BTWN: The Home School Vs. Public School Episode

homeschoolersI had the privilege once again to join the BTWN fellas to kick around a few topics. First, we discussed what church growth should look like for a congregation. Then we turned to Christian potheads, man. And then we spent the remainder of our time in a spirited discussion about whether or not Christian parents can send their kids to public school. Tim and I took the affirmative, Len the negative.

BTWN: Episode 174

Just to summarize my position regarding the great homeschooling/public school debate if I were not clear enough on the podcast:

– My wife and I currently home school all five of our children. In fact I have written about our views HERE and HERE.

– I do not believe God forbids Christian parents from sending their kids to secular, public schools. There is not a Bible verse anywhere in Scripture that says a parent has to home school.

– The exhortations to train your kids in godliness and so forth, found in Deuteronomy and other similar passages that homeschooling advocates often appeal to for their anti-PS convictions, are not addressing a general education a child would receive in either a public school or at home.

– Instead, passages in Scripture exhorting the teaching of God’s Word to children and raising them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord are speaking specifically to the parents role in raising their children to fear God and to obey His law. Parents can do that while still sending their kids to public school.

– That said, I do share many of the concerns of anti-PS homeschooling advocates. I understand that secular educators and education can have an agenda. Christians must not be naive regarding that fact.

– However, public schools differ from community to community. Some will be more liberal than others, while some extremely conservative than others. My family happens to live in a conservative oriented school district in LA county. Parents need to use discernment and discretion when choosing how they will educate their kids.

– It is grossly inaccurate and a ridiculous exaggeration on the part of anti-PS homeschooling onlyists to automatically charge all public schools and their teachers/administrators everywhere across America as attempting to steal the heart of children from Jesus and to turn them against God.

– Parents who do send their children to public school need to be extra vigilant in what it is their children are learning, who their friends are, who their teachers are, what are the influences, etc.

– The more the parents are involved with their kids education with such things as helping with homework, reviewing assignments and lessons, and even giving of their time at their local school, the more they will be equipped to address issues that may confront their kids and interact with educators and administration.

– Homeschooling is absolutely no guarantee that your children will be safe from worldliness and anti-theistic philosophies, or even that they will be saved. I know a number of loving, God-fearing parents who home schooled their children who never once darkened a PS door, who are now hellions and/or hostile toward their parents and the Christian faith. Anti-homeschooling blogs exist for a reason.

Peter Ruckman: The Crank as Artist

lifePeter Ruckman died. In a Chick tract-style nightmare, he was stripped naked and hauled by a gigantic angel to stand before a glowing outline of Jesus as the universe watched his entire life play out on a enormous drive-in movie screen.

Ruckman was the grandfather of 20th-century wild-eyed, kooksville KJV Onlyism. He was to KJVOlyism what Rousas Rushdoony was to modern theonomy and L.Ron Hubbard to Scientology. A despicable character who was both unfit for the pulpit and unqualified to be called a minister of God, Ruckman’s brawling rhetoric spawned at least two generations of worthless, pugnacious, “bad attitude” fighting Baptists whose doctrines have become a malignancy upon Christ’s Church.

He had an overheated type-writer from which his fevered mind birthed a number of his false doctrines he published in rambling, often times incoherent commentaries, so-called “Bible studies,” and of course his monthly Bible Believer’s Bulletin screeds.

I was first bewitched by Ruckman’s written materials when I was a stupid, untaught new Christian in college. As a recent convert to KJVOnlyism, I secured his book, Problem Texts, that attempts to provide an explanation for every apparent contradiction in the King James Bible. I thought it would help me answer skeptics on my school campus. It only helped to keep me mired in error and made Christianity a laughing stock. Probably the most bizarre of his books is called Black is Beautiful in which he writes about UFOs, government conspiracies, and other paranormal activity. A full review can be read here, Refuse Profane and Old Wives’ Fables.

A commenter on another blog reminded us how Ruckman illustrated all of his book covers. In fact, his crude chalk drawing style is copied for a lot of the lame, seizure-inducing KJVO websites that look like they were created using Windows ME “Paint,” we see on the internet today.

Here are some of his better gems,

liarslibraryhypercalvinismI think he is confusing garden variety, biblical Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism.
The donkey ears are a nice touch, though.

mythologicalmarkrapturesclownsvilleI think this is his take on the Brownsville Revival, which took place in Pensacola

masterpieceHere’s another version,

satanA number of years ago, one of his sons contacted me out of the blue to fill me in on a particularly aggressive KJVO opponent I had been tussling with on my blog. His son was an amiable fellow, and though he was not in agreement with a lot of his father’s ministry, he said that his dad was the real deal, believing everything that he taught and producing the volumes of printed material all on his own.

As “real” and sincere as he might have been, his stuff will only lead a person to spiritual disaster. I can only pray his wretched teachings will fade from the collective memory of the faithful in the Christian church.

Classic Apologists and Their Facepalm Misuse of Scripture

facepalmI wanted to offer some comments on a recent radio/podcast discussion between Sye Ten Bruggencate, who maintains the Proof That God Exists website, and apologist Eric Hernandez of Eric Hernandez Ministries. They were together on the Sin Boldly Podcast discussing apologetic methodology. Sye took the presuppositional position, Eric the classicist approach. Listen to the discussion HERE so as to get up to speed.

The podcast was an hour or so, and the two sides were able to articulate their positions clearly. I have always appreciated Sye’s work, and while I may have minor, disagreeing quibbles with his overall presentation, he does a fantastic job outlining what I believe to be the biblical way a Christian should defend the faith.

I was not familiar with Eric, but he came across as a nice fellow. He is well spoken and seems to have a growing ministry. His presentation, on the other hand, aggravated me to the point of wanting to pull out my hair. I guess that should’ve been anticipated, because he brought together all the talking points I’ve come to love and expect from classic apologists. The copious appeals to human philosophy, the intentional avoidance of biblical theology, and the grating misuse of Scripture.

It is that grating misuse of Scripture I wish to address with this post.

Now if I may begin with a bit of broad-brushing.

I believe there is reason for this misuse of Scripture. It has been my observation that classic apologists have an extremely low view of the Bible, especially at the front end of the apologetic encounter. Because they insist that the trustworthiness and viability of the Bible must first be established in the mind of the unbeliever with the use of external evidence BEFORE it can appealed to as an authority, they have a bad tendency of intentionally avoiding it.

