Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Can The SBC Avoid the Samson Effect ?

The Book Judges, chapters 13-16, outlines the story of Samson. Chapter 16 chronicles the demise of Samson by the lust, allure, and deceit of Delilah. For 1100 pieces of silver, as an agent of the Philistines, Delilah succeeds in identifying the secret of Samson’s strength. At the end of the chapter, we find Samson a prisoner, blind and bound between two pillars, being made sport of by the Philistines. In a broken spirit, Samson prays to God, asking God to remember him, and prays for strength one more time to avenge the Philistines. A prayer that results in his death, and the death of 3000 Philistines.

Having fought the flood of modernism of the early 20th century, has the SBC allowed itself to fall into the hands of the alluring, charming and successful? Is the Southern Baptist Convention on the edge of the Samson Effect?

Market-Driven church growth approaches continue to sweep through the Convention and the Evangelic community. As churches experience numerical growth, success is used to validate the process, instead of the Bible. The mixture of consumerism, pragmatism and self-esteem is not only acceptable, but required to sustain this new religious economy.

America's Pastor, Rick Warren continues spreading his omni-denominational, Schuller-driven gospel without comment from the SBC. Warren’s Purpose Driven program now has an official Catholic contigent Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is wrought with goodwill and ecumenicalism, all in the name of the kingdom of God. On several occasions, Warren has made it very clear that he doesn't care what your motivation is, as long as you do good. Warren also says "I am not going to try to change other denominations." Warren has aligned himself with Chuck Colson who is a strong advocate of Catholic-Evangelical relations in the name of good works. Colson is a strong proponent of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Born again believers who have come out of Roman Catholicism don’t know what’s worse; the ecumenical hand-holding or the silence of the SBC leadership.

Other SBC pastors are leading the way back to "Vintage Christianity". Erwin McManus , Brian McLaren and others continue to move from Biblical doctrine toward the emphasis of religious experience in worship. Elements such as contemplative prayer, lectio divina which are rooted in Catholic mysticism and Buddhism, are endorsed. The use of prayer beads and icons also add
to the feeling of "experiencing" God. Ray Yungen, a former New Age mystic, now a born again believer documents the dangers of these influences in his book, "A Time of Departing". Another perspective of the ecumenical embrace of religious practices reveals the roots of Catholicism growing within the SBC.

Interesting to note the number of these “liberal” SBC pastors on TIME Magazine: The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.

There is not total silence from the SBC. There was a glimmer of hope when the second vice president of the SBC publicly criticized Warren for his partnership with pro-choice Barach Obama at Saddleback’s AIDS Conference.

The recent alignment of popular Southern Baptist pastors with men such as TD Jakes and Robert Schuller would have gone unnoticed, except for one Southern Baptist Pastor
who sounded the alarm. To his credit, the second vice president of the SBC did rebuke the association with TD Jakes. However, the impact of the rebuke seems ineffective and impotent. No comment from the SBC regarding the same SBC pastor sharing the stage with Robert H. Schuller.

On the other side of the pulpit, Dr. Thomas Ascol will again promote a resolution at this year’s convention calling for all members of an SBC church to actually be born gain. If it is necessary to make such a resolution, the SBC should not hesitate to evaluate it’s condition.

Dr Albert Mohler, Dr. Mark Dever, Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. John Piper have gone on the offensive by emphasizing the return to the Biblical foundations of the Christian life and the Body of Christ. Together for the Gospel Conference is designed to get pastors on track and stay on course as the shepherds and servants of the flock.

The 2006 Southern Baptist Founders Conference identified the seeker-sensitive movement as a dangerous revision of the Gospel and the call of the church.

The Bible Presbyterian Churches issued a resolution in 2005, urging “ our congregations and all believers of whatever denomination to fiercely repudiate and expose the egregious error espoused by Rick Warren and other proponents of the so-called “purpose-driven” paradigm of Church growth. “

International fellowship of Calvary Chapel Rejects Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church, and the influence of the purpose driven church growth movement.

Though individual efforts have been made to resist the influence of the seeker sensitive,
purpose-driven and emergent forces within the SBC, the Convention itself has not spoken out against these aberrant elements.

Will the lust of worldly success eventually blind and bind the Biblical witness of the SBC?

Will the SBC find itself chained between the pillars of Toleration and Compromise in the House of the Worldly?

