Monday, 29 December 2014

THE 5 Ds OF BACKSLIDING

What are the 5 Ds of backsliding? Deception, discouragement, distraction, disillusionment and denial.

When believers are deceived, discouraged or distracted, they become lukewarm in the faith. In time to come, they may become so disillusioned with the faith that they may even deny God.

                                                                         
Deception is a prominent feature in these tumultuous end times. Of the various end time characteristics—deception, persecution and turbulence—mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24), deception seems to be the most prominent. Even the elect—supposedly mature leaders—can be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse?

How many times did Jesus warn believers in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) not to be deceived? Four.

  • Take heed that no one deceives you (vs. 4).


  • For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many (vs. 5).


  • Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (vs.11).


  • For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (vs. 24).


Like a serpent, deception slithers through the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It is one of the most effective tools that satan employs in spiritual warfare against believers.

Though Eve was warned by God not to eat the forbidden fruit as she would then die, she disobeyed. She was beguiled by the cunning serpent (satan) (Genesis 3:13). “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to her. “For God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3: 4-5).

Joshua was deceived by the Gibeonites because he did not inquire of God (Joshua 9:14). After the miraculous crossing of the river Jordan and victory at Jericho, Joshua presumed that the Gibeonites were from a distant land and signed a peace treaty with them. Actually they were inhabitants of Canaan whom Joshua was supposed to defeat.

The apostle Paul cautions: “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

The apostle John tells us “not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Deception can rear its ugly head in the form of false teaching or counterfeit signs and wonders.

The extent and seriousness of the problem posed by deception through false teaching is worrying. What’s so dangerous about this deception posed by false teaching?      
             
Because of destructive heresy (2 Peter 2:1), the eternal destiny of believers may be at stake. Here are two examples:

  • If one believes that confession is redundant and live by it, one’s eternal security as a believer may be at stake. http://bit.ly/1rcYJzl


  • Similarly, if one believes that one’s future sins are automatically forgiven and live by it, one’s eternal security as a believer may also be at stake. http://bit.ly/1dXOjBB

Next, let us consider counterfeit signs and wonders. May God grant us discernment to know that NOT all the supernatural experiences or manifestations that we see in church today are of the Holy Spirit.

How can we ever attribute the following scenarios in church to the work of the Holy Spirit? A person slithering on the ground like a snake?  A person barking like a dog? A person crowing like a cockerel? A person fidgeting non-stop and jumping around like a monkey? In these instances, the people involved have lost control of their senses.

Let us not get carried away by supernatural experiences or manifestations per se. Just as not all that glitters is gold, not everything supernatural is of the Holy Spirit. http://bit.ly/1kLjwYF

Apart from deception, discouragement by adverse circumstances—such as retrenchment, loss of loved ones, financial loss or repeated rejections in lovecan also cause believers to backslide. When the cares and worries of the world weigh on them, and they are unable to cope, they may no longer be fervent or fruitful. 

In the Parable of the Sower, the seed which fell among thorns represents those who receive God’s message well at first but later get choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures. The result is that they fail to mature and bear fruit, unlike the seed which fell on good soil (Luke 8:14-15).

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
(Luke 21:34-36)

In both passages—Luke 8:14-15, Luke 21:34-36—the parallel theme to be observed is that worries and pleasures can draw us away from God.

Believers who are distracted in their faith walk are those who enticed by the riches and pleasures of the world. They were once fervent in the things of God. But because of the allure of gold, glory or girls, they deviate from God’s intended path for their lives. http://bit.ly/19kPTIi

Believers may also become disillusioned in their faith walk. Some find the things of God no longer attractive to them compared to worldly pleasures and riches—that which their senses can savour in the here and now. Others perceive that since God cannot help them overcome their problems, their faith no longer means anything to them. 

A combination of factors leads to the final stage when even a straw would break the camel’s back. That is when denial sets in.

It has to be admitted that no one is perfect. Believers do fall into sin, get distracted, feel discouraged or disillusioned from time to time. However, failure to remedy the situation may lead to the worst state of spiritual decline—denial of one’s faith.

If we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
(2 Timothy 2:12-13)

Though believers may be faithless in that they are discouraged by circumstances or distracted by the flesh and the things of the world, God is faithful. He gives them second chance or innumerable opportunities to turn around. The father heart of God is clearly seen in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus shows us that God’s abundant grace is freely given in the account of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. But when believers deny God, it seems the point of no return has been reached.  http://bit.ly/SFapBp



RELATED POSTS

EIGHT WAYS TO FIGHT FALSE TEACHING
How to develop discernment and escape the clutches of destructive heresies

TESTING THE SUPERNATURAL
How can we discern whether a particular supernatural manifestation is of divine origin or of the devil?

