Top 10 Happy New Year Hopes

Happy New Year to all my readers. I do hope and pray that you are blessed in 2012 in more ways than you were in 2012. However, may those blessings be more of the spiritual nature in Christ than the material blessings we often hope for. In other words, the spiritual blessings which are found in Christ are far more precious than the gold that perishes.

However, this post has things that are not necessarily of the spiritual nature simply because this is what I’m think of right now. Here are my hopes for 2012:

  1. I hope that we elect a truly conservative president, house and senate that will return this country to the Constitution of our country and move us away from the entitlement mentality. This is what is best for the country and will lead to more jobs for those who desire to work.
  2. I hope the new president and Congress will truly free us from foreign oil and start drilling here in the United States. NO, I don’t believe hybrid vehicles are the answer and believer it is foolish to think so. You have to generate that electricity somewhere and most of our electricity comes from coal-powered plants, so you are achieving nothing by driving such vehicles except believing in the lie that you are helping the environment. This too will help the economy by providing more jobs for those who desire to work.
  3. I hope that Texas A&M has a wonderful football season with their new coach Kevin Sumlin. This won’t necessarily help the economy but will be more fun for me. In this, I hope that Coach Sumlin becomes the winningest coach in A&M’s history and the longest tenured coach in A&M’s history, with lots and lots of championships.
  4. I hope and pray that the LORD will truly grow FCC Roswell and help us continue to move towards being a healthy congregation.
  5. I hope that President Obama truly enjoys retirement and takes up playing golf full time. I also hopes that he finds personal peace and can put behind that social bitterness that drives him so much in the way he governs and sees our world.
  6. I hope that the Pro-Life movement continues to make strides in reducing the number of abortions and closing down the murder clinics that are open now. Read how they may strides this year here.
  7. I hope the Texas Rangers return to the World Series again and win it all.
  8. I hope and pray that the drought here in the Southwest, Texas and elsewhere would come to a end.
  9. I hope that liberals in our country would begin to question their own positions and would become more conservative, since this is what is best for the country. Conservatism is not easy, but it is what is best. It’s easy to take other peoples money and create a dependent class as liberals like to do.
  10. I hope that moderates… get a clue, get off the fence and see why Conservatism is much better than trying to be popular.

There they are. What are your hopes for the year?

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Top 10 Posts for 2011

Time to take a look at the year in blogging. Since I like to do Top 10 posts, this one is focusing on the Top 10 posts for 2011. The post may not have been written in 2011, but still garnered a lot of attention, as was the case for my post on the Godfather. It is my all-time most read post, with a total views well above 7,000. Since moving from my wordpress url to timothyjhammons.com url, that views have stopped. Somewhere there was a link to this particular post that was generating a lot of views and when I made the change, that link ceased to function.

Yet, here are the Top 10 posts for 2011:

The Godfather More stats 4,292
Blue Bell Ice Cream: Top 10 Flavors More stats 1,647
Rob Bell: False Teacher… Worthless Pastor… Savage Wolf More stats 1,387
Doomsday THIS Saturday! More stats 717
The Dreaded Brown Recluse Widow Tarantula! More stats 561
We Cry Abba/Father, NOT Daddy! More stats 492
Coexist? Update More stats 450
Von Miller’s Aggie Ring and Championship Ring More stats 447
J.C. Ryle Confronts False Teacher Rob Bell More stats 394
BREAKING NEWS: The Real Reasons Glenn Beck Is Leaving Fox News More stats 331

A Response to a Christian Scientist

One of my passions is pointing out the errors of the cults, especially Christian Science since I was raised a Christian Scientist, joined the Mother Church when I was 21, and unjoined it when I became a Christian at the age of 29. Once I became a true believer, the lies of Christian Science became obvious and I hope and pray that others who are trapped and blinded spiritually in that false religion, will have the Holy Spirit move in their lives as well and rescue them from the curse of Mary Baker Eddy.

You can also see that I do not pull any punches. Why? Because spiritual truth matters. What we believe about the person of Christ and what is revealed in Scripture truly matters. The Bible is NOT open for interpretation. What I mean by that is that it is not there for us to come to is and get out of it what we want. The words on the pages of Scripture have meaning and we are to believe in the meanings of those words, the theology we find there, the God who is revealed there.

This is what is so insidious about religions like Christian Science in which they take the words that Christians are accustomed to using, like the Trinity, or even the person of Christ and His deity, and change it up to mean something else. This is why the religion is so heinous. It tries to make itself sound like it’s Christian, but it is not.

