Orientation

By John Henderson

One of my greatest peeves is the way people who want to promote error play with words.  They distort meanings and place words in a context where they have no business being.  But that is what the devil does in his grand program of delusions.  Orientation is one of those words.  Not only does the world use it wrongly, but so-called evangelistic ministers and church leaders misuse it in a context of homosexuality with the purpose of befriending the world at the expense of alienation from God.

Keep in mind that the attitude of the society at large is in direct parallel with the compromises in the church.  They run alongside one another with very little shift in vernacular.

It is more common these days, for example, for “evangelicals” to boldly stand up before spiritually-dwarfed teens and young adults and openly declare that somehow being oriented to homosexuality is okay and that God doesn’t mind.  The problem all along, they say, has been the narrow-mindedness of intolerant Christians over the centuries who dare to say that not only is something like homosexuality a sin but even being oriented that way is a sin.  How dare they be so mean and insensitive as to make gay people feel guilty and unsaved because they are even oriented to being homosexual!

We may be using homosexuality as an example here but it is far more reaching than just that.  It is being used as a springboard to making all sorts of deviancies appear to be normal.

It reminds me of the time when I served at an evacuation hospital in Vietnam and they brought in a load of casualties one evening, an occurrence throughout every day.  We were all busy—very busy—but I noticed a young Army lieutenant lying over against a wall, just off of a medical helicopter, as doctors and nurses worked feverishly to save his life.  He was somewhat lucid and spewing out profanities in his pain.  I didn’t see any lacerations or blood but knew they were working with his legs.  They were trying to prep him as quickly as possible for emergency surgery and were trying to stabilize him in some way.

He died before they could do enough.  I walked over and asked one of the doctors what had happened.  He told me that the lieutenant had bled to death.  He saw my puzzled expression and explained that the soldier had suffered what is called internal amputation to both legs from a blast and the injuries were so massive that he was hemorrhaging profusely inside his legs and they had been trying to get into his legs as quickly as possible to stop the bleeding.

The lieutenant appeared normal on the outside but he died on the inside without ever spilling a drop of blood or having so much as a scratch.  His hope of living was drastically reduced because they could not see where the severed arteries and blood vessels were without surgery.

The Bible says that the heart is desperately wicked and that we cannot know it.  Our own hearts deceive us unless we are living close to the Lord, and even then we have to keep alert.  It becomes an even greater calamity when a deceived heart becomes a deceiving heart.  It is no longer safe to assume that because someone is “one of us” that the person is even born again just on that alone.  It is impossible to cling to error in the face of truth and be born again.  That statement still holds true regardless of one’s position of Christian security.  God is the final judge but when the fruit stinks the root is rotten.

Those false teachers who appeal to those still in their sins by excusing their orientations to sinfulness are either ignorant of the Scriptures or else do not believe the Scriptures.  The basic truth of the Bible is that all sin comes from wicked orientation:  the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. 

There is no committing sin without some sort of orientation to it in the first place.  I have no trouble with tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and many worldly practices because I have never been oriented to them in the first place.  There are some areas where I can be (and am) severely tempted because of past experiences.  In one case with me it was violent anger.  Only His grace and presence keeps me steady even now.  It is just as James says:  “But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15, NET).

Sin does not jump out at us and overpower us.  It lures through depraved desires where carelessness has emerged.  Those desires (“conceived” orientations) are the catalysts for sin.  It is no sin to be tempted but it is a sin to pay attention to the temptation because that is the very first step of the act itself.  The words of that Methodist evangelist of my youth are still true:  “It isn’t the first look that is sin.  It is the second look.”

Someone once said that when we are saved, all of our sins are forgiven and washed away.  However, we still retain the fallen condition of humanity and sin leaves scars.  Those scars are tender and it is there where the devil tries to get to us.  The former homosexual, for instance, who is gloriously saved and sanctified, may often be tempted more so than others concerning homosexuality but that is not sin until he (or she) begins to dwell on it, excuse it, and nurture it.  When he does that, he has already entered into the sin.  An act is only the predictable culmination of the “orientation”.  That, of course, leads to death.

