Ask For a Fish and Get a Snake?

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?(Luke 11:11-13)

Here we have the wonderful promise of a gift, available to those who ask. And it’s not just any gift; it is the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself, given by the Father.
But how many actually ASK for that gift and expect to receive? And how many merely assume they’ve already been given and have received the gift, despite a lack of asking and despite a lack of evidence of the receiving?
Would the Holy Spirit come into our lives without being noticed?

The effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers are illustrated throughout the book of Acts and also in Paul’s letters, such as the familiar chapters 12-14 in 1 Corinthians. If we have received the Spirit, shouldn’t we be experiencing and displaying something similar?

Fire

Sadly the promise in Luke, quoted above, has not only been ignored by many, it has also been misused by a growing number to justify some very strange practices and ideas that don’t have a biblical foundation. The assumption they make is that they couldn’t experience anything not of God, if they’ve been seeking manifestations of the Spirit’s work.

I’ve come across several people who have quoted those verses to “prove” that the strange things they accept are ok, including one local pastor whose church had experienced the appearance of gold dust during one of their meetings.
While I saw problems with his confidence in the legitimacy of that experience, I also found it difficult to challenge his assurance based on the fore-mentioned promise, until I found examples of when man’s error and disobedience had led to God giving something other than what had been expected.

This is one example related to some people who assume they’ve been exercising Spiritual gifts :

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

I see another example in 2 Thess 2:

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie

Those verses show we have a choice, and that choice relates to a “love of the truth”. Without that “love of the truth” we will be susceptible to delusion and ultimately God Himself will be the sender of that delusion.

In the case of present day charismatics, they need to consider, whether it is REALLY the Holy Spirit they are seeking. Or are they seeking manifestations and experiences being promoted by their teachers. They also need to consider whether they desire the truth MORE than those manifestations and experiences. Are they willing to seek the truth by searching the scriptures themselves and testing those teachings, manifestations and experiences?

Returning to the promise that opened this article, I think other parts of scripture make it clear: if someone refuses to love the truth, God may give something much worse than stones, serpents or scorpions.

Ted Cruz: “‘Anointed’ to Bring About ‘End Time Transfer of Wealth’”

The details in the article referenced below show there is more than dodgy far-right political ideology driving the Ted Cruz camp.

Its theology is arguably FAR more disturbing.

Once again, during this campaign season in America, the doctrines of Dominionism held by diverse segments of the evangelical world have taken front and center stage. The leaven of the 7 mountain teaching continues to percolate throughout the entire political process.

Six years ago Dr. Orrel Steinkamp and the Discernment Research Group wrote a series of articles about the rapid assimilation of Dominionist teachers/preachers into the American political process. We warned that certain formerly obscure groups – Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) and C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) with their Latter Rain cult roots – were mainstreaming their theology into the political process via large-scale media events, an orchestrated youth movement, and even entering the machinations of political campaigns. All of this was being fueled by prominent voices in the Christian Right promoting the 7 mountain strategy of building the kingdom of God on earth, starting with turning America into a “Christian” nation.

(My emphasis in the last sentence above – Tim)

TRUSTED

cruz

 

 

7 Mountains Hit the Campaign Trail
Here is a very brief overview of the current situation. There is a YouTube video of the 7 mountain beliefs and “transfer of wealth” teachings of “apostle” Rafael Cruz, father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz who is running for president. In Bruce Wilson’s Oct. 17, 2013 article titled “Ted Cruz’s Father Suggested His Son Is ‘Anointed’ to Bring About ‘End Time Transfer of Wealth’

(Again, my emphasis in the last phrase above – Tim)

ANOINTED

 

see complete article here:
http://herescope.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/7-mountain-politics-and-theology.html

NEITHER

Thanks to my friend Roger for bringing this article to my attention.

Article by Tricia Tillin: “Nailing My Rapture Colours To The Mast”

The majority of the long article at the link below addresses the subject of “the rapture” but I think it has value beyond that single topic. It also looks into the wider issue of how easily we allow ourselves to accept teachings that lack a biblical foundation.

