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Monday, 23 December 2013

Impressions from Strange Fire

strange fire



Impressions from Strange Fire

Oct 23, 2013


by Anton Bosch

Here are the impressions I have gained from John MacArthur’s strange Fire Conference. Please note this is not an exhaustive critique of which, I am sure, many will be appearing on the internet – for and against. I simply want to convey the broad strokes as I saw it.




I attended all of the first day (Wednesday October 16) and the Q&A session on the third and last day. In addition, I have read parts of the book by the same title and read summations of the other sessions as published by MacArthur’s people: http://thecripplegate.com/ .

The facilities and organization were extremely professional. All the way from the white table cloths on the tables in the parking lot at which 5,000 people dined in style, to the sessions starting on the exact second. One could not help being impressed with such a huge crowd singing the great hymns of the faith, especially when accompanied by a string orchestra and powerful organ. The only sour note for me was when on the Wednesday evening a 50 something couple in front of me decided that it was time for foreplay (literally) during the meeting. So much for the moral high ground!

The sessions were being simulcast in many different languages and the book Strange Fire was simultaneously being launched on several continents and in several languages.

The sense of professionalism flowed through to the ministry, which obviously sorely lacked any form of straying from the very carefully prepared and orchestrated scripts. I guess some people like the professional approach, but I prefer to feel that the preacher is actually trying to communicate with me rather than reading his script for the sake of the cameras.

The first (middle and last) word went to John MacArthur. “You are the chosen” was the first words out of his mouth. Everyone laughed, but I cringed, feeling that the joke had a real barb to it. This was more than an ice-breaker, this was the message of the conference: Unless you are Reformed and elect – you are in error and not saved!

 strange fire

It became clear to me that the issues were not so much cessationism vs. Pentecostalism (or Continuationism, as they prefer to call it), but Reformed Cessationism vs. the rest. Non-Calvinist Evangelicalism does not seem to exists as far as the speakers were concerned – you are either Calvinist and Cessationist or nothing.
MacArthur draws no distinction between classical Pentecostals and Charismatics. Neither does he believe that there can be any such thing as a moderate or conservative Pentecostal. He likes to bandy about the “statistic” that 90% of Pentecostals are into Word of Faith and Prosperity. My personal experience in the USA and in Africa contradicts this exaggeration and suggests that 90% are NOT into Word of Faith. His number may be true of Nigeria but that’s as far as that “statistic” goes.

According to the speakers Continuationists are not saved, and are worse than Mormons in their error, growth and threat to “true” Christianity. All charismatic gifts are demonic (including most of what was happening in the church of Corinth). It was the consensus of the speakers that no movement in the history of the church has done more damage to the Gospel than Continuationism. MacArthur promotes a caricature of Pentecostals of which Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Benny Hinn and Paul and Jan Crouch are typical, rather than the exception. He makes a point of emphasizing that there is absolutely no difference between someone like Hinn and moderate Pentecostals.

Part of this caricature is that Pentecostals have made no contribution, ever, to the spread of the gospel, the promotion of Biblical truth or the glory of God. To protest about the thousands that have been saved through the missionary activity of Pentecostals the world over is pointless since such converts are (by their definition) not saved. In contrast to the half Billion (their statistic) Continuationists who have been saved out of darkness, MacArthurism has done almost nothing to reach the lost. Their sect is almost exclusively populated with sheep, and entire congregations, stolen from other churches.

He further emphasizes that the only stream of truth runs from Augustine through Luther and Calvin to RC Sproul (and others of the same ilk). Clearly evangelicals that held to the truth before the Reformers came on the scene and the thread that runs through the small groups that held to truth throughout the ages are also mistaken. I am lead to conclude that the Lord’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church did not apply to the period between the “Church Fathers” and the Reformation, unless that stream flows through the church of Rome?

MacArthur did not exposit Scripture but simply ranted.

RC Sproul

Sproul spoke by means of video (probably pre-recorded). The first part of his analysis was good as he traced the thread of the promise of the Spirit through the Prophets to the day of Pentecost. He then dealt with four of the five recorded occasions that the Spirit came on people in the book of Acts.
His thesis was simple but short on logic and truth. According to Sproul there were four main groups of people in the book of Acts: The Jews, the God Fearers, the Samaritans and the Gentiles. Somehow this relates to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth”. His logic here was too convoluted for my simple brain. What I do know however, is that there were only two main groups – Jews and Gentiles and that everyone else fell into those groups. The very vision of the sheet of unclean and clean animals in Acts 10 declare Cornelius and his people as “unclean” – Gentiles. Acts 11:1 specifically calls them “Gentiles”. They are not, by any stretch of the imagination, a separate group. Neither are the Samaritans or the God Fearers representative of any future group of people. Throughout Paul’s epistles there are only two groups – Jews and Gentiles.

Sproul’s thesis then is that the Spirit was given to these four groups in turn (Acts 2, 8, 10 and 19) to show that everyone is included because these four groups represent all the possible kinds of people to whom the gospel would be preached.

I must grant that at this point Sproul went against the classical cessationist view that the receiving of the Spirit was (note: not is), in Acts, a separate experience from salvation.

So the first problem with his theory is that the four groups are not representative. The second problem is that he glibly ignores the 5th event which is Paul in Acts 9:17. It is just plain faulty logic to have five examples and then to base a theory on the four that fit your idea and then ignore the one that contradicts your theory. (Pentecostals have long been guilty of the same error when trying to prove tongues as the initial evidence, based on three out of five of these same events plus deductions based on the other two).

