Do we who claim the name of Christ live with eternity in view, or does what the world have to offer with all of its cheap baubles keep us attracted like a moth to the fire? If it is the latter, when will we realize that something is going to burn? It is ONLY what is done for Christ that will last.
Last year, Mormon radio host Glenn Beck swept the conservative political movement off its feet (and many Evangelical Christians as well) with his Divine Destiny rally.
At that time (and since) many non-discerning Christians have embraced Glenn Beck as a brother in Christ and have even made excuses and justifications for his Mormon theology (a theology that’s antithetical to biblical Christianity).
But now, while Beck’s Trojan Horse sits benevolently within the walls of Evangelicalism, the trapdoor on the underbelly of the wooden horse is opening to reveal its contents . . . and it isn’t pretty.
Brannon Howse has written an article on Beck’s new book (co-authored by Keith Ablow). The book, entitled The 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life, has revealed Beck’s New Age leanings. And judging by the quotes cited from Beck’s book, it makes Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now look like a doctrinally sound tome of deep Christian theology.
Below are some of the quotes from Beck’s book that I obtained from Brannon Howse’s article (you can read the entire exposé here.)
I can’t help but wonder if the Mormon organization is going to publicly renounce the New Age teachings in Beck’s book (and discipline Beck), and I wonder if the Christians who supported Beck–claiming that he was indeed a Christian–are going to retract their support (or at least distance themselves).
“As Keith likes to say, ‘There’s no original sin left in the world. Everyone’s just recycling pain now.'”
“People are inherently good.”
“Finding what worked for me made all the difference. Finding what works for you will do the same.”
“There is no infant delivered evil, out of the womb. There never has been. Not even one…Charles Manson was not born evil. Ted Bundy wasn’t. The BTK killer wasn’t. Hitler wasn’t.”
“Latter-day Saints do not believe that your chances ever cease, even with death. They end only with the full understanding and denial of truth by your own exercise of real free will. And even then there is no ‘lake of fire.'”
“I questioned everything I could think to question about the faith. I went over my doubts again and again with the church bishop. I read everything there was to read on their website and every word of Mormon Doctrine…I went to anti-Mormon literature for hints, but I found most of it to be unfair or just plain wrong. I tried every trick I could think of to find a contradiction. The problem was that I couldn’t. Mormonism seemed to explain the world and my place in it better than any other faith I had looked at.”
“Pray to whatever higher power you believe in…Praying that God or Nature or the Cosmos or your own internal, immeasurable reservoir of spirit allows you the courage and faith to find and then face the truth…”
“Just be sure you visit with a minister or therapist from a religion or healing discipline you actually have affinity for, or suspect you might.”
“The third chapter of Exodus helped me start to understand how crucial it was that my focus be on finding God not just in the seas or the cosmos, but in myself.”
“If God is everything and everywhere and inside everyone, then I figured He had to be inside me, too…”
“Divine power is still inside you.”
“Reach out to people to steady them and enrich them and reflect back to them the light that comes from God inside them.”
“You won’t doubt your ability to achieve what you want to achieve in this life because you won’t doubt that God is not only by your side, but inside you.”
“You have a polestar inside you. It is connected with all the energy in the universe. When you begin to follow that star you align yourself with immeasurable, inexplicable forces that will actually help you manifest your best intentions.”
“As you commit to unlocking and bringing forth the truth inside you, don’t be afraid to pray for help. Don’t be reticent to sit with yourself in silence and meditate. Connect with the miracle of spirit, of God, that has lived inside you from long before you were born.”
Brannon Howse also aptly observes Beck and Ablow’s common application of terms of subjective truth:
Beck’s book uses the phrase “Your truth” or “your true path” or “my truth” at least 23 times. Here are a few examples:
“It is never too late to embrace your truth.” (Page 124)
“What is your truth whispering?” (Page 130)
“Use compassion to stay on the path to your own truth… (Page 161)
“…determination to unearth and embrace my truth.” (Page 215)
“The fact that I am always attempting to honor my truth… (Page 216)
“There is only your truth.” (Page 220)
“You must use courage and faith to empty the hard drive of your soul and then fill it with your truth.” (Page 288)
To come to Jesus with a price in our hand would be insufferable pride, even if we had any price that we could bring. What does He need from us? What could we bring if He did need it? Would He sell the priceless blessings of His redemption? That which He wrought out in His heart’s blood, would He barter it with us for our tears and vows, or for ceremonial observances, feelings, and works? He is not reduced to making a market of Himself. He will give freely, as befitting His royal love. The person who offers a price to Him knows not with Whom he is dealing, nor how grievously he vexes His free spirit.