When philosophical constructs and logic-chopping arguments are the focus with first engaging the unbeliever, Scripture invariably plays a secondary role. That regrettably causes bad exegetical habits to form, and the mishandling of Scripture springs forth from there.

Again, that is a broad-brush accusation. I obviously haven’t talked with every single individual who considers himself a classic apologist. I will readily admit there may be many classical apologists who handle the Scriptures quite well. That, however, has not been my experience; and I have discussed apologetic methodology with a number of them over the years on social media and in other venues.

Listen to the Sye and Eric exchange. Pretty much every passage Eric mentioned that he believes supports his classical approach was taken out of context. Just a cursory reading of the passage reveals that the verse has nothing at all to do with apologetics or how we are to engage unbelief. I wrote down the main ones that were repeated a number of times and I wanted to briefly address four of them.

elijah

1 Kings 18. I have heard classic apologists appeal frequently to the story of Elijah defeating the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. They insist that when the unbelievers asked for evidence of God, God certainly gave it in the form of fire falling from heaven and consuming a sacrifice.

However, if we read carefully the account, Elijah confronts Ahab in 1 Kings 18:17. He rebukes him for leading Israel astray into idolatry. Elijah tells Ahab to gather all Israel (the covenant people of Israel who already believe in God) and the 400 prophets of Baal that Jezebel supported. They gather at Mt. Carmel and there God puts His character on display, not to prove Himself to unbelievers, but to show Himself to Israel, especially Ahab. The showdown was meant as a judgment against Jezebel’s false prophets and a call to Israel for covenant faithfulness. It had nothing to do with proving God’s existence with evidence.

Isaiah 1:18. Isaiah’s words, “come now, and let us reason together,” are often quoted as a formula for engaging unbelievers reasonably. The idea being that God wants Christians to use their “reasoning,” and the “us” reasoning together is understood as believers and unbelievers meeting together to discuss the truth claims of Christianity in a reasonable fashion.

That is not at all what Isaiah is saying – well, what God is saying through His prophet. Rather, Isaiah’s opening chapter is a rebuke of the sins that Israel has accumulated, highlighted from 1:1-17. God, speaking through Isaiah, calls His people to repentance. He will wash their scarlet sins as white as snow, 1:18. The point Isaiah is making when he writes, “come let us reason together,” is that if Israel turns from their sins, comes back to covenant obedience, God will bless them. His words have nothing to do with apologetic methodology with unbelievers.

Acts 17. Classic apologists are adamant that Paul’s message to the Athenian intelligentsia on Mar’s Hill models clearly the classical method of doing apologetics. Eric was no exception, citing the incident a few times in his discussion with Sye.

One of the reasons they believe Paul modeled classical apologetics has to do with his citation of two pagan Greek poets, Epimendes and Aratus. While those two men were speaking about pagan deities with their poems, Paul appeals to them as evidence for the true and living God that he proclaimed. In other words, Paul did not appeal to Scripture, nor start with the Bible, when he was talking with the Athenians. He used the poems of pagan poets.

We only have his summary message recorded for us, so we cannot be entirely certain what use of Scripture Paul made. He had already been in the Synagogue a while speaking with the Jews and other worshipers who attended. He obviously had gained attention with his preaching because the philosophers were interested in what he had to say.

Paul, seizing upon the fact that Athens was a city given completely over to the pursuit of false religion, idols, and every philosophical whimsy, took the opportunity to preach on Mar’s Hill what the Athenians already knew to be true: that they know the true and living God, but they have substituted their idols and false religions for worship of Him.

Paul quotes two of their poets, not for the purpose of appealing to external evidence in order to build his case, but rather to expose the folly of their philosophical worldview. He in essence is telling them, “look, you know the true God, even your poets did, but you all worship idols instead.” He goes on to explain to them how they will be judged for their sin and calls them to come to Christ. One will note that he doesn’t attempt to prove to them the Resurrection of Jesus, but just proclaims it to them, 17:31. If anything, Paul’s sermon on Mar’s Hill is exegetical application of Paul’s words out of Romans 1.

1 Corinthians 15. First Corinthians 15 is considered one of the more important chapters of the NT, because Paul makes a case for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every classical apologist appeals to the chapter as proof that Paul utilized external evidences to prove the historical reality of the Resurrection, particularly the use of eye-witness testimony.

But 1 Corinthians 15 is a passage that is misunderstood by many Christians regardless of their apologetic methodological persuasions. It is mistakenly believed that Paul is trying to prove the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ to unbelievers in the Corinthian church. He is not.

Rather, he is correcting the Corinthian’s erroneous idea that Christians do not experience a physical resurrection. Verse 12 states, “Now, if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you (the Corinthian church) say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” The Corinthians believed in Christ’s resurrection; where they struggled was believing that a bodily resurrection happens for Christians.

The entire chapter is Paul’s apologetic for proving that because of Christ’s bodily resurrection, a resurrection the Corinthians accepted as really happening, all Christians will also experience a bodily resurrection. The chapter has to be read with that main focus in view.

There are probably others I may have missed, but those are the key passages I often hear brought up in discussions on the proper methodology for doing apologetics. While I believe it is vitally important that we anchor our methodology in the teaching of Scripture, our goal should be to do so not only exegetically, but also contextually. Misappropriating the Bible only undermines the entire apologetic enterprise.

Gleanings from Judges [7]

jael

Deborah and Barak – Judges 4-5

As I come to book of Judges this time, we encounter an unique story: the Judges Deborah and Barak.

Two things make this story unique:

First, there are two chapters devoted to describing the events. Chapter 4 provides us with the historical narrative. The chapter contains a lot of Hebrew waw consecutives that tell us that historical narrative is being discussed. Then chapter 5 retells the events put into poetic form. It is essentially a song of praise for God’s victory. Though chapter 5 is a poetic song, it does describe historical events that supplement what was described in chapter 4, as I will note.

Second, this account provides us with an unique person, Deborah. She is considered the sole female judge mentioned in the book of Judges, as well as the template for women preachers in churches today.

The Oppressors

Chapter 4 opens with the same sad commentary that marked the previous three periods of the Judges: “The sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Their turning away from God happened after Ehud died and the land had rest for 80 years, perhaps as many as two generations. Once he died, Israel quickly returned to the pursuit of ungodly idol worship.

