Sunday, January 30, 2011

Four Keys to Holiness

Jill Southern-Jones, Director of NETS

Lately, God has been speaking to us here at Pierrepont about holiness. 1 Peter 1:15 says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” I believe one of the world’s most pressing needs is holy character. Holy character is not about our reputation or how much is on our Christian CV, but about the decisions we make when we think no one is looking. Do our decisions help pave the way for God to come and transform our lives and the lives of those around us? Are we willing to pay the price of repentance and commitment to change or are we on the road to compromise?


Character includes courage. In the Monday to Friday of life we have many decisions that require courage in our Christian life. What will stop us from being courageous? The answer is fear. We cannot be courageous and fearful at the same time. As a believer, we do not want to be one who compromises, caves in under difficult circumstances, or gives up when the going gets tough.

I was reading in Isaiah 6 where the Lord asks the life-changing question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” The answer I gave was “I’ll go. I love to go. Send me.” But then I heard Him ask another question, “Do you know how Isaiah died?” I went back and found out that historically Isaiah was sawn in two by King Manasseh, who did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any other king. Are you willing to pay the ultimate price and go the full distance for God? Some decisions you need to make now, in advance, not the moment you’re faced with them. Then you will not be a coward when that day arrives.

2 Timothy 1:7, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power.” When we are making choices in our everyday lives we must often choose between the right thing and the convenient thing. Do you stick to biblical principles when there are challenging choices, or do you cave in for the sake of your own comfort and for others’ approvals? Are you willing to risk faith in God or crawl into some sort of shrinking shell of safety, security, or even passivity? These choices come everyday to you and me by rapid fire.

Being a Christian and owning up to sin in your daily life takes courage. Much courage is required to stay sexually pure in the sex-crazed culture we live in today. Some people are able to walk free while others seem to easily fall into sexual sin. What will keep us on holy ground? “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning,” Exodus 20:20. Your intimate relationship with Jesus needs to be such that you cannot imagine risking separation from Him by falling into gross sin.

Every one of us will face many temptations. Will we stand up and say “No” to the enemy? Scriptures says that with the Lord there is always a way of escape and there is no temptation too hard to bear. Make your mind up to be a holy courageous man or woman of God. God provides courage to face crippling fears, the courage to be holy when those around you are not, and courage to run your race to the white tape. With God’s strength we will be able to endure, push through, and finish knowing there is a crown laid up for us in glory.


What is discipline? Some definitions of discipline include: correct principles applied to our habits; subjecting ourselves to God’s laws and correction; chastisement intent to correct; and laws by which the church itself is governed. Discipline involves dying to the flesh and following the Spirit. Romans 8:13 says, “If you live according to the sinful nature, you will die.” “But if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

The following are some characteristics of an undisciplined life.

•Lying in bed too long in the morning. Do you skip your time of prayer and bible reading in the morning because you cannot get yourself out of bed?
•Letting important jobs slide.
•Putting off what should be done now.
•Being habitually late.
•Not following through on something we’ve promised another person. Our yes should be yes and our no should be no even in seemingly trivial things.
•Being disorganized and not paying enough attention to rightful detail.
•Not being in the right place at the right time, not being where you’re supposed to be.
•Not contributing, not being there to help when needed.
•Going to bed too late. For tomorrow morning discipline starts tonight.
•No formal planning of our decisions, making important choices kneejerk and on the run.
•Neglecting quality time with the people God has put around you now, not properly investing in godly relationships.
•Falling into temptation, giving in to instant gratification.

Most people who find it difficult to be successful in certain areas of their lives have a problem with discipline. This is one of the most important holy character qualities we can possess and it plays an important role in every part of our lives. It is important to know what discipline is and how to practice it.

One area of discipline is delayed gratification. According to Bill Hybels of Willow Creek, delayed gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. Can you do what needs to be done first and play later? We must learn this and practice it in our life daily. If you begin to deal with conflicts early in relationships you’ll have a longer time of pleasure ahead in friendships and marriages. Facing the tough challenges first enables you to reap the pleasure later.

Discipline is also making advanced decisions. Choices need to be made in the heart before it is time for action, and making a decision in the heat of temptation must be avoided. If God is going to trust you with a position or place of leadership in the Body of Christ, you must be able to make advanced decisions and then stick to them. Advanced decisions about your spiritual relationship with God are vital. Do you make sure to have personal interaction with the Lord Jesus, fellowship with other believers, and serve the Body of Christ through your local church? We do the things we do today because we have decided to do so previously. Also, when making important decisions, we must then change our lifestyles to support these decisions. Are you willing to go through the discomfort now for the reward later? There will be an investment stage of seeding and planting, and instant results are not always possible. We must invest in discipline and recognize that delayed gratification will be part of our lives.

Lastly, discipline is having accountability. Friends, mothers, and fathers in Christ can hold you accountable. Try to surround yourself with those who are more mature in their walk with the Lord than you. Share your advanced decisions with them and this will encourage you in your self-discipline.