Will the SBC repent and ask God for one more move of His Spirit, to give it the strength and courage required to rebuke, at any cost, the false teachings that it has promoted by default?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Economic and Religious Unity Spinning Up

Already 2007 is set to be the launch pad year for global unity initiatives. Here in the U.S., it seems that the North American Union is more than a conspiracy theory. World Net Daily has reported U.S., Mexico, Canada 'harmonizing' policies. Commentators fear this cooperation “will lead inexorably toward an European Union-style regionalization for North America.”

Literally and philosophically in the opposite direction, the global Asian community advances efforts toward an European Union-style economic cooperative.
The Association Of South-East Asian Nations approved a series of visionary agreements. The agreements are intended to create a local version of the European Union, an integrated community of pooled sovereignty, a single market and a common series of security and economic policies. Association of South-East Asian Nations, which was also attended by the Asian heavyweights of China, India, South Korea and Japan. ASEAN has already become the nuclear of a much greater Asian community, with its free trade negotiations with China and India under way, and its new progress toward an ASEAN Security Community.”

Religiously speaking, Rick Warren helped bring in the New Year with his P.E.A.C.E. plan, touting his second reformation. The battle cry of “deeds, not creeds” and ecumenical unity leads the charge in an eerily similar fashion of the United Nations Millennium Goals. Mr. Warren has also become one of the public faces in the battle to fight HIV-AIDS .

Not far behind Warren, the World Council of Churches announced the beginning of the 7 year season of the Epiphany. “The message says that "ecumenical Christianity for the 21st century" stands on that common experience of Christ and on a common understanding of a world shared with all of humankind …to foster co-operation among people of different religions, to overcome violence in various forms, to advocate for peace and justice with governments and multilateral organizations, to address inequality in society and destruction of God's creation, and to contribute to the healing of HIV and AIDS and other pandemic disease.”

In preparation for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25 2007, the Vatican promoted the inclusion of “another denomination and working together for justice and peace are the components of "spiritual ecumenism" suggested by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The cardinal is the author of A Handbook of Spiritual Ecumenism" a booklet published in English late in 2006."

It is during such a time that the Bible describes as “… peace, peace, but there is no peace.” Roger Oakland of Understanding the Times Ministries offers the following:

"The Bible foretells of a global political governing system that will one day rule the world. This system will initially embrace a one world religion that will be built upon the revival of pagan religious beliefs that are Babylonian in origin and antichristian. This one world religion will be ushered in by the Queen of Heaven, for the cause of peace in the name of Christ. This religion will be Babylonian and antichristian."

Daniel 2
41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Revelation 13
1And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

Revelation 3
20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

The time is now to be alert, for we know not when the master is coming.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are You a Politically Correct Christian or a Biblically Correct Christian?

Luke 12:51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

The truth causes division. The division separates the truth from the lie, the holy from the profane. Paul tearfully warned the believers of the fierce wolves who would come among them after his departure. The threat Paul described was from within the body of believers. Men who would rise up and lord over the flock, drawing the flock away from the True Shepherd. Some acting out of sordid gain, others out of "moral" tradition, both having the form of godliness but deny the power of the Spirit.

It was true in Paul's day, it's true today. Division. For example, Baptists in general have been noted for the lack of "unity" by casual Christian critics. The critics often are "professing" Christians, yet politically correct reasoning is used in the assessement instead of biblically correct discernment.

Christ said in Luke 12:51 & Matthew 10:34 he came to earth to bring a sword & division, not peace and unity. The focus of his statement is the coming judgement of the nations, and the world religious systems.

Test the fruit of the popular Christians who are attempting to bring political peace, unity and goodwill to the world. Test and see if their message measures up to what Christ said to his disciples. Testing is a Biblical mandate for all Biblical Christians.

Carter, Clinton announce Baptist meeting for Baptists distancing themselves from conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention.

SBC officials reject Carter, unity talk

New Baptist Voice Fails to Convince Some Southern Baptists

Carter, Clinton Back Moderate Baptists

Monday, January 15, 2007

The CFR, The Social Gospel, & The Peace Plan

Update from HERESCOPE regarding Rick Warren & the PEACE plan:

When the 3 Legs Intertwine

Rick Warren & the CFR Revisited

A Back-Channel for P.E.A.C.E.

From December 27, 2006:
"That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

The folks at Herescope have been running a series of articles revealing the history of the "social gospel" and the linkage to Rick Warren's PEACE Plan.

The CFR and the Social Gospel

The Emergent Social Gospel

Collectively Bearing the Sins of the World

The Social Gospel 7.0

Another perspective is offered by Discernment Ministries
and the Rise of Christian Imperialism

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Signs In the Heavens

From the Watcher's Lamp

A spectacular comet, dubbed "The Great Comet of 2007" cris-crosses the skies this week. The McNaught comet will outshine the brightest of stars, and has been reported as visible during the day around the globe.

