Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Prosperity Gospeliers On The Haitian Crisis

I responded to a post on a bulletin board I do most of my online posting on concerning this subject. Most of my online personal commentary on the heresy and false doctrine advanced by Charismatic and Pentecostal extremism is made either on our website, in private emails to those who contact us, or on this blog.

The BB is frequented by many leaders, clergy and laity of my movement, the Church of God (Cleveland) where I am a licensed minister at. The post below piqued my interest concerning the possible reactions of those members of the Word of Faith clergy who might find some uniquely perverse ways to profit from the horrors of the Haitian calamity.

In case you've been under a rock for the past week, a natural disaster of the most horrifically first magnitude has tragically visited that Haiti with a 7.0 earthquake, destruction and the deaths of possibly over a quarter million people in a country where no decent infrastructure to supply food, water, shelter and medical care has ever quite existed. It was tough enough to live in a place like Haiti, but with thousands now dead and dying in the streets, the flow of commodities like food and basic living supplies cut off, hospitals and market destroyed, and no way to get fresh water easily, life just got inconceivable.

We can and should discuss Pat Robertson's ill timed lambasting of the Haiti for it's adherence to voodoo, but now is not that time. These precious people - be they voodoo practitioners or Catholic or anyone else - need our prayers, our giving and our assistance and for the West to dig deep and help out - click on the links following to the American Red Cross and another great relief organization, Operation Compassion, operated as a ministry of the Church of God if you'd like to help.

The post I reference, in a sad, yet inevitable jar from the stark reality of the horror, asked the question:

Are prosperity preachers in Haiti? I was just wondering if they could get a seed offering from some folks so they can get their 100 fold blessing and move to the next level. Maybe they could get some partners to stand in the gap to help their ministry. I hadn't noticed.

I responded ..

Post: A quick ck to see what the prosperity ministries are doing

Kenneth Copeland Ministries - says on their website they support Christian Haitian Outreach—Cares for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. They say they have people there, and it's likely these and others. They do point you to a relief fund where they say 100% of everything donated goes to "provide timely assistance to Partners and Friends affected by major disasters."

Not to worry though, you can also donate to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, their Elite CX Team and the KCM Scholarship Fund. It's right there alongside the KCM Relief Fund checkbox, so you can donate to run KCM, help pay for millions of dollars of new HD TV equipment and production, or subsidize the creation of more KCM clones.

Kenneth Hagin Ministries - No record of any ministries they directly support was found in Haiti, although it's possible RBC alumni may be there. But their massive Flash display shows you can follow them on Twitter, apply to RBC and ensure you get registered in their "Winter Bible Seminar."

Haiti is mentioned as a focus for prayer.

Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association - the Online Services website has a massive picture inviting you to offer "Help For Haiti", but by following the links, you get shuttled to a page where you can Sow a Seed to them directly with absolutely no information on what they are going to do to Help Haiti.

Rod - has a similar huge graphic, a link to several articles that make much about the suffering there, and thanks "for RUSHING your Bridge of Hope gift to help provide immediate earthquake relief and help me preach the Gospel to a lost and hurting world through our Breakthrough Television Broadcast."

Minimum suggested donation. $50.

Jesse Duplantis Ministries and Paula - Both Jesse and Paula say in an article they are trying to figure out what organization with boots on the ground they can give to in order will best help the people. In the mean time, you can send in a donations to them.

Once again, the call for help is appealing .. and the help is desperately needed.

But as usual, as in most prosperity preacher mission products, they are cryptic, vague and short on any specifics. Why they have to handle any money at all you might want to donate is certainly open for some serious question. I guess giving to the Red Cross just isn't spiritual enough ...

I just hope people really are going to be helped by this, although HD suites certainly are needed to get the Broadcast out in the clearest way possible. Why, if we don't give for that, who will?

Analog TV ministry and unpaid satellite bills lead to an uncertain sound.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Is The Tide Of End Time Apostasy? A New Year's Clarification

After arriving home quite late from a Saturday trip up to Middle Tennessee for an ex-cultist support group meeting, I woke up really late this morning and decided to forego church services until tonight at my homechurch, the South Cleveland Church of God, here in the Holy City. I decided to spend a few moments this morning diving in to address the foundational issues concerning the content and scope of this blog, as I discussed in one of our last entries.

