Archive for January, 2014

29
Jan
14

Rejecting the Spirit = Rejecting Christ

Some Cessationists have supported their stance by saying that Charismatics/Pentecostals are “Spirit-centred” instead of “Christ-centred”. Apart from this NOT being scriptural evidence for their theology*, can anyone truly be “Christ centred” if they create a division between Christ and the Spirit as if there’s a possibility of an either/or situation? As if anyone can be Christ centred without giving the Holy Spirit the recognition given to Him by Jesus?

I am wondering why Jesus said this:

“…everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Why can speaking against Jesus be forgiven but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
What kind of importance does JESUS place on the Holy Spirit in that statement?

If we reject the Spirit and His continuing work (including His gifts) then aren’t we also rejecting the Jesus who promised to send the Spirit as well as rejecting the Father who sends Him in Jesus’ name?

______________ 

* Whether Spiritual gifts continue to be valid or not should not be determined through judgement of the actions or beliefs of any group. The validity of ALL doctrinal viewpoints should be determined through reference to the scriptures.

22
Jan
14

David Pawson Exposé ?

1The question of whether David Pawson is a false teacher is still one of the most popular search terms leading people to my blog. I wrote about this previously here:
https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/is-david-pawson-a-false-teacher/

Within the comments section of that post someone drew attention to a long article here: [LINK NOW REMOVED]*

According to the person who posted the link, it “clearly shows Pawson and his false teachings”. The commenter also adds (referring to me) “because you believe some of the lies themselves… you yourself is a false teacher.”

I was quite aware of that article. I’d come across it several times. It used to be the first article listed if David Pawson’s name was “googled”.  And clearly some have found it convincing. I feel it is something I ought to address because I know people have visited that site via the link given by the above mentioned commenter.

So what are the claims made in the article and how valid are they?
Firstly it is a very long article containing a transcript of a talk given by Pawson that probably went for 45 minutes to an hour, so doing an extensive, line by line critique isn’t practical in a blog post, but then again it isn’t necessary because most of the objections raised are 1) repetitive and 2) they are focused on aspects of Dispensationalism , a theology clearly held by the writer of the article.

So what evidence does the writer give to “prove” that Pawson is a false teacher? And how valid is that evidence? Here are some of the claims made, followed by my response to those claims:

Claim 1.

David Pawson does not believe and preach of meeting the Lord in the air at His return.

Pawson certainly DOES believe in the event commonly referred to as “the rapture”. But he believes it will occur AFTER the period known as the great tribulation. But what happens AFTER that meeting? What happens to the believers who were caught up and where do they go? Pawson believes (as it states in scripture) that those believers alive at the Lord’s return will be changed and put on immortality and will return to the earth with the Lord (who they have met in the air) to take part in His 1000 year reign.

Claim 2.

Scripture refutes that Christians will go through “the most fearful period in the history of the planet.

when Jesus returnsScripture does nothing of the kind.
Pawson believes and teaches what scripture DOES say about this. His teachings about the end times are accessible through many recorded sermons found on the website http://davidpawson.org/resources/category/belief/when-jesus-returns/ ) as well as in several books he has written.
Like the author of the article, I was a believer in the pre-trib rapture for several years. It was the view I’d been taught in church. But my beliefs totally changed when I took the time to study scripture for myself. I later came across Pawson’s teaching on this subject, and that helped me accept that my new understanding wasn’t off-track.

Claim 3.

Pawson preaches “we will enter the Millennial Reign of Christ STILL IN OUR MORTAL BODIES, for we have never been Raptured”.

This has been dealt with above in “claim 1”. The accusation made couldn’t be more false. It is a total lie, a complete misrepresentation of what Pawson preaches.

Claim 4.

“Pawson seems to make the Church of Jesus Christ take the place that ISRAEL takes in Biblical prophecy, in the period of the Tribulation.”

It is only the erroneous Dispensationalist view point that separates the church and Israel in this way, placing the “raptured church” in heaven, while Israel suffers through the tribulation. Pawson believes that both the church and Israel go through that period and each have their place. The church doesn’t replace Israel but neither does Israel replace the church.

Claim 5.

“Most disturbing of all is the fact that Pawson believes and teaches that “Jesus Christ” will soon appear, and we should be waiting for Him to take over the planet and transform it into a new world.”

bloodmoonPawson believes that when Jesus returns He will defeat the beast (commonly known as the anti-christ) and He will take over the planet and reign from Jerusalem. This will all happen after the Tribulation, it will be unmistakable and cannot be confused with the rise of antichrist who has already been made known before Jesus returns.
Pawson does NOT preach that Christians will take dominion over the word’s systems etc. before Jesus’s return. JESUS takes dominion over them after His unmistakable return during which HE gathers His saints in the air. No one believing the same way as Pawson would be deceived by a false Christ, a man who does NOT come to prominence in the immediate, highly visible and public way that will mark the return of Jesus.
Pawson also believes that the Millennial reign will be followed by the creation of a new heavens and a new earth, that will replace the current creation. A new creation where only righteousness dwells.