Before the intellectualization of human thought, the sages of old viewed these rare celestial events as portents of future events. The McNaught comet calls one to survey the current events landscape, without delving into prognostication.

This week global tensions ratcheted up with the news that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sees greatly increased chances of full-scale war with both Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollahin 2007.

The EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana declared that it's time for action in Mideast during the Madrid Peace Conference which concluded this week. Solana plays an interesting role on behalf of the EU, claiming he is a friend of both Israel and the Palestinians.

President Bush's new plan for Iraq alarmed some Iranian-Americans as there seemed to be allusions to an escalation of war with Iran within the context of his speech delivered this week.

On another front, Great Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority ruled that creating human-animal embryos would be legal under current law. The picture painted in Revelation 9 regarding creatures with human hair and teeth of lions now is no longer allegory.

Here in the US, the highly charged stem cell research issue escalated with the Democrat-controlled House passing a bill bolstering embryonic stem cell research. The bill provides federal taxpayer dollars to support and encourage the destruction of human life for research, according to opponents of the bill.

On the environmental side of things this week...

News regarding the weather outlook for 2007 was announced:
2007 El Nino Pushing Superheated Globe to New Record

The Midwest continued to get hammered with snow and ice, with some residents in Kansas and Nebraska may not have power back for another month.

Japan was shook with an off-shore magnitude 8.2 earthquake. Early reports state no significant damage or tsunami.

The sages of old took notice and warning of such celestial harbingers as the McNaught comet. Perhaps we would do well to do the same as we enter 2007.

Matthew 24:32 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door."

Friday, January 5, 2007

The Crumbling Western Wall of Support for Israel

From The Watcher's Lamp

On January 2, 2007 the risk of collapse of the Western Wall on the Temple Mount was reported. Subsequent repairs may close the only entrance Israelis' are authorized to use to enter the Temple Mount.

The irony of the current condition of the Western Wall is reflected in the West's eroding support for Israel.

Just a few examples:
The ISG Report recommends that Israel give up the Golan Heights, as well as excluding Israel from any discussions on the subject. The ISG report also recommends talking to Syria and Iran as opposed to confronting both the nuclear threat and the instability both rogue nations pose to middle east peace.

"America's Pastor", Rick Warren travelled to Israel-hating Syria, criticized the US lead war in Iraq, and spoke of the friendly nature of Syrian Muslim-Christian relations. This trip revealed the true character of Warren as he denied what he actually said, despite audio evidence to the contrary .

Former President Jimmy Carter wrote "“Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace", in his
book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.

If you were an Israeli, or any citizen in a foreign country, what would you think after listening to the pillars from the United States? One could only conclude that America believes Israel is the root cause for the continual upheaval in the Middle East. This conclusion would be under girded once it is revealed that American tax dollars go to Fatah, Hamas, the PLO, and Palestinian Authority

Now that Iran has just announced they will use nuclear weapons if attacked, the view from Israel is grim.

As the West continues to move away from Israel and move toward global appeasement, the prophecies of Ezekiel ominously appear evident even to secular news sources.

To Biblical discerners of the times the Gog and Magog scenario is fast approaching the threshold of reality.

One prophecy from the Book of Joel sheds light on the fate of the West for it's betrayal of Israel...

Joel 3:2 I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Flash Back: Rick Warren's Ecumenical AIDS Appeal

James Pinkerton: The Coming AIDS Reformation
Huffington Wed Aug 16, 2006

"Warren is happy to join alliances and enlist allies everywhere: "I don't care why people do good, so long as they do good." So while he keeps returning, as a theme, to the transformative power of faith, he doesn't limit his vision to the Christian faith. He counts more than a billion Muslims, nearly a billion Hindus, and some 600 million Buddhists as fellow soldiers. He even includes atheists, although noting that just four percent of the world's population considers itself to be completely outside of faith."

Warren's ecumenical PEACE plan to bring in the Second Reformation with the help of Catholics and Muslims?

Israel in the News

Iran: Mahdi will defeat archenemy in Jerusalem during spring equinox

New secretary-general of the United Nations says the Israeli-Palestinian issue was at the core of solving all the problems in the Middle East.

America's new plan in the Middle East: The final destination is the establishment of a Palestinian state within two years, before the end President Bush's term in office."

ALERT: The same week the USA strong-armed Israel into giving up the Gaza strip, a highly accelerated storm system developed and formed into what we unforgettably know as Katrina.