An Appeal To Joel and Victoria Osteen

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This well crafted letter of appeal by Dr Michael Brown is especially timely in light of the robust attacks aimed at Victoria Osteen over her recent heretical  statements  made to their Houston congregation.

Please read the two portions I’ve extracted and then forward Dr Browns entire appeal to church leaders, family members and friends. Also, consider re-posting this on your FB page as well.

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“…Joel, I appreciate the fact that you end every service by asking people to get right with God, having them pray a prayer where they say to Jesus, “I repent of my sins, come into my heart, I make you Lord and Savior.”

The big problem is that you haven’t told them what their sins are and you haven’t told them what real repentance is. And since you are speaking to people around the world, you can’t possibly assume that all of them understand the meaning of sin and redemption and repentance. (Most American Christians don’t even understand these things today.)

In short, you have not shared with them the whole counsel of God, and by telling them only part of the story, you have done what the false prophets of ancient Israel did: “You superficially treat the fracture of My people saying to them, ‘All is well, all is well,’ when nothing is well” (Jeremiah 6:14, my translation).”

“…Some Christians have referred to you and Victoria as outright heretics, others have said that you are fighting against the Holy Spirit (since the Spirit convicts the world of sin but your preaching does not), others have said that you are a pagan religionists, while others have said that your superficial message of material prosperity cannot bear the weight of the gospel.

These are very serious charges, but rather than just saying, “Hey, I’m just going to love everybody and stay in my lane,” perhaps you should ask if these leaders might be saying something you need to hear. Is there any truth at all in their words? Could it be that God’s lane for you is different than the lane you’re in?”

 

The Danger Of Jewish Roots Movements

danDr Dan Juster is a Messianic Theologian who writes with clarity and charity. He demonstrates these same qualities with this appropriate warning to those who love the Jewish people and desire to identify with the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.  Here are  three dangerous errors from Dan’s recent article.

Error #1: that Gentile Christians are to keep the whole Law just like Jews

I have called this error “One Law” – from the verse in Numbers 15:16 often used to justify it. I wrote a paper specifically to address this. Incredibly, these folks try to explain away Acts 15 and Galatians. They claim that all are called to keep the Law in the same way. Of course this is not only contrary to many clear New Covenant texts but also ends in partial replacement theology since there is no longer any distinctive calling for Jews. Some make an exception for circumcision for Gentiles, while others amazingly find a way to even call for this. Galatians 5 is very clear that Gentiles are not called to covenant circumcision or they would be responsible for keeping the whole Torah. Paul is virtually shouting to them, “Don’t do it!” These same folks teach that Christians must strictly observe all the Biblical feast days and the weekly Sabbath. They have not been able to agree on a calendar system to assure that exactly the right day on the annual calendar can be known for each feast. In both Judaism and Christianity there has been much dispute on this.

Error #2: that true Christians are the lost tribes of Israel

In an amazing twist of the Bible it is claimed that true Christians are physical descendants of the lost tribes who were scattered, this being the purported reason they became Christians. It is their answer to the puzzle of what happened to the lost tribes of Israel. As such they become “One Law” as well. All of the texts stating salvation has now come to the nations, and that the One New Man is made up of Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2), are explained away. They expect to live in an expanded Israel – if not now, at least after the second coming. Again, this is partial replacement theology. The movement is divided on the issue of circumcision.

Error #3: that Christian holy day celebrations are pagan abominations

We should note that three of the main Christian Feasts are really a Christianization of Jewish Feasts: Passover/Pesach is celebrated as the death of Yeshua on Good Friday, Early First Fruits/Bikurim as the Resurrection, and Shavuot/Weeks as Pentecost. Yes, the Church should connect these Feasts much more clearly to their Jewish context. But the assertion that the Christian versions are pagan is painfully wrong. They celebrate the events of prophetic fulfillment in Yeshua’s life and ministry, and the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the gathered disciples. The days chosen for the actual celebrations, although different, can be argued to be as accurate in their way as the rabbinic dating for the feasts. These feasts celebrate Biblical events, and we should note that the meaning is according to what Christians have celebrated. The origin of Christmas as the date of Yeshua’s birth is questionable at best, though argued as correct by Messianic Jewish scholar Dr. John Fischer. However, for pious Christians, it is the celebration of the incarnation, not the worship of the Sun. So also worship on Sunday is about the resurrection of Yeshua on the first day of the week, not Sun worship. The origin of the choice of Sunday worship can be argued, but it has been claimed as the day of resurrection for at least 1800 years.