We who are Christians and ministers of the gospel of Jesus must realize that we shall be held accountable—horribly accountable—for the souls we lead astray in these matters.  We must be clear and uncompromising if the lost are to hear God’s clarion call to salvation and holiness.  When Paul wrote about the warring in his members in Romans 7, he wasn’t trying to find a way to deal with it in fellowship with Christ and believers so that it was embraced as an orientation.  He was moving towards the important question of deliverance from it:

“For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.  So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:19-25, NET)

After stating the hopelessness of such a condition, he opens in chapter 8 with the solution to this awful dilemma by saying in essence why he thanks God through Jesus Christ our Lord:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:1-8, NET).

Being “oriented” to sin is not the last word.  Being delivered out of sin and away from its control over us is the last word.  Holiness preachers (those who actually preached scriptural holiness) knew and clearly proclaimed the truth of this.  They talked of the carnal nature or the “old man” being crucified and the fullness of—the infilling of—the Holy Spirit taking over and cleansing us from ALL sin—not partial cleansing from some sin.  They preached about walking in newness of grace and changed, that is, transformed, lives where sin no longer holds dominion over us.

Anyone who tries to say that any orientation to things of sin is natural and amoral is not preaching scriptural truth.  They are not even telling realistic truth that is based in any biological facts.  They are clearly preaching a lie and lies originate only in the devil.  If some are unwilling to take God at His word, perhaps they should just create a religion of their own and leave the Christian one alone.  Maybe their final judgment will not be as severe that way, if it really matters all that much.

Galatians 6:7-8, NET – “Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.”

 

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)
[NOTICE:  ANYTHING I write over this signature may be copied or shared with others

and is deemed as published material unless otherwise stated herein]

 

False Teacher Campolo To Speak At Southern Nazarene University

The Nazarene denomination’s fascination with Tony Campolo, especially as a guest speaker at the universities, is astounding.  The latest venue he is scheduled at in the near future is Southern Nazarene University, where he is slated to speak on Feb. 14, 2013.  I am sending this to the president of Southern Nazarene University, and I hope that he will agree with those of us who are fully aware of the falsehoods in Tony Campolo’s ideology, which do not lineup at all with Nazarene teaching, and more importantly, with Biblical teaching and doctrine.  The right thing to do would then be to withdraw the invitation for Campolo, with the exception that they would at least provide a forum where he can be debated in front of the university students. I know several Nazarenes (myself included) who would, in a heartbeat, be willing to debate Dr. Campolo on the merits of his belief system, which I will highlight in a moment.  After all, is not the university the best place for a vigorous debate between opposing principles, where students can listen and make up their minds?  It would serve everyone well to see if Dr. Campolo’s beliefs stand up to the light of Scripture.

In previous posts, I have documented his promotion of pagan Celtic “Christianity” and its “thin places”.  In his speaking engagement at Eastern Nazarene College, he blatantly promoted “thin places” and contemplative spirituality, with Nazarene pastors in attendance at the chapel service, and not a word of protest as far as I know.  And I’m not surprised, as not one pastor in my New England area who happens to be on my email list has ever commented back to me about any concern about Tony Campolo.  One would think that they would want to correct any erroneous assessments of Tony Campolo, including the fact I have called him out as a false teacher.  I have not heard a word either supporting Tony Campolo, or condemning his false teachings.

I have had one university leader, Dr. Karl Leth of Olivet Nazarene University, respond to me and try to defend the welcoming of Dr. Campolo to their campus.  His defense failed the biblical test, although I do respect the fact that he was willing to try.

It truly is sad how bad things are getting in all our Nazarene universities.  It truly is sad how are General Superintendents have done nothing in the last four years since they started getting warnings from me and many others.  If they have been doing something to stop the onslaught of false teachings, I would love to know what it is.  And it certainly has not been made know publicly, which would be the proper thing to do, so there will know where they stand.  But no, continued silence from these leaders, who according to the church manual, are charged with the responsibility of interpreting church doctrine.

Below are just some examples of the heretical views of Tony Campolo.  Judge for yourself.  I am sending this to the General Superintendents again for their review and comment as to whether Tony Campolo reflects the values of the Church of the Nazarene.  It must be pointed out again that Dr. Campolo is never openly challenged in front of the students, who sit passively as he indoctrinates many of them with his false teachings.

SOME OF TONY CAMPOLO’S HERETICAL BELIEFS:

His ecumenicalism, and belief that you don’t even have to know you are saved, or astoundingly, that you even have to be a Christian to have “Jesus in you”.  He also places Islam on the same equal footing as Christianity.