SUBTLE ENTANGLEMENTS
Somewhere along the way believers too get entangled in various pursuits which either impede progress or lead them off the intended spiritual path.

GOLD, GLORY, GIRLS
Nobody says it’s going to be easy to stay faithful. It’s difficult—especially for those who seemingly have everything in life.

CAN TRUE BELIEVERS DENY THEIR MASTER?
When people tell me that those who deny Christ were never really converted in the first place, I am truly puzzled. How are we going to reconcile this misguided stance with the evidence from scriptures, biblical examples and contemporary examples that show that it is possible for believers to deny God?
http://bit.ly/SFapBp

HOW TO QUICKLY ACCESS PORRIDGE


                                                                  





For a quick overviewhttp://bit.ly/1ijiXHp


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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

TOUGH QUESTIONS FOR BETHEL FANS

Here are some searching questions for fans of Bill Johnson and Bethel church

                                                                    


To the many believers who eagerly flock to hear mesmerising messages from Bill Johnson, I would like to pose this question: "Are we sure that the Jesus he worships is the same person as the One we worship?" http://bit.ly/1vnWGyq

                                                                         


After all, Bill Johnson believes that "while Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). It's vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God.”

                                                                                                                                            
For Bill Johnson and his followers, the presence of signs and wonders is more important than anything else—the more of the miraculous the better … even if it means going beyond scriptureshttp://bit.ly/1KnmRtZ

Fans of Bethel church also need to ask themselves this question: Can we be absolutely sure that the source of miraculous power coming from this church is of divine origin when a phenomenon like sucking the anointing from graves of saints is one of its practices? http://goo.gl/Cgm7w9

Believers flock to Bethel Church but many fail to realise that its teachings and practices are no longer biblically sound but bordering on the mystical (including New Age) where scriptures is being denigrated in favour of outlandish supernatural experiences.

                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Facebook: #gravesucking


When we have meticulously examined the evidence put forward in above two links, is there a possibility that we have come under deception? http://goo.gl/qBicGn

In our scramble to understand and experience how God works miracles, could we have let our guard down and come under deception? http://bit.ly/1kLjwYF

It is difficult to imagine that such a famous, charming and affable guy is associated directly or indirectly with shocking things like false Christology; seeking signs even if it beyond the limits imposed by scriptures; bizarre, mystical practices such as “grave sucking” (soaking the anointing from tombstones), New Age practices, drunken animal-like behaviour a la the Toronto “blessing”, spread from person to person by impartation with little emphasis on repentance.  One of his associates, John Crowder, has this deviant practice of “toking the Holy Ghost”.


                                                                              

                                                                                    


"Some think that I enjoy taking up the task of ‘heresy hunting’. I do it with a heavy heart. Realising that so many believers have been deceived by a different Christ, a different gospel and a different spirit, it has to be done." 
 Porridge for the Soul.




                                                                          

RELATED POSTS

GRAVESUCKING: Go to Facebook: #gravesucking

EXPOSING FALSE SPIRITS IN CHURCH
Bethel, Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Charismania, Toronto "Blessing"

GOING BEYOND SCRIPTURES
For Bill Johnson and his followers, the presence of signs and wonders is more important than anything else—the more of the miraculous the better … even if it means going beyond scriptures.
http://bit.ly/1KnmRtZ

TESTING THE SUPERNATURAL
Are the supernatural manifestations in the church today invariably of divine origin?

RUNNING AFTER BIG NAMES
Going gaga over prominent visiting speakers has its dangers
http://bit.ly/1Q6Vk54

WORD OR SPIRIT
Why we need a balance of the Word and Spirit
http://goo.gl/fHlTVM

CLAIMING THE POWER TO HEAL AS JESUS DID
“While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). It's vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God.”

DANGEROUS LEAVEN
http://goo.gl/W7FKZm

BETHEL CHURCH and BILL JOHNSON EXPOSED

SAVED FROM THE DECEPTION OF CHARISMANIA
http://on.fb.me/1vnyXiK

A MOVE OF GOD?
http://goo.gl/amM5u2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BILL JOHNSON – IN 3 PARTS
THE NEW AGE PROPENSITIES OF BETHEL

WHEN THE DISTINCTION BLURS BETWEEN CHURCH AND NEW AGE
What does New Age believe? According to Ray Yungen, “Everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this ‘God-energy,’ then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself.”

MYSTIC JOHN CROWDER
Toking the Holy Ghost

HOW TO QUICKLY ACCESS PORRIDGE

                                                                          


For a quick overview: http://bit.ly/1ijiXHp

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

SEVEN REASONS WHY FALSE TEACHING THRIVES

Why it’s easy to be fooled without realising you’ve been deceived


                                 
The current wave of false teaching sweeping across churches all over the world is indeed alarming. It makes us wonder why church goers today are so easily deceived.