God is said to have sold them. One will note the slave language of the LORD giving them over to their oppressors once again. The oppressors this time were a group of Canaanites who dwelt north of the sea of Galilee. Their king is called Jabin, and because Jabin has been used before in Joshua 11:1-15, more than likely Jabin is a dynastic title.

Under Jabin’s command was a general named Sisera. He commanded 900 chariots of iron. He and his army terrorized the Israelites, so much so, that Judges 5:6-8 says they could not travel the normal byways, but had to find ways to go around where Sisera’s army patrolled. Their oppression of Israel lasted nearly 20 years until the people once more cried out to God for help.

The Deliverers

Judges 4:4 introduces us to Deborah. She has become an anti-patriarchal hero for feminists. She is a prophetess, judging and ruling in Israel and she represents a perfect case for allowing women pastors in the church.

However, if one reads her account carefully, there are some important notes to consider.

First off, Deborah is not introduced as one YHWH raised up. In other words, she is not meant to be a “savior” that is typical of the judges God raises up in Israel. In fact, she calls herself a “mother” in 5:7. Furthermore, there is no reference to her being empowered by the Holy Spirit. While special spiritual empowerment wasn’t a necessity to be a judge, it was a specifically unique experience that was male only. And lastly, she does not offer any military leadership. That is left for Barak. He takes her with him because she was wrongly perceived to be some oracle who had God’s ear. If anything, she was considered a good luck charm, and nothing more.

Her “judging” is more the traditional definition, one who hears cases and provides counsel. She is also considered a prophetess, someone who speaks on behalf of God. But the question is why is she fulfilling those roles? Is it because God specifically called her to that position or did it have more to do with the fact the men were cowards and had ignored their duties to lead the people? She was probably the one true Godly individual who loved the LORD, and it was her God used to rally Israel against their enemy.

Deborah is made aware of God’s readying to move against Jabin and she speaks on behalf of God. First she summons Barak to meet with her. She then states that he was to gather 10,000 men from Naphtali and Zebulon. God would then draw out Sisera, along with his chariots, to the brook Kidron. There they were to defeat them.

Barak is reluctant to believe what God revealed to Deborah and refuses to go unless she went with him. She agreed, but told him he would not be honored for the defeat of Jabin.

The Deliverance

Sisera gets word that the Israelites were coming out to do battle with him. God uses a guy named Heber to tell him that Barak had gone to mount Tabor. Sisera pulls together his 900 chariots in order to pursue them. When the two armies meet, Israel really had to do nothing, because, according to the extra details provided in Judges 5:9-22, there is a flash flood at Kidron and Sisera’s army becomes mired in the water and mud. Their iron chariots become useless. One interesting historical footnote. In 1799, the Turkish army was defeated in nearly the exact same area when they were caught in a flash flood.

Sisera flees on foot and seek refuge with his informant, Heber. He is apparently not there, but Jael his wife welcomes him in and hides him. She lulls him to complacency, and when Sisera is asleep, she kills him by driving a tent peg through his head with a hammer.

Judges 5:31 ends the Judge cycle by proclaiming, “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.” And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

Continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue [3]

babypreacherI’ve been laying out my case as to how I believe continuationism is not a non-essential, second-tier doctrinal issue.

As I explained in two previous posts on this subject, see HERE and HERE, continuationism is a disastrous doctrine both in the church and with individuals because it has massive influence upon the way people think about God and practice their Christianity. The majority of the time, their faith and practice is sub-biblical, if at all, and out right frightening and pagan.

In the first post, I explained how that if the Holy Spirit is manifesting Himself among the continuationist believers he will not lead continuationist pastors and their people to embrace theological heresy. With the second post, I pointed out how numerous continuatiionist leaders, preachers, and conference speakers are known for telling grandiose, urban legend-like stories about spiritual encounters they allegedly had with God, angels, traveling to heaven, healing people, and other tales of fantastic spiritual adventure. As remarkable as they may be, those tales are never truly verifiable and the only conclusion one can draw is that the person telling it is lying.

I wanted to end my overview with considering a third area that I believe demonstrates that continuationism is not just a harmless and acceptable secondary, non-essential doctrinal issue.

Disturbing manifestations and bizarre worship practices

etterMy mother’s side of my family was raised in rural Arkansas. They had first-hand experience with the classic Pentecostal church.

I remember the stories my aunts and uncles told me about their visits with Pentecostals. My grandmother, for instance, remembered well Maria Buela Woodworth-Etter, who was a traveling Pentecostal evangelist lady. Maria was a pioneer in shaping a lot of the spiritual chicanery that is passed off as Holy Ghost anointing we see so much of on TBN and in other charismatic venues.

My relatives were spooked by what they had seen with Pentecostals. One aunt told me how she had been invited by a friend to a local “revival” service when she was a teen. After a lengthy singing time and a guy yelling at people for an hour, the service climaxed with the entire group screeching, hollering, rolling on the ground, doing the tongue babbling thing (my aunt’s description), and eventually pouring out into the field where everyone was rolling and barking like animals. The scene, as she described it, “scared her slap to death.” I’d be scared, too.

She was told that the nightmare clown show she witnessed was what really happens when “God’s Spirit moves on the people!”

Outlandish manifestations are ubiquitous among continuationist churches. All a person has to do to see what I mean is search Youtube, and in a matter of a few clicks, you will see videos of continuationists gone wild; or mad, depending upon how you think about it.

What I find to be truly troubling about those scenes is that continuationists will insist it is a genuine move of the Spirit. Moreover, if anyone were to offer criticism or challenge the biblical precedent for such behavior, that person is waved off as quenching the Spirit or some such nonsense. Yet that criticism is well earned. Why should people believe such oddball happenings are God moving? Why would the Holy Spirit lead Christians to behave in such an embarrassing, degrading fashion? How exactly does that behavior testify to God’s anointing or His presence?

For instance, why is a woman violently shaking her head as she allegedly “prophesies” said to be “filled with the Spirit” or have “the anointing?”

Seriously, why is that even Christian? Especially given the fact that genuine works of the Spirit include sobriety and self-control?  Yet such manifestations are witnessed in continuationist services all over the place. You can see further examples of what I mean HERE 

What about worship services themselves? Many times the behavior displayed is indistinguishable from pagan occultism. Consider an example from Perry Stone’s, Omega Center International church in Cleveland (look at the landing page when you hit their website! You tell me: Worship service or Coachella rock concert?) I won’t embed the video, but you can watch HERE.