“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.”  (Charlie Rose show on January 24, 1997)

“Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.”  (Page 149, Speaking My Mind)

“I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that’s my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians”  (National Liberty Journal, 8/99)

“…what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it.” (EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne)

“Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving”  (EP News Service, Oct. 4, 1985)

“What I am trying to say is that Jesus who incarnated God 2,000 years ago is mystically present and waiting to be discovered in EVERY person you and I encounter”  (A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 171)

His Promotion of Contemplative Prayer (Mysticism)

His fascination with mysticism and heretics such as Ignatius of Loyola, who was a leader in the Counter-Reformation.  Here, he mentions Loyola as an important source of help for him.  Campolo apparently forgets the fact that Ignatius was in charge of the brutal group called the Jesuits, also known as the pope’s shock troops, who persecuted Christians who dared to defy the Roman Catholic teachings.  Yet, he calls Ignatius a saint!

“Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”   (“Mystical Encounters for Christians”)

His Promotion of Mindless Repetitive Prayer and Pagan Celtic Spirituality

“I’ve got to push everything out of mind save the name of Jesus. I say His name over and over again, for as long as fifteen minutes, until I find my soul suspended in what the ancient Celtic Christians called a “thin place”–a state where the boundary between heaven and earth, divine and human, dissolves. You could say that I use the name of Jesus as my koan.”  (Mystical Encounters for Christians)

* It is also interesting that Nazarene Theological Seminary’s Doug Hardy is teaching the pagan Celtic Spirituality to future Nazarene pastors.  This is an abomination, frankly, along with the emergent ideology and other contemplative spirituality they are teaching.  The seminary is preparing our future false pastors for Nazarene churches across the globe right now.

His “Feminization” Of Jesus In the Following Statement

“There is a feminine side of God. I always knew this … It is this feminine side of God I find in Jesus that makes me want to sing duets with Him … Not only do I love the feminine is Jesus, but the more I know Jesus, the more I realize that Jesus loves the feminine in me. Until I accept the feminine in my humanness, there will be a part of me that cannot receive the Lord’s love. … There is that feminine side of me that must be recovered and strengthened if I am to be like Christ … And until I feel the feminine in Jesus, there is a part of Him which I cannot identify.”(Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88)

His Lack of Understanding Of Scripture regarding Homosexuality

“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians, as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.”  (20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch”, page 117)

Dr. Campolo also believes in evolution; does not believe that the Bible is inerrantly inspired; believes that man has an inner divinity; believes non-Christians might go to heaven; believes that homosexuals are “born that way”, and that it is not a “volitional” issue.

So this man continues to get invited to our Christian schools to indoctrinate our students with all sorts of heresies.  Discernment was thrown out a long time ago by our leaders.

Related Articles:

Beware Tony Campolo:  http://www.wayoflife.org/database/campolo.html

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/olivet-nazarene-lets-false-teacher-campolo-speak-in-chapel/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/symptoms-of-a-great-apostasy-in-our-christian-schools-and-seminaries/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/tony-campolos-thin-places-occultic-christianity/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/false-prophet-tony-campolo-promotes-doctrines-of-demons-to-enc-students/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/profiles-in-apostasy-tony-campolo/

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF YOUR LIFE – Have you been born again? – John 3:3


The following is from my friends at Mission Venture Ministries:

This is the most important question in the life of any human being. Jesus Christ said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). 

It is not sufficient to say “I am a member of a church and therefore I am a Christian.” Thousands of so-called Christians do not show any evidence of having been born again, as Paul tells the Galatians, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders,drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) 

According to Paul, a sinful lifestyle reflects a heart that is not right with God and by their behavior they are revealing that they do not belong to His kingdom, regardless of what they affirm. 

Some people think they are Christians because they prayed a sinner’s prayer, yet their lives bear no evidence that they know Christ. Paul said that the proof of salvation is a changed life. If the only proof a person can offer is something they said or did a long time ago, that is very weak evidence. The proof of a Christian life should be seen in a person’s continual reflecting Christ through their lifestyle each day.  

Paul urged the brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2) 

If anyone wishes to know how to recognize a person who has truly been “born again,” here are some of the evidences as described in the Bible. 

The person does not practice sin – “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9) 

Meaning, he will not practice sin because God’s own nature has been implanted in him. A person who has been born again, that has been transformed, does not exhibit an inclination towards sin. A real Christian hates sin flees from it and fights against it, even though at times we all stumble. (James 3:2) 

When the born again believer sins and becomes aware of the offence, they immediately ask the Father for forgiveness because they recognize the sacrifice Christ paid for us on Calvary and they want a renewed unbroken fellowship with Him.   