The payoffs for a disciplined life are enormous. Relational discipline produces flourishing marriages, friendships and good family relationships. Physical discipline, whether diet or exercise, produces increased energy, higher concentration levels, increased self-worth, and resistance to sickness. The payoff for financial discipline is freedom from debt and the ability to have more to give to meet the needs of others. Spiritual discipline produces a fulfilled and victorious Christian life.


Holiness is separating one’s self from the world, the flesh, and the enemy’s works. Holiness involves putting off the old sinful man and putting on the new man, and this is the act of separating yourself unto the Lord. It’s a bit like pulling up the old carpet before you put new carpet down. 2 Timothy 2 says to flee from iniquity and then pursue righteousness. Holiness has two sides to the coin, and we cannot replace something that has not first been removed. The more we become aware of God’s holiness the more we see our own ungodliness in action.

Vision is the ability to be far-seeing, both in our own lives and without. Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” While there are a lot of “nuts and bolts” people doing exactly as they’re told, we believers need to be more than that. A Christian should be doing more than simply maintaining status quo, but should be looking ahead and pressing in to what God has for their future. I believe personal vision is on the endangered character quality list.

Visionaries are people who are not paralyzed by problems, but rather immediately look for solutions. They can look around and see how people are handling their problems in a bad way. A visionary is able to admit a problem, but knows there is no problem too big for God. With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. In life there are many trials, problems, and deaths of dreams and expectations. Because of these challenges, holiness is absolutely critical. We cannot allow our problems to overwhelm us no matter how big they seem. No matter what problems or adversities you face in your life, you can find a solution in God if you are willing to be a visionary.

Here are tips to developing a holy way of dealing with problems.

•Fix your eyes on God and take your eye off the problem. Your problem is not, and never will be, bigger than God.
•Deal with the problem. Get a pad and pen with James 1:5. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
•Try and meet with solution-orientated positive people. Sympathy doesn’t always help and finding those who can empathize but not encourage can actually be unconstructive.
•In a spirit of humility, prayer, and openness to the Holy Spirit, list all your options or possible solutions.
•If you must make a decision immediately then, by faith, choose one of the options and pray that God would open and shut the doors He wills.

As well as being far-reaching, vision is the ability to see beneath the surface and beyond the obvious. Jesus showed vision when he changed Simon’s name to Peter. Perhaps those around Peter only saw his aggressiveness or impulsiveness but Jesus saw him for who He created him to be, and thus named him Peter, the Rock. Visionaries are to look for the greatness in individuals that God has put there and help to bring out those treasures. Vision is the God-given ability to catch a glimpse of what God wants to do, first in your own life and then in the lives of those around you. Holiness is not an impossible goal, and having the ability to see outside of yourself and over the mountain will help you to keep moving on in your walk with God.


This is the last teaching in a series of holiness and I want talk about endurance, and what part it plays in a holy life. In Galatians 5, endurance is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. These fruits can be viewed as qualities of Jesus Christ himself, and time and effort must be given to bear these fruits. How are you doing with endurance? Have you ever quit something and had to pay a high price for doing so? Many people live with the scars or wounds of having quit something, especially marriages or friendships, and look back and wonder why they gave up so easily. The answer is obvious. It is easier to quit than it is to endure. It is easier to walk out of argument than stay and work through the conflict. It may even seem easier to quit following Jesus Christ than to go through the painful process of daily surrender.

Be assured there is a large hidden price tag for quitting, and many have paid dearly for giving up too soon. James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures trials, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of Christ.” A lot of energy is spent trying to avoid trials when we should be thanking God for them. Trials are used to forge our character. Adversity polishes us, and endurance is a powerful weapon to have in your character arsenal.

Our carnal nature wants instant results and success. We even want overnight spiritual maturity and have a strong tendency to quit if these expectations are not met. Consistent quitting makes a person weak-willed because they are not taught to push through and endure.

Patient endurance is a quality of a good leader and is essential for a holy life. To face life’s challenges, whether in personal relationships, marriages, or work situations, stickability is key. Endurance turns vision into reality, otherwise your plans will only be a dream. The Body of Christ needs to be completer finishers, and finishing what is started is not just for the big things but for the small things as well. Our lives should not be littered with half finished projects. If there are unfinished things in your life that God has called you to do it isn’t too late to finish it. I challenge you to keep running the race and push through. Jacob wrestled with God to the point where he got his hip put out; are you that dedicated?

Here are some areas where we are likely to quit.

•Relational Quitting Point: When the same issues keep coming up, there seems to be no progress, the same words are spoken, and high emotion takes over there is a tendency to cut and run.
•Spiritual Quitting Point: When the spiritual walk gets costly there is a choice to be made, are you willing to pay the cost? Is He trustworthy? Some find the cost of obedience and sacrifice too high a price to pay to follow Jesus Christ, especially when our expectations (or what we wanted from God) have not been met.

Endurance comes when we think we can go no further, yet we draw on God’s strength and refuse to quit. Pushing through the quitting points, even small ones, starts to build strong endurance in our lives. If you are at a personal quitting point, count the cost. Quitting is not glamorous, and in some cases you can regret quitting for the rest of your life.

I have found that the wall in front of you, the obstacle, looks like it’s made of brick and that you are going to crash right into it. My experience is that when you decide to push through that wall you find it’s not made of brick at all, it’s made of tissue paper. It’s much easier to push through than the enemy would have you believe, because he’s a liar. Every time you push through a wall, something in your spirit strengthens and you are more prepared to endure the next time.