The video shows a crude mock-up of the Ark of the Covenant that has been constructed and is brought into the worship center where members begin gyrating and bouncing around it as if at a pagan feast. The troubling aspect to that entire spectacle is how the church members carry on as if their participation flitting around a cheap idol is completely acceptable to God. And the leadership encourages it!

Now I’d imagine that they would justify their idol worship by saying the Israelites danced before the ark. But must we point out the obvious that a lame replica is not the same as the real thing? And the folks at OCI are not Israelites in the wilderness.

What about the so-called baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues? Throughout church history, “tongue speaking” has accompanied the rising of nearly every fringe, heterodox splinter group and pseudo-Christian cult that has reared its ugly head. The sensible Christians recognized the babblings of “tongues” as an indicator that the folks were wackos, so such groups like the Montanists, Shakers, and Mormons, were always marked out and avoided.

However, con-artist revivalist preacher, Charles Parham, mainstreamed tongues among early, 20th century Pentecostals. Originally, it was believed those speaking in “tongues” were speaking real, genuine human languages, like Japanese, or Spanish, or Canadian. But when folks began to realize there was nothing supernatural whatsoever with their tongues, and that they were speaking nonsensical gibberish, tongue speaking enthusiasts did what the homosexual revisionist do now with the Bible to make it confirm sodomy: they changed the definition of words and verses. So the word “tongues,” which was understood as meaning human languages, was redefined to meaning ecstatic speech, or Holy Spirit anointed repetitive gibberish.

Continuationists insist the gift of tongues must be practiced according to the regulations Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 14, but rarely, if at all, does any practicing tongue speaker abide by those rules as witnessed in this video HERE, and HERE (fast forward to about the 1:30 mark), and HERE.

The most disturbing element to the bizarre behavior found in continuationist circles is what I would bluntly label the spiritual abuse of children. Kids, as young as 2 years old, are regularly encouraged to repeat and mimic the euphoric buffoonery they witness from adults.

One of the more notorious is Kanon Tipton, the original baby preacher. You can see him in his inaugural video here,

Now I don’t know about other parents out there, but if my toddler was to waddle up on the platform during a church service, pick up a live microphone, and start shouting incomprehensible baby talk, I would sheepishly say “sorry” to all present and hurry to seize him before he damaged the sound system. It is only in the halls of a continuationist church that a 2 year old is elevated and enshrined as the “world’s youngest preacher” who has the “anointing of God” all over him. HERE is another video when he is 5 years old. His little cartoon Bible case is just precious, right?

And that Kanon kid isn’t a rare exception. Search Youtube and you can find dozens of little kid preaching videos originating from Assembly of God, Pentecostal, and other continuationist churches.

But child spiritual abuse doesn’t end there. The real bad stuff can be seen in this video HERE as well as in this one HERE. If you really want to see wild continuationist youth, do a search on Bethel Redding, but I digress.

Three things struck me after watching those. First, it is just creepy how the adults are psychologically conditioning those kids to react to any verbal cues or behaviors from the adults leading a crusade. Secondly, that if what those videos show is a common occurrence among continuationist churches, the falling over, seizure fits, and gibberish are all learned. In other words, they are not spontaneous works of the Holy Spirit. And third, it looks as though churches from all over the world train their kids in such a manner. Churches from anywhere like India, to Latin America, and Africa bring their little kids together and teach them how to be a charismatic. It is not strictly an American phenomenon as a commenter suggested under one of my other posts in this series.

Drawing this all to a conclusion, after surveying my examples, I hope folks can see why I don’t believe continuationist ideas is a non-essential issue that we can debate vigorously with each other, but shouldn’t divide over. All of those astonishing examples are not found in a smattering of continuationist churches that remain in relative obscurity off a beaten path. They represent a grotesque spirituality that is endemic to the entire global community of those praciticing continuationist theology.

Holy Fraud

miraclesarerealSo I had a critic link me to some web forum comments he made against my posts I’ve been writing exposing the spiritual shamanism of continuationism. I wanted to offer up some responses to various, selected thoughts.

My challenger writes,

Fraud predominates in continuationism, yet Pentecostalism testifies overall being among most committed to holiness and basic doctrines and evangelicalism…

I am glad that my anonymous reviewer begrudgingly acknowledges my thesis. I can understand how awkward it can be to favor a particular theological tradition, yet have to embarrassingly admit that position is for the most part, whacked.

It’s like that one cousin who is just a “hold my beer,” fireworks and gasoline propelled dirt bike stunt away from receiving a Darwin award. “You mean that guy who almost burned his house down with the lighter fluid and the pumpkins? Yeah, he’s my cousin.” The same is with continuationists. “Oh yeah, I believe God does spectacular signs and wonders all the time. Oh, but I don’t believe Christians take trips to heaven or see gianormous angels. That’s the crazy continuationists!”

flamegunMoving along,

…and are more unified in basic beliefs than basically cessationist denominations, and in which liberalism and “sterility” is more likely to be the reality.

I have to wonder what basic beliefs continuationists – in the case provided, Pentecostals – are all essentially unified around? You have all sorts of stripes and flavors of Pentecostals, Assembly of God’s, and other Holiness style groups. If what is meant is that they all affirm Jesus as savior, sure, they are unified. But they are just as equally unified around the idea of the Holy Spirit manifesting unusual paranormal phenomena. Would my antagonist not agree to that? The very name PENTECOSTAL implies the adherents would believe such things.

The rampant fraud in continuationism is inexcusable, as is the liberalism and overall spiritual deadness among those who claim to be Protestant and deny the perpetuity of personal supernatural gifts…

Ah yes, the old “Protestant worship is nothing but boring, dead orthodoxy” argument. Michael Brown threw out this cliche all throughout his Authentic Fire book. He’d write how he would much rather attend a service with pew jumping, running around the building, chandelier-swinging worshipers, than a stuffy, reading from a hymnal, standing still worship service.

Sober-minded worship is hardly a sign of “dead orthodoxy.” When a church sings out hymns that tell of the glory and power of the awesome God we serve, that is true worship in my mind. The running around the building and swinging from the chandelier service is not spirit-filled, but utter flesh-driven foolishness that mocks Christ.