The person believes in Christ – “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). 

A person, who has been born again, believes that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that He is the Son of God and the only one that can forgive our sins. That He came to this earth to reunite us to the Father.  

The person is righteous – “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” (1 John 2:29). 

A person, who has been born again, lives a holy life and seeks to live according to God’s will. They do the things that please God and avoid those things that God detests. They desire to look continuously at Christ as The example and to follow their Savior by keeping His instructions and commandments.  

The person has genuine love – “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” (1 John 3:14) 

A person who has been born again has a special love as all real Disciples of Christ have. They love all but have a special love for those who share their faith in Christ. Just as Jesus does, we are to love the worst sinners and care for them and bring them to the saving knowledge that comes from knowing our Lord Jesus Christ.  

The person overcomes the world – “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” (1 John 5:4) 

Those who are truly born again will not be defeated by the world. Not only do they make every effort to avoid sinning, but also stay away from anything that could lead them to sin. They are careful with whom they associate and protect themselves against the enemy with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), are watchful, humble and diligent in their prayers.   

The Test 

A person’s actions need to be examined to see if they are consistent with their profession of faith. 1 John 2:4 says, “If you say you know Him and do not keep his Commandments, the truth is not in you and you are a liar.” So, if someone professes to be a Christian and yet behaves in a manner contrary to what they professed we would naturally doubt their salvation. 

The term “born again” is being used very loosely these days, and we need to realize that true regeneration is a permanent, life-transforming miracle accomplished by God Himself in a believer’s life. 

Finally, we must be very careful not to be too judgmental, too quickly. It is a serious thing to say that someone is or is not saved. If we are unsure about the salvation of someone, then we should pray for that person, ask God to work in their life, and ask the Lord to give us wisdom. 

If you examine your life and see consistent disobedience to God, something is wrong. Make sure you are under no delusions, and that you are not depending on any false assurance of your salvation. Settle things with God today before it is too late.

Nowhere to Run

By John Henderson

I expect that the recent election results have been a sobering and shocking revelation to decent-minded folks.  It is especially true of Christians because we are keenly aware of the Bible’s prophecies of the end of the age and see many of the foretold events unfolding right before our eyes.  We have seen it approaching for many years but somehow consoled ourselves that it was still a future thing.  Well, that future is someone’s present and this might be what we are in.

I know there have always been those who have falsely declared that certain events of their day marked the time.  This is not speculation anymore.  It is too obvious to be that.  I look at the trees around my home at the end of summer and know that winter is just around the corner.  It is unmistakable.

Perhaps we finally realize that elections will not solve the spiritual maladies of our earth.  Elections work only for a people who are first right before God.  We have not been right before God for a long time and the infestation has only increased.  Look at the 2012 results across America.  Just to mention a few:  legalized marijuana for those over 21 in Colorado; an openly lesbian U.S. senator for the first time; the reelection of moral and mental buffoons in Florida; the election of a jail-bird over a war hero in Florida; approval of gay marriages; and on and on across the nation.  Then, we have the re-election of the most openly corrupt administration in the history of this country.  Already, those who believed the lies once more are demanding their rewards for support.  They will never get them.

And the drumbeat of coming judgment goes on.  Men who think they are somehow above God will soon meet with the horrible truth that they are still mere mortals before a God of judgment who once could have been their God of mercy.

Behind all of this, and largely contributing to it, is the backslidden church.  The church that once stood tall and bold for the truth of God is wildly and openly rebellious against all truth.  She prefers the lie, and the “Bride of Christ” on earth has morphed into the whore of Babylon.  She gleefully plays with postmodern and new age toys and dances with the heathen without once telling them that Jesus will save them from their sins.  They join in frivolous games and abandon prevailing prayer and learning the Word of God.  Being at church is so much more fun and relevant to the world now.  Pass the donuts, tea, and coffee and let us sing, dance, and laugh until it is time to go home—the home we reach by passing scores of lost souls along the way.  But why bother with that.  The blind cannot lead the blind.

We Christians can easily become frustrated with the shrinking resources of real Christian fellowship and support.  As churches and denominations die in their souls, we look around and can find many more of their kind than of the old-fashioned gospel kind.  We seem to have no place to run.  We may be pursued but we will never be overtaken if we keep moving towards Christ.  We may often be very alone, but He has promised to never leave or forsake us.  He will be with us all the way through to the glorious end.