God is bigger than any problem you and I face, and He will see us through. The solution is to find what path He wants us to go on so our life can take on a new course. Whatever your quitting point, I want to challenge you today to test God’s truth and faithfulness by saying, “God, I am going to press through and proceed with my life, my relationships, my destiny, my walk in you, and my spiritual life and growth in you. I will push through, and I’m asking you to empower me with your strength deep in my inner person. I WILL come through this quitting point to come out the other side.”

Evangelism: Man-centered Christianity by A W Tozer

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. --1 Chronicles 29:11

Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show. Man: The Dwelling Place of God, p. 27

"Lord, take me to my knees this morning in worship. Then let me go to share with the world, or at least with anyone with whom I might have meaningful contact, a great and majestic God Who deserves their worship. Amen."

God’s Work — and Man’s Work

James Smith, 1860

I sometimes meet with people, who cannot, or will not, distinguish between God’s work — and man’s work. In the economy of grace there is both, God works in us — and we work out our own salvation. There are some things man cannot do — and there are some things that God will not do. Man cannot do God’s work — and God will not do man’s.

It is just so in nature: man cannot command the rain, the winds, or the sun; and God will not plow, fertilize, or sow the land. The latter is man’s work, and he must do it, or have no crops. The former is God’s work, and he does it faithfully. God will not dispense with man’s efforts — and yet he will keep man dependent. He holds him responsible — while he proves him weak.

Just so in grace: we can preach, teach, and pray — but we cannot command the blessing. God will neither dispense with our efforts — nor put the blessing in our power. He will be the agent — but he will have us be the instruments. Yet in general, he has so connected the blessing with themeans — that if we use the one, we may expect the other; though he always leaves room for the exercise of his own sovereignty.

Not that we can labor in vain — if our motive is good, and the means we employ are scriptural; for if we do not accomplish the end upon which our heart may be set — we shall be sure to get a blessing for ourselves. “You know,” said Paul, “that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” And again, “In due season you shall reap — if you faint not.”

Let me then be always at work for God, either writing or speaking, or giving; remembering that it is as much my business to work, as if I could command success, and all rested upon me. And yet while I work, I will endeavor to realize, that Paul may plant and Apollos water — but God alonegives the increase.

Some will not work, except they can be agents — this is pride. Others will not work, but for wages — this is selfishness. But there are some who work from love, and consider themselves honored in being permitted to do anything for God.

Lord, I would work for you; I would not only work for you — but I would work from a right motive. I would be satisfied to be anything, the meanest instrument, that you may be the Almighty agent. I would be satisfied to do all I can — and then ascribe all the glory to you. Give me grace that I may plough up the fallow-ground, sow the good seed of the kingdom, and expect to reap thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold; and then enable me to pray, look up, and wait upon you for the blessing, saying with Paul, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it — but God made it grow! So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything — but only God, who makes things grow!” To God be glory, all the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Seeking Approval by A W Tozer

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. --2 Timothy 4:2

I cannot believe in the spirituality of any Christian man who keeps an eye open for the approval of others, whoever they may be. The man after God's own heart must be dead to the opinion of his friends as well as his enemies. He must be as willing to cross important persons as obscure ones. He must be ready to rebuke his superior as quickly as those who may be beneath him on the ecclesiastical ladder. To reprove one man in order to gain the favor of another is no evidence of moral courage. It is done in the world all the time.

We'll never be where we should be in our spiritual lives until we are so devoted to Christ that we ask no other approbation than His smile. When we are wholly lost in Him the frantic effort to please men will come to an end. The circle of persons we struggle to please will be narrowed to One. Then we will know true freedom, but not a moment before. The Price of Neglect, 141.

"Lord, does anyone ever really get over the desire to seek the approval of others? That is a battle for which we are totally dependent on You for victory. Help me today to be content with only the smile of Your approval. Amen."

The Clergy - Biblical or Not Biblical?

Don Martin

"Clergy" is commonly defined as, "The group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity" (Random House college Dictionary, pg. 251).

The scriptures do distinguish between the preacher and those to whom he preachers. Timothy was to "put the brethren in remembrance of these things...." In so doing, "...thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ..." (I Tim. 4: 6). Timothy was charged with the responsibility of preaching to the brethren at Ephesus (I Tim. 1: 3, 2 Tim. 4: 1-5). The teaching that an evangelist is one who only preaches to the lost (not the church) is fallacious: " the work of an evangelist..." (vs. 5, cf. 2-4). Preachers have requisite qualifications to meet (I Tim., 2 Tim., Tit., etc.). Preachers who so labor are to be respected and financially supported (I Cor. 9: 6-14). Let it be clear, therefore, that I am not referring to "preachers" in the scriptural sense as clergy.