In one of my earlier posts about the religion, a Christian Science practitioner decided to enter into the fray. For that, I give him credit. Christian Scientist are taught not to argue or debate their beliefs. This is because when you look at the absurdity of the religion, it’s hard for them to make any arguments.

Given that, I wanted to post what the man said and go ahead and give my responses in the midst of it. There was too much

Dear Pastor Timothy.

This response is not for argument. You must make your own decisions about the path that you follow in understanding and worshiping God, and I must make my own choice. Christian Science teaches unconditional love–of God for man and of man to man. I have been taught not to judge, so, let’s just say that your statements about Christian Science are totally contrary to my experiences of many decades, and I do want to show another side of this discussion to anyone reading our interaction.

Don, I don’t mind showing any side of this to anyone (it’s all public anyway, this is a public blog, and so are the responses. You are not responding to me on email, but in the response section which anyone can read.) We are told to check the truth according to Scriptures and I have no problems pointing out the falsehoods of a false religion when it comes to the Bible. Remember Paul commended the Bereans for checking him with Scripture and admonished the people in Galatia, Ephesus, Rome, etc., about those coming along teaching false doctrines. We are warned to check that which people put forth with Scripture over and over in Scripture.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her own words that if anything she had written was out of accord with Scripture, it was to be tossed out. Well, that means we can toss her entire body of work. Even when she writes “God is love,” we see that as a lie because of her definition of God. She redefines the term “God” in order to fit her world view. Again, not open to interpretation. God gets to define Himself and He does so in Scripture.

As for being taught “not to judge,” this is a classic ploy of liberals. They take one sentence of Christ’s words and twist them on their heads. Seems you are doing the same. Jesus says not to judge, then tells us how to judge, get the log out of own eye, then we can see the speck in the eye of a brother. Yet, we must still be able to judge the speck to be bad. If we do not judge it to be bad, why remove it at all? We are also told in 1 Corinthian 5 to judge a sinning brother. So Jesus isn’t ruling out all judging, just that which is hypocritical in nature.

Also, you make it sound like so many in liberal circles, that there are many paths to God and I’m on one and you are on another, just a valid path as I am. However, Jesus spoke to this very issue when He said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

The Scripture goes on to speak of the exclusivity of Christ for salvation over and over again (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). So these decisions we make have eternal consequences. We can either trust in Christ by faith for salvation, or try to get their on our own by our works. Seems you have chosen to follow MBE in working your way to heaven.

For correct information about my religion, please go to spirituality.com. There, you will also find correct information about Mary Baker Eddy–discoverer and founder of Christian Science. The research department of the Mary Baker Eddy Library will give you honest answers about her life point you to further resources for understanding who she was, how she lived her life and what she did for mankind. It’s quite remarkable simply from her human accomplishments.

Again, are they really going to give us the truth about her wonderful accomplishments since the entire religion is based upon her “miraculous” life? Given that the physician who examined her during her “great” fall on the ice and her claim to be “near death” testified in the a court of law that she was no where near death and suffered only minor wounds. The reality is that she used a ton of hyperbole in the retelling of her “discovery” of Christian Science.

I have been healing people through prayer for much of my life. At 13, I prayed for my little brother who was quite ill, (using what I learned in the Christian Science Sunday School) and he got up and went outside to play, healed. I sat enthralled with this healing and wanted nothing more than to continue and extend this blessing to others. Last year, alone, I prayed for/with well over 100 different individuals from the USA and other parts of the world for every kind of malady. The results for at least 90 percent were spectacular. Minds and bodies were transformed. Lives were recovered by prayer alone, but I never outline nor condemn anyone who wishes to turn to another method of treatment nor does the Christian Science Church judge the life choices that its members make. Jesus had a similar experience as recounted in Matthew 13:58.

What we think is very important. In fact, Christian Science teaches that your body is literally a product of what you think. This isn’t out of line with contemporary physiological and psychological theories (Emphasis added). They tell us that it is important to keep thoughts as pure and selfless as possible for healthy, harmonious lives and bodies. There is nothing unusual in this view today though it was when Mrs. Eddy first propounded it.

Notice the word “theories.” People have lots of theories, but that doesn’t make the claim true. Just because you can find some in the world of physiology and psychology to help support your claim doesn’t make your claim valid. There are probably just as many in those fields who would dispute your claims.