As I read it, I found a lot of my own experience being described, including the way my understanding of “the rapture” and the Tribulation period changed completely when I put aside what I’d been taught at church (and through popular books) and spent time learning what scripture actually said about the matter.

No doctrine can be established by applying different principles to similar texts, nor by overlaying scripture with an interpretation derived from another, dissimilar, part of the bible. We must not “read between the lines” when the lines themselves state the obvious. Nor do we have the freedom to extrapolate from the given text something that it does not teach, even when that doctrine appears elsewhere in the bible.

The scripture means what it says. We can’t turn it around, play with words, and mould it into something else. I have personally experienced this very thing. I even participated in it, to my shame.

In the day when I was deluded by the Word-of-Faith groups, I used to wink at their mishandling and twisting of scripture, because it confirmed my/their beliefs. I refused to listen to reason, or to anyone who said otherwise. I got defensive, angry even, at those who tried to open my eyes.

I remember sitting in conferences, and listening to audio tapes, and as somebody who knew the bible well my mind gave a little jolt when I heard these WoF teachers interpret the bible texts to mean something fanciful and wild. But I overlooked it! I winked at it! I excused them.

I told myself, “well they must be right because they know more than I do, and anyway, this teaching is very positive and uplifting and it makes me feel good.”

I didn’t WANT to be dissuaded.

I had the same sense of angry indignation when any of my friends tried to argue me out of WoF. I got hot, defensive, loud in the defense of my preferred interpretation (while inside having a few niggling doubts.)

Indeed, the more my doubts grew, the more defensive and aggressive I became. I was, in effect, putting my fingers in my ears and singing LaLaLaLa! I didn’t WANT to be persuaded!

Eventually, God shook me awake.

read complete article here:

http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/biblical/nailing-colours.html

The Only Way to the Father (God)?

wayI’m coming across more and more people who are ignoring what scripture clearly says and creating meanings totally different to what is plainly written on the page.

 They will appeal to “Spiritual insight” and present a “prophetic” interpretation of what is written OR they claim some kind of special knowledge gained through tradition/education/cultural awareness. Both cases require the average believer to submit to the understanding presented by those with that special knowledge, because we (apparently) haven’t got a hope of understanding scripture for ourselves when we read it.

 

Recently I’ve seen some imaginative claims about the following statement from Jesus:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

To me that is a straight forward statement about Jesus and His importance.

 The latter part makes clear the exclusivity of access to the Father (God) through Jesus. And yet the imagination of man can work overtime to reinterpret such a simple statement to make it fit with their own personal theological agenda.

 A few weeks ago I saw video of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Joel Osteen. When Oprah pressed Osteen on the claimed exclusivity of Christianity – Osteen gave a reply something along the lines that Jesus is the only way to God, but there are many ways to Jesus.

In today’s relativist and syncretistic world it’s a popular idea that all religions lead to God, that none has a monopoly on truth (regardless of Jesus’ statement that HE is the Truth).

Osteen tried to put a Christian-friendly spin onto that idea. He made sure he presented Jesus as the sole means of access to God (so he wouldn’t alienate his Christian supporters) but not wanting to distance himself from Oprah, inferred that other religions are merely another way to Jesus.

More recently I’ve seen another approach to Jesus’ claim. Pushing aside what Jesus actually said, a blog commenter (a claimed Messianic Jew) suggested that Jesus REALLY meant that the Torah is the Way the Truth and the Life.

While I find it disturbing that someone would need to make such a claim to support a chosen belief system, (which I don’t think is held by most Messianic Jews), I wasn’t really surprised because I’ve had previous disagreements with him regarding the divinity of Jesus. This example seems to be merely another case of diminishing Jesus’ importance.

 There are clearly MULTIPLE ways of changing the clear and simple message of scripture into something more esoteric and each of those ways takes the “average” believer away from the truth, creating a distance between God’s word and the “average” believer that makes it necessary for an intermediary to bridge the gap.

An intermediary between man and God?