Many do not know the rich experiences with God that Christians experience in their heritage, both with regard to the resurrection and the glory of the celebration of the incarnation of Yeshua during advent season. The hymns, caroling and more are a wonderful conveying of Biblical truth. Criticism brings unnecessary pain and disrespect.

Conclusion

These erroneous emphases have unnecessarily brought division, confusion and pain: to their adherents, to Christians, to Messianic Jews and to Jews. I trust that you, dear readers, will have the discernment to avoid mistaken Jewish roots teachings, and to be enriched by those that are right on.

http://www.tikkuninternational.org/newsletters/

Mark Driscoll Steps Down

Mark Driscoll is one of the most authentic voices in ministry today. His raw approach to teaching and preaching is an absolute virtue and uniquely winsome in stark contrast to the  spineless- corrupt- cowardly- compromised  “preachers” so prevalent in American churches today. Simply put, I  love and respect ole Mark. He’s a man, a real man and one worthy of emulation.

Yes he is sin-fluenced. Yes he is flawed. Yes he is imperfect. Yes he is controversial. But as a representative of Christ, he openly confesses and publicly repents more than any I have ever seen  in my 40+ years of Kingdom Life.

In my personal and professional opinion, the Acts 29 leadership perpetrated a horrible injustice against Mark and the congregation of Mars Hill Church. They appear to have flagrantly disregarded gospel centered imperatives mandating  principles of due process, relational integrity, and character-based covenant loyalty for a more cowardly approach of devising and sending a letter  while Mark was on vacation with his family. Seems the biblical  approach  would have been to time-consuming, mentally fatiguing, emotional draining and relationally exhausting. In short, God’s way would have just been “too hard”.

Pastor Tony Warriner nails it when he says that the issues coming out are  “mostly connected to the  unique DNA of Pastor Mark and the church he leads. Sure, there’s cons to the whole approach, but so it is with any specific way of expressing local church. Yes, he’s out there, a little edgy. BUT. We need him to be that way. He is in so many ways exactly what the church needs for this season…Taming Mark would be a terrible tragedy.”

But alas, Mark Driscoll comes back from vacation and in charactered fashion, Mark steps up by publicly announcing he will step down for a season. I love this response John Piper tweeted:

  @JohnPiper I hope Mark Driscoll feels a tidal wave of hope-filled prayer for a new day and a new man in this season. http://bit.ly/1AKMD89 

Michael Gungor Defects From Orthodoxy-Nick Jonas From Purity

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Recently, christiannews.net reported Nicholas Jonas is preparing to release a “racy”  music video in which he decries his years of being “trapped” in the chaste character of the  Jonas Brothers.  In 2012, Nick Jonas came out in support of homosexuality during an interview with The Advocate, stating that he never had a problem with the lifestyle.

World Magazine now reports that Dove-award winning artist and Worship leader Michael Gungor—is defecting from a biblically defined Christianity. Seems he began questioning his long-held “truth” beliefs somewhere in 2012 and has eventuated into the wasteland of unbelief.

http://www.worldmag.com/2014/08/gungor_drifts_from_biblical_orthodoxy

http://christiannews.net/2014/07/23/nick-jonas-of-jonas-brothers-to-release-racy-video-decrying-chaste-upbringing/

President Obama, You Have Crossed a Dangerous, Unprecedented Line!

Barack Obama

In response to President Obama’s controversial executive order this week, Dr. Michael Brown  wrote a letter that included this warning,” President Obama, You Have Crossed a Dangerous, Unprecedented Line“.

Dear Mr. President,

I write to you today as a concerned citizen of our great nation, standing as a witness against your historic actions on the morning of July 21, 2014, actions which I hope you will one day repudiate with deep remorse and regret.

I am referring, of course, to your signing an executive order Monday banning “discrimination” by federal contractors against LGBT people, allowing for no religious exemptions of any kind.

This was an outrageous act of discrimination against religion in the name of anti-discrimination—an act of bullying people of faith in the name of the prevention of bullying.

How can you, as a man who professes to be a person of faith and a follower of Jesus, throw religious Americans—in particular Christians—under the bus?

How can you attempt to force Christians, Jews, Muslims and others to violate fundamental aspects of their moral codes in order to appease a small but powerful special interest group, one that is not, in fact, suffering daily economic hardship by being fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or expression?

Have you forgotten entirely that our nation was founded on the concept of religious freedom?

It was unfortunate that you did not reflect on the recent Supreme Court decisions that made clear that you and your administration have consistently overstepped your bounds. Instead, once again, you bypassed the will of the people, as reflected in their elected officials, and simply made a decision affecting millions of Americans.

Worse still, you ignored the appeals of trusted religious leaders, some of whom campaigned for you in the past and others of whom have been among your trusted advisors, deciding instead to side with radical LGBT activism.