The other problem with this claim is that you are turning to science for your proof and not Scripture. There is no truth to your claim from Scripture, that our bodies are what we think them to be.

And through her writings, she shows how living a sinless life through a better understanding of God and practicing God-like qualities in our living is the best way to live for making spiritual progress. Health and healing follow this state of thinking.

 

Again, we see one of the major errors of her theology, the belief that you can live a sinless life. No where does Scripture teach that we can live sinless lives. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with sin in his life after his conversion. This is what Romans 7:13ff shows us. He also stated that he was the chief among sinners. That is a present tense used when he refers there. He, even though he is saved and has the righteousness of Christ, still struggles with sin. Mary Baker Eddy did not live a sinless life. The very fact that she wrote her gospel, which is another gospel all together, proves the point. She is misleading people with her false doctrine. That is hardly sinless.

Also, as so many of you do, claiming to be without sin makes God out to be a liar because it contradicts His word. Please, tell me you do not believe you live a sinless life when say you have no sin, makes God out to be a liar? (1 John 1:8-10).

She writes in our textbook (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures–that helps us understand and follow the teachings of the Bible), “Ask yourself: Am I living the life that approaches the supreme good? Am I demonstrating the healing power of Truth and Love [God]? If so, then the way will grow brighter ‘unto the perfect day.’ Your fruits will prove what the understanding of God brings to man. Hold perpetually this thought, — that it is the spiritual
idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love [God], underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.”

I’m glad that you quoted MBE instead of the Bible. This truly shows us your allegiance to this fallen woman. What she is putting forth here is nothing more than works theology. In other words, we have to heal people to be on that happy road to a brighter, perfect day. She is also requiring us to prove to others so that understanding can come to man.

This is completely contrary to the gospel and the work of the Triune God. It is Jesus who saves, not our works. It is the Holy Spirit that enlightens our minds to understanding, not the works of another man. It is the Father who appoints us to salvation, not someone else works.

Christian Science is so focused on healing that you miss the greater message of the gospel, the deliverance from sin and death by Jesus Christ, not our ability to heal. BTW, Jesus did not come to teach us how to heal. His miracles were done in order to show that He was truly the Messiah and was fulfilling prophecy.

I am truly sorry that you feel you have had a negative experience with Christian Science. But my life has been blessed, enriched and saved through this unique religion. It is neither a religion that deserts nor kills people but one that blesses individuals and the world. I am living proof of this fact.

Sincerely,

Don Griffith, PhD, CSB

Here again we see the flaw in your belief system once again. You are basing your beliefs upon your “experience” and not Biblical truth. This is the major error of the cults, false religions and even liberal Christianity. Our faith is always to be based upon God’s word.

Over 375 Pieces!!!

Those words are the words of doom. Every father or father to be should take note. Whenever you see a toy, that looks really cool in the store and you know your boys will love it, if you see those words: “Over 375 Pieces!” run from the store empty handed. It’s a trap.

I’m sure veteran father’s who read this are already chuckling as they reflect back on that one bicycle, train set, swing set or doll house that seemed like a good idea at the time, only to discover that the toy was more a lesson in daddy’s patience than it was in the child’s fun.

My lesson came from the Techno Gears Marble Mania Vortex. I got mine from Sam’s Club at a considerable discount over the retail price. Looking at the name, and the picture, you can see that it really is quite a toy and there almost seems to be some sort of rule for fathers that if the toy has the word “vortex” in it, we have to buy it. The word “vortex” cannot be there for my boys. They don’t know what a vortex is. So we must assume it’s there for dads.

This dad bit! We had a marble maze before and my boys loved it. They would spend hours putting it together, playing with it, and then taking it a part again. They loved it so much I wanted to get them another one so they could make even bigger mazes. As most dads assume, if one marble maze is good, two is better.

But not when it comes to the Techno Gears Marble Mania Vortex. For one, my boys will never put this thing together. While the box says it is for 8 year olds, (Andy turns 7 today… so I figured it would be OK for him), there is no way an 8 year old could assemble this beast. It comes with a 58 page instruction booklet with color illustrations that even a… 50 year old man could be confused by. This toy, that I was hoping would bring my boys hours of fun, brought me hours of distress.

The moment I started assembling the beast is the moment I realized my mistake and misery. Christmas Day went from enjoying time with my family to deep and hard concentration over this manual so as to not make any mistakes. I could tell that if I made a mistake on step number 7, I would certainly pay for it on step number 43. There was no margin of error.