Moving along,

Missing between the extremes is an objective examination of the issue of whether personal supernatural gifts are available today, which I believe Scripture supports, but not the aberrations.

The word “supernatural” has to be defined. I, as a non-continuationist, believe in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Of course I define the concept of “supernatural” and identify spiritual gifts much differently than continuationists. For instance, I believe teachers, preachers, evangelists would be spiritual gifts to the church (Eph.4:8-12), as well as individuals who are blessed financially and are moved to give generously to God’s people (Rom.12:6-16). And certainly, eternal salvation is God’s ultimate gift (Rom.6:23).

Continuationists dismissively wave off my definition of supernatural. Those examples are the non-spectacular kind of gifts and don’t really count.

But honest question here: How exactly would the aberrations my contender notes be identified from the genuine Holy Spirit given signs and wonders gifts?

What is often the norm witnessed and observed among continuationists would never qualify as the supernatural gifts defined in the New Testament. Tongues are wild, cacophonous free for alls, so-called healings are extremely questionable, even outright lame, and the amazing urban legend like stories that often abound among the congregations are unverifiable hearsay. The same goes for stuff Keener supposedly documents in his two big volumes on miracles.

Moving along,

What is needed is more genuine evidences of the resurrection power of Christ, not only in the profound transformative effects of true regeneration, but in other miracles (which have strong testimonies thanks to be God), including via personal spiritual gifts.

Yes. Those two evidences would certainly help the cause of the continuationist claims of extraordinary supernatural gifts in the church. In fact, seeing that the marks of true regeneration are tragically absent in the personal character of  many of the continuationist preachers that dominate the internet and “Christian” TV, I would think that would be the priority.

But as I have written elsewhere, continuationists also have a signs and wonders problem. I don’t consider neck pain, bad backs, and ankle strengthening to be rather spectacular. Restoring the scarred flesh of an Iraqi war veteran’s severely burned arms or a paraplegic’s severed spine to full functionality like Jesus and the apostles did, however, is a radically different story.

My challenger then provided a series of statistics believed to be positive for continuationists. Allow me to respond to a select few,

Only 10 percent of adults in Pentecostal churches do not identify as born-again or evangelical.http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/may/pew-evangelicals-stay-strong-us-religious-landscape-study.html 

I am not entirely sure why that is important to the case of solid Pentecostals. If a person reads the linked article, he will see that the general thrust was a positive report on evangelicals in general. Evangelicals, unlike mainstream, more liberal denominations, are not hemorrhaging members, and in fact are gaining in numbers. That was an odd mention of a statistic for his argument.

73% (highest) of Pentecostal/Foursquare believers strongly affirm that Christ was sinless on earth, with CatholicsLutherans and Methodists being tied at 33%, and the lowest being among Episcopalians with just 28% 

So… what exactly? I imagine we could poll a whole lot of the same Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists, and they’d affirm the Trinity, or even the Resurrection.

What that statistic doesn’t tell us is that those same 73% of Pentecostals will also more than likely affirm the false doctrines of “sinless perfection” or “entire sanctification,” the idea that Christians can be fully sinless here on earth, and that a newly baptized believer will speak in tongues. Both of those teachings are erroneous and have messed up the lives of countless believers who have appropriated them for their lives.

Bible Reading: the highest was 75%, by those going to a Pentecostal/Foursquare church who reported they had read the Bible during the past week (besides at church), while the lowest was among Catholics at 23% – http://www.science20.com/print/972444

Again: so, what? It is one thing to read the Bible. It is entirely another thing to understand it, believe it, interpret it properly, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, apply the theology and doctrine to one’s life. Pentecostals may read the Bible a lot, but that doesn’t mean anything if what is found in the Bible has no profound or lasting impact on people’s lives. It is my experience that those same Pentecostals, even though they may read the Bible more than those Catholics, have about the same level of depth in understanding the Bible as those same Catholics. Simply put, there is a reason why continuationist/charismatic/Pentecostal churches are scandal plagued.

shallowdiving

16% of the country’s white Protestant congregations are Pentecostal, compared to 65% of the Protestant churches dominated by African-Americans [black churches make up about 6% of evangelicals].

I don’t necessarily see that 65% of African-American churches are Pentecostal as a good thing. The reason I say that, and at risk of being swarmed by BLM sympathizers, is the terrible dysfunction found in the black community. Those same Pentecostal African-Americans swear allegiance to a political party that stands vehemently opposed to the holiness their Pentecostal denomination allegedly teaches. You cannot possibly claim to be a person committed to holiness and reading the Bible and remain beholden to a political party that openly advocates wicked sin like abortion, the most of which take place in African-American communities.

76% say they have experienced or witnessed a divine healing, and 70% of those from the Global South say they have witnessed the devil or evil spirits being driven out.

Okay. Let us say 76% have experienced or witnessed a divine healing and another 70% witnessed exorcisms of some sort. Going back to a few things my antagonist acknowledged, if fraud is rampant among Pentecostals, how exactly do we determine if those are fraudulent accounts or genuine? That 76% is a rather impressively large figure, but if what is being affirmed is that fraud is rampant among Pentecostals, even my challenger would have to say that figure is a bit skewed, maybe even wildly exaggerated.

But that leads me to a larger question. Going back to the opening statement, if rampant fraud predominates continuationism, how can they be committed to holiness? The very fact that continuationist are willing to perpetrate fraud from the pulpits and believe the fraud while sitting in the pews, strikes at the heart of what it means to be holy.

If there truly was a commitment to holiness among Pentecostals, charismatics, and the wide tent of continuationism, self-appointed con artist prophets and preachers would not be prowling the earth promoting their spiritual fraud and devouring men’s souls, and the congregations would not be willingly lapping up the spiritual fraud that is fed to them.

Continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue [2]

bunyan

I have taken up explaining why I believe continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue. My previous post introduced my basic thoughts on the matter, but just a quick recap:

Contrary to what is generally agreed upon among garden variety Evangelicals and Christian denominations, I don’t believe continuationism, or charismaticism, or even Pentecostalism for that matter, is merely a quirky, but otherwise acceptable tradition of Christianity. I believe the otherworldly claims of the paranormal, coupled with the bizarre, aberrant behavior inherent with continuationism, are detrimental to core doctrines of Christianity, most significantly, the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

I think we can all agree that if there are any beliefs, doctrines, or even peculiar worship practices that claim to come directly from God via the Holy Spirit, those things are certainly essential, and can hardly be considered non-essential. They strike, as it were, at the very center of what Christians believe about God, especially the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That is definitely essential.