Clergy, as used in the scriptures. As a matter of fact, "clergy" in the sense of a group of ordained persons (preachers) enjoying a lofty position over the "laity" is not in the vocabulary or concept of the Holy Spirit (not in scriptures). However, the Greek word kleron (plural of kleros) is found. Kleron is translated "God’s heritage" in I Peter 5: 3. Peter is instructing elders (not preachers, as such) not to be lord’s over God’s heritage, the church. The interesting point is our English word clergy derives from kleros, the word the Spirit used to designate the people of God in general (what man calls "laity") and not a select, distinguished group.

The spirit of exaltation and ascendancy is condemned. One of the main problems with religion in Jesus’ day was "the clergy." Many of the religious leaders "loved the uppermost rooms at feasts…and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi" (Matt. 23: 6, 7). They especially enjoyed religious titles which exhalted them over the "laity," titles such as "father," Jesus explained (Matt. 23: 8, 9, how about common titles today such as "Reverend"?). They "shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in," Jesus further stated (vs. 13).

Jesus compared the "clergy" of his day to "blind leaders of the blind" and said "both shall fall into the ditch" (Matt. 15: 14). Indeed, the scriptures recognize men who have dedicated themselves to the proclamation of the gospel, but the scriptures condemn the modern "clergy/laity" concept so common in denominationalism and, too often, in the Lord's church (2 Tim. 2: 2-26, cf. Jas. 3: 1).

Source here

Church Leaders and The Use of Honorific Titles (Must Read)

I CAN’T TALK TO YOU…UNLESS! by David Wilkerson

Sadly, great numbers of Christians do not know God’s voice. Some can go for months, even years, without ever receiving an intimate word from the Lord in their inner man. Oh, God did speak to them at one time. But over the years, they’ve learned to silence his voice in their hearts. Others have been turned off by so much foolishness among those who believe that every word that pops into their minds is divine. Such people boast, “God told me”—yet the
“word” they hear is only their covetous flesh talking voice!

If you want to know and hear God’s voice in the days ahead, be ready to have him speak of cleansing before he speaks of direction. Many Christians want God to tell them how to hold on to what they’ve earned, how to provide for their family, how to keep their business or career afloat. But the truth is, before God gives us a word of direction in any of these matters, he’ll speak to us about his commandments.

“These things I command you, that ye love one another” (John 15:17). God will first speak to you about your actions at home with your wife and children-about your quick temper, your grudges, your unforgiving spirit. He’ll point out every hidden, secret thing in your life-and he’ll lovingly tell you, “I want to be your adviser, your counselor, your guide, your protector, your provider. I want to walk with you through every trial and hardship. And I want to favor, bless and keep you by my Spirit. But first, you have to get honest with me about the hidden idols in your heart. Right now you’re holding on to them-but you must give them up! We simply can’t walk together unless we agree on these matters of your heart!”

Thursday, January 27, 2011


-by J. Lee Grady.

I know the battle I faced as a teenager. Today’s younger generation faces something more challenging.

It wasn’t easy for a guy to find pornography when I was a teenager. I remember giving into the temptation to buy a Hustler magazine when I was in high school. Inside the drug store I paced back and forth near the magazine rack for at least half an hour. My palms were sweaty. My heart was racing. I finally walked to the front of the store, put the magazine face down on the counter and avoided eye contact with the clerk as I forked over the cash.

I grew bolder in my sin when I graduated from high school. When I turned 18, I went to downtown Atlanta to visit an “adult bookstore” (a strange label, really, since the men who frequented these seedy establishments did not act like mature adults). In 1976, anyone who wanted to see hard-core porn had to visit these awful places with garish signs and painted-over windows.

As I pulled into the tiny parking lot off of Ponce de Leon Avenue, the heart palpitations returned. I rushed inside the shop with my head down so no one would see me on the street. Then, when I saw the graphic images on the magazines that lined the wall, I almost fainted from a combination of adrenaline, fear, nausea and guilt. I bought a thin magazine that didn’t cost much and literally ran out of that place.

As I was leaving I caught a glimpse of a bumper sticker I had put on my car a few months earlier, in response to some decisions I had made in a Baptist youth meeting. It said: “THE DIFFERENCE IN ME IS JESUS.” Suddenly I felt even sicker to my stomach. I was already convicted of my sexual sin; now I realized I was a hypocrite. All I wanted to do was get out of there. Before the night was over, the magazine I bought was in the trash and I felt miserable.

A few days later, while I was mowing my yard on a hot July day, I began to think about a Bible verse I had heard in church many times. I didn’t know the reference, but I was able to paraphrase it in my mind. It said: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14, NASB).

I had never experienced a vision before, but at that moment I could see a fork in the road in front of me. I knew I was approaching a crossroads. I could either be a committed Christian, or I could choose a life of compromise. God was showing me that I needed to choose the narrow way before I took any more steps in the wrong direction. I was hit by a terrifying sense of the fear of God, but I also recognized this as His protective love. Within a few days I had surrendered my life to the lordship of Christ.

I shared this embarrassing story last week when I spoke to a group of students at a Christian college in north Georgia. I knew many of them were at a spiritual crossroads. I also knew that in today’s cybersex world, they don’t have to go to drug stores or adult bookstores to see porn. The voice that lured me to downtown Atlanta in 1976 has become more brazen and aggressive today, making porn available 24/7—on the Web, TV and even phones.