I also realized that once this beast was assembled, there would be no creativity allowed. It is far too complex and limited in it’s design in order to allow creativity. In fact, the best thing to do once it is assembled is to get some Gorilla Glue and turn the 375 pieces into one piece. When that thought hit me, I realized how many of our boys toys I could have saved had I just glued all the pieces together, especially specialty train sets and Hotwheels sets. They are so complex, that the sets only go together one way. Trying to vary from the designed plan and the toy doesn’t work, which makes for a bad toy. By gluing the pieces together, it will help keep the toy in working condition longer. After all, once you lose the key piece the toy no longer works.

Speaking of “key piece…” guess what? One of THE key pieces to the Techno Gears Marble Mania Vortex was missing. Instead of the marbles making it all the way down the maze, into the battery-powered booster that sends the marble back to the top, half would exit the maze half way up and scurry across the floor due to the missing piece. The disappointment that came with this realization was almost too much for the daddy assembling this forest of colorful plastic.

I set out to remedy the problem immediately this morning by calling Sam’s Club and seeing what they were willing to do about the missing piece. They wanted me to disassemble the one I had and make a simple exchange. But after working to get all 374 parts together, I wasn’t about to.

As politely as I could, I let the young lady I was speaking to at Sam’s Club know that this would not be the best course of action. She realized the plight. Obviously, she was married to a man who had endured his own toy project. She came up with a solution. Bring in my receipt and they would extract the part I needed from one of their 19 other sets still on the floor for sale. Ah yes, common sense prevailed. I retrieved the needed piece this morning before the crowds hit the stores and now the Techno Gears Marble Mania Vortex is fully functional… well, it functions as about 60 percent. My boys are still chasing marbles as they scurry across the floor. But at least some of them make it back down to the battery-powered booster.

My duty as a dad will be complete once I get that Gorilla Glue and make the Techno Gears Marble Mania Vortex one with itself.

Merry White Christmas

Merry White Christmas! It’s been snowing here for two days and I do believe that qualifies as a White Christmas. My only reservation in all this is whether or not we will be able to have our Christmas Eve service up at the church. This isn’t one of those dustings that places in the south get and close everything. More like what a typical snow is like up north, only Roswell doesn’t have the equipment to remove it from the streets. Not sure why.

Either way, I’m going to enjoy the day and whatever the LORD gives us, I’m going to be grateful for this day! Merry White Christmas!!!

UPDATE: There was an article going around about some big mega churches cancelling worship services because they were on Christmas day. To this, I say they are misguided. However, we are cancelling services as well, but it’s because of the foot of snow in the church parking lot. It took me 45 minutes shoveling snow to get out of our driveway, I’m not sure how long it would take us to shovel the snow out of the parking lot. Given that no one is volunteering to do so, we cancelled both our Candlelight Service tonight and worship services tomorrow. I wish that were not the case. I was really looking forward to both services, but I guess the LORD had other plans.

Tim Tebow & SNL

The story is simple: Saturday Night Live did a parody of Tim Tebow’s faith and his six-game winning streak by having Jesus actually show up and tell Tebow that He couldn’t keep helping the team win in the fourth quarter the way that He did for the last six games. You can see the video here until it gets booted for copyright infringement.

I know a lot of people are expressing “outrage” at what the writers did. Please do not join those decrying the event. It is what we can and should expect from a fallen world. If we are to express any emotions at all, our emotions should include sadness and pity. Sadness over the fact that we are just as blasphemous as the writers for SNL, and pity that we are so quick to condemn them and not come along side them to show them their sinfulness.

How is it that we, the church, are as blasphemous? Because we fail to honor Christ, His name and all about Him in our hearts as we should. It is easy for us to point out the sin in a fallen world, thereby boosting our own egos. But if we are honest, do we truly honor Christ as we should? Nope!

For instance, take a look at the Larger Catechism Questions on how we break the Third Commandment:

Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarreling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God’s decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the word, or any part of it, to profane jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or any wise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.

Basically what the writers are doing is not revering the name or person Christ. But if we read the above, we can see that we fall short of this as well. So to feign outrage, as some are doing, really is a bit arrogant on our part. Hatred of Christ and Christians should be expected. After all, that is what our LORD said would happen (Matthew 5:11ff). In fact, He says we should rejoice when such things happen, for great is our reward in heaven.