“Unto them that look for Him shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).  Those who are so engrossed in the ways and thoughts of this world-order will not be looking for Jesus to return.  They will be caught off guard with no time to repent when He breaks through the clouds.  Those who think they are sitting on top of the world will find out it is about to catch fire.  Someone once told me to hold firmly to the promises of Christ and hold loosely to the things of the world.  Jesus’ promises will never fail and everything of this world will melt with fervent heat.  Its ashes will blow away in the winds of God’s wrath.  I still believe that old slogan:  “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)

Why I Cannot, As A Christian, Vote For Barack Obama

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Ps. 139:13-16

The following is based on considerable reflection on the responsibilities of a Christian to obey God in all that He instructs, and the duty as a citizen to vote for or reject a candidate for public office, based on one or more positions he/she holds.  Each Christian will have to make up their own mind according to their conscience.

There are many social and political issues that Christians in good conscience can disagree on and not make absolute claims that Holy Scripture supports their position.  Yet, there are issues that are clearly addressed in Scripture, that no Christian should ignore when dealing with the choice of who to vote for.  There are several that stand out for me that compels me as a Christian to rule out voting for a candidate, regardless if he or she agrees with every other political view I hold.  I find no biblical support for a Christian to vote for a candidate for public office who supports the killing of innocent life.

So on this issue alone (although there are others), I cannot and will not vote for Barack Obama, or anyone else, because abortion is in fact murder, and thus is in blatant contradiction to Scripture.  When a professing Christian candidate promotes abortion, it is even worse.  So therefore, how in good conscience can a Christian support the “right” to kill an innocent unborn child, when they go against God’s holy word?

Partial Birth Abortion

It is clear to all who have a good knowledge of current events that Barack Obama supports abortion, and organizations like Planned Parenthood, whose purpose is to promote the killing of unborn children for any reason.  The record is public for all to see.  But Barack Obama takes it even further.  First, he also supports the barbaric type of abortion called “partial-birth” abortion.  What is partial birth abortion?

Partial-Birth Abortion is a procedure in which  the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first out of the womb and into the birth canal (vagina), except for the head, which the abortionist purposely keeps lodged just inside the cervix (the opening to the womb).  The abortionist punctures the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument, such as a long surgical scissors or a pointed hollow metal tube called a trochar.  He then inserts a catheter (tube) into the wound, and removes the baby’s brain with a powerful suction machine.  This causes the skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the now-dead baby.  (Source)

This may as well be called infanticide also.  This is a horrendous description, but it is what it is.  It is real, and these nearly-born babies feel horrific pain when this murderous technique is applied to them.  Those who support abortion must be willing to be confronted with the reality of what it really is.  It is not tooth extraction.  It is a horrible procedure that snuffs out the life of a baby about to be otherwise born.  It is murder.  Barack Obama is okay with this procedure.  He has voted present (no) on partial birth abortion ban legislature, as well as against parental notification bills (Source).  Note also that the Democrat abortion platform does NOT exclude partial birth abortion.  This is the party of compassion that Barack Obama is a member of.

Infanticide

Barack Obama also goes further than even Hilary Clinton and many other liberals have ever gone.  When he was in the Illinois legislature, he argued against the passing of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which had a purpose to “provide that a live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human being and accorded immediate protection under the law.”

Yes, our president voted against this bill, more than once.  And when its equivalent was voted on in the U.S. Senate, the vote was 98-0 in favor of protecting these babies.  Yet Barack Obama could not even agree that saving the life of a child that was just born was worthwhile.  Instead, he fought against it, and was practically the only state senator in Illinois to vote against this bill.  See this compelling testimony from Jill Stanek, a nurse who worked at Christ Hospital in Chicago.  Then you can also listen to BHO’s own arguments against a bill that was identical in language to the bill that was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate.

Barack Obama also has said that having a baby can be a punishment. (source).  And there is also the disdain he has for fundamental Bible believing Christians, and lack of biblical knowledge, as evidenced in this video.

These things testify to the character of the man who is currently the nations’ leader.  I will continue with our God-mandated duty to pray for our leaders, and I pray that Barack Obama will repent and turn to Him whom he professes to follow.  However, with my constitutional right of free speech, I will encourage everyone I know to vote him out of office, solely on the basis of his lack of respect form human life.