Jesus warns that deception will be a prominent feature in these tumultuous end times (Matthew 24:5). We are also told “not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Believers, therefore, have to be wise—in fact, extremely vigilant and discerning—if they want to stand up against deception in these last days. Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour the weak and unwary (1 Peter 5:8).

                                                                         
Here are seven reasons why so many believers are easily deceived and fall for false teachings.
  • Lack of knowledge and discernment
  • Cherry picking
  • Charisma and theatrics
  • Glitz and glitter
  • Safety in numbers
  • Itching Ears
  • Lack of open-mindedness

Let us delve into each in turn:

Lack of knowledge and discernment
Many believers hardly read their Bibles. Even if they do, they tend to focus on certain parts of the Bible and ignore the rest. Their ignorance concerning the truth may have serious consequences. Surely God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

One of the hallmarks of a disciple is diligence in studying God’s word so that he is approved by Him—not put to shame on account of his lack of in-depth knowledge of scriptures.

 “Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Sometimes they are happy to feed on predigested food—someone else’s devotional thoughts. That in itself is not entirely wrong. But they need to progress beyond the spoon-feeding stage.

A baby bird swallows food masticated earlier by the mother. But when it grows up, it should be able to feed itself. So, too, we as believers should be able to feed ourselves spiritually. For we have the Spirit’s anointing within (John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2: 12, 1 John 2:27).

Let’s aspire to be self-sufficient and advance towards maturity: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Cherry picking
If we pick and choose from scripture what we think is good for us—and ignore those parts we deem are harsh, demanding and objectionable—we will be getting a distorted view of its intended message.


                                                                          
The story of the six blind men who felt different parts of an elephant is highly instructive. Each perceived the pachyderm differently. Its trunk was likened to a snake, leg to a tree trunk, tail to a rope, ear to a fan, tusk to a spear and body to a wall. Is it possible to appreciate what an elephant is like just by feeling one part of its body?

The four Gospels portray various facets of Jesus—as the King (in Matthew), as a servant (in Mark), as a perfect man (in Luke) and as the Creator, God incarnate (in John). Their accounts complement one another, giving us a composite picture of His nature and work.

Starting with a premise and then finding appropriate verses (eisegesis) to support our convictions is a shaky proposition. A more sensible approach is to study the whole Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help (exegesis) before forming our own views on a topic.

It is wise not to “cherry pick”. Tozer warns: "Heresy is not so much rejecting as selecting.” By examining the whole Bible, we do not dwell on half-truths or emphasise one truth at the expense of another equally fundamental truth (Acts 20:27).

Let us dwell on the whole counsel of God, not half-truths. Love and mercy are important attributes of God. So too are His justice and righteousness.

Charisma and theatrics
A false teacher may depend on his charisma and theatrics to keep the crowd in the palm of his hand. He may be eloquent, highly expressive and witty. But all these qualities cannot replace what is crucial—the validity of the message, which should be the primary consideration.

Paul emphasised the content of the message and the power of the Holy Spirit in his preaching rather than eloquence:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”(1 Corinthians 2: 1-5).

Glitz and glitter
On a much broader front, believers can be so mesmerised by the glitz and glitter in church— soothing music, rousing worship, captivating stage performances, cavernous theatre-like complex, luxurious awe-inspiring ambience—that they fail to distinguish between the form (externals, frills) and the substance (core values).

Now there is nothing wrong with having all the nice things in life—the music and ambience. But when sound doctrine is superceded by these external elements, then we have clearly put the cart before the horse.

Could it be that believers let their guard down and passively accept whatever is taught over the pulpit because such a setting makes them feel good about the church? Could it be that they readily assimilate its teachings on account of the good vibes they feel about the church?

Safety in numbers


                                                                       
Herd mentality exists not only in wildlife reserves and the financial markets but also in the spiritual realm.

If we just follow the majority, not questioning the validity of your beliefs, we may be following the crowd on the way to destruction. Sincerity is not enough. It can be very costly at the end of the road. Let us not be lulled by a sense of complacency that, since we are on the side of the majority, we are safe.


                                                                           
In a showdown with four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, Elijah set out to prove that his God is the true and living God. No matter how hard the false prophets called upon their god to send fire to the altar, Baal did not show up. However, God vindicated Elijah by sending fire to consume the sacrifice at the altar, proving that one man and God make a majority.

If we are holding on to the truth and it seems the whole world is against us, take heart in this: Truth stands by itself. It has no need of endorsement from the majority or big names.