Instead of showing outrage, please use this as a way to talk about the true and living Savior we have, not this parody that was presented. If we are honest with ourselves, we will find that the Christ we so often want is not what we find in Scriptures. So get to know the Christ of the Bible, not our own desires or others making. This way, when such parodies arise, and they will, use them as opportunities to show people the living and true Savior of Scripture.

Is He concerned about football? Absolutely not. Is He concerned about the spiritual well-being of football players? You bet. So much so, that He went to the cross to die in order to deal with their sins. While Tebow may be “too zealous” for some, he gives us a great opportunity to show others the reasons we have to be zealous at all. Christ is not slap happy, but serious about redeeming His people from a fallen world.

Yes, the world will make fun of us and Christ, but faking outrage is not the answer. Pointing the world to the real Savior is.

No More Debate — Reflections on the Death of Christopher Hitchens

Ed Stetzer over at the Christian Post has this to say on the death of Christopher Hitchens:

Now Hitchens has died, and with him his ability to engage in public debate. Hitchens never shied away from debating anyone in public, especially a Christian contender. In the coming days, many will hold a sort of virtual debate online, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of his arguments. Hitchens wrote many books, so there is plenty of material to analyze. But for Hitchens, personally, the debate is over. All of the questions Hitchens wrestled with on earth have been confronted with infinite certitude, the kind that only the presence of God can provide.

This is so true whenever one of these atheists die. The debate is over. There is no more discussion. The truth of Christianity has finally come crashing into his life, with his death. That is the thing about death, it is God’s statement to all of mankind that what took place in the garden so many years ago still has an affect and a reality on all mankind, even those who deny HIS existence.

God told Adam that the day he ate of the tree, he would surely die. He did die spiritually at that moment, and physically later on. The sin that Adam committed has been passed to all mankind, even those who deny God’s existence. Death is the reminder of this truth. Because all sin, all have died. There is no escaping this fundamental and universal truth.

While they may try to deny His existence, the atheists still faces death, like we all do. His childish denial of God will not remove the reality of death, and it cannot remove the darker reality that every atheists faces: the judgement that follows. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. Atheists can scream that they do not believe such truths, but their protests are merely confirmations of the reality that they know God does exist.

Romans 1:32 shows that those who are haters of God, practice such wickedness even though they (know) the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. In other words, the fear of judgment that all men are given by God, no longer restrains those who reject God outright and they end up in all levels of debauchery, approving of such acts and encouraging others in those acts. In God’s grace toward all mankind, He gives us a fear of the judgment to come. But those who deny His very existence have suppressed the truth to such a point that they are given over to their sin and this fear no longer acts as a restraining influence in their lives. In their rebellion, they embrace the sin that will condemn them all the more and encourage others to do likewise.

I believe this is one reason the Bible points out that atheists are fools when it comes to the things of God (Psalm 14:1ff). They have suppressed even the smallest amounts of truth that they have been given and it builds up the righteous judgment that is to come upon them after their death. They act and live without the least bit of restraint and prudence in their lives concerning God. This is truly foolish.

Paul goes on in Romans 2 to show that all mankind has been given a conscience that leads them to judge others (yes, all do it.) This judgment of theirs, proves the conscience that they have been given and shows that they know of God, even though they deny Him.

Hitchens lived his life denying the existence of God. Even though his belief system was based on a lie, it is the very belief system that now condemns him as he faces judgment. His arguments are done. He will not utter a single word as he faces this judgement and the God of all creation will judge justly. What that judgment will be is not hard to imagine. But the arguments are over. He knows the reality of God. He can no longer sit in denial of these truths. Sadly, we can offer no hope for those who hoped he would find mercy. Some atheists may contests my arguments here and judgmental. But to do so, would be to prove my point. The atheists knows judgment awaits them and the outcome is not good.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Top 10 Reasons I Hate Christmas Shopping

I probably shouldn’t post something like this, but the reality is that I hate to shop for Christmas. It’s a fun holiday and the implications of what the incarnation actually mean for us are vital to the Christian walk. But shopping for Christmas??? I see nothing in Scripture to support such an activity… yet, here we are. So without further adieu…, from the Department of Bah-humbug…  I give you my Top 10 reasons I hate shopping for Christmas.