The above addresses the first page or so of that article and I think that is more than enough to expose the article’s lack of validity. The article is a tangled web of lies and false accusations based around the very dangerous dispensationalist theology.

I’ve read through the 57 pages in which a transcript of Pawson’s message is interrupted by interjections from the writer of the article and I could possibly highlight countless more of the kind of falsehoods I’ve mentioned above, but it would merely be more and more of the same and the interjections merely highlight how much the writer has been conditioned by Dispensationalism and that she is reading things into Pawson’s message that haven’t been said or even implied (as I’ve already shown above). And at times the writer accuses Pawson of saying things that are in complete disagreement with what he DOES say.

The writer makes the continued claim that Pawson was avoiding scripture, but maybe if the writer had been more familiar with scripture instead of Dispensationalist teaching (and I find her ignorance of what scripture says to be genuinely heartbreaking considering the role she has taken upon herself with that article), she would have recognised that Pawson’s teaching was totally consistent with scripture – even though he avoids the common practice of bombarding listeners with “proof texts”.

Ironically the writer makes reference to the Bereans early in the article but doesn’t seem to realise that the Bereans SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES to see whether Paul was speaking the truth. They did not look up a handful of conveniently provided proof texts quoted by Paul. Nor did they expect Paul to provide that list of “texts” to make their task easier.

__________________

Most of the above comes from a reply I wrote in the comments after the “Is David Pawson a False Teacher article.

 

______________________________________

* I’ve now removed the link to the article, deciding I don’t want to further expose readers to the very questionable theology and false accusations made at that site.

21
Jan
14

Where’s The Like Button?

like

Knowing that someone “likes” what I’ve written can be encouraging. It’s good to get feedback, especially an indication of appreciation.

Whenever someone has clicked the “like” button I’ve tried to visit the linked site to see how much I have in common with the person who has “liked” my post. Sometimes that has been worthwhile, but mostly it hasn’t.

Over time I’ve noticed that more and more “likes” seem to be an alternative to SPAM. The most common traits shared by those who allegedly “like” one of my posts have been: Young. American, Male. And they have found a way of making money (with very little work) by using the internet. I’m guessing part of their strategy is to attract hits on their own blogs – or by enticing others to join whatever scheme they themselves allege is making them money.

I have also seen that some of the sites linked to those who clicked the “like” button have a sexually explicit nature. Comments from sites of that type regularly get intercepted and dumped into the Spam file where I can easily delete them. However, through the “like” option they have the potential to leave an un-noticed link on my blog from which those unsavoury sites can be accessed.

So far I haven’t found a way to completely remove the like button from all posts, but I can remove that option whenever I post a new article, but that needs to be remembered each time I publish something.

So, if you are one of the genuine people out there who sincerely like something I write, I hope you understand my reason for removing the “like” button. And if you do like something I write, why not make a brief comment, even if you only type the word “like” in the comments section?
I’m also giving this announcement its own page that can be easily accessed via a tab at the top of the page making it more easily accessible to future visitors.

21
Jan
14

More Thoughts From the Past

Today I came across an old thread on a (now closed) forum where I used to post and found the following (now slightly edited) comment that I made about two years ago:

Someone can justify a doctrine by quoting countless scripture verses – but if his understanding of those verses is not consistent with what scripture says elsewhere, his understanding is wrong.

Someone can justify their doctrine by quoting a scripture verse but if scripture elsewhere adds MORE information not contained in that verse – then their doctrine will be only a PARTIAL truth and will not give the whole story.

Convincing arguments can be made to support most false doctrines through the use of scripture. However to maintain that support a lot more scripture needs to be ignored.

The strength/weakness of a belief can often be determined more by what is hidden (the parts of scripture ignored) than by what is revealed (the carefully selected parts of scripture that seem to support the belief).

My former involvement with WOF was prolonged because I pushed aside the doubts that arose when I read a part of scripture that seemed to contradict what the WOF teachers were saying.
Their doctrines were only strong while those contradictory parts of scripture were ignored. When those scriptures were properly addressed weaknesses in WOF doctrines were exposed.

It wasn’t until I willingly addressed those formerly ignored parts of scriptures that I could recognize and turn from those false WOF teachings.