Just as Sproul jumps from circumcision to infant baptism without any logical or Scriptural link between them, he then jumps from these examples to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a “second blessing”, in any shape or form, and that we receive the Spirit at salvation. Please listen to the recordings and you will see he does not even attempt to build a bridge between these two divergent ideas – he simply makes a wild assumption.

Sproul is one of MacArthur’s’ heroes and is held up as an example of someone who believes in Sola Scriptura, but he has based his entire Pneumatology on an assumption and disregards the plain teaching of the Scriptures. This would be bad enough, but it is worse since these are exactly the people who claim to be fastidious about interpreting the scriptures and blame everyone else for loose theology and flawed logic.
One of the accusations the speakers kept leveling at classical Pentecostals is that they “opened the door” for the excesses of Charismania. But if Pentecostals open the door, then Sproul and his Reformed friends provided a theological foundation for the Prosperity and Dominionists heresies with their Post-millennialism, Amillennialism and replacement theology. So the speakers can rant and rile against Dominionism and Prosperity as much as they like (and they should), but it is simply the logical extension of their own theology. (Note: MacArthur is Pre-Millennial yet he finds in Sproul a champion for truth)

Joni Eareckson

Eareckson gave a well delivered and touching testimony of how God did not heal her quadriplegia even though she had prayed for healing many times and even attended a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting in the hope of being healed. The bottom line was that she came to understand that healing is not physical but spiritual.
I believe she was carefully chosen to illustrate one of the fundamentals of the cessationist position that there is no such thing as physical healings for the post-apostolic church. (MacArthur touches on this in 1 ½ pages in his book – p245.)

My friend, who attended with me, did not think that she was making a universal point but rather just giving her own testimony, but I am a lot more skeptical and believe that each participant in the conference was carefully chosen to make a very specific contribution.

Steve Lawson

Lawson never opened the Scriptures once, but preached from the gospel according to Calvin. His whole presentation was a presentation of what Calvin had to say about the miraculous (so-called by the Roman church) and the Pentecostal phenomena as displayed by some Anabaptist and Libertine groups.
He opened by extolling the glories of Lord Calvin. I had never heard so much unreserved praise and glory heaped on one man as I heard in this session. Not even the Charismatics with their personality cults go as far as Lawson did. Interesting how you perpetuate the very thing you so despise in others!

One of the evidences he quoted as proof of Calvin’s greatness is the fact that he wrote his institutes when he was only 27 years old and two years after he was “saved” / out of Catholicism. I am sorry, but to me that is no commendation but rather a serious flaw. It is not possible for a 27 year old, being saved for 2 years to reverse the effects of 27 years of indoctrination by Rome. Rather than this being a recommendation for Calvin, it simply underscores the weaknesses of his theology which ultimately perpetuates many of the errors of Rome. Yet this is the man they all but worship and whose word is the final authority on all matters of doctrine! I assume the ESV Bible does not contain verses that warn about laying hands suddenly on people and appointing novices to positions of leadership?

In Lawson’s presentation he frequently stole quotes from Calvin which were aimed at the false miracles and signs of Rome which  Lawson then applied to the “Pentecostals” of his day. This is just not being honest. Worse, one of the points MacArthur likes to make is that Pentecostalism is a new thing going back to Azusa Street (early 1900’s). Yet Lawson contradicts MacArthur by saying there were Pentecostal phenomena before, and during, the Reformation.

(Somewhere into Lawson’s presentation, my friend who is more tolerant of divergent views than I, had had enough and left.)

One of his three points in conclusion really disturbed me. He said: “The Bible joins together the Spirit and the Word in the tightest bond.” Several other speakers said the same thing – that the Spirit only works in, and through, the Word and you cannot separate the Spirit from the Word. To me it sounds dangerously close to redefining the Trinity as Father, Son and Word.

While taking side swipes at Pentecostals and Charismatics, Lawson’s presentation was not primarily aimed at them. Rather, he had in his sights, certain Reformed Charismatics such as John Piper and Wayne Grudem. He concluded the session by saying that a “Charismatic Calvinist” is a “oxymoron” (sic) just as a “Baptist Theologian” is a contradiction in terms.

Conrad Mbewe

Conrad Mbewe is a Reformed Baptist pastor from Lusaka, Zambia and referred to by some as “the Spurgeon of Africa”. A few months ago he published an excellent article on his blog entitled “Why is the Charismatic Movement Thriving in Africa” (http://www.conradmbewe.com/search/label/Charismatic%20excesses ). He made some really good points in this article and, as a result, was asked, at the last minute, to speak along those lines at the conference. (By the way his article is worth reading as it explains very accurately, how well Charismania synchronizes with African traditional religion.)
It was good to hear a fellow African speak in an accent and style I could understand and relate to. But he had changed his message!

On his blog he drew a clear distinction between Pentecostals and Charismatics: “In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa.”
In his address he still saw Pentecostals and Charismatics as different and separate – a distinction that MacArthur and his friends do not make. But Mbewe had recently changed his tune and now blames Pentecostals for “opening the door” for the Charismatics. Obviously a message he had picked up from MacArthur and was now echoing. I was very saddened to see him become a puppet of the very Americans he so despises because of  what they have done to African Christianity.

Mbewe emphasized a point that almost evry other speaker also made: that Classical Pentecostals are to blame for the Charismatic movement and that “we” opened the door for it. But that is a total lie.
The Charismatics did not come out of the Pentecostals at all. They had nothing to do with each other. There may have been isolated individuals that had attended Pentecostal meetings but the majority of these people were in mainline churches. They independently, from one another, and from Pentecostals (they despised Pentecostals) began to seek God’s face and were filled with the Spirit – some as individuals and some as small groups within mainline churches. I have always believed that it was a sovereign work of God and that it was genuine but it went wrong. Very few of these people ended in Pentecostal churches. They began to meet informally and as ministers were kicked out of their churches, mainly over adult baptism, they began to form churches. These churches came under the wrong influences and ended in the chaos we have today.
Now here’s the thing; they came out of all the traditional churches, including Reformed churches. So if the Charismatic chaos came out of anything and if anyone “opened the door”, the traditional churches (including the Reformed ones) opened that door because of their deadness! Had those churches been preaching Spirit and life there would never have been a need. Irrespective of how you cut it, this had nothing to do with Pentecostals.

Pentecostals did not corrupt the Charismatics but the Charismatics corrupted many Pentecostals.

Division

MacArthur agrees that this conference is divisive and he is proud of that since he says that truth divides – the same excuse many others have used to sanctify their rude and unChristlike behavior. But once again, MacArthur is guilty of the very thing he blames on Pentecostalism. The speakers frequently referred to Pentecostals dividing the church into the haves (the Spirit) and the have-nots and that they had created a two-class system of Christians. This conference has done the same except the two groups are the Calvinists and the rest. The difference is that Pentecostals never (that I know of) said that those who were not filled with the Spirit are not saved, but MacArthur and his friends are saying that that Pentecostals are not saved and that the only repository of truth is in Calvinism.

We have always felt that there is a certain elitism and superiority to being Calvinist. We no longer have to “feel” that way, they are claiming it outright – Calvinists have the truth the rest are in darkness.
The battle lines have been drawn, it is no longer Evangelicals and Moderate Pentecostals against Charismania, but it is Calvinism against the rest with Baptists and other Evangelicals only slightly better than Pentecostals. One of the sad side-effects of this will be that many Pentecostals will now feel they have to defend the indefensible and will form alliances with the Charismatics against a common enemy.

What happened to Sola Scriptura?

For all the noise they make about the Scriptures alone, it became amply evident that their base was not the Scriptures alone but the Scriptures plus Augustine, Calvin et al. Speaker after speaker quoted Calvin and in all the sessions I attended Calvin was quoted more (in total) than the Bible! Augustine, yes the father of Catholicism and allegoricalism, was frequently upheld as one of the most vital links of the truth between the Apostles and Sproul/MacArthur. It therefore appears that MacArthur is closer to Rome than to evangelicals since he shares a common root in Augustine while the rest of us find our base in the Scriptures.

Ignorance

While the speakers had set themselves up as experts on the subject, they were all remarkably ignorant about the many complexities, history and theological positions of Pentecostals. It seems to me, that if you are going to produce a book and begin a world-wide attack on something, you would at least have made a study of Pentecostals and Charismatics. If their education is so superior (they love flashing their PhD’s), how come they never learnt that you cannot study a subject, as complex as Pentecostalism, by watching TBN a few times? (MacArthur freely admits that this goes back to a time he had surgery and had nothing else to do but watch TBN.)

Every presentation was filled with inaccuracies, exaggerations and plain old lies. They had drawn a caricature, based on what they saw on TBN, and proceeded to convince themselves that all Pentecostals looked just like the caricature.

Conclusion

This was, for me, a very sad and frustrating experience. I had long admired, read and defended MacArthur, in spite of what I believed to be idiosyncrasies. He wanted division and he certainly got that with me. If he does not believe I am saved, what should I think of him?

Watching and subsequently digesting all this, I realized with horror that Calvinists are, by definition, NOT Sola Scriptura. They do not base their doctrines on Scripture but primarily on Calvin who in turn based his doctrine on that of Augustine. They are therefore, at least, twice removed from the Scriptures.

The Sola Scriptura slogan is just that – a slogan. If they really were committed to the Scriptures they would not come up with TULIP, amillennialism, paedobaptism, replacement theology and cessationism, to name a few. These doctrines cannot be arrived at through a simple study of the Scriptures, they have to be taught by someone external to the Scriptures.

It seems one of the things MacArthur is hoping the conference will achieve is a revival of Reformationism. He made reference to this idea a couple of times and wrote in the booklet we received: “Tetzel was a medieval monk whose high-pressure selling of indulgences… so enraged Martin Luther and touched off the Protestant Reformation.” He then continues to liken Tetzel to TBN leaving one to conclude that he sees himself as a modern Luther who is ushering in a modern Reformation. I hope he is wrong, but I fear he may well be right as thousands have already left the craziness of Charismania for the coldness of Calvinism.



Also see,

Rage as Calvinist John MacArthur Sends 500,000,000 Charismatics to Hell

Friday, 20 December 2013

Taking Babylon America by the horns: Uganda MPs give Ugandans a Christmas gift by passing the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 and Bill against miniskirts(Anti-pornography Bill, 2011)

Parliament passes 'Anti-Homosexuality' Bill 
Publish Date: Dec 20, 2013
Parliament passes 'Anti-Homosexuality' Bill

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

newvision
By Cyprian Musoke
Parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009, which proposes life imprisonment for homosexual acts.


A proposal for a 14-year-sentence for those convicted for homosexual acts, which the bill criminalises, was rejected by Members of Parliament who instead maintained the life imprisonment proposal.

However, Prime minister Amama Mbabazi said there would be further “consultations” on part of the government.


By Monitor Reporter

Posted  Friday, December 20   2013 at  13:23

Parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009, which proposes life imprisonment for homosexual acts.
A proposal for a 14-year-sentence for those convicted for homosexual acts, which the Bill criminalises, was rejected by Members of Parliament who instead maintained the life imprisonment proposal.
After voting to pass the Bill into law MPs asked the President to assent to it fast enough so it becomes law. They also passed a motion thanking the House Speaker for the “gift”.
The Bill is the third to be passed in less than twenty fours, after the passing of the Plant Variety Protection Bill, 2010, this morning and the Anti-Pornography Bill, 2011, on Thursday.

MPs pass Bill against miniskirts


The new legislation outlaws such outfits.
The new legislation outlaws wearing such outfits.  

By Yasiin Mugerwa & Nelson Wesonga

Posted  Thursday, December 19   2013 at  22:00
In Summary

The Bill defines pornography as any cultural practice, form of behaviour or form of communication or speech or information or literature or publication in whole or in part or news story or entertainment or stage play or broadcast or music or dance or art or graphic or picture or photography or video recording or leisure activity or show or exhibition. 

Parliament- Parliament yesterday passed the Anti-pornography Bill, 2011, a new piece of legislation that seeks among others to ban wearing of miniskirts and further clarify the offence of pornography in Uganda’s laws.
The government rode on its view that pornography has become such an “insidious social problem” in the country to get the Bill through Parliament. While some lawmakers claimed that the bill violates people’s rights, majority agreed with the government and enacted the Bill.
“With the enactment of the Bill, my dream has been fulfilled,” said Fr Simon Lokodo, the Ethics minister.
However, some MPs complained that the Bill’s definition of pornography was too broad and that it went against Uganda’s tradition of being tolerant of cultural diversity.
The Bill provides for the creation of the Anti-Corruption Committee that will implement the law.
Mr Steven Tashobya, the chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee whose docket administered the Bill, said pornography fuels sexual crimes against children and women, including rape and child molestation.
The committee said that though the various laws already in existence prohibit pornography, there is no single law to comprehensively deal with the problem of pornography.
What the Bill says
The Bill defines pornography as any cultural practice, form of behaviour or form of communication or speech or information or literature or publication in whole or in part or news story or entertainment or stage play or broadcast or music or dance or art or graphic or picture or photography or video recording or leisure activity or show or exhibition.
It also prohibits any combination of the preceding that depicts unclothed or under clothed parts of the human body such as breasts, thighs, buttocks and genitalia, a person engaged in explicit sexual activities or conduct; erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement and any indecent act or behaviour tending to corrupt morals.



Also see,

Talibanising Uganda !!! Government tables Bill to outlaw miniskirts



Ugandan Pentecostals give Speaker Kagaga a heroine welcome: Speaker Kadaga promises to revive shelved gay Bill




The Bahati bill, 2009 is anti Christ and anti-Christian



Anglican and Catholic churches change their position on the Bahati bill : Ugandan Pentecostals continue to foolishly support the bill




Uganda: Sodomy suspect Chris Mubiru arrested




Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Child slaughter becomes legal in Belgium: Parents in Groningen in Holland can kill their infants


Child slaughter becomes legal in Belgium

December 18, 2013
Belgium took a big step on Thursday to becoming the first country to allow euthanasia for incurably ill children.
Politicians in Belgium debating if children can be killed after their birth.
Politicians in Belgium debating if children can be killed after their birth.
This was after the upper house of Parliament voted by a large majority to extend to minors a 2002 law legalizing the practice for adults.
Under the amended law, euthanasia would become legal for children afflicted with “constant and unbearable physical suffering” and equipped “with a capacity of discernment.” During a sometimes heated public debate in the run-up to the vote, religious leaders condemned the move as entering “a logic that leads to the destruction of society’s foundations.”
Philippe Mahoux, a Socialist Party senator and sponsor of the legislation, described giving terminally ill children the right to “die in dignity” as the “ultimate gesture of humanity.” He dismissed the religious leaders’ criticism, saying it was unrepresentative of the views of many ordinary believers, who he said supported the legal change.
Although Europe is generally far more accepting of euthanasia or assisted suicide than the United States, only a handful of countries have formally legalized medical interventions to cause death. Luxembourg permits euthanasia for adults, and Switzerland allows doctors to help patients die but not to actively kill them. The Netherlands allows euthanasia in special cases for gravely ill patients 12 or older.
Source: New York Times
My comment:
Nazism is back with full force in Europe, now sponsored by the Socialist party in Belgium.
Adolf Hitler was also making laws permitting to slaughter of unwanted people. They were called “untermench”, humans not worthy of life.
 Leviticus 24:17
‘“Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death”.
If is sad with all children who have extreme pain. But this is not an issue of pain and agony. It is about politicians putting them self in the seat of God, and desire to define life and death.
Stalin did the same, and killed tens of thousands of Russians. Mao did the same in China, and Hitler took Germany down into the abyss.
 Deuteronomy 32:39
See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.
Behold: Jesus the Messiah said we shall face grotesque evil on Earth, just because His return. Extreme evil, not being seen since the creation. The politicians in Belgium is surely a part of the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Written by Ivar

Parents in Groningen in Holland can kill their infants

December 18, 2013
The prosecutors office in Groeningen and the Dutch Society for Pediatrics have agreed on how to murder infants.
How much will this child cost the society? Will it be able to live a worthy life in line with the society and parents expectations?
In July 2005, the Dutch Society for Pediatrics voted in favor of the The Groningen Protocol. So did the Prosecutors office in Groningen.
The Groningen protocol, was suggested by Dr. E. Verhagen and developed in order to assist with the decision making process when considering actively ending the life of a newborn.
A protest outside Cork University Hospital in Ireland.
The protocol is providing the information required to assess the situation within a legal and medical framework.
Source: Wikipedia
My comment:
To brutally kill a child in the mother’s womb has been legalized for 20 to 30 years in most western European nations.
When men is given license to kill innocent children, the next natural step is to redefine life.
Why set the borderline with conception?
Why not let man brutally kill humans they do not want to take care of?
Man find may excuses for abortion. There is also many excuses for killing infants. One of the reasons is that a child might be conceived so multiple handicapped, that i will not be able to live “a worthy life”.
Dr. E. Verhagen
Dr. E. Verhagen
The truth is that parents do not want multi handicapped children, and have requested the authorities to come up with a solution.
Since it is not possible to kill all multi handicapped children in the mothers womb, why not kill them in their infancy?
For the authorities, it is convenient to use the stress of the parents as an excuse. But for the Social welfare Department every killed multi handicapped child, is saved money.
Such an unwanted child might cost the tax payers millions of dollars during its life span.
The first regime in modern Europe that made killing of unwanted humans an advanced science, was Nazi-Germany.
Who was to be defined as “happy” and “effective” was matter of the health personal of Adolf Hitler.
The present Dutch Society for Pediatrics would have been an effective tool for the Nazi-regime.
Paul explained to us that there would be terrible times before the Messiah return. One of the sign would be ungodly and brutal people. Like the Pediatrics and the persecutors in Holland.
First published 2nd of April, 2012.
Written by Ivar

Impostor !!! Santa Claus…Where are you in the bible?



 

 When the ignorance of Christians amazes atheists: Sarah Palin Claims Jesus Celebrated Easter




UNVEILING THE GREATEST LIES IN CHRISTENDOM: CHRISTMAS AND EASTER ARE SIMPLY BOGUS PAGAN HOLIDAYS



The History and Customs of Christmas


The True Meaning of Easter and The Passover



Good Friday is a Myth; Jesus Died on a Wednesday!!


 

Christians promote “Coca Cola santa” for Christmas

Modern day Santa Claus is an 1930.A.D invention of the Coca Cola Company.
Todays Santa Claus is a 1930 re-branded  Catholic saint of the Coca Cola Company.
Few Christians are aware that they have become promoters of the biggest commercial brand of America. In 1930, the Coca Cola Company created modern day santa and used him to sell soft drinks.
If you do not believe me, take a look at this official site. of the American commercial major.
The Commercial festival of “Christmas” has its origin in America.
The US Coca Cola santa must have brought gifts from Alaska.
Coca Cola made “Christmas” into a pagan shopping festival.
Food, drinks and Santa have become the focus of the Western Civilization.”Christmas” shopping starts in September.
Before 1930, only a few Catholics paid attention to this Vatican approved “saint”.  His name was Saint Nicholas, and He lived from 270 A.D to 343 A.D.  His feast was on 6th of December, and had nothing to do with the ancient celebration of the birth of the Messiah Jesus.
The Claimed holy man “Nicholas” who lived 1700 years ago.
Read more at Wikipedia.
Few, if anyone outside of the inner circle of Catholicism celebrated the fast of “Santa Nicholas” before 1862 A.D. Than Thomas Nast “invented” the image popularly recognized as Santa Claus. Nast first drew Santa Claus for the 1862 Christmas season Harper’s Weekly.
First in 1867 A.D “Nicholas” was changed to “Santa Claus” by a commercial magazine.
To mix up “Christmas” with paganism was an American invention.  The Coca Cola “santa” advertisement has been copied in billions. Today, images and physical copies of this hero of paganism is found in almost every Christian home on planet Earth.
How did I become aware of this?
On the 25th, I was blessed with a visitor who work at the management level of Coca Cola Company.
What He told me, made me do some research on Google.
In 2005, The Coca Cola Company held a celebration of the commercial stunt that killed the Biblical  meaning of “Christmas”.
Shame on the claimed “Christian World”, who fooled us to mix up the birth of Jesus with “a Coke and a smile”.
What not man have done, and is doing, to mock God of the Bible, Father, Son and Spirit.
First published 29.12.2010.
Written by Ivar

Ted Haggard on How Not to Repent

  Ex Megapastor Ted Haggard Tackles Pastoral Scandal and Problems in Christianitys Culture Following Pastor Isaac Hunters Suicide

In this June 2, 2010 file photo, Ted Haggard, the former megachurch pastor who fell from grace amid a sex scandal, stands with his wife Gayle at his side. (Credit: Ed Andrieski/AP)

Ted Haggard on How Not to Repent

http://theaquilareport.com/ted-haggard-on-how-not-to-repent/ 

Haggard used the recent suicide of another megachurch pastor’s son, Isaac Hunter, to continue his attempts at resurrecting his name, reputation, and ministry.

 

So why highlight it? First, because it will help us to spot these characteristics when dealing with others who have fallen into public sin and scandal. Sadly, there are predictable patterns to these things that we’d do well to acquaint ourselves with so that we are not duped.  And second, because we can use it as a personal heart-check to examine how we respond to our own sin.


In 2006, Ted Haggard joined the “pantheon” of fallen megachurch pastors after being caught red-handed in a gay sex and drugs scandal. Most Christians weep over such incidents, grieve for the damage done to the church of Christ, pray that the man will repent and find forgiveness with God, and hope that he will take a quiet and unpublicized place in the church of Christ for the rest of his life.
Usually it’s a vain hope. As it was in this case too.

After a short period of “restoration,” the Haggards returned to the public eye with books, television interviews, and a re-launched ministry.

I suppose we all still hoped that despite appearances, there had been true repentance, that Haggard really had owned his sin, taken responsibility, accepted the blame, and sincerely confessed his guilt.
But a recent blog post raises a huge question mark against that hope. In Suicide, Evangelicals, and Sorrow, Haggard used the recent suicide of another megachurch pastor’s son, Isaac Hunter, to continue his attempts at resurrecting his name, reputation, and ministry. His post really is an almost perfect example of how not to repent.

So why highlight it? First, because it will help us to spot these characteristics when dealing with others who have fallen into public sin and scandal. Sadly, there are predictable patterns to these things that we’d do well to acquaint ourselves with so that we are not duped.  And second, because we can use it as a personal heart-check to examine how we respond to our own sin.

1. I’m no worse than anyone else. In a number of places Haggard basically says, “OK, I’m not perfect, but neither are you. We all fall short. We’ve all had sin intrude horribly into our lives. Only Christ is perfect.” In other words, why make such an example of me when you’re no better.
2. My problem was not spiritual. ”The therapeutic team that dug in on me insisted that I did not have a spiritual problem.”
3. It was something that happened to me. “Contrary to popular reports, my core issue was not sexual orientation, but trauma.” It’s not so much about what I did, or who I am, but about what someone else did to me.
4. I wasn’t responsible; someone else was to blame. ”I had a physiological problem rooted in a childhood trauma.”
5. I needed therapy, not faith and repentance. ”I needed trauma resolution therapy….I went through EMDR, a trauma resolution therapy.”
6. It wasn’t a personal choice. Haggard asks: “Do we actually believe that the many pastors who have been characterized as fallen decided to be hateful, immoral, greedy, or deceitful?” Then answers: “I think not.”
7. Christians are cruel and unforgiving. In a number of places Haggard attacks Christians saying that they lack sympathy, grace, and forgiveness. “My sin never made me suicidal, but widespread church reaction to me did.” He also speaks of the “brutal mail” and “hurtful communications” he received, and he imagines the Warrens and Hunters did too. He lambasts an “evangelical culture that alienates those who fall and spiritualizes their struggles.”
8. Attack the accusers. Throughout this piece Haggard is continually swiping at his accusers and those who initiated church discipline against him. They are “flat-earthers,” “Judaizers,” “scrutinizers,” “Pharisees” who are “too busy with the sins of others.”
9. You just don’t understand me: “When I explain [my trauma and the trauma resolution therapy] to most Evangelical leaders, their eyes glaze over.” He goes on to characterize Christians who rejected his excuses as simplistic fundamentalists.
10. My sins were not as bad as you think. ”My accuser failed his lie detector test and refused to take another, and I passed four lie detector tests given by three different polygraphers saying that the primary accusations were false.”
Sadly there is no shortage of naive people who will swallow this self-pitying self-justifying narrative hook, line, and sinker. (And sadly there’s no shortage of media outlets who will happily use Haggard as a stick to beat the “unforgiving” church with.)

Even more sadly, our own hearts can also do a Haggard when we are confronted with our own sins.
Real repentance looks and sounds radically different. It says: “I’m worse than you, worse than you think, and did worse than you can imagine. No matter what was in my past, I deliberately chose these sinful actions and accept full responsibility for them. I deserve whatever consequences result from them. I shamed my Lord and His church. If some Christians treat me badly, that’s OK, I understand. I can’t and won’t complain. I won’t say or write anything that will portray the Church or Christians in a bad light. I’ve brought enough damage on the church already. And I certainly won’t use the tragic suicides of others to further my own public rehabilitation.”

That’s the kind of repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).
David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article  first appeared on his blog, Head Heart hand, and is used with permission.

Disgraced Ex-Preacher Says There’s a Major Culture Problem in Evangelical Christianity

Ted Haggard, a preacher who stepped down in 2006 from his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., following a sex and drug scandal, recently spoke out about Isaac Hunter’s suicide, an event that took the evangelical world by storm last week.

Focusing specifically on the scandals and charges of wrongdoing that have surrounded many famed preachers — himself included — Haggard said that evangelical Christians sometimes fail to properly apply the gospel when dealing with faith leaders who fall from grace.

Hunter, the former pastor of Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., had been facing personal issues since stepping down from his position late last year. His death, following the suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s son, Matthew, earlier this year, has brought additional attention to mental health in evangelical circles.


“The news about Pastor Isaac Hunter breaks my heart. Great speaker, lover of God, and my guess is he loved the church. But he, like all of us, fell short,” Haggard wrote. “In the midst of divorce with accusations swirling, he resigned from the church he founded. He gave it his best shot, and his heart was broken.”
He continued, “This makes me sick to my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sick that he fell short, that’s a given for everyone except Christ Himself, I’m sick that our message did not do what we all hoped – it did not fix the problem.”

Haggard said that, in the past, evangelical leaders who have been immersed in scandal were often seen as not true believers, however he said this simply isn’t the case. In fact, he argued that most people who are in ministry “are sincere followers of Christ.”

While many Christians assume that a conversion to the faith heals all past problems, Haggard said this wasn’t the case in his own experience. While he said that becoming a believer made him “a new creation spiritually,” Haggard noted that there was some “simple care” that would have helped him avoid the scandal and pain he caused his family.

“I was so ashamed in 2006 when my scandal broke. The therapeutic team that dug in on me insisted that I did not have a spiritual problem or a problem with cognitive ability, and that I tested in normal ranges on all of my mental health tests (MMPI, etc.).” he wrote. “Instead, I had a physiological problem rooted in a childhood trauma, and as a result, needed trauma resolution therapy. I had been traumatized when I was 7 years old, but when Bill Bright led me to the Lord when I was 16, I learned that I had become a new creature, a new person, and that I did not need to be concerned about anything in my past, that it was all covered by the blood.”

But Haggard said that his past was still impacting his life.
In the end, the former megapastor claimed that his Christian training was delivered by people who didn’t respect the mental health and neural science professions. This translated, he wrote, into a counterproductive situation, as he was taught to view all issues as being entirely spiritual in nature.

“If I prayed and fasted, I was more tempted. If I just worked in ministry, I experienced relief and was not tempted,” Haggard continued. “I thought it was spiritual warfare. It was not. My struggle was easily explained by a competent therapeutic team.”

Haggard said that he believes wholeheartedly in the Bible, but that Christianity has “abandoned the application of the gospel” and that, as a result, too much time is spent on image management and damage control.

“Every one of us have had sin horribly intrude in our lives after being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, and God is faithfully healing us or has healed us,” he continued. “Why don’t we tell that? He has never left us or forsaken us when we’ve said and done the wrong thing. Why don’t we tell that?”
Read Haggard’s entire blog post here.



Also see,

Arrogant Ted Haggard defends Eddie Long; Deflects questions about his hypocritical scandals



Jack Graham Explains How to Have Your Best Christmas: Shun Church Critics, Especially Those "Watchdoggers" 

Monday, December 16, 2013

At left is Jack Graham, pastor of the mega church Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

Being the loving, caring pastor that he is, Pastor Jack delivered a sermon on December 8th explaining how his church members can have their best Christmas ever.

Here is Pastor Jack's advice:

"There's lots of bloggers and watchdoggers who love to attack pastors and churches...maybe people you hang out with who love to attack churches and be negative about the church. My advice to you if you want to be happy in life is to get as far away as possible from those people. They're only going to drag you down....Instead, get around people who say something like this: 'Isn't it great what God is doing in our church?'"

Here is a 3-minute excerpt from Pastor Jack's December 8th sermon:




Ah yes, one of the keys to having your best Christmas EVER is to determine in your heart that you're going to shun those who might criticize your church or your pastor.

Most pastors don't stand in their pulpit and say these kinds of things. To Pastor Jack's credit, at least he wasn't too angry about it.

But why would Jack Graham want to use his pulpit to tell his church members to not read blogs, to basically shun all people who criticize the church or pastors? Because it was a blogger who helped begin the process of calling Graham's church to explain why they failed to report pedophile John Langworthy to police, resulting in the pedophile moving to Mississippi where he molested more children.

Amy Smith is probably one of the "bloggers" that Graham would tell people to shun and stay away from. As I wrote back in 2011 in my article "In the Langworthy/Prestonwood Story, Bloggers Once Again Show They are Sorely Needed to Get Truth Out" I wrote:

"With the help of the New BBC Open Forum blog recently, former Prestonwood Baptist staffer Amy Smith was able to get the attention of folks in Langworthy's new church and community. Finally as word spread among the people at Langworthy's church, and they did Internet searches that landed them on the New BBC Open Forum post here, they realized they may have a pedophile in their midst. Their church leadership began an investigation, and then Brett Shipp became involved. Brett covered the story because of the connection of Langworthy to Prestonwood, and their apparent failure to report Langworthy's crimes to the police back in 1989 and instead let him slip away to another church."
Yes, those darned "bloggers and watchdoggers". They dare to criticize Jack Graham's church for not reporting a pedophile which resulted in John Langworthy continuing his abuse at another church.

So Prestonwood Baptist members: don't listen to your Man of God on this issue. He is one of the many mega church pastors and their minions who view bloggers as a problem. You should know that the New BBC Open Forum blog I mentioned above that helped bust one of your former pedophile ministers was one of the blogs that Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Detective Robbie Hinson subpoenaed (click here to see the subpoena for yourself) back in 2008 when he investigated my blog to uncover my identity (which resulted in a first amendment lawsuit ultimately settled out of court) - all while Hinson was on the discipline committee of his megachurch which sought my identity. Detective and Discipline Committee Member Hinson for good measure also subpoenaed Tiffany Croft's blog - a blog that actually assisted our State Attorney's office in gathering information from fearful Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist church members who reported Darrell Gilyard's (pictured at right) sexual abuses.
 