  1. I can’t stand the thought of getting the wrong gift and wasting money.
  2. I can’t stand the thought of having the “right” gift sell out moments before I arrive on the scene.
  3. I can’t stand wondering if I have spent enough on those I love.
  4. I can’t stand the nervous feeling in my stomach that makes me want to throw up while doing all this shopping.
  5. I can’t stand wondering if I have enough money to make this happen, and worse, the feeling of helplessness when for some odd reason, my ATM card doesn’t work. Yes, it happened. No, my account wasn’t empty. Not sure why.
  6. I can’t stand having to wrap those gifts which I do purchase.
  7. I can’t stand knowing that a lot of the gifts I buy this year… are some future garage sale bargain… or worse… fodder for the dumpster.
  8. I can’t stand the crowds, malls, parking lots or traffic associated with it all.
  9. I can’t stand not finding those things which I know I need to buy for my loved ones.
  10. I can’t stand spending x amount of dollars, knowing that we will be tight financially because of it.
  11. UPDATE: BEING SO WORRIED ABOUT GETTING THAT RIGHT TOY, THAT I FAIL TO NOTICE THE WORDS “Includes 375 Parts!” My goodness, what was I thinking? Every toy I get the boys that has more than 3 parts ends up being… scattered hither and fro for the next umpteen years. I bought the boys a marble maze from Sam’s Club and the next thing I’m going to buy is some Gorilla Glue, and glue it all together, so the 375 parts become ONE!

OK, I know that all sounds negative, but that is how I feel about Christmas shopping.

Merry Christmas!

Christian Science: Deadly In More Ways than One

I was pleased to see that the Christian Post had an excellent piece exposing the deadly nature of Christian Science. I have written on this false-religion numerous times because I was raised a Christian Scientist and my mother died as a Christian Scientist. I know the deadly nature of the religion, both physically and spiritually.

It is always good to see other believers taking the time to expose these cults for what they are, false religions with no real hope of salvation. Like most cults, Christian Science is just as bad as the rest for it seeks to teach its followers that salvation, redemption, etc., are all based on our own actions. For the Christian Scientist, it really is about thought control. If we just correct our thinking, then sin, death and all the evils of the world will go away. The emphasis is on the followers ability to do this in order to see desirable results.

As one can surmise, the reality of the results are deadly, given the fact that many have died trying to “correct” their thinking so that diseases would go away. That is the point of the Post’s article.

A deadly religion is passing off as “Christian” and has been for more than a century. Not just spiritual death, but literal death as well; hundreds of people have died as a result of disease untreated because a Christian Scientist will tell you, sickness is only an illusion.

Christian Science is one of the few religions in the world that contains a core teaching that is often deadly when put into practice,” James Beverley writes in The Nelson’s Illustrated Guide To Religions.

“Quiet carnage is a part of the Christian Scienceculture,” stated Linda Kramer, a former member who is now a born-again believer, in the article, “Christian Science: Attempting a Comeback.”

That culture is in fact, a cult, apologists say, and different from Christianity in every way.

“Christian Science deserves the title of cult since it departs from plain Bible teaching on major doctrines and the movement also adopts a potentially deadly view of how to deal with sickness,” Beverley, professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale University, said in an email to The Christian Post.

I’ve rejoiced that this religion has fallen on hard times here of late. In fact, very few people that I grew up with that were raised as Christian Scientist, are still in the cult. I believe this is due to the hypocrisy built into the religion and it’s failure to deal with sin in a meaningful way. For instance, the religion teaches that the existence of sin ceases to exist as long as the thoughts of sin exist.

If this is true, then why did our parents ever have to correct us growing up? How could they ever say anything we did was wrong? It was just their wrong thinking of sin.

Plus, we grew up in households where no miracles every truly occurred. Sicknesses never seemed to vanish with correct thinking. We still wore glasses, still got the chicken pox, still caught colds, still got headaches. That correct thinking never seemed to get us any where. Whereas going to a doctor, we discovered that there were actually medicines to deal all those things, including headaches.

This is one of the reasons Christian Science is a dying religion, as the article points out:

Death and sickness are probably the cause of the significant drop in numbers recently, Miller said, though the religion attracted many big thinkers and celebrities at its peak in the early 1900s.

“It’s a dying religion,” he said “They’re dying out because they’re dying off. They don’t realize that at this point.”

“With modern medicine, it’s not attracting many.”

Kramer agreed. “It’s a dying religion, definitely. Right now we’re seeing a drop because a whole generation of baby boomers who were raised in Christian Science are now leaving the church.”

That’s why it’s so important to still try to reach these people, both Miller and Kramer stressed.

I’m grateful for this. I don’t think the religion ever will die off completely. Too many looney women involved in it (this religion is truly dominated by women.) But it is good to see that the numbers are way down.