One clarifying point is in order. As soon as we invoke the idea of “essential” vs. “non-essential” the notion of a person’s salvation comes to mind. Am I saying that if one is a continuationist, he believes false doctrine that is outside the defining bounds of the Christian faith? Put another way, can a person be a Christian and adhere to continuationist views? Why yes, I believe a person can hold to continuationist views and be saved. But that hardly means that continuationism in itself is far from being erroneous or a primary issue.

During a twitter exchange where I was fleshing out my thoughts on the matter with some detractors, a friend of mine, David Kjos, asked the question, “Must error be immediately damning to be a primary issue? If cessationism is secondary, isn’t Sola Scriptura also?”

A right thinking Christian would immediately recognize the importance of his question. If the opposite of cessationism, that being continuationism, is a secondary, non-essential doctrine that has no direct bearing on one’s saving faith, then Sola Scriptura would fall into the secondary, non-essential category as well.

But the right thinking Christian would also recognize and affirm that what is believed and taught concerning the authority of Scripture in the Church, that being Sola Scriptura, is not just a non-essential doctrine for Christians, but it is one that is primary. While one is saved if they do not believe upon Sola Scriptura, rejecting all that the doctrine entails regarding the authority of Scripture will lead to all sorts of gross error.

So too with continuationism. It is enough of a primary doctrine that the pursuit and practice of it by Christians easily leads to major theological error both in the teaching of Scripture, as well as the life of the Christian.

My attempt here is to document my claim that continuationism strikes at the heart of our doctrine of God. I am particularly concerned that the practice and behavior of continuationists can be blasphemous, attributing works to the Holy Spirit that are certainly contrary to His character as revealed in Scripture, and in some cases making the Holy Spirit out to be a liar. My last post pointed to some doctrinal compromise and I argued that the Holy Spirit will never, ever at any time, direct believers to compromise with unbelievers or those promoting a false Gospel.

With this I want to hit on a second major point,

Lies and Tall Tales. I could make this topic an ongoing series all it’s own, because tall tales of supernatural adventure are ubiquitous throughout all of continuationism.

Ever since I became aware of Pentecostals and charismatics back as a youngin’ in Missouri, I came to recognize that the speakers on the radio would tell some of the most amazingly fantastic stories of supernatural abilities and encounters. Such things as healings, visits to heaven, visits with Jesus in their bathroom, visits with angels, and extraordinary powers, like mind-reading, commanding evil spirits, or seeing into the future.

The way the testimonies were presented, such experiences should be a frequent occurrence for the average, spirit-filled believer. Every Christian should be having visits with Jesus or trips to heaven on a regular basis. I, as a young churched teen was not having such experiences, so I often wondered if God really loved me.

And those kind of stories were not relegated to the fever swamps of your typical continuationist churches like the Assemblies of God or Pentecostal denominations.

When I was in college, my Southern Baptist church had an evangelist named Sam Cathy come to lead a series of “revival meetings” for a week. Every night he would regale us with his supernatural exploits. He apparently had the ability (in Christ, of course) to command evil spirits. He could tell them to levitate furniture and force them to tell him all of their top secret plans for evil doing (in Christ, of course). He was like an evangelistic superhero rescuing wayward, demon-possessed sinners and Christians from lives of disastrous consequence.

For instance, Cathy recounted how he was counseling a young pastor struggling with sexual issues. As he talked with the man, his “devil senses” began tingling, and he immediately recognized the pastor was demon-possessed. He then commanded the demon to tell him who he was. The devil, unable to overcome the controlling powers of the evangelist, was forced to speak.

According to Cathy, an Exorcist moment began taking place as a scary voice started speaking from the man. The devil told Cathy how “they” (meaning he and his devil buddies) set up homosexual encounters for this guy with other men and their plan was to elevate him to the office of president of the SBC and then expose a homosexual scandal around him so the SBC could be brought down. Thankfully, God raised up Cathy, Jedi master evangelist, to use his spirit powers to drive the devil out of the man, thus saving his soul and delivering the SBC from future embarrassment.

This was long before Ergun Caner, but I digress.

devilLooking back now, I believe Cathy was a liar; he made up those stories out of thin air. At best, he seriously embellished, but that is still lying. But he is not a rare exception. Just visit Charisma News Online or the Elijah List  or Sid Roth’s TV program to see what I mean. And again, those are the mainstream of continuationists. They are hardly the fringe.

Let me begin with highlighting a couple we would all acknowledge are crazy ones.

First. Back when I was reviewing Michael Brown’s book, under my review of the fourth chapter, I linked to a video of self-appointed apostolic prophetess, Cindy Jacobs, claiming that she miraculously fed a church of 3,000 people with three loaves of stale bread that were found in the church pantry. She further stated that her and her ministry were given a large sum of donation money for a service she conducted. When they took the money to the bank, what they deposited had miraculously increased in value from the amount they originally took in and counted at the church.

Watch the video below to hear her make those claims from her own mouth.

Now, I do have to point out that the video was uploaded by Rightwing Watch, the barking a the moon, crackpot lefty group. In spite of their overt bias against right wingers, the video does not appear to be altered in any way. Jacobs is telling her audience that she fed a church gathering of 3,000 people in the same way Jesus fed 5,000.

I think she has reached stratospheric levels of lying. The immediate questions I have raised in my mind, where is that church she performed the miracle? and surely, out of 3,000 folks, are there any who would come forward to verify her story?

Second. Bethel Church in Redding, California, is swiftly becoming for crazy charismatic stuff, what Roswell, NM is for UFO believers. I might add, Soul damning crazy charismatic stuff, but that’s for another post. Watch the following video and listen to Kevin Dedmon from Bethel Redding, bobbing in a Kundalini style, tell how his son and his friends walked on water and walked through walls just like Jesus,

What I find even more troubling than him recounting what I believe to be an entirely embellished story of his son and his buddies jumping in the swimming pool, is that he would actually make an entire church full of people believe it.

But Jacobs and Dedmon are the extreme, correct? The fringe. Again, those kind of tall tales and Herculean spiritual feats can be found everywhere among continuationists.

But let’s consider an example from a source closer to the more “sound and balanced” continuationists.