17
Jan
14

Counterfeit vs Truth

A few years ago I wrote a lot about the false beliefs and practices of extreme charismatics. Recently I’ve been writing quite a bit about the equally false beliefs of cessationists.

I see these vastly different groups as the opposite sides of the SAME counterfeit coin – a coin minted to dishonour the Holy Spirit.

Almost five years ago I wrote the following article. It seems relevant enough to recent discussion to repost it and add the question: How much do we genuinely desire the Truth?

TRUTH or Tolerance and Compromise?

(originally posted here 26 May 2009 http://onefiles.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/truth-or-tolerance-and-compromise.html )

17 jan 2It is becoming increasing evident that the teachings of men have replaced the authority of scripture in the church’s theological foundations. The evidence has become overwhelming. Rather than accept and trust scripture, people will go to all kinds of lengths to explain why it doesn’t mean what it is clearly saying.

We have Calvinism redefining salvation and the means by which God has made it available. Then there are the extreme charismatics who have redefined signs and wonders and have turned God’s love into an expression of His desperation to be accepted. And what about the “extreme prophetic” and the “New Apostolic Reformation”? They’ve created new definitions of the prophetic and apostolic.

No matter which direction we turn there’s someone trying to improve on the truth God has provided in His written word.

I don’t know how many feel the same kind of frustration that I’ve been experiencing increasingly over the last year. From regular involvement with a variety of blogs and forums I’m coming across more and more people who are content to tolerate clear cut doctrinal error.
The first clear (recent) examples came in response to concerns about Todd Bentley and his Lakeland “revival”. No matter how weird and perverse things became there were always those who jumped up to defend what was happening. No matter how aberrant the preaching; no matter how many flaky prophecies were given; no matter how much occultic mysticism was mixed with a sampling of bible quotes – there was always a stridently vocal cheer squad singing the “revival’s” praises and condemning the ‘heresy hunters”.
Even Bentley’s open immorality was not enough to open the eyes of many. Instead the support continues.

But the modern day charismanic circus is only one aspect of the problem. The deceiver knows that you can’t tempt everyone with the same flavours. There are other things he provides for the unwary to taste. Those without a sweet tooth, who are not attracted to fluffy, sugary carnival treats, might prefer something a bit meatier; something with more substance. While the extreme charismatics prefer a scripture-lite approach that shuns “traditional interpretations”, others cling to traditional teachings as if they have the authority of scripture itself. They prize scripture – as long as it’s been filtered through a trained and ordained intermediary. We are made to think scripture is beyond the average believer and contains mysteries that are best left to those more qualified to seek out its truths.
And so centuries’ old traditions are passed from generation to generation and defended ferociously should they be challenged.

My personal journey over this last year (and more) has included experience with these opposite extremes of Christian tradition. One group interprets scripture through a centuries old theological system while the other group seems to make things up as they go along.

One group gives lip service to the authority of scripture while in reality authority is given to their theological tradition and how IT interprets scripture.
The other group gives lip service to scripture while in reality giving authority to spiritual experiences and glib clichés.

One group esteems long dead theologians the other adores the flamboyant man (or woman) of the hour.

In these different groups it seems that the Word of God and the Spirit of God are pitted against each other. One is governed by established doctrines, and interprets scripture according to those doctrines. The other is governed by “the Spirit” and interprets scripture according to “spiritual” revelation.

There are obviously some very distinct and irreconcilable differences between these two groups. And yet they have at least one common factor. Both in reality have applied some kind of condition to their approach to scripture that takes away the average believer’s relationship with God’s word. Those average believers are TOLD what can be believed and how it should be believed. They are told that scripture doesn’t necessarily mean what it seems to mean, promoting the understanding that a (traditionally) college trained or a (charismatically) anointed teacher is required to convey what scripture really saying.

Of course, the extent of how this affects the church is immense and it would be impossible to go into every aspect of the problem. But to the person who wants to know and understand the truth, and is willing to spend the time and make the effort required, the truth is easily accessible. Everyone reading this blog has the means and the ability to search the scriptures for themselves because they can obviously read. But are they willing to utilise that ability?

To a great degree we have been conditioned to believe that scripture is hard to understand and that we need someone to explain it all and to share its hidden secrets. We lack confidence. But we should recognise that it is not only a lack of confidence in ourselves – we are lacking confidence in the God who desires to make Himself known through the revelation of scripture. We lack confidence in the One who promised to send His Spirit to be our teacher, and we lack confidence in His Spirit’s ability and willingness to teach us.