Here are other posts on the topic:

Ex-Christian Scientist: Don’t Let the Cults Redefine the Terms

Christian Scientist Have Great Testimonies, But…

Dreaded Animal Magnetism…

Saying “Merry Christmas” is the Same As Fornication???

Here is a teacher of Islam sharing his belief’s on saying “Merry Christmas.”

Now, what we have to say is: If Jesus is not God, then this man is absolutely correct in his pronouncement. We are blaspheming God if Jesus is not God. Remember, even the Jews were faced with this reality. The moment that Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” they should have picked up stones and stoned Him, for what He said was that He was equal to God the Father. This is why the Jews picked up stones. They knew the implication of Christ’s proclamation.

The problem with the Jews viewpoint, and this Muslim cleric’s viewpoint, is the same: Both fail to see that Jesus Christ truly is God incarnate.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

In other words, both the Jews and those trapped in Islam are blinded by Satan and fail to see the truth of Scripture. I point this out because we need the reminder that our warfare is not one of the flesh. We cannot change this man’s heart and mind with the sword (Ephesians 6:10ff). Christianity has never operated that way, although there are those who have tried. True Christianity comes about by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s word together and we cannot force it upon anyone. Our goal is to proclaim the truth and let the Holy Spirit do His job.

Another fact about what this man is saying is really helpful. For when we do say “Merry Christmas” with the full meaning, then we are proclaiming that God became flesh (John 1:14). How many fully believe this when the enter into the festivities of Christmas? How many understand that Jesus became flesh to dwell among us, and was the Second Person of the Trinity? Since this is true, how many fully understand the reason why He did so? Was His coming just so we could decorate a Christmas tree, put up lights, and maybe get a new DVD player? Or was there something more to it than that?

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know the answer to that last question.

Just a side note, isn’t it interesting that the enemies of true Christianity always hold hands together? Both the Islamist and Atheists hold the same position on Christmas: God was born in the flesh. It is like Satan takes the same lie and dresses it up differently for those who oppose the truth, and these groups end up in agreement together.

The Sin of Following Men

Shortly after I graduated from seminary, I remember that the president of the school decided to leave and go start a church up north of town. He was planting a church in an area that could have used another church, but what happened was unreal. The very first day the man preached, there were 700 in attendance.

I would like to think that this was so because he had worked the neighborhoods, sought the lost, evangelized and was used mightily by the LORD for His glory. But I knew better. The man was not only the president of the seminary, but also a nationally known pastor for his radio program, at least nationally known among the Christian subculture.

The people were not there because the LORD was drawing them there, they were there because of his fame. Yet, the Bible warns the church against following men in this manner. Paul writes to the Corinthians against following men: 1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

What of the churches where these people had been attending? Had these people not made a commitment to the LORD there, before men, to be faithful to that body of believers? I know in the Presbyterian Church in America, we have those who join our churches take an oath before the LORD when they join. Part of the questioning process is:

Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline
of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?

By leaving one congregation, and going to another simply because that pastor is more famous is breaking that commitment. I know not all churches have such commitments, but it is still wrong to leave one church and go to another simply because a man is popular. This is exactly what Paul was warning us against.

Now, I do understand that there are times to leave a church. For instance, when the pastor is not preaching the word of God, and simply telling moralistic, feel-good stories about himself and others, then it is good to leave a church. But this should not be done without first confronting a pastor over such issues. Far too many people fail to hold their ministers in check when they refuse to preach God’s word. They simply leave. I know, it’s easier that way, but this is not what Christ calls us to do. He gives us the admonition in both Matthew 5 and 18 to deal with a sinning brother. Go to the leadership of the church if you have problems going directly to the man.

If there is no change in the man’s preaching, then leaving a church is perfectly acceptable.

The sad reality about the popular preacher I mention above is that he preaches good stories and moralistic messages. Yes, he adds a gospel preaching message at the end. But that is not the gospel. Giving people messages about how to be better people by listing the 10 ways not to be a liar, is not the gospel. That is a message that we can better ourselves if we just try harder. The gospel shows us that we cannot try harder and become acceptable to God. Our efforts bring us nothing. The Gospel message is that Jesus saves His people. They don’t save themselves. Jesus doesn’t make it possible for us to save ourselves. He saves us.