Young people today—the so-called Millennial Generation—are continually assaulted by temptations that kids didn’t face in the 1970s. The war for a generation is on—and it is intense. Families are in shambles. Many kids are fatherless. Media has entirely rewritten our moral values in a few short years. Casual sex is considered a`normal pastime for 14-year-olds. And many teenagers today haven’t been exposed to the gospel, so chances are slim that they might remember a Bible verse from childhood or feel the sting of guilt like I did years ago.

That’s why I’m devoting time this month to prayer for a spiritual awakening to touch the younger generation. The devil has claimed today’s youth, but the same God who averted disaster in my life can do it in theirs. As you thank Jesus for the grace He’s shown you, please ask Him to extend it to the millions of Millennials who are following the crowd down the wrong road.

Source: here


David Wilkerson


“And the word of the Lord came unto him [Elijah], saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan” (I Kings 17: 2–3).

As Elijah looked ahead to the coming crisis, things must have looked absolutely hopeless to him. But God had a specific survival plan in mind for his faithful servant. He instructed the prophet, “Go east to the Jordan River, and there you will find Cherith, a little tributary that runs off. You can get all the
drinking water you need from that brook. In addition, I’ve arranged for food to be delivered to you daily, by my courier ravens!”

How could any person, in a million years, ever dream up this kind of a plan for survival? How could Elijah ever have imagined he’d be sent to a hidden brook to find water to drink, when there was nothing but drought everywhere else in the land? How could he ever have thought a daily supply of bread would be brought to him by ravenous birds that ate everything they sank their beaks into?

Later, times got hard for Elijah, because the brook finally dried up. But God stepped in again, giving the prophet another fresh word of direction. He said, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee” (v. 9). Again, I have
to ask—how could anyone ever think a poor widow woman, in the midst of a depression, could feed a man for days, weeks, months on end? But the fact is, God uses the most despised, insignificant things of the world for his glory.

And he told Elijah, “If you’ll go to her and do what I tell you, you’ll  survive. Listen to me—heed my direction—and you’ll make it through!”

The evidence is overwhelming: God—our adviser, counselor and survival expert—has a detailed plan for every one of his children, to help us face the worst of times!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Luther, Wesley, and Spurgeon on "Party Names"

"I ask that men make no reference to my name, and call themselves not Lutherans, but Christians. What is Luther?, my doctrine, I am sure, is not mine, nor have I been crucified for any one. St. Paul, in I Corinthians 1, would not allow Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrene, but Christian. How then should I, poor, foul carcass that I am, come to have men give to the children of Christ a name derived from my worthless name? No, no, my dear friends: let us abolish all party names, and call ourselves Christians after Him whose doctrine we have." -Martin Luther (A Compendia of Luther's Theology, pg. 135, The Westminster Press, 1943.)

"Would to God that all party names, and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world, were forgot…that the very name (Methodist, dm) might never be mentioned more, but be buried in eternal oblivion." -John Wesley (Universal Knowledge, Vol. 9, pg. 540.)

"I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living! I hope that the Baptist name will soon perish, but let Christ's name last forever." -Charles Spurgeon (Spurgeon Memorial Library, Vol. 1, pg. 168.)

"He is too Narrow!" by Roy L. Smith

"The preacher is sometimes accused of being narrow-minded because he insists upon the Christian's forsaking all to follow Christ. But all of life is narrow, and success is to be found only by passing through the narrow gate and down the straightened way.

There is no room for broad-mindedness in the chemical laboratory. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The slightest deviation from that formula is forbidden.

Thee is no room for broad-mindedness in music. There can only be eight notes in a measure. The skilled director will not permit his first violin to put in even so much as an extra thirty-second note.

There is no room for broad-mindedness in the mathematics classroom. Neither geometry, calculus, nor trigonometry allows any variation from exact accuracy, even for old time's sake. The solution of the problem is either right or it is wrong - no tolerance there.

There is no room for broad-mindedness in biology. One varying result out of a thousand experiments will invalidate an entire theory.

There is no room for broad-mindedness in the garage. The mechanic there says that the piston rings must fit the cylinder walls within one two-thousandths part of an inch. Even between friends there cannot by any variation if the motor is to run smoothly.

The question then arises, “If narrow-mindedness rules in the secular realm, how then, can we expect that broad-mindedness rules in the realm of Christianity and morals?” (See Matt. 7: 13, 14, dm.)

Think about it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Are You Following A Nimrod? Part 2-2

by Travon Potts | Elev8

The Rise of Pastoral Kingdoms - Vision or Ambition?

The people in Genesis 11 began to build a city that had a huge building that reached the sky as the centerpiece. That should sound familiar. Many churches don’t just have sanctuaries they have campuses. The goal of many churches is to build a huge sanctuary and a campus around it. Some pastors will label this as their “vision”. Nimrod and most kings in the bible would call this a kingdom.

Nimrod’s vision for building a campus or should I say kingdom got God’s attention. God said in Genesis 11:6 “Look! The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!”(NLT) Did you catch that? This whole thing was not God led or inspired. Under the leadership of Nimrod, these people were going to build a city and a huge building and nothing could stop them. I didn’t say it, God did. That is powerful. If any group of people is unified they can do what they decide to do.