Itching Ears
Many believers only want to hear messages that are sugar-coated, pleasant and soothing. Anything that's harsh and painful is rejected. They would rather listen to comforting lies than harsh truths.


                                                                      
The apostle Paul charged young Timothy to preach sound doctrine because the time will come when people will no longer listen to sound teaching. They will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).


                                                                        
The respected theologian A. W. Tozer says: "Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist on trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.”

The trouble with many believers is that we prefer a God who is soft, loving and benevolent. Instinctively, we gravitate towards ministers who make God look like an indulgent celestial Santa Claus.

But thinking erroneously that He is always meek and mild may prove disastrous when believers are confronted by God the judge at the end of our life journey or when Christ returns.

The apostle Peter reaffirms the truth that believers will be judged: “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God (1 Peter 4:17)?”

Lack of open-mindedness
People, in general, tend to be biased by virtue of their upbringing—family or religious background and exposure to certain schools of thought. Those with parochial views may think they are right. But unless they hear out another viewpoint, they may remain stuck in error or dogmatism.  “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17).

We need to be like the Bereans in our approach to understanding the truth. Like a parachute, our mind works only when it is open.

"And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth" (Acts17:11).

Being open-minded means having a non-judgmental attitude as we process the teaching material—being willing to listen or study the facts of the matter without any pre-conceived ideas or prejudices.

Certainly, it is implied we are not intimidated by any teacher, no matter how well-known, illustrious or respectable he or she may be. We cannot say to ourselves or others, “Coming from this great man of God, it must be right.” That is highly dangerous. That is not being open-minded. That is tantamount to prematurely forming our opinion before we have listened to and investigated the validity of the message.

Paul did not tell the Bereans: “Now listen to me and accept my teaching without any questioning.” In fact, he commended them for scrutinising his teachings against scripture. A faithful teacher worth his salt will not be offended when someone with a spirit of independent inquiry a la the Bereans probes him.

Open-mindedness is not synonymous with syncretism and compromise. It does not mean one accepts all kinds of teaching, no matter how wayward or erroneous they may be. That's blind faith.



But the trouble is many believers prefer to honour the fallible words of man rather than the infallible and immutable Word of God. After all, some leaders are worshipped like demi-gods who can say or do no wrong. And any attempt to challenge their views is met with this all too familiar refrain from their adherents: “Touch not God’s anointed.”

What’s so dangerous about deception posed by false teaching?                   

I wonder how many believers are aware of the extent and seriousness of the problem posed by deception through false teaching.

What is worrying is that the eternal destiny of believers may be at stake because of destructive heresy (2 Peter 2:1).

You may ask me, “How this is possible?”  Well, here are just two examples:

  • If one believes that confession is redundant and live by it, one’s eternal security as a believer may be at stake. http://bit.ly/1rcYJzl
  • If one believes that one’s future sins are automatically forgiven and live by it, one’s eternal security as a believer may also be at stake. http://bit.ly/1dXOjBB

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).


                                                                          
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).


                                                                         

"Faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy."  – A. W. Tozer.    http://bit.ly/1qGIyye



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                                                           HOW WE ARE FOOLED

                                                             http://bit.ly/Jk0DAA


                                                         
EIGHT WAYS TO FIGHT FALSE TEACHING

How to develop discernment and escape the clutches of destructive heresies



WILL TRUE GRACE PLEASE STAND UP?

False grace exposed.

http://bit.ly/1fV1mD1




GRACE AND HYPER-GRACE IN A NUTSHELL

The basics about grace and hyper-grace




IS CONFESSION REDUNDANT?

Hyper-grace teaches us that, after our one-time confession of sin at conversion, believers no longer need to confess our sins. We merely rest in the ‘imputed righteousness of Christ’. Is this true? 



FUTURE SINS AUTOMATICALLY FORGIVEN?
Are the future sins of Christians automatically forgiven (FSAF)?
http://bit.ly/1dXOjBB


LISTENING TO LEADERS RATHER THAN GOD'S WORD
A prominent leader embraces a doctrine that teaches that during His earthly ministry Jesus operated only as a man and not God. Did Jesus set aside His divinity when He came to earth? 

DANGER OF OBSESSION AND FIXATION ON THE MIRACULOUS

When teachers like Bill Johnson exalt signs and wonders to the extent that doctrine, scholarship and the use of one’s sound mind are all downplayed and even the deity of Christ is denied, red flags go up.
Are we mesmerised by the miraculous that we are willing to depart from sound doctrine and whatever we hold dear in our faith? 


HOW TO QUICKLY ACCESS PORRIDGE


                                                                                  
For a quick overview: http://bit.ly/1ijiXHp

To access similar articles in Christiantymalaysia.com:

To access similar articles in Asian Beacon magazine: