Monday, March 31, 2008

Resurrection 2 - Acts 5 and a Challenge

MP3 podcast

Thursday, March 27, 2008

False Teaching Hurts People

Great news! Another version of the prosperity gospel (which is no gospel at all) has achieved the devil's goals of destroying life. Madeline Neumann, an 11 year old girl, died of diabetes this week because of the teachings of "Unleavened Bread Ministries," (how emergent!) which states very clearly in their public writings that "We are not commanded in scripture to send people to the doctor but to meet their needs through prayer and faith. ... the best [way to receive] healing is Jesus Christ. The foundation for receiving this benefit from Him is repentance and faith in His promises." Another place, "We cannot get anyone out from under a curse except through the Gospel. Sometimes God is merciful, but we cannot guarantee God's deliverance to those who do not walk under the blood."

Under the blood, eh?

Since, according to David Elles, the pope of Unleavened Bread, we are living in "america's last days," the trusting if naive parents of Madeline believe this entire event was "in God's hands." As far as they are concerned, they are only doing what the Bible has commanded them to do. They describe themselves as "nondenominational Christians."

False teaching hurts people. False teaching kills little girls. Last year, a 14-year old Jehovah's Witness met a similar end. Worse still is the reality that this tremendous confusion of the real power of the Gospel to deliver with a kingdom "built of this world," will be responsible for more than few little girls dying. It sends many to the fires of hell, where the real Doctor will never be.

Don't get me wrong. I'll speak out sooner than most about the evils of our current idolatry of medicine. We're infatuated with keeping people alive far longer than is healthy for them! Recently, I was told I shouldn't smoke cigars because someone knew a man who died of a heart attack from them. "How old was he?" I asked. "Seventy," he said. "Seventy!" I gasped. If I get to die of a heart attack at seventy, I'll count my sweet blessings!"

So, false teaching has a niche. We are idolaters of doctors. We do think they can heal everything and we look to God and ask "why" whenever the curse makes itself known. When little girls die, we weep, and rightly so. But shall we destroy the use because of the abuse?

"We are not commanded in scripture to send people to the doctor..."

There's an old, mostly dead sect called the "Campbellites," a little non-denomination from the 1800's who followed a self-appointed pope on the merry road to extinction - they're actually still around...barely. They believed that, "Unless the Bible says do it, you can't." They were the "argument from silence" kings. I'm not sure if they drive cars or not, but one has to wonder how they justify breathing. I mean, God gave us the first breath. We're really pretty faithless to not believe that's enough to live on...
I digress.

But the real point here is that we must believe that false teaching is harmful. It's harmful to faith, AND its harmful to life. The lies of the devil are bent on murder. He seeks destruction. He wants to take little girls who aren't old enough to be baptized in their heretical little churches, and kill them before the Word of God can do its work.

Now, maybe this poor little girl who went into a coma at home before authorities broke in and took her to the hospital only to pronounce her dead on arrival, managed to hear enough about Jesus from David Elles and his little cult of a ministry. Maybe their special "Numeric English New Testament" was read in her home and managed to "perfectly literal"ly talk about the cross. Maybe his website section on prophecies and dreams contains some semblance or reference to the forgiveness of sins. Maybe his work, "the tithe that binds," opens up with a huge section on the nature of the atonement, for you. Maybe she was young enough that when he taught about the second adam "restoring our dominion" she didn't understand the part about having to live up to this dominion now, by working her faith hard enough, but just understood Jesus was her savior. Maybe God was even saving her from this cult by letting her die so young.

I don't know.

But I do know, false teaching hurts people. If you or anyone you know is in a non-denominational church, or any church which allows its pastors to teach "whatever the Bible says," know this: you would be safer under the Pope. For all the tyranny of medieval Rome, at least there not every man could teach as he best saw fit. Not every dream and vision was a reason to chase the wind. Not every pastor was free to be his own personal messiah.

If you're there: get out. If you're family is there: get them out. By prayer and by learning what you can to dispute their false beliefs from the Scripture, get [them] out. If you don't know where learn that, then start coming here and listening. Start going here and listen. Find the Gospel - the real Gospel (it's in Galatians pure and clear!) And flee false teachers like the plague. They do not seek your good, however sincere they may be. They seek to make much of you, but only for themselves, so they might glory in their great abilities to make much of you. As they have been deceived, so they go on deceiving.

Yes, David Elles, we do live in the last days. If only you knew how wrongly right you really are. Stop trusting your dreams. Start reading the Bible as if it actually had something to say about Jesus.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Day of Resurrection

Genius that I am, I decided to turn my computer off, rather than "suspend" it, following the sermon yesterday. What that means is that, while I saved a small amount of battery power, I did not save the sermon.

My regrets to you who sought it here! Instead, maybe take a gander at this . Chris Rosborough is a thoroughly well versed, read and studied theologian, who came out of the evangelical world into the Lutheran Church. He has made a small career of studying Saddleback Community Church, it's methods, movements and theology. His insights on this link are well worth consideration and, I would also argue, a far cry from "conspiracy." As he has said elsewhere, "This isn't Oliver Stone. The LCMS is simply following the Purpose-Driven Playbook."

The site will show you that playbook. You can make the decision yourself. :D

He IS risen. Whatever happens, we "sheep led to slaughter" are precious in his site, especially in death. Rejoice! Death has no sting, and, though we have trouble in the world, the world has now been overcome!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday


Maundy Thursday


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Holy Week Posting - It's Been a While, But Here's Some Good (and Bad) News

My apologies for the delayed absence in posting here. The final week in Lent I came down with something (flu?) which left me fever- and bed-ridden for five days. I haven't been sacked like that in a LONG time. After getting up again, the next week still left me feeling very weak and, at times, sweaty (yuck!)

All things being equal, I was also at last installed this passed Sunday at St. John ELC in Springfield, PA, outside of Philly. We will move into the area a week from Holy Saturday, into a parsonage which has just been purchased across the street, and closes on the 27th. We are VERY excited about this new future opportunity, especially in the midst of many other more disconcerting things, such as the lateral cancellation of Issues, Etc., this past week.

Woe to those who obscure the Gospel.

Speaking of the Gospel, here are some links for your positively itching ears:

Palm Sunday Sermon

Lent 4 Sermon

Midweek series - Spirituality of the Cross - Week 3 (unedited)

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