And don't forget about Prestonwood's treatment of Chris Tynes, another critic worthy of shunning in the wacky world of Pastor Jack: don't call the cops on the pedophile, but call the cops on the guy demanding answers about the pedophile. And one more reason Pastor Jack doesn't like Watchdoggers: we were quick to point out that Pastor Jack was one of those pastors who got duped by Ergun Caner right after 9/11 and allowed Caner to use the Prestonwood pulpit to create his new "former terrorist" image.

But hey, Prestonwood members, perhaps Jack's advice will indeed give you the best Christmas ever, and help you live a happy life: see no evil, hear no evil - and certainly speak no evil. As one friend said recently: if your pastor publicly declares that you shouldn't listen to this or to that person and tells you to shun a person - that should trigger a red flag to cause you to consider that this person is on to something, and schedule a lunch date with them immediately.

Or at least cause you to visit their blogsite every week or so.

Merry Christmas to you, Jack Graham, and thanks for sending me more readership from your church.



First read:

Will Graham Says That His Grandfather, Billy Graham, Is Very Weak and Is Ready To Go Home To Be With the Lord: Gospel Profoundly Affected Nelson Mandela , Says Evangelist Michael Cassidy: oh: really

Harold Camping, radio host who predicted world’s end, dies at 92


Harold Camping, radio host who predicted world’s end, dies at 92




(RNS) Harold Camping, the radio preacher who convinced thousands of followers that Jesus would return on May 21, 2011, to usher in the end of the the world, has died, according to a statement released late Monday (Dec. 16) by his Family Radio network. He was 92.
(RNS) California radio evangelist Harold Camping said the world will end on May 21, 2011 -- a figure he based, in part, on when he believes Noah entered the ark. RNS file photo by Kimberly Winston.
(RNS) California radio evangelist Harold Camping said the world would end on May 21, 2011 — a date he based, in part, on when he believes Noah entered the ark. RNS file photo by Kimberly Winston

Camping died Sunday evening, an employee at Family Radio confirmed. He had fallen at his home on Nov. 30 and had been in weak health due to a stroke since 2011.

Camping first predicted Jesus’ return in 1994, but his most recent forecasts gained national attention through advertisements and the Family Radio network of stations he founded. He warned that “judgment day” would occur in May 2011 and said the world would end in October 2011.
When his prophecies turned out to be false, he declared in March 2012 that his May 21 prediction had been “incorrect and sinful” and said his ministry would get out of the predictions business.
The ministry sold its prominent stations and laid off staffers, with assets dropping from $135 million in 2007 to $29.2 million in 2011.

Pressed by reporters after his May 21 prediction failed to materialize, Camping said he had miscalculated — it must be Oct. 21, he said. “I’m not a genius,” he said. “I pray all the time for wisdom.”
Starting in the 1950s, Camping broadcast his views via Family Radio, a global network of Christian stations for which he served as unpaid president and primary on-air talent. His teachings aired worldwide five nights a week via “Open Forum,” a call-in show that draws listeners as far away as China and Ghana.
“Thank you for calling ‘Open Forum,’ ” Camping said countless times in his trademark baritone, “and shall we take our next call, please?”

Camping was once well-regarded in among evangelicals, both for his encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture and his radio network. But in the late 1980s, when he began teaching that churches had strayed from the Bible embracing a false doctrine, he lost much previous support.

He also discouraged his listeners from joining a church, saying modern churches were heretical and that the “church age” had ended as the end of the world was near. He had no formal religious training beyond his tattered copies of the King James Version of the Bible and couldn’t read or speak Greek, Hebrew or Jesus’ native Aramaic.
(RNS2-APR25) Bob James of Morristown, N.J., organized a grass roots campaign to fund billboards about a pending judgment day on May 21, 2011. For use with RNS-MAY21-DOOMSDAY, transmitted April 25, 2011. RNS photo by Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger.
Bob James of Morristown, N.J., organized a grass-roots campaign to fund billboards about a pending judgment day on May 21, 2011. RNS photo by Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

His 2011 prophecy got widespread attention, including “Rapture Parties” hosted by atheists who wanted to “ridicule and poke fun at the fools.” It gave one man the opportunity to create a fake business that offered to care for the pets of believers swept up by the Rapture.

His March 2012 statement, which in many ways amounted to the final time many people heard from Camping, expressed regret for the predictions, which had led many followers to sell all their possessions in anticipation of the end of the world.

Camping said people continued to wish for another prediction, but he had become convinced that critics were correct about the biblical admonition that “of that day and hour knoweth no man.”

“We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world,” he wrote at the time. “Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date.”

Camping is survived by his wife of 71 years, the statement says.



 

Also read:

Harold Camping's Stroke Punishment From God? A Biblical Response


Un like the Unrepentant False Prophet Harold Camping, Ugandan doomsday pastor apologizes to Christians




The world is ending on October, 21st, 2011 and Judgment day is on May, 21st 2011: Do not believe this Utter Nonsense and Stupidity


http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2011/03/world-is-ending-on-october-21st-2011.html