I am not the only one who can use exegesis to break down this text. Some pastors, like Nimrod, understand the power of unity as well. Nimrod used his understanding of influence and unity to build his campus/kingdom just as some pastors use influence and unity to build their campus/kingdoms. Nimrod’s goal was to build a city with a large building as a monument to his personal greatness. Some pastors want to build a campus with a large sanctuary as a monument to their personal greatness. Notice the people in Genesis 11 did not say, “let’s make a name for ourselves by making sure the lame, children and the widows are healthy and eating”. How many pastors do you know are building housing, food distribution centers and care facilities for those in need at the same rate they are building sanctuaries and campuses. The key is the phrase at the same rate because philanthropy is viewed by some ministries as merely a form of PR.

The push to build large sanctuaries and campuses are given merit because they fall under the category of “vision”. Pastors are never accused of building kingdoms to rule, they are now called visionaries. Some of you may say that I have gone too far. Have I gone too far? Think about it, is that youth center really to help youth or is it in place to manipulate new subjects for the pastoral kingdomIs creating a larger sanctuary to accommodate those needing to hear the gospel or is it to accommodate more people so they can be manipulated to give money and buy the church’s goods week after week. When did all of this fall under the category of “vision” as opposed to ambition?

I wondered why more people have not caught on to this form of manipulation. In many churches the “seeker sensitive” movement has flourished. In some churches scripture is taught and study is encouraged. The difference is in the parishioner. “Seeker sensitive” ministries target the non-Christians and the jeans-on-Sunday crowds. These two groups are more apt to follow inspirational messages rather than messages that focus on proper biblical context and proper exegesis of scripture. What can be done with the “seeker sensitive” crowds often is manipulation. Many pastors realize that they can’t go to serious bible students about the building fund because serious bible students will go to James 1:27 and ask for the correlation between building bigger buildings and helping widows and children. Serious bible students will not take what any pastor says at face value.

Some “Seeker Sensitive” ministries get it right and the parishioners in those churches grow spiritually. In the churches where the parishioners are taught the word of God properly it shows in the communities that are around them. Lives are changed and they are viewed as an asset to the community even by those who don’t agree with their beliefs.

On the other hand some pastors know that entertaining messages that focus less on helping the world and more on helping one’s self, gives them influence over the people they are leading. With that in mind, many pastors target demographics that are not versed in scripture. Those pastors also target those who choose comfort over substance so they can build their kingdom a.k.a. “vision”. 

You may question why I say that some pastors are building their own kingdoms. Well, let’s define a kingdom. Look at its root words, king and dominion. A kingdom is where a king has dominion. A king is the main person in charge who has ultimate authority as it relates to decision-making. Unlike a founder or CEO, a king has authority that is a birthright. Most pastors operate under the presumed authority that is given to them by God at birth. As a side note, some pastors call themselves gifted to pastor. Look up the passage in Ephesians 4:11. No one has the gift of being a pastor. Pastors are gifts to us the church by God. Many pastors are pampered like kings. A lot of pastors weather good or bad are treated like celebrities weather they ask for it or not. In a lot of churches pastors have ultimate authority. Some pastors say that God mandates their decisions. A close look at scripture would indicate they are fulfilling their own aspirations. Parallel what your pastor is doing to what the apostles were doing and ask yourself if their houses and cars are a result of their faith, God’s mandate, or a result of capital they accrue from loyal subjects also known as parishioners.

Let’s recap. Kingdoms require taxes that are under the king’s authority. Many churches require tithes that are under the pastor’s authority. The concept of kingdoms resemble the concept of many church campuses. Kings are chosen by city vote or are rulers by birthright. Many pastors are voted in by a church or claim to be chosen by birth. Kings like many pastors are pampered like celebrities. Kings are the chief beneficiaries of the wealth of the kingdom. Pastors, do I even have to say it? These kingdoms are built to expand as well. Campuses grow. Kingdoms spread to other territories to build an empire. Many churches plant other churches in other areas that often already have churches in those areas. All of this is falls under the pastors “vision”.

Is it just me, or have you been hearing a lot of kingdom and vision talk lately at your church? I often hear some pastors talk about “kingdom business” or say “it’s all about the kingdom”. What these pastors are not saying is that they are building their own kingdoms and labeling it a God given vision. This is scary.

Before you help another man pursue his ambition to build a kingdom that he labels as a vision from God read:

Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (NLT)

Example of modern day preacher in NIMROD style:

Please comment.

Part 1: Is Your Pastor Following God Or His Own Ambition?
TIME before the ANTICHRIST - Part I
TIME before the ANTICHRIST - Part II

HUMANISM: Forerunner for Anti-CHRIST

Is Your Pastor Following God Or His Own Ambition? Part 1-2

by Travon Potts | Elev8

I’ve been hearing something lately that has really gotten under my skin. Some pastors have been saying it a lot since my early years as a Christian until now. The word is vision. Some will say, “our pastor has great vision”. Others will say, “We are following our pastor’s vision”. A lot of modern pastors I’ve heard will quickly quote part of Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish….” (KJV) What I find interesting is that most of the pastors I’ve heard speak or write about this subject of vision leave off the second half of that verse where it says “…. But he that keepeth the law, happy is he”(KJV)

Some pastors use the skill of manipulation to influence people by distorting the first half of Proverbs 29:18. Often they use the scare tactic of “lack of vision” being parallel to death. “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. The result of distorting this passage is, parishioners following pastors and not God. I thought about this long and hard. I too drank the proverbial punch for part of my Christian life.

To get me in lock step with this unbiblical way of thinking, I was given buzz phrases over the years. Maybe some of you have heard this stuff. Try this one on for size, “buy-in”, and “you have to buy-in to the vision of this ministry”. How about this one, “There is one vision in this house”. Now there is a new one making the rounds in manipulation centers that call themselves churches, “you must have this ministry’s DNA”.

Influence through mind manipulation is not new. Is there a biblical example of this? Good question. Yes, and we can find it in Genesis 11:1-8. The parallels are astounding. This is the story of the Tower of Babel. At this point in human history, everyone on the earth was in one place and under the leadership of one man by the name of Nimrod. Verse 1 says “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” (KJV). This means that everyone was not only using the same language but every word they said meant the same thing. At this time there were no colloquial terms or slang. During this point in history, if someone were to say “that is a hot suit”, no one would think that it was either stolen or it was great looking, the understanding would be simply that the suit would burn you. Think about it, how many times you have heard pastors encourage their parishioners to be of one mind and saying the same thing. Some pastors will even use Genesis 11:1 as a reference.

After settling in the land of Shinar the people all made the decision to make a name for themselves. The funny thing is, at this point, no one asked the question, “why are we making a name for ourselves”. If you think about it, no one else was on the earth according to scripture.

“Making a name for themselves”, where did this thinking come from. At that time, the most influential person on the earth was Nimrod (Gen 10:8). When Nimrod decided to build his kingdom it was built (Gen 10:10). If we go back to Gen 11 we see that the people start building this kingdom and the purpose was to make a name for themselves. Have you ever seen the effect that the press has on some pastors and leaders? Some pastors or PASTARS are tickled by seeing not just their name, but their church’s name in magazines or newspapers or mentioned on television. The goal of many churches and pastors is to make a name for themselves. Why? Isn’t it about lifting up God and building His kingdom?


Part 2: Are You Following A Nimrod?
TIME before the ANTICHRIST - Part I
TIME before the ANTICHRIST - Part II 

HUMANISM: Forerunner for Anti-CHRIST

Biblical Repentance - Must Read!

Don Martin

It has been aptly remarked that repentance is the hardest command for man to perform. Belief is simple, just look at the creation and one sees proof of the Creator; confession is prompted by a strong belief; and water baptism, also a command for the non-Christian, is not difficult, being precipitated by belief (Jn. 8: 24; Rom. 10: 9, 10; Acts 2: 38; Gal. 5: 6). It is in the act of repentance that some of the most complete changes that involve man's basic thinking, will, and emotion take place, as we shall see. In this study of repentance, we shall explore the definition, the change of mind of repentance, and the fact repentance is a radical act.

The definition of repentance. In our efforts to define repentance in a practical way, let us begin by noticing comments on three of the Greek words that are rendered repentance in the New Testament, two verbs and one noun.

"Verb, metanoeo: lit., 'to perceive afterwards' (meta, 'after,' implying 'change,' noeo, 'to perceive;' nous, 'the mind, the seat of moral reflection'), in contrast to pronoeo, 'to perceive beforehand,' hence signifies 'to change one's mind or purpose,' always, in the NT, involving a change for the better, an amendment, and always, except in Luke 17: 3, 4, of 'repentance' from sin….

Verb, metamelomai: meta, as in No. 1, and melo, 'to care for,' is used in the Passive Voice with the Middle Voice sense, signifying 'to regret, to repent oneself,' Matt. 21: 29, RV, 'repented himself;' Matt. 21: 32, RV, 'ye did (not) repent yourselves' (AV, "ye repented not'); Matt. 27: 3, 'repented himself' 2 Cor. 7: 8 (twice), RV, 'regret' in each case; Heb. 7: 21, where alone in the NT it is said (negatively) of God….

Noun metanoia: 'afterthought, change of mind, repentance…' is used of 'repentance' from sin or evil….As regards 'repentance' from sin, (a) the requirement by God on man's part is set forth, e.g., in Matt. 3: 8; Luke 3: 8; Acts 20: 21; 26: 20; (b) the mercy of God in giving 'repentance' or leading men to it is set forth, e.g., in Acts 5: 31; 11: 18; Rom. 2: 4; 2 Tim. 2: 25. The most authentic mss. omit the word in Matt. 9: 13; Mark 2: 17, as in the RV…. In the NT the subject chiefly has reference to 'repentance' from sin, and this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God. The parable of the Prodigal Son is an outstanding illustration of this. Christ began His ministry with a call to 'repentance,' Matt. 4: 17, but the call is addressed, not as in the OT to the nation, but to the individual…." (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

It is imperative that we understand repentance. Repentance is set forth as being universally required. We read: "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17: 30). It is either repent or perish (Lk. 13: 3, 5). God desires our repentance and is longsuffering in an effort to afford mankind the opportunity to repent and not perish (2 Pet. 3: 9).