– C. H. Spurgeon
1834 – 1892
Your sermon of the week is The Three Most Important Facts of Life by Rick Holland. In this message from the 2008 Resolved Conference, Rick Holland discusses what so many pastors avoid: The taboo subjects of death and Hell.
“[There is] “no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190
“If we get our salvation, we shall have to pass by Joseph Smith; if we enter our glory, it will be through the authority he has received. We cannot get around him.” -1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide, p. 142, Apostle George Q. Cannon
“He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ.” -Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.312
“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are… [Joseph Smith] reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim—”Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!” But it is true.” -Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289-91
“Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. … Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.” -Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mag., Nov. 1998, pp.70-71
“I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him. We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him. I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sentinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire. But I tell you, the pinch will be with those that have mingled with us, stood next to us, weighed our spirits, tried us, and proven us: there will be a pinch, in my view, to get past them. The others, perhaps, will say, If brother Joseph is satisfied with you, you may pass. If it is all right with him, it is all right with me. Then if Joseph shall say to a man, or if brother Brigham say to a man, I forgive you your sins, “Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them;” if you who have suffered and felt the weight of transgression—if you have generosity enough to forgive the sinner, I will forgive him: you cannot have more generosity than I have. I have given you power to forgive sins, and when the Lord gives a gift, he does not take it back again.” -Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.154-155
But what saith the eternal Word of God?
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Peruse the Christian marketplace, and you will find a plethora of books, songs, and paintings that depict God as a loving Father. And He is that. . . . Yes, God is a loving Father, but He is also a wrathful Judge. In His wrath He hates sin. . . . And in some sense, God also hates sinners. You might ask, “What happened to ‘God hates the sin and loves the sinner’?” Well, the Bible happened to it.
– David Platt
Your sermon of the week is The Breadth of God’s Moral Law by Phil Johnson. This is the second installment on Johnson’s series on the Ten Commandments that will be featured every other week as your Sermon of the Week (on Thursdays).
This sermon (like the first one in this series) is a prelude to getting into the study on the Ten Commandments themselves. In two weeks Johnson will get into the first commandment.
For a long time I struggled with the second chapter of the letter of James. I had great difficulty reconciling what James was saying with the rest of Scripture. I would listen intently to any preacher who was expositing this chapter of James for an explanation but their answers never seemed to satisfy me regarding the seemingly irreconcilable views James taught.
I know that I was not alone in this quandary as I’ve often heard the declaration that when it comes to the issue of justification, “James contradicts Paul.”
The most vocal proponents of James’ alleged doctrine that faith and works are required for justification are known as the works-righteousness crowd. (Think: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Roman Catholics.)
Whenever the subject of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone comes up, these groups immediately run to James chapter two as their proof-text that you must do your part in conjunction with God’s part in order to bring about your redemption.
And granted, they do make a convincing argument, for it appears that’s precisely what James is saying. However, the opposing argument (faith alone through grace alone) can be made with equal tenacity based on a plethora of Paul’s teaching.
In relation to the totality of all of Scripture, this polemic goes beyond just Paul and James, but the gist of the debate can be summed up most succinctly by the following two verses:
“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” – James 2:24
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” – Romans 3:28
These two axioms really only leave us with three possible options:
A). James is teaching that salvation is by faith and works (and conversely, so is Paul).
B). Paul is teaching salvation is by faith apart from works (and conversely, so is James).
C). The two men contradict one another and thus, the Bible contradicts itself.
For those of us who understand that “C” is not a viable option, we’re only left with options “A” and “B.” So, to determine which is the correct interpretation we must resort to the old practice of letting Scripture interpret Scripture.
In this post I will attempt to prove—in eight points—that not only do James and Paul agree that salvation is by faith apart from works (i.e. alone), but that if James is actually teaching that your obedience to the law and/or your practicing of good works contributes to your salvation, then he would not only be contradicting Paul, but he would also be contradicting himself!
