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

To access similar articles in Christiantymalaysia.com:

To access similar articles in Asian Beacon magazine:
http://asianbeacon.org/?s=Lim+Poh+Ann

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



RELATED POSTS


                                                           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

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To access similar articles in Asian Beacon magazine:

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

Though believers in Christ are heaven-bound, there are conditions to be fulfilled before we arrive at our final destination and claim our eternal reward.


Some say that God will never forsake believers and that nothing will ever separate us from His love (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20, Romans 8: 38-39).

But has this ever crossed our minds?

God may not leave us but we can walk away from God.

It takes two to tango.

                                                                         


Some also like to emphasise the fact that God keeps us in the faith (Philippians 1:6, Jude 1:24). Well, that is true to a certain extent.

But have we considered the fact that everyone has a will? That makes everyone capable of saying 'Yes' or 'No' to God, even after conversion (2 Timothy 2:12, Joshua 24:15).

And, because we have a will, we can choose the way we live our lives. In fact, the Christian walk is a moment-by-moment experience whereby we can choose to serve the spirit or flesh—as opposed to a ‘once and for all’ experience of victory. Notice our free will is operative even after we are saved. http://bit.ly/1awc42C

                                                                              
Though believers in Christ are heaven-bound, there are conditions to be fulfilled before we arrive at our final destination and claim our eternal reward.

Let’s examine some passages which are less “popular” but, nevertheless, are relevant in helping us understand why it takes two to tango.

Our faith endures till the end and we do not deny God:
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
(2 Timothy 2:12)

We do not fall away or commit apostasy:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
(Hebrews 6: 4-8)

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
(2 Peter 2:20-22)

We are not complacent that we are God’s chosen but remain faithful—not fall away like the originally favoured people, the Jews:
And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
(Romans 11:17-18)
For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
(Romans 11: 21-22).

We are able to overcome persecution, apostasy and deception
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24: 9-13)

We are able to overcome sin and unbelief
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
(Revelation 21:7-8)

Our faith endures; we do not shrink back in our faith
But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
(Hebrews 10:38-39)

                                                                      
We continue to hold fast to sound doctrine—not led astray by heresies of wolves lurking within the church
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
(Acts 20:29-32)

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:14-17)

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:8)

Jesus told the people who had faith in him, “If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32)

We are able to overcome sin and unbelief—unlike the children of Israel who fell after being delivered from slavery in Egypt.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
(Jude 1:5)

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
(1 Corinthians 10:6-12)

We ourselves are accountable in keeping God’s law. Starting out well is not enough; we must finish well.
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
(Ezekiel 18: 20-21)
But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
(Ezekiel 18: 24-25)

Unless the righteous man who commits sin repents, he will face judgment. http://bit.ly/1rcYJzl

Many believers find it difficult to accept the HARD SAYINGS outlined in the above passages. Or they might rationalise them away and choose to cherry pick the more acceptable verses. http://bit.ly/1bus4hn

Many only want to hear the soft, comforting and pleasant truths that tickle the ears. http://bit.ly/Jk0DAA

                                                                          
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4)

God plays a great part in our Christian walk. He is faithful when we are faithless, forgives us countless times and restores us when we fall. His grace also empowers us to follow His commandments.

But I think we have this tendency to shift the responsibility in our spiritual pilgrimage to God—and downplay our part through it all.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12b-13).

It is hoped that this article will set a much-needed balance in our Christian worldview.

RELATED POSTS

MORE THAN UNMERITED FAVOUR
As believers, have we come to a point in our faith walk when we say to ourselves, “Thank you God for taking me as I am,” and then happily go on our way? After all, as some teachers say, believers always enjoy God’s unmerited favour—grace beyond measure—whatever we do or don't do. Does it mean then we don’t need to improve ourselves in areas such as self-discipline and character? Does it mean then that we need not strive for excellence? 

COMFORTING LIE, BITTER TRUTH
Some people only want to hear things that are pleasant and soothing. Anything that brings pain is rejected. They would rather listen to comforting lies than harsh truths. 


CAN TRUE BELIEVERS DENY THEIR MASTER?
In light of the pressure faced by persecuted Christians in the Middle East, this is an important question that needs to be asked.


SAVED AND SECURE?
Is there eternal security for believers if they deny God or continue living in sin?

ALL YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT GRACE AND HYPER-GRACE BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK—IT’S ALL HERE FOR YOU IN A NUTSHELL



HOW TO QUICKLY ACCESS PORRIDGE

                                                                            



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

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