Many visit here may not fully understand what I am speaking of when I mention that this blog is dedicated to responding and critiquing what I have repeatedly called an advance of the end time apostasy that the Lord Jesus Christ predicted in Matthew 24. Perhaps a bit of explanation is in hand since so very few people understand what the Bible says about this, even if many of them recognize quite plainly that America and the world can scarcely be described in what we fancy to be "Christian." The issue goes far more deeper than we want to believe, but I want to keep this as easy to understand as possible.

The word apostasy literally means, from the Greek to stand apart, while another form of the word refers to the act of rebellion. The sense of the word in Scripture is that an apostasy is an abandonment or rejection of true faith, morality and conviction which God has ordained as acceptable to Him. The Bible also shows that this kind of spiritual rebellion against His revealed always leads to immorality as sinful people act out their sinfulness on one another in the absence of any moral constraint.

The apostasy of all apostacies that forever changed the course of human history was the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, unflinchingly related in Genesis 3, was an act of disobedient sin (eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) that in effect was a rebellion from God's revealed will (to eat of any other tree in the Garden except that one tree). It had cataclysmic consequences for us, cutting us off from fellowship from God and imparting unto mankind a sinful depravity that has resulted in several thousand years of tragic history in which violence, oppression, greed and immorality have had a free hand among the tribes of humanity.

The only hope for humanity is Jesus Christ. As a Christian minister and believer, I am called to embrace and preach an obedience and embracing of faith in the person, work and message of Jesus Christ as the literal salvation for us all. His Gospel, as the Christian faith follows it, is the summit of His Father's will for mankind to choose His Lordship over their lives for salvation as well as for responsible social lifestyle and order. Faith in Him and obedience to His commands will deliver us from ourselves.

As a preacher, I call men and women, as Christ did, to repent and believe His Gospel (Mark 1:15) but unlike the coercive religious figures in our world that demand an unholy usage of the power of the state to legislate this kind of obedience, I simply proclaim and admonish .. and leave those same people to make their own choice to do so and then live it out practically in their ethics and morals - in full awareness that God will judge all in light of His revealed will to them (Revelation 20:11-13)

That is all that the advance of Christian faith should ever attempt to do. Jesus did not call upon any earthly government to subsidize the creation of a state church or a divided Christendom to create a social utopia. He calls upon the sinful to embrace His transforming power by repentance from their sin and a faith in Him and to also become responsible members of the great Body of Christ, the "Church invisible" existing across sectarian and temporal divisions , to minister to the needs of a hurting world as well as call it to Christ. When the Church went beyond this mandate, it became a tool of statecraft and ultimately oppression backed by the rule of law, not of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:12-16) - and became part of the problem itself, becaming the fodder for agnosticism, atheism and the encouragement to explore antichristian spiritualities.

Be that as it may, in those places in the world where the Christian faith in the world has sought to provide a moral example to our fallen culture, and where it has not been embraced for any of the thousand reasons that people reject an active and legitimate faith in Christ, the apostasy of Adam still goes on.

Our blog seeks to show you where the entry points of this rebellion are pulling down whatever truth and relevance the church still has to establish its own rival religiosity and again highlight that what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24 still has the most powerful urgency today. We seek to warn you to never forget what tidings of these very things imply for us, for it was Christ Himself who said bluntly that when you see these things coming to pass in human history, His Second Coming and Return to the earth to pour out judgment upon sinful mankind was at hand.

Let one of my favorites from the 1960's by none other than Barry McGuire further clarify just how warped and tragic the world is and where we are heading. You can walk out with an entertained shiver from the next blockbuster movie about the end of the world thinking you'll always be able to just go back to a reality where things always go on as they have (2 Peter 3:3-4), where you'll get dinner and go to work the next day and live life as you please.

But it won't ever really impart unto you the truly terrifying reality that the Eve of Destruction is indeed at hand.