These leaders made a righteous and reasonable appeal to you, writing, “Mr. President, you have spoken eloquently of your commitment to protecting religious liberty, our nation’s first freedom. As you seek to promote the rights of LGBT persons, please also protect the rights of faith-based organizations that simply desire to utilize staffing practices consistent with their deep religious convictions as they partner with the federal government via contracting or subcontracting.”

In response, you mocked these “deep religious convictions,” and there are no words you can say to minimize the seriousness of your actions.

Mr. President, what was wrong with letting Congress make an informed decision on ENDA? Do you scorn the political process so much that you bypass it entirely?

You stated that, “I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act,” but the implications of your actions are massive.

An organization like Prison Reform, which utilizes federal funds to help transform the lives of inmates, would suffer dramatic financial setbacks should they simply refuse to hire individuals who violate their time-proven, biblically based code of conduct.

Children supported by World Vision, with the help of federal funds, would be deprived of food and shelter unless World Vision leaders compromised their Christian convictions. (After much soul searching this year, they have made clear that they will not compromise).

Fine Christian universities, which provide important academic and ethical training for the next generation of leaders and which are also the recipients of federal funding, could suffer a massive blow unless they forsake the faith on which their institutions were built.

Mr. President, must you now even take the place of God and tell Christians what they can and cannot actively practice?

I concur with Peter Sprigg who wrote that, “This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail that bullies into silence every contractor and subcontractor who has moral objections to homosexual behavior. This order gives activists a license to challenge their employers and, expose those employers to threats of costly legal proceedings and the potential of jeopardizing future contracts.”

In truth, this is not a civil rights issue, as if gay were the new black. As Catholic leader Austin Ruse observed, “the LGBTs are the most powerful aggrieved minority the world has ever known,” while, in contrast, “Black Americans really were aggrieved: enslaved, not allowed to vote, discriminated against in housing, banking and much else, hunted down and lynched.”

As our nation’s first African-American president, you must surely see the difference. Or is it true, as your critics claim, that you really intend to declare war on religion in America?

It is one thing to treat all people fairly, be they male or female, gay or straight, young or old. It is another thing to trample religious freedoms under foot and to attempt to coerce, with the full force of the government, men and women of deep religious faith and commitment.

Mr. President, there are millions of Americans who pray for you on a regular basis, and I have often called on my radio listeners to pray that you would be the greatest president in American history.

Despite those prayers, you took it upon yourself to enact an order which declares that, in the workplace, sexual rights trump religious rights. What a terrible, tragic shame.

I do pray for you, sir, as my president, that God would grant you the humility to recognize the error of your ways. At the same time, I assure you that there are countless thousands of Christian leaders and people of faith who will neither abandon their convictions nor be silenced from articulating those convictions.

And so, perhaps, in God’s providence, what you intended as a religious restriction will become the impetus for a religious awakening.

After all, you might well be the most powerful human being on the planet, but we will all bow down one day before the throne of God, and He will have the final say.

Michael Brown is author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

God’s Justice Through Israeli Vengeance

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As Israel mourns the death of three young men,   I  am praying for the Israeli government to employ every means of their God-given authority to function in the capacity of  “common grace servants”  to  exact retributive  justice  upon the evil doers  who are guilty of these murders. 

Paul the Apostle framed it like  this in Romans 13:

“Governing authorities  have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God himself has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

For rulers hold terror for those who do evil….because rulers have been given the sword to execute punishment upon evil doers and in doing so, they are acting as God’s agents  of divine wrath.” 
May it be so Lord!

 

 

 

The Role of A Father!

The “Courageous” movie gives us a great illustration of 1 Corinthians 16:3 when amplified to speak to  our fathering role:

“Be courageous in your role of being a father, stand firm in the faith, strongly act like men! “

N.T. Wright On Gay Marriage

N. T. Wright—has been hailed by Time as “one of the most formidable figures in Christian thought”. Christianity Today recently published an article saying, “He is the most prolific biblical scholar in a generation. Some say he is the most important apologist for the Christian faith since C. S. Lewis.”

In this interview with J. John, Wright was asked what he thought of  legislation that redefines marriage. In his wise and scholarly response, Wright explains why nature, history and biblical narrative necessitates complementarity of the sexes as essential to the very identity and reality of  God’s intent in the Genesis of marriage.

He speaks forthrightly in his concluding statement. “…I think it’s a nonsense. It’s like a government voting that black should be white. Sorry, you can vote that if you like, you can pass it by a total majority, but it isn’t actually going to change the reality of marriage.

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/06/n-t-wrights-argument-against-same-sex-marriage