Wait a minute – doesn’t scripture tell Jesus is that intermediary? That HE is the only means of access to the Father? At least it does if we are simple enough to accept scripture at face value instead of looking for reasons why the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says.

The Evil of Mens’ Traditions

A strong title?

Maybe it seems a little extreme?

But how else can traditions that create a false image of God be described?

Traditions that misrepresent His character.

Traditions that misrepresent His ways.

Traditions that misrepresent His desires.

Effectively those traditions result in a false gospel and lead to people to follow false paths with a false hope.

There is a big difference between those traditions of men and the Truth of God.

Where do our own desires REALLY lie?

What do WE really want?

Which do we choose?

Moving the Theological Goalposts

goalpostsThe goal posts of the cessationist argument have been moved.

After choosing not to post my link to articles detailing post apostolic examples of the gifts still in use, the “Hip and Thigh” blog owner says:

Everyone is aware of post apostolic miracles. I am completely aware of what Sam Storm believes about supernatural happenings after 100 AD. But none of those examples he supplies demonstrates the continuance of gifted people, just that God acts supernaturally at certain times in response to prayer or in the working out of his providence. That is something no “cessationist” as they are called, disagrees with.

So now it seems every historical case of gifts in action is not evidence of the gifts in action, and therefore their continuing availability. Those cases are merely examples of God’s response to prayer or the working out of His providence.

Now the argument is being shifted from the continuance of Spiritual gifts, to the “continuance of gifted people”. And since those gifts allegedly ended with the last of the apostles the term “gifted people” seems to refer to the original apostles.

But the gifts in question have nothing to do with “gifted people” (apostles), and everything to do with a GIFTING God.

The issue isn’t about “gifted people”. The issue is the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit and miracles provided by the God that the apostles worshipped and promoted.
The one and only God who is just as real and no less active in the world today. Any absence of gifts and miracles is not due to a Divine recall or Divine inactivity, but due to human factors (such as lack of belief in the availability of gifts due to false teaching).

Are the Spiritual gifts HE made available to the body (not just the apostles) for the building up of the body, still needed and still available today?
Yes

Did he restrict those gifts to an elite apostleship?
No.

Was their practice limited to an elite apostleship?
No.

Did God withdraw any of those gifts after the last of the apostles?
No.

Are those gifts still valid, available and practiced today and throughout history, even from 100AD to 1900AD and to the present day?

Yes! As attested by the absence of biblical evidence that they would be withdrawn soon after Paul wrote about them, and by the presence of historical evidence that they HAVE continued (some of which can be found at the links provided in my earlier post here: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/cessationist-evasion/ )

Cessationist Evasion!

In previous posts I’ve given my reasons for believing in the validity of on-going Spiritual gifts*.

To date I’ve still not seen or been given any argument (supportable by scripture) that could even half convince me that God has withdrawn any of the Spiritual gifts described in the New Testament.
I’ve already addressed the most common “scriptural” claim given by cessationsists – found in 1 Corinthians 13*.

The only recent “evidence” I’ve been given came in the form of a question on a cessationist blog: “how do you explain the fact that the gifts were absent from the church between, say, 100AD and 1900AD?”

My first attempt to answer that question didn’t make it past moderation. The moderator/blog owner wouldn’t approve it.

The question is based on an assumption that ignores available evidence. There are many post-apostolic references to the continuation of miracles in the church, recorded in the writings of the early church fathers. I easily found many sources giving details of their writings – which are too numerous and too lengthy for me to quote at length. Instead I’ll point to these articles here:

http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–1-http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–2- http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–3-http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–4-

A link to the above articles was posted on the offending blog in response to his request for an explanation for the alleged almost 2000 year absence of gifts. The comment and the link to the articles didn’t get past moderation.

___________________________

*(see here for my reasons and my comments regarding 1 Cor 13): https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/are-we-mature-enough-not-to-need-gods-gifts/ )
Here is a link to the relevant part of the cessationist blog mentioned above:
http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/authentic-fire-chapter-2-review/comment-page-1/#comment-10942