I could give you so many more reasons why I would vote against him anyway, including his promotion of gay marriage, also an unbiblical position.  There are also economic reasons, foreign policy reasons, constitutional reasons; there are ideological disagreements over freedom, governmental overreach, welfare dependency, ObamaCare, illegal immigration, protection of our borders, national security, defense of Israel, his choice of colleagues such as Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and other radicals; his obstruction of free market ideas, his attitude of apologizing for America to foreign leaders; his raising the national debt another six trillion dollars; disrespect of the Constitution, his attempt to kill the coal and oil industry.

But for his support of abortion, and for not even protecting every baby’s right to live after birth, I believe no Christian can in good conscience vote for Barack Obama and his support for the culture of death.  Please consider this as you prepare to vote on Tuesday.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Ps. 127:3-5

Mysticism In The Nazarene Church: A Response to Elaine Heath

Yesterday, I started reading an article by Elaine Heath that is in the current online issue of Grace And Peace Magazine, a Nazarene publication that describes itself as a resource for Nazarene clergy.  That being said, after reading it, I was appalled at what she wrote.  The boldness of our Nazarene leadership, including our General Superintendents, that continues to recklessly allow the promotion of contemplative spirituality, paganism and methods of Eastern religions is disgraceful.  Unless you are spiritually blind as a professing Christian, you should also be appalled after reading John Henderson’s assessment below.  The question for you is, if you are silent now after these last four years, will you continue being silent in the face of all this apostasy?  I will follow up in a few days with a detailed summary of the “spiritual giants” Dr. Heath has studied and admired.

A Response to Elaine Heath

By John Henderson

Spiritual discernment is a special gift for some (1 Cor. 12:19) but is also necessary for all believers in Christ in a more general sense.  We must allow ourselves to be influenced only upon the will or heart and not on the fantasies of imagination or speculation.[1]  It involves a right relationship with Christ, familiarity with the Word of God, and a commitment to taking notice.  Proverbs 17:24 says:  “Wisdom is directly in front of[2] the discerning person, but the eyes of a fool run to the ends of the earth” (NET).[3]

I am confident that the majority of heresy issues we encounter these days are when speculation is presented and seen as on par with biblical revelation, especially when an ill-informed group fails to see the difference.  To an alarming degree, this is the case among the entire spectrum of what is called the church on earth.

One of the things that makes current error so deadly as compared to the former falling away is that today’s heretics have learned to not be so obvious, but are rather much more devious by their slick use of well-known evangelical terminology and concepts that they skillfully weave together with the deceptions of the emergent church movement.  This satanic cobra charms the victims into a spiritual and mental lethargy until they are ready to punch the fatal poison of deception into the life-system.

“Grace and Peace” Issue 7, Fall, 2012 has an article that caught my immediate attention just by the title:  “The Mystic Way of Evangelism: An Interview With Elaine A. Heath.”  I read it through and immediately recognized the blending of postmodern emergent error with concepts of truth.  Maybe I was alerted because of the title, but it dripped with new age postmodernism.  I knew it needed a public response.

You may read the article on the magazine’s website, http://www.graceandpeacemagazine.org/magazine/current-issue/303-the-mystic-way-of-evangelism-an-interview-with-elaine-a-heath. If it becomes removed, I have it saved on my computer.

Who is Elaine Heath?[4]

Dr. Elaine Heath is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, New Mexico Annual Conference.  She is Director of the Center for Missional Wisdom (formerly the Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Evangelism) at Perkins School of Theology.  She has published several books mostly in the emergent doctrine genre, if the titles are any indication.  Her research interests are evangelism and spirituality, evangelism and gender, the church in emerging culture, and the new monasticism.  Dr. Heath’s work, writings, and philosophy are clearly tied to emergent leaders and emergent mystic forerunners from the medieval to modern times.  They notably include Henri Nouwen, a late 20th century Dutch-born Catholic priest who is considered one of the godfathers of the modern emergent movement.  He is reported by his biographers to have struggled with homosexual tendencies.  Another is John Woolman, an eighteenth century “North American itinerant Quaker preacher who traveled throughout much of British North America and in England, advocating against cruelty to animals, economic injustices and oppression, conscription, military taxation, and particularly slavery and the slave trade.”[5]  One of his dominant themes was “economic injustice and oppression” (a precursor to modern Marxist “social justice”).

