geneva Bible, on Song of Solomon 2:15

Third, their teachings spread like gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:17). Gangrene develops when the blood supply to an affected part is cut off. Gangrene is caused by interruption of blood supply to an area which causes tissue death. Left unchecked, gangrene kills all the living tissue it touches. In Galatians 5:9 Paul wrote of false teachers again, saying, "a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." In both the yeast and the gangrene examples we understand that the negative influence of false teachers and their doctrines will leave no part of the body untouched if not dealt with swiftly.

Source

Next, think about this- if faith brings joy, then its opposite, doctrines of demons, bring confusion, fear, discouragement. (Galatians 1:7, Acts 15:24). Pastor Justin Peters often shares during his discernment conferences how discouraging it was to follow the false faith healers. He did so as a youth, hoping for a healing from his Cerebral Palsy. Others who follow Joyce Meyer and her ilk eventually become despondent when their abundant life doesn't show up, or those who follow Joel Osteen find that no matter how hard they try, nothing they've declared has come true and every day is not a Friday. Then they either redouble their efforts at trying pointlessly to find peace through false teachings or they become angry and leave the faith, blaspheming it. (2 Peter 2:2).

In Matthew 23:15 Jesus remarked to the false teachers of the law that they made sons of hell twice as bad as they were. The next generation of disciples learning at the feet of the false teachers are always worse than the generation before. (also, Revelation 2:21-23).

One extremely telling indicator of a false teacher is that they diminish the offense of the cross. Their message will increasingly speak of anything else except that. Oh, they'll mention Jesus, they'll fling around some bible verses (out of context and incorrectly) but they cannot bear to dwell on the cross. (Galatians 5:11, Galatians 3:1). The cross is an offense to a false teacher, because false teachers are not saved.

There are other ways to detect the false ones who creep in among us, but suffice to say, they are there. They are dangerous, extremely so. False Christian teachers are the most dangerous people on the planet.

False teachers are not committed to Scripture. They may speak of Jesus and the Father, but the heart of their ministry will not be the Word of God. They will either add to it, take away from it, interpret it in some heretical fashion, add other “revelations” to it, or deny it altogether.

Let's compare Hitler to Pope Francis. Or Muammar Gaddafi to Benny Hinn. It is an unutterable tragedy what Hitler did, its reverberations are still like an open wound on the world's conscience and heart. He killed 6 million Jews, and others too, including the mentally retarded, gypsies, and homosexuals. Yet Pope Francis is enslaving 1.2 Billion people. And that's just the Catholics right now, not even mentioning all the previous generations of people unfortunately deluded by empty ritual and false teaching. Billions upon billions have gone to hell under the false teaching of the Catholic church.

Or how about Benny Hinn and his charismatic gospel of healing and wealth. It is sweeping Africa and India right now, not to mention America. There are over 500 million people in the world at this moment who self-identify as Charismatic.

There was an independently produced documentary about middle school students in Tennessee who appealed to the world to send in 6 million paper clips to their classroom. They were doing a project on the Holocaust, and one student asked, 'How much is 6 million? I can't picture it.' So the paper clip project began. They eventually gathered over 6 million clips. The stark reality of seeing with their own eyes the representation of that many people lost to the gas chambers was shocking and brought the reality of all those lost souls to the fore.

But what if you gathered 500 million clips representing the Charismatics under the influence of that false 'Christian' doctrine? And then gathered 1.2 billion clips representing the Catholics? And 3 billion more, the estimates of how many lives and souls of people in the world right now are influenced by Joyce Meyer's doctrines of demons. Plus Joel Osteen, whose message reaches 28 million people a month. This number doesn't even count his books, podcasts, and conferences. Add to that total the 30 million copies of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life, a book that was named several years ago as one of the top 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Add some more, the 215 million people in over 185 countries who have heard Billy Graham's messages, and those who 'came forward' only to be assigned to a Catholic counselor, or a rabbi.

All the teachers I listed above claim themselves to be part of Christianity. You see the magnitude of the problem.

False teachers are the most dangerous people on the planet. The spirit of antichrist is alive and well and working its way as leaven through the bread. But there is manna from heaven, bread from heaven that is gloriously more potent than any piddling false teacher. Jesus Christ and His truth.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26).

The safeguard against false teachers is the Word. All truth is there, all joy, all faith, all hope and all peace. Read His word and pray to have it applied to your mind and heart. The Spirit will teach you and in so doing you will be able to withstand the detect the false doctrines when they appear. Wear your spiritual armor.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:14-18).

Wearing your armor even the most dangerous person on the planet cannot harm you. There is One who is more dangerous than any and He is your defender and your avenger:

and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:13-16).

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Little Foxes Eventually Grow Up

The Pathology of False Teachers