The conditioning process that has distanced us from scripture has also worked by giving us an expectation of how scripture should be approached. Our exposure to scripture has been through “texts” – often meaning isolated verses that are expounded upon at length by an appointed teacher of the word. In most cases little attention is given to context and meaning is given to the selected “text” that indicates some kind of special insight has been needed to get to what was really meant by that text.
Through this experience, we ourselves then try to delve into parts of scripture according to the same method used by the teacher. We dig around and try to find the deeper things hidden within those parts of scripture. And this is usually done before the student has developed even a rudimentary understanding of how the whole bible fits together, and what its overall revelation is about.
There is little understanding of how God has related to mankind throughout history and there is little understanding about the significance of God’s relationship with Israel. To most believers, the Old Testament account is a total mystery – beyond a few half remembered stories of certain bible characters.

Now I’ve waffled on and on about this for long enough. A lot of it I’ve touched upon before on this blog and on others. But is the message getting through? Is what I’m saying having any effect?
It seems not. From what I’ve read elsewhere people are quite content to cling to their personal traditions and to tolerate the traditions of others. Relativism is alive and thriving within the “church” and it has been demonstrated time and again in some of the responses my writings have received.
While I have made it abundantly clear that I am totally opposed to Calvinism and its abhorrent “doctrines of grace” – those Calvinists that have been most ferocious in their responses to me have at least shown a devotion to those things that they believe. They recognise the exclusivity of their beliefs and see little room for compromise. The same can not be said for so many others who demonstrate (though they would surely deny it) that they accept the relativity of “truth” – that what is true for one person is okay for that person, and what is true for me is okay for me. There is a clear opposition to any idea of bringing correction to others – such actions would be seen as divisive, and it seems like division should be avoided at all costs, even if it meant compromising on the truth.

Recently I have seen time and again how people will twist scripture in every direction possible to avoid accepting what it clearly states. All kinds of mental and logical gymnastics are performed to come to an understanding that contradicts or ignores what would be unavoidable if only the actual words of scripture were accepted for what they actually said.
Why do so many persist with this wilful blindness? And why do so many let them persist, all in the name of keeping the peace?

16
Jan
14

Living God vs Dumb Idols

Cessationist theology adds a strong ironic aspect to Paul’s introduction to his teaching on Spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12:

“…concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols…”

Why mention past involvement with “dumb idols” in an introduction to spiritual gifts: Spiritual gifts that reveal God as living, active and speaking to and through His people?

The cessationist view gives me a hint why.

I thank God that He continues to speak and act to and through His people. That He is true to His word, continuing to equip believers with the gifts His word promises. That He is different to the dumb idols referred to by Paul.

15
Jan
14

Jesus the Baptist

The attack* on Spiritual gifts is part of a bigger picture – an attack on the Holy Spirit Himself. I’ve been noting how much importance that the NT gives to the role of the Holy Spirit within the believer, and yet that importance is barely recognised.

It seems significant that one of the first things said about the adult Jesus was John the Baptist’s statement:

“I have baptised you with water, but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit

The fact that this simple statement is referenced so many times (in Matt 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1, Acts 1, and Acts 11) and linked with the events at Pentecost and what happened to Cornelius, should encourage us to think about the relevance to believers today. And also make us wonder why the majority of the church ignores or tries to repudiate what is described.

So what does the NT say about the Holy Spirit and His relationship with believers? There are far too many references to go into in a blog post, but here are a few examples from the gospels and Acts.

1) Jesus will baptise believers in the Holy Spirit (Matt 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1:33. Acts 1, Acts 11)
2) He is given by the Father to those who ask (Luke 11)
3) He is the Helper, sent by the Father in Jesus’ name (John 14)
4) He provides power enabling believers to be witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1)
5) He is poured out by Jesus and fills believers, resulting in clear evidence of that filling (including tongues, praise and prophecy (Acts 2, 10 and 19))
6) He is a gift given to those who repent and are baptised in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2)
7) He gives boldness to speak the word of God (Acts 4)
8) He is given to those who obey God (Acts 5)
9) He is received through prayer (Acts 8)
10) Jesus was anointed with the Spirit and power, and went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil and Paul was filled with the Spirit (Acts 9 and 10)
11) He is poured out “even on the Gentiles” (Acts 10)
12) Believers have not necessarily received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19)[refer again to points 2, 8 and 9 above for posssible reasons]

I wonder how relevant these things have been to our own Christian lives – or are they things we’ve never considered?

_____________________

See previous post.
* I see this attack comes from two camps. The cessationists who deny the present day validity of the gifts, and also the unbiblical excesses of sections of Pentecostal/Charismatic groups that give cessationists their entire argument against the gifts.




Blog Stats

  • 72,300 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 232 other followers