She also saw Phoebe Palmer, a 19th Century Methodist holiness leader, as a mystic in the same sense as the others mentioned—something Palmer’s biographical history does not support.  Although Heath wrote a book supposedly defining Palmer’s mysticism, Palmer’s actual history, although deeply spiritual in quality, demonstrated nothing like the modern ideas of mysticism.

Palmer was neither a medieval mystic nor involved in Catholic mysticism.  She was very Wesleyan in her approach, although she did enhance some of Wesley’s doctrinal concepts that were picked up by the 19th and 20th Century Wesleyan holiness movement.  None of Palmer’s reported spiritual experiences were anywhere near Eastern, medieval, or Catholic mysticism.  Dr. Heath appears to be the only Palmer “historian” who mentions anything about mysticism in connection with Phoebe Palmer.  It makes one wonder where she found her “information”.

The nearest thing to “heavenly experiences” about Palmer was her early tendency to rely on feelings for assurance of sanctifying grace.  She conquered that error when “Finally she learned to trust to faith, which she defined in terms of her understanding of biblical promises. Once she stopped cross-examining her feelings and accepted the possibility that Holiness would come as the Lord dictated and not as she hypothesized, the dam burst.”[6]  Of course that is dynamic, but it is not mysticism.  There is nothing mystical about perfect love poured out on a soul, even when it is thrilling.

The Emergent Heresies Demonstrated in the Article.

The complete absence of references to the Scriptures or any biblical authority is the principal clue to Heath’s emergent ideology in the article.  Heath never went farther back than medieval personalities in historical references as her presumed sources of authority.  She never mentioned the Early Church at all.  Those references included at least two histrionics that were given to unbiblical visions.  She compared them to Old Testament prophets without offering any sort of evidence for the associations.

She referenced so many Roman Catholic clergy and theologians that one was left wondering why she was still a Methodist.  There are many godly theologians from the Methodist movement that would have put her on a different track.  Admittedly, she did reference Phoebe Palmer but did so in a way that misrepresented Mrs. Palmer by dragging her over into a scenario that was never true of Palmer or the holiness movement which she helped to lead.

Heath’s spiritually fatal mistake in referencing medieval “saints and mystics” as she called them is her apparent reliance on the assumption of their having innate authority alongside of or instead of the Scriptures.

The only authority for the Christian is the Word of God and all else must be judged by that.  Nothing outside of the inspired Scriptures has its own internal authority as was supposed by Heath’s comments.  There were saints (Christians) through the medieval period to be sure but they were still human beings and always subject to the authority of the Scriptures.

Heath used a telling phrase that clearly defines her perspective of “evangelism”.  She referred to “the matrix of the contemplative path, the three-fold contemplative path of purgation, illumination, and union.”  The term contemplation does not need defining here.  It is the emergent variety.  “Purgation, illumination, and union” are taken from Catholic practices and carry those meanings.  The phrase itself defines one of the approaches to the labyrinth.  They are three stages in one form of a labyrinth walk:

“1. Releasing (Purgation). From the entrance to the goal is the path of shedding or ‘letting go.’ There is a release and an emptying of worries and concerns.

“2. Receiving (Illumination). At the center there is illumination, insight, clarity, and focus. It is here that you are in a receptive, prayerful, meditative state.

“3. Integrating (Union). Empowerment and taking ownership. The path out is that of becoming grounded and integrating the insight. It is being energized and making what was received manifest in the world.”[7]

 

The three stages are considered as one path but one that is presumably different for everyone.  They don’t say how that is.

“Purgation” refers to purging or purification in a sense similar to a laxative or induced vomiting.  In the Catholic sense it is a self-effort of clearing oneself of a chargeable offense after which priestly absolution (pardon) is granted.  This, of course, is dissimilar and antithetical to the Protestant understanding and the evangelical’s biblical doctrine of grace by faith, the very thing that motivated Martin Luther.

There is enough empirical evidence to show that any form of the labyrinth leads into an exposure to the influences of demonic mysticism and it is the very thing Heath is advocating here, whether or not she realizes it.  Most importantly, none of the elements of this walk are based in the Scriptures by precept or implication.

Heath made the assumption that the “decline of the Church” could be corrected by this process.  If she meant the Church (capital “C”) as compared with the organizational church, she was very far afield from the Word of God, even in opposition to it, as she advocated mystical passivity versus conscious purposeful response to the Scriptural guidelines of spiritual prayer and growth.