In an article responding to the Strange Fire conference, John Piper, recounts the following story,

“A lawyer one time prophesied over me when my wife was pregnant and said: ‘Your fourth child is going to be a girl, and your wife is going to die in childbirth.’ And that lawyer with tears told me that she was sorry she had to tell me that. So I went home and I got down on my knees and I said, ‘Lord, I am trying to do what you said here in 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21. And frankly, I despise what that woman just said.’ It proved out that my fourth child was a son, and I knew as soon as he came out that that prophecy was not true, and so I stopped having any misgivings about my wife’s life. She is still with me now thirty years later. That’s the sort of thing that makes you despise prophecy.” [Piper Addresses Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos]

If I may be so bold, I think that lawyer friend of Piper’s is a liar, too. If she is not a liar, she was woefully deceived by her own flights of fancy to the point she wanted to inject herself into Piper’s life and family in some fashion. It’s kind of creepy in a way. If that is the case, she should be sharply rebuked and told to keep her mouth shut.

But what is truly tragic is that for months, Piper had to bear under the emotional weight of a false prophecy. He genuinely entertained the soothsaying of this woman telling him she had a Word from God that was quietly upending his life. Even still, one has to wonder about why a pastor, considered to be a champion of the Reformed faith, would allow himself to be manipulated by such superstitious whimsy.

The problem I see with all of those tall tales and urban legends of epic spiritual adventure is two-fold.

First, what does this say about continuationism producing a theological matrix that empowers countless teachers, preachers, evangelists, and self-appointed prophets to stand in front of churches with thousands of attendees and brazenly fabricate falsehoods with impunity and no sense of guilt?

Second, what does it reveal about the countless thousands of continuationists who willing drink in their lying tales without the least bit of question? A work of the Holy Spirit is that Christians develop a sense of discernment. That can hardly be said of these individuals.

The Holy Spirit is not involved with anointing and promoting liars, and what spiritual danger is at hand with those who willfully believe the lies calling them from God?

I have one more point for next time.

The Prophets of Doom

doomThe last month or so, I have been introduced to the Hardcore History podcast hosted by Dan Carlin.

Now, I am guessing, that originally, these history talks/lessons started out as a general podcast, but as they were produced, Carlin had such an amazingly awesome way of presenting the material, that Amazon’s Audible picked it up and began charging for it. There are only a few that are downloadable for free at this point.

The one I wanted to direct my readers toward is his 4 hour overview of the Munster rebellion in 1534-1535.

The Prophets of Doom

If you recall that incident during the birth of the Reformation, a group of Anabaptist seized the town of Munster, Germany, believing it would be the center of Christ’s return to earth and establishment of his kingdom. That belief was disastrous, and led to the city turning into an ISIS like cultism that saw many of the inhabitants slaughtered by either the hands of the militant fanatic Anabaptist or the armies besieging the city.

Carlin is not a Christian, at least to my knowledge, so he isn’t filtering it through a Reformed theology like a lot of us like with the books of Iain Murray, for instance. However, he does present the history well, explaining the background of the events that formed around the enthusiasm for the general principles of Reformation. That in turn led to Anabaptists gaining power on the town council in Munster, and their eventual take over of the entire city for a year.

I think folks will greatly benefit from his retelling of that bizarre, tragic chapter in the history of the Reformation and the Anabaptist movement. Interestingly, the Munster Anabaptists were continuationists who believed in divine prophecy and other “manifestations of the Spirit” that present day charismatics insist demonstrate the filling of the Holy Spirit.

I would also recommend downloading his other talks. Carlin just has a fantastic ability with walking you through the history of the various events he covers. I understand his lessons on WW1 are excellent.

Continuationism is not a non-essential doctrinal issue

asuza

I am becoming convinced more and more every day that continuationism is not just a non-essential doctrinal issue for Christians.

My thinking about this started shortly after the Strange Fire conference as I engaged continuationist critics on social media. They denounced the conference with such fervent descriptions as hateful, divisive, painting with a broad brush, throwing all the faithful Pentecostal/charismatic people from around the world under a heresy bus.

The strongest antagonist to the conference, Michael Brown, even wrote a 400 plus page book responding to the various talks and lectures presented at Strange Fire. My friend Lyndon and I wrote up a lengthy, chapter-by-chapter review of his book that can be read HERE, if anyone is interested.

Their primary claim was to say the Strange Fire participants wrongly attributed the bizarre, wild-eyed antics and paranormal stories witnessed at a typical health and wealth style mega-church, to faithful continuationists who never display any of that ridiculous conduct or claim any of those types of otherworldly experiences. The wacky high jinks seen on so-called Christian TV like TBN or Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural!” program are not the norm, but are fringy and embarrassing. They hardly represent genuine, enthusiastic charismatic worship and belief.

Yet, in spite of their assertions of false accusations, what I was observing from the charismatic world provided an overwhelming contrary conclusion. The insistence by those pure and clean continuationists that true continuationism is not marked with the outlandish faux-testimonies of miraculous healings, visits to heaven, and pronouncements of fake prophecies, really had to make me wonder about their credibility. Certainly they couldn’t be that blind.

In fact, with what I was seeing, the TBN and Sid Roth style charismatic continuationists are the standard majority, whereas the ‘balanced,” sober-minded continuationists were the true fringe. Their view of continuationism has practically zero influence upon the vast body of charismatic believers. And that vast body is pretty vast, like say in the hundreds of millions world-wide.

If a person just does a simple search on the best selling charismatic books, he will find that all of them are written by the health and wealth continuationists. Just take a look at the material sold at Bethel Redding’s bookstore. It is all goof-ball charismatics like Derek Prince, Rick Joyner, Joyce Meyer, Randy Clark, and C. Peter Wagner. I don’t see anything representing the balanced, non-crack-pot continuationist. Say for instance, Wayne Grudem, or even Michael Brown.

Now. I understand that when I claim continuationism is not a non-essential, secondary issue that I am making a rather bold charge. I even had some respected friends push back against what I am stating; but I am prepared to back up what I mean.

When I write that continuationism is not a non-essential, secondary doctrinal matter, I am obviously saying continuationism has a direct and detrimental influence upon essential Christian doctrine, or those essential, core doctrines being what defines Christian orthodoxy and practice. I was asked by my detractors to provide some examples, and I believe I can.

