Why I See A Connection Between Charismatic Teaching And Occult Practices

Occult ChristianityGrowing up in the 1960s, I had exposure to many occult and New Age influences. My mom, although she in some respects had turned away from her Christian Science upbringing, introduced me and my sister to horoscopes, Ouija boards and yoga. The liberal Presbyterian church (PCUSA, of course) encouraged my fascination with occult and paranormal phenomena. On a youth group ski trip the pastor’s daughter read our palms.

Very soon after that ski trip, the Lord graciously brought me to Himself, and within a few months He allowed people to confront my interest in astrology. Over the next few months He helped me renounce other forms of occult and New Age practices.

But readers of my Autobiography With Purpose series will recall that I attended Pentecostal and Charismatic churches for the first 31 years of my Christian life. True, after 18 years the Lord showed me that the sign gifts ceased when the Canon of Scripture was completed, but He let me remain in the church for several more years. Throughout those 31 years, I occasionally observed random incidents that reminded me of my Continue reading

Why We Like To Believe That God Speaks Directly To Us And Why We Must Question That Belief

Ancient ScriptureThe other Sunday School teacher had taken the rest of our Special Needs class on a short excursion, leaving me with a particularly difficult little boy. His intellectual disability was profound, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was somewhere on the autism spectrum. In 1975, leaving a child alone with a teacher didn’t raise eyebrows, so there we sat for ten minutes.

“I hate you, Debbie,” he declared. I was minoring in Special Education that semester, so I tried reasoning with him the way my professor had taught me. Didn’t work. He repeated his proclamation several times, each time more loudly and eventually adding profanity.

Suddenly I had the thought to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” To my astonishment, the little boy sang with me! The others returned to find the two of us singing and laughing together.

For years I told that story as evidence that Continue reading

The Job Of Discernment Bloggers In Positive Terms

 

The Outspoken TULIP Header 2019 eWhen we think of discernment bloggers, we generally think of those who dedicate themselves to ruthlessly exposing false teachers. According to the common caricature, these bloggers are sarcastic, unloving, closed to reason and (above all) self-righteous.

Some of them actually do fit this caricature, I’m grieved to say. Ironically, their eagerness to bring down people that they consider to be false teachers leads them to disreputable sources. I’ve seen self-proclaimed watchmen link to websites that are obviously shoddy just because that website says something unflattering about whatever teacher they hope to discredit.

So yes, some ministries that bill themselves as discerning actually Continue reading

The Followers Of Rachel Held Evans Need Compassion And Truth

Untitled-1For a short while in the late 1980s, I participated in an AIDS ministry. I remember my friend Bob Winter (who began the ministry in response to his own battle with AIDS) teaching us that it’s easy to be right and yet be very wrong. In other words, we can present truth, but in a manner that rides roughshod over the feelings of hurting people.

I’ve been thinking about Bob’s remark today as I’ve thought about the followers of Rachel Held Evans. These people have indeed been deceived by her liberal approach to Christianity — particularly her rejection of Scripture’s authority. They need Continue reading

Now That Rachel Held Evans Has Died,Should We Stop Calling Her A False Teacher?

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Because I spent all day Saturday enjoying our church’s women’s conference and most of yesterday at church (we had a coffee fellowship after the service), I didn’t see  Elizabeth Prata’s announcement that Rachel Held Evans had died until late yesterday afternoon. My heart sank. RHE leaves behind a young husband and two small children. Having lost my father mere days before my tenth birthday, I feel sad for her children — it’s a hole in childhood that never gets filled.

I also understand the cultural notion that we should “never speak ill of the dead.” That’s generally a good policy, I guess. Especially when the death is fresh and the wounds of grief are raw. Consequently, we face a huge temptation to fold away our theological differences with RHE in favor of showing respect for her family. I get that.

Along those lines, I quite agree that any pronouncements about her eternal state are inappropriate. Her theology definitely veered south, causing grave concern, but we have no idea what transpired between her and the Lord during those weeks she was in the coma. It would be highly arrogant to presume she went to hell…and Continue reading

Saturday Sampler: April 21 — April 27

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The Easter attacks in Sri Lanka prompted Stephen McAlpine to write When The Silence Is As Deafening As the Explosions. I’ve been saying since the inception of my blog that Christians must expect persecution — McAlpine underscores this reality in his post as well as discussing the world’s reluctance to report on it.

I’ve also been saying for quite some time that Biblical discernment entails so much more than calling out false prophets. In The Mailbag: Vaxxers, Anti-Vaxxers, and the Health of the Body, Michelle Lesley uses practical application of Scripture to address heated debates about vaccinations.

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A Chosen Race, A Royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation by Hohn Cho of Pyromaniacs addresses several crucial issues from a Biblical perspective. It’s a sterling example of how discernment operates.

I like SharaC’s thought that Easter isn’t the end, but the beginning. Her devotional post, Jesus On The Beach, appears in Into the Foolishness of God.

Once again,  Possessing the Treasure includes Mike Ratliff’s insightful exegesis with Worldly Wisdom vs. God’s Absolute Truth. If you want to learn ways of handling Scripture properly, look no further. More importantly, Mike builds a solid case for God’s sovereignty in electing people to salvation.

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Although John and I couldn’t have children, we support our friends who have big families. It pains me to hear people (especially Christians) make judgmental remarks about them. So James Faris’ Do You Know What Causes This?! in Gentle Reformation encourages and refreshes me. Whether you’re a mom to several children or a critic of large families, please read this one.

Elizabeth Prata of The End Time observes The fallout from a hyper-casual generation (of pastors). She takes a hard line without resorting to legalism, an attitude which only strengthens her case. And it’s a case well worth presenting. While you’re on her website,  check out The days of Christian persecution in America are coming.

In Context Matters: I Never Knew You; Depart From Me, Peter Krol sharpens our understanding of arguably one of the most frightening statements Jesus ever uttered. Besides demonstrating how to interpret the meaning of a Bible verse by its context, Krol augments our ability to discern whether or not someone is a false teacher. Krol blogs for Knowable Word.

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Finding Truth Amid A Multitude Of Lies

My responsibilities to my local church are a joy, and I praise the Lord for an opportunity to serve. Because of this ministry, sometimes my blog will have to take a back seat. Today, for instance.

So I went on Pastor Gabe Hughes’ YouTube channel, WWUTT, and found an interesting video on discerning false religions and false teachers. Despite its brevity, it actually contains a wealth of information that helps us distinguish between truth and error.

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