Her definition of evangelism is dubious as well as her approach to evangelism through the labyrinth.  She defined evangelism is terms that, on the surface, could be accepted in any evangelical circle:  “…a holistic process of initiating a person into the reign of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and anchored in the Church for the transformation of the world.”  The term holistic is the operative word and that word defines all she talks about in the remainder of the article in terms of a Marxist social justice, caring for the earth, and humanitarian services through the prism of a socialist agenda.

Holistic is a word that means all-inclusive.  For the emergent postmodern/new ager, that means a social agenda that essentially sets aside the mission of the gospel in order to be carried out in its intended context.  The gospel really isn’t all that included except as a come-along.  Whatever gospel there may be is secondary to the socialistic agenda of earthy objectives.

She does use the popular term, missional, and its meaning is as it is defined by the emergent postmodern mindset of socialism despite all of the cloaking definitions that have been offered so they sound more Christian.  Biblical mission is not present in this discussion by any term.

Heath says that God is a mystery because we cannot know all there is about God.  If she had stopped at that, there would be no disagreement, but she goes further and uses that statement as support to denigrate the traditional approaches to evangelism by implying they have been inadequate since medieval times.  Therefore, God has more of Himself to reveal in our times.  What does she offer instead?  Mysticism (a form of mystery of which God has nothing to do with) is the new answer.  It will do what centuries of the scriptural methods have failed to accomplish—so she assumes.  It is as if she had said that God has been hidden in part all these centuries and now reveals more of Himself through mysticism.  Never mind that the Bible clearly says:

Hebrews 1:1-3 – “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high….”

Her social and community involvements are substitutes for traditional evangelism instead of natural outcomes of evangelism.  Planting community gardens and caring for the earth is the new approach to witnessing. Whereas traditional evangelism has always preached repentance through the Word of God first and spiritual conversion is followed by social services and benevolences, she joins the emergent concept of reversing the approach.  Even if it should work at all, the gospel is still diminished and most conversions in a postmodern context are absent of repentance and the forsaking of sin along with faith in Christ for salvation.   She thinks that if you are growing food together in a community that you would form relationships with people you would never form otherwise.  She says this gives a unique opportunity “to connect your lives in ways that allows the gospel to be spoken.”  In other words, she describes it as a prop that makes possible the sharing of the gospel not otherwise likely.  Christian benevolence is never a prop.  It is a vehicle in service.

That may sound like a great idea, but it doesn’t work all that well for bringing people to Christ when done first in order.  Those are good things to do and the opportunities for witnessing will be present, but that should not be the key to approaching others with the gospel—as if you could not do it by any other means.  It is more likely to promote selfish dependency in others just as those who followed Christ for the food He fed them unless we make “preaching Jesus” the essential thing in what we do.  Even then many will care only for the freebees.  They will take what you give them then walk away back into whatever life they had before you came along.

Heath seems to not understand that the Holy Spirit needs our obedience, not our methods.  If people’s hearts are not challenged for Christ, if they are not pricked in their consciences, our efforts will be futile.

I have heard Christians say that they will give to a bum on the street knowing he may drink it up but that they are not responsible for anything but their own benevolence in good faith.  I strongly disagree.  Such giving that predictably perpetuates a sinful lifestyle is highly irresponsible. If you do not have time to share Christ in some way, you are not giving or serving as a Christian.  It may still be squandered, and you may be unable to control that, but you can share Jesus in some significant way.  That makes all the difference.

The message matters the most.  All that we do for others hangs on that.  I had to learn that the hard way in my years of social services.  It is true that Christians should provide for those in need as best they can, especially in emergencies.  That is not the problem.  The problem is when that becomes all we do or the most of what we do.

Dr. Heath is not uncommon as a postmodern emergent advocate.  She covered just about every major aspect of the emergent agenda that is being espoused. That, however, is not the tragedy of it.  I expect an emergent to talk as an emergent.  The very fact that it was supportably published in a Nazarene periodical is the heartbreaking tragedy since most Nazarenes are not emergent in their thinking—so far.

           

 


[1]From a Jonathan Edwards sermon: sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=21262&forum=34&0

[2] NIV “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view.”

[3] He has no power to concentrate and cannot focus his attention on anything.

[4]This information may be found at http://www.smu.edu/Perkins/FacultyAcademics/DirectoryList/Heath

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Woolman

[6] http://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/approaches/phoebe-palmer-1807-1874-holiness-theology

[7] http://www.lessons4living.com/three_fold_path.htm