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
1 Peter 4:7

Spiritwatch Ministries seeks to ensure no man deceive you as to the time and the hour. So if you're not sure where you stand, you'd better get ready .. and remember the challenge of Jesus Christ to this big, rebellious, irreverent world:

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Luke 18:8

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Cultism And Yoga Mix - Very Well, It Seems ..

There's nothing more troubling to behold then when cultism, as it usually does, gets recognized in what many would view as the most mundane of human endeavors.

When it does it stirs up controversy, a meating of the press and the documenting of claims and counterclaims through videography and interviews. Such recognition never surprises us though, for we've asserted over and over in our ministry and teaching about this social blight that cultism is always more than just a eccentric doctrinal unorthodoxy in the body politic of human life. It involves a robust and unethical cooption, a coercive takeover of the hearts and minds of trusting followers by manipulative leaders that cannot be denied, ignored or brushed away by the usual spin doctoring of cult group apologists.

What we've pointed out is that cultism can and does take forms that would surprise you. The social dynamics of the Weigh Down Workshop diet program when coupled to the Remnant Fellowship "church" are just such an example as is the seemingly benign outer forms of Scientology, est, and Red Chinese Communism.

So when we saw the CNN investigative reporting done by Kyra Phillips on the Dahn Yoga business empire and aired on the Campbell Brown show this week, once again we fail to be surprised. Cultism in any human enterprise is possible - and if you mix profit-centered business with pliable spirituality, add a few dollops of junk science and PR imagery and combine with a generous helping of blindly trusting people who will buy into a product line they think will work for them, the recipe will turn something disturbing up every time.
Check it out. The last segment of the 3 part series airs tonight, but they are all featured on the CNN website for viewing on demand.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Year To Discern : Some Thoughts

Matthew 24:1-14

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, blessed and meaningful Christmas as well as trust in God for a happy New Year.

There. I've said it the way I would want to say it and not in the safely emasculated way that secularizing sentiment would have the holiday seasons observed ("Have a Happy Holiday!", cut and paste on every marketing campaign they could get it on, from Victoria's Secret to Captain Morgan, and show lots of people buying stuff). There is enough to say about our rotting culture right there but I trust many who read here get the point.

I am reassuming the helm on my blog here, after some time traveling and being with family, and in so doing, I do so with a lot of prayerful hope that 2010 will be a more fruitful year for our lives, ministry and one in which I personally seek my Lord afresh. Above all I want to be an overcomer. To each church Jesus sent word to in the book of Revelation (chapters 2-3), He indicated that only those who withstood all of the potent temptations and trials of this world and overcame them would gain the prize of eternal life. This is a battle, as the struggles of those churches indicate, that involves not only personal moral sanctity, responsible relationships with others in the church and the world, but head on conflict in the age old battle between truth and error, against spiritual deception.

Through it all, I want to be about the business of bringing healing to the broken hearted, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it, and announcing deliverance to those bound by chains of darkness, sin and bad religion and philosophy. If that sounds like a tall order, it's only because you may be looking at it from a viewpoint that fails to see how God uses ordinary people to do the extraordinary, as they seek to obey His express will for their lives. The ministry of the Gospel, above all, is one that is based upon reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:8), the bringing together of those separated from the gracious fellowship God offers to all through a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-29).

Joy and I, Bryan and Cheryl and Steve and Kathy have sought to do this in Spiritwatch Ministries for the past decade. We have all seen and beheld how the spiritual darkness Jesus warned us would come has claimed the lives of so many in the cults and culture of today. And each of us in our church outreaches and personal discernment ministries have done what we can to walk with Jesus so we can take a stand for the truth and then run to the battles where souls have stumbled as angels of light bearing false doctrine and practice blind them. God willing, we hope to continue to do so as time goes by.

In the next few days, we'll be backing up to punt .. I want to focus upon the ABC's of our ministerial ethos and examine just what the last days apostasy is a bit more. In this blog, I've been writing as if many who visit assume that they know what that is. I've responded to various news items that show signs of it all around us. But in the next day or two, I want to start addressing what the Bible says about this apostasy, and why the church today is increasingly a bigger player in it then ever before .. just as Jesus warned it would be.