I want to aim my focus upon what I believe to be the most significant, and that is how continuationism maligns the doctrine of God, specifically the work of the Holy Spirit. While I certainly affirm a robust belief in the work of the Holy Spirit in acts of providence and individual salvation, continuationist conduct and claims of the supernatural attributed to the Holy Spirit are often blasphemous, or lead to the blasphemous. I’d like to demonstrate what I mean in a series of posts highlighting what I believe are key areas. I’ll begin with this post considering the first one,

Theological Compromise. I think we would all agree that one of the major works of the the Holy Spirit is to lead God’s people in spiritual truth. In fact, in John 16:13, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. His ministry will be to speak authoritatively for the Father and the Son and He will glorify our Lord.

Thus, if the Holy Spirit was truly at work among God’s people like a number of continuationists claim, then He would not be leading the church into compromising with gross, doctrinal error. Any person equating the proclamation of gross, doctrinal error as a move of the Holy Spirit would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit, would that person not?

Cases in point:

Check out this picture:

copelandHere we have, from left to right, John and Carol Arnott of Catch the Fire ministries, Brian Stiller of World Evangelical Alliance, Kenneth “X-men weather controller” Copeland, an antichrist, Thomas Schrrmacher, another guy from the World Evangelical Alliance, Geoff Tunniclife, a peace activist, again with the World Evangelical Alliance, James and Betty Robinson of Life Today ministries, and the now eternally judged, Bishop Tony Palmer.

Back during the summer of 2014, that writhing nest of spiritual asps, met together to discuss joint efforts in unifying Catholics and “evangelicals”®™ for the purpose of working together. James Robinson gushingly stated after the meet up, “This meeting was a miracle…. This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together.” [Charisma News Online 7/7/2014].

I happen to believe God had absolutely nothing to do with it at all, because I happen to believe the Holy Spirit does not affirm heresy. To say the Holy Spirit does is blasphemy.

Both sides teach a false gospel. And while Catholics and those pseudo-evangelical grifters have a canyon’s wide divergent views of what is “the gospel,” each of their “gospels” are built upon the foundation of false doctrine that does not save anyone.

The only thing that brought them together is their continuationist views of the Spirit. The pope, and those useful idiots meeting with him, represent the largest world-wide collection of continuationists. While the pope believes Mary is a co-redemptrix with Jesus, and Copeland thinks Jesus wants Christians living in emperor decadence, both sides affirm the on-going supernatural work of the Spirit either in forms of continued revelation, visions and dreams, and even miraculous healings. Is anyone beginning to see how continuationism is not just a non-essential doctrine?

“Oh, Fred,” someone may say, “Kenneth Copeland is hardly a representative of true continuationism. Everyone agrees with you that he and his lunatic wife are goofy.” Okay, let’s consider a second picture,

louengleHere we see Lou Engle, founder of The Call ministries on his knees, kissing the feet of Matteo Calisi at the Azusa Now event held at the LA Colosseum. Calisi has been an active leader for years in Italy attempting to unify Catholics with Italian Pentecostals, as well as Pentecostals worldwide. The common factor for him? Why it’s the continuationist views of the Holy Spirit shared mutually between Pentecostals/charismatics and Roman Catholics.

In a 2014 interview with ZENIT, the online equivalent of Charisma News, but for Catholics and minus the howling mad crazy, Calisi explains in the interview the significance of the pope visiting with a group of Pentecostal evangelicals in Italy,

The Bishop of Rome is perfectly aware of the urgency to search for unity between the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Evangelical Churches. More than half a billion Christians adhere to the Pentecostal Movement, which is the second Christian confession soon after the Catholic Church for its large numbers. The Pentecostal Movement is the fastest growing movement in the whole history of the Christian Church, there is no other precedent. A movement born from the Holy Spirit without human founders, so little known by specialists and ecumenists especially here in Italy, which had an astonishing growth in the past century from 0 to 600 million participants. [ZENIT 8/7/2014] (emphasis mine).

Engle invited Roman Catholics to the Azusa Now event because he wanted to bring all the followers of Christ together for the “purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the gospel.” [CT 4/11/2016]. In other words, continuationism. Calisi was quoted as saying that the doctrinal divide between Catholics and evangelicals®™ is sinful and that Jesus doesn’t care about our doctrinal difference. I may be going out on a limb here, but I happen to believe with sound conviction that Jesus does care about individuals who venerate Mary and the saints to the point they pray to them. Put another way, Jesus hates idolatry.

Again, someone is gonna say, “Fred, Fred, Fred. We are continuationists and we agree with you that Lou Engle is a wack-a-doodle. How can you possibly say continuationism has anything to do with this?”

Look. The folks of this conference is specifically meeting together under the guise of a mutual, charismatic fraternity. They are laying aside key, theological talking points, talking points that mark the difference between biblical truth and soul damning error, for the very purpose of promoting their fraternity.

Moreover, go back to Engle’s website and check out that “about The Call” page. Look at that massive header photo of thousands of young people packed into a stadium at one of their prayer rally things. Thousands of other people all across the nation where Engle does his shtick will hear him say that doctrinal division from Catholics is sinful, and we need to love one another as brothers and sister in Christ in spite of any theological or doctrinal difference.

Those young people go away thinking there is nothing wrong with Catholicism because they have a shared experience with the Catholic in the Holy Spirit. I can even imagine them thinking, “Oh, Catholics have visions and dreams and visits from Mary and the saints just like charismatic leaders say they have with dead charismatics (as I wrote about HERE) and frequent visits to heaven (as I wrote about HERE). The conclusion then is that there is nothing particularly wrong about the theology of Catholicism. Everyone loves Jesus, experiences the Holy Spirit, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that the Holy Spirit does not affirm heresy and to say He does is blasphemy! Hence, I see continuationism as touching right in the middle of core doctrinal truths about who God is and the ministry of the third person of the Trinity.

I’ll pick up with some more here soon.

BTWN Hangout: “I used to be an atheist”

pasta1I recently had the privilege of participating in a Bible Thumping Wingnut Google hangout. There were a variety of topics, but our overarching theme was the knowledge men have of God, apologetic methodology, my recent articles on that topic, and atheism. Larry Herzog gave his testimony about how God saved him from atheism.

We spent the last 30 minutes of the time going Mystery Science Theater on an atheist talk by The Thinking Atheist.

“I used to be an atheist”