Seminars for God’s people are big these days. There are church growth seminars, counseling seminars, and things like the Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts. Most of these seminars multiply registrations by appealing to a broad clientele. They take no stand on separation from apostasy and compromise. As a result, the fundamentalist enticed to the seminary may have a Methodist on the right, a Catholic priest on the left, and new evangelical’s for and aft.
– John Ashbrook
For those not familiar with Hofmann and the great Salamander Letter controversy, here’s a synopsis:
Mark Hofmann fooled the prophets and leaders of his church in the 1980s when he began making a lucrative living by selling them forged (fake) documents that were damaging to Mormonism. These documents were purchased by the Mormon church and archived away (or destroyed) so that no one would ever see them.
(The fact that LDS prophets were so easily fooled by forgeries is telling, as well as the fact that the LDS leadership–thinking the documents were genuine–were willing to pay a lot of money to procure them from Hofmann to keep the world from seeing them. These two facts alone speak volumes about Mormonism . . . but I digress.)
Once Hofmann’s scam began to unravel he resorted to bombs. In the end, two people were killed and Hofmann was seriously injured when one of the bombs detonated prematurely.
For a more detailed examination of the incident, I highly recommend the book The Mormon Murders. It is a riveting page-turner investigated and written by two secular (non-Mormon, non-Christian) authors.
“These are some of my thoughts concerning my crimes and how I became what I am. As far back as I can remember I have liked to impress people through my deceptions. In fact, some of my earliest memories are of doing magic and card tricks. Fooling people gave me a sense of power and superiority. I believe this is what led to my forging activities.”
You can read the whole letter (in PDF format) here.
For those of you who have studied early Mormon history (pre-revisionism), I am certain that you find the same irony in this quote as I did: This quote could easily be ascribed to Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, and it would be just as accurate and apropos.
(FILE | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mark W. Hofmann, left, and LDS Church leaders N. Eldon Tanner, Spencer W. Kimball, Marion G. Romney, Boyd K. Packer and Gordon B. Hinckley examine the Anthon transcript April 22, 1980.
Catholics are taught to believe a miracle has occurred when the inner essence of the host (wafer) is changed into the body and blood of Christ even though it still looks and tastes like a wafer. Can you think of any miracle in the Bible that never appeared to happen?
– Mike Gendron
Your sermon of the week is The Sufficiency of Scripture by John MacArthur. In this message MacArthur defends the perspicuity of the Bible starting from the very first attack against God’s Word in the Garden of Eden all the way up to the current attack on God’s Word by the Emergent movement. This is one you won’t want to miss.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. – Psalm 33:8
He that desires to read his Bible with profit, must first ask the Lord Jesus to open the eyes of his understanding by the Holy Spirit. Human commentaries are useful in their way. The help of good and learned men is not to be despised. But there is no commentary to be compared with the teaching of Christ. A humble and prayerful spirit will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud, self-conceited student will utterly fail to discern.
– J.C. Ryle
1816 – 1900
DefCon begins our 2011 weekly sermons with a new series by Phil Johnson on the subject of the Ten Commandments.
We begin with one of two preludes to the Ten Commandments entitled The Preeminence of God’s Moral Law. We will continue with this series every other week.
I blush today to think about the religious fodder that is now being handed out to children. There was a day when they sat around as the fire crackled in the hearth and listened to a serious but kindly old grandfather read Pilgrim’s Progress, and the young Canadian and the young American grew up knowing all about Mr. Facing-Both-Ways and all the rest of that gang. And now we read cheap junk that ought to be shoveled out and gotten rid of.
I have an old Methodist hymnal that rolled off the press 111 years ago and I found forty-nine hymns on the attributes of God in it. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t sing hymns with so much theology because people’s minds are different now. We think differently now. Did you know that those Methodist hymns were sung mostly by uneducated people? They were farmers and sheep herders and cattle ranchers, coal miners and blacksmiths, carpenters and cotton pickers—plain people all over this continent. They sang those songs. There are over 1,100 hymns in that hymnbook of mine and there isn’t a cheap one in the whole bunch.
Our fathers sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and we sing junk.