But the point of this post is that people should not follow a man because he is famous. This is the sin of sectarianism, and Paul condemns this sin outright. The way most people see it today is when a pastor leaves a church, over some dispute, and goes and starts another church across town, encouraging his people to follow him. Sadly, this happens all the time. In doing so, those who follow him are joining with him in his sin. This should be discouraged on every level.

I know there have been times where I thought about doing just that when things were going well in the church where I was a pastor. Fortunately, the Spirit never gave me peace about starting a church and I never followed up on it. I thank the LORD for that. He has always had a place for me and kept me from committing such a sin.

Membership Has Its Privileges

I am always amazed at the number of people I come across my walk as a pastor who claim to be believers yet do not attend church on a regular basis. I know this speaks to the dreadful state of the church in a lot of instances, but to not even try to find a faithful church is beyond me.

How can those who are redeemed skip out of the church completely and have any real confidence in their salvation? I like what Paul writes in Colossians 1 concerning the need to continue on in the faith:

 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

He is writing to encourage believers to be faithful. We cannot be faithful and remain separate from the body of Christ for it is Christ that has called us to be a part of the body. He is saying that we do benefit by continuing in the faith. By doing so, we become grounded in the gospel.

To separate ourselves from the body is to effectively excommunicate ourselves from the body. This is truly a serious matter for in doing so, we cut ourselves off from the benefits found in the body of Christ and have made ourselves out to be those outside the camp.

I wish I could convey how serious this is. To excommunicate someone from the body of Christ is so serious, that you can equate with the loss of salvation. The person that is so deep in sin and refuses to repent, has no assurance whatsoever that they are saved. Whether that sin is open and heinous like adultery, or simple laziness, repentance is necessary. The writer of Hebrews stated it this way:

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:

      “ Today, if you will hear His voice,
      Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

He is writing to those who were tempted with leaving the congregation of Christ’s people, reminding them the need to remain together and in the body of Christ. We need the constant reminders of the wickedness of sin, and that doesn’t come about by remaining away from the people of God. When we walk with other believers, we are to encourage one another to watch out for sin in our lives. This doesn’t happen when we become islands unto ourselves.

Those who stay away are also missing out of the benefits found int he body.

What benefits?

First, when we are separated from the body of Christ, we cut ourselves off from being fed spiritually by the Holy Spirit via the means of grace, namely preaching, congregational prayer, which includes both spoken prayers and those we sing, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

When Jesus reinstated Peter to the ministry, He told him three times: “Feed my sheep.” This takes place through the teaching and preaching of God’s word. About 80 percent of those called to the body of Christ are not called to preach God’s word. So I doubt that those who are remaining home on Sunday mornings are preaching God’s word to themselves. Not very healthy at all.

They are also missing out from hearing Christ by doing so. We do hear God’s word when it is read and preached to us. In Romans 10:14, the word reads And how shall they believe in Him (of) whom they have not heard? The (of) should not be there, meaning that when God’s word is preach faithfully, we are actually hearing Him! This does not take place when we read God’s word in isolation, as so many say that they do. It takes place in the congregation of God’s people when the word is being faithfully preached. I stress the word “faithfully” because there are plenty of men in pulpits who say a lot of words, but never preach God’s word.

But the point is that those who remain away from the congregation of God’s people, or better yet, from Christ’s church that He is building, are missing out on the spiritual blessings and feeding that take place.

Secondly, islanders are also missing out on being in the presence of Christ and all the saints that have gone on before us. Revelation 4-5 give us a picture of the worship that is taking place continuously in heaven. When we gather with the saints to worship, we are also gathering with those who have gone before us. In fact, we are joining in on the worship that is taking place right now. Just as Mary was blessed spiritually by sitting at Christ’s feet, so too are we bless when we gather with the church triumphant in worshipping our Savior. This gathering doesn’t take place apart from the body of Christ. He died on the cross to make us a body, not individuals sleeping in, reading a Bible verse and calling it worship.

I know that many will say, “where two or more are gathered…” OK, but quit abusing that verse as an excuse to stay away from the body that Christ is bringing together. Yes, we can worship and home, which I encourage as well. But do not let that be the sum of our worship. We need the body of Christ. We need the pastors and teachers that Christ has given the church. We need the fellowship that is found in the body. We need one another. To act otherwise is to go against what our Savior set out to do in building us HIS body. By staying way, we are rejecting the work and plan of Christ for our well being. By remaining loosely tied to a fellowship, we are missing out on the privileges of being made brothers and sisters in the LORD.

I’ve also written a post: Why Join the Church?