Let us now consider what repentance is not. Repentance is not simply cessation from sin (Gen. 6: 6). Repentance is not simply sorrow for sin (2 Cor. 7: 10). Strictly considered, repentance is not within itself the source of faith, getting saved, or reformation of life (cp. Mk. 1: 15; Acts 2: 38; Matt. 21: 29).

What precisely is repentance? Beloved, repentance is, biblically viewed in the setting of salvation, a change of mind or will that is produced by godly sorrow and the goodness of God that results in a change or reformation of life (Matt. 21: 29; 2 Cor. 7: 10, Rom. 2: 4; Matt. 21: 29, see addendum)

The word of God is the instrument that produces repentance. The reason why we should experience godly sorrow (having sorrow such as God has for sin) and the viewing of God's goodness are seen in the word of God (Jas. 1: 14-17; Jn. 3: 16). The word convicts us of our sins; hence, the reason for repentance (Acts 2: 14-41).

Repentance, a change of mind explored. As we have seen in the complete definition of repentance, repentance involves a change of mind or will (Matt. 21: 29). God wants to influence and control our thinking (for the better, 2 Cor. 10: 5; Phili. 4: 8). I am not suggesting that in the following that man immediately and initially experiences a distinct, observable, and definitional change in the following particulars as man comes to God. However, the change of mind produced by repentance does, in its totality, involve change in the following areas:

When one repents, one experiences change regarding sin. They no longer love darkness and error but love light and truth (Jn. 3: 19). They are willing to surrender their will to God and thus view God differently (Heb. 12: 28). They realize their own sinfulness and cease being selfish (Rom. 3: 23; 2 Cor. 5: 15). They respect the word of God and desire to obey it (Acts 2: 337-42). Repentance produces change in how we view Satan, others, money, work, and life in general (I Pet. 5: 8; Matt. 7: 12; I Tim. 6: 10; Col. 3: 22, 23; I Pet. 3: 10, 11).

Repentance, a radical act. By "radical" I do not mean fanatical but drastic. Drastic is relative and in this sense, good. Allow me to demonstrate what I mean.

The son when first approached by his father to work in the vineyard refused (Matt. 21: 28 ff.). However, we read that "he went." What was there that caused the important change? "He answered and said, I will not: but afterward repented, and went" (Matt. 21: 29). Some of the Jews who crucified Christ later became Christians who worshipped and served Christ. Repentance brought about this radical change (Acts 2: 23, 36, 37-41, 42, 44, 46). Saul of Tarsus had persecuted Christians and had them murdered, but then became a servant of Jesus Christ himself, the great apostle Paul (Acts 9: 12). What caused this change in Saul's life? Saul repented (Acts 9: 3-18, repentance is necessarily inferred, Acts 2: 38). The Philippian jailer who was a pagan had charge of Paul and Silas in prison. Later he is found washing their stripes and feeding them in his house (Acts 16: 33, 34). Repentance drastically changed his thinking regarding himself, Paul, and Silas (Acts 16: 30 ff.).

Repentance will also result in consequential changes today in a person's life. Repentance will cause the person who has a foul mouth to use pure speech; the thief to cease his stealing, and the drunkard to forsake the bottle (Eph. 4: 28; Eph. 4: 28; Prov. 23: 29 ff.). Repentance also involves restitution, as is seen in the case of Zacchaeus (Lk. 19: 8-10). Money that is stolen will not be retained but returned, when repentance is present. The adulterer will return the wife of another man or will cease his adultery with a women to whom he has no scriptural right (Matt. 19: 9). There will be no "if I have sinned" or "I sinned but…," when repentance is truly experienced. Repentance pervades every fiber of our being and soul and can truly transform us into a mindset that receives and loves the word of God and will obey it at all costs (I Jn. 5: 3, 2: 3 ff.).

In conclusion, repentance is not just an isolated act that is performed when one initially comes to God. Repentance is ongoing (2 Cor. 7: 8 ff.). I shall close by quoting what Paul said repentance produced in a people who had before been spiritually indifferent: "For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (2 Cor. 7: 11).

Addendum: The same Greek verb metamelomai is used to describe the change in thinking characteristic of the son and of Judas as well (Matt. 21: 29; 27: 3). Judas obviously experienced regret and a consequent chance of mind; however, his "repentance" appears to have only involved regret and a change in mind that did not positively manifest itself in making himself right with God (Acts 1: 25). In the case of Judas, suicide was the result of his change in mind (Matt. 27: 5). Initial repentance must be guided by God's word and continue to result in obedience to God; not simply being engulfed in sorrow.


Related: Repent is not a bad word
Caution: "Destined to Reign" by Joseph Prince

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Repent is not a Bad Word

by Charlene Kugler
Agape Life Ministries

Often I’ve noticed how people squirm when told they need to repent. They think of this word as if this is the most terrible word one can ever speak to another. It’s a word to be avoided by every means.

The truth is, repent is a salvation word. Salvation cannot come until and unless we first repent. It is a good word. It’s a blessing word, not a curse as some believe it to be.

Repent really means to change your mind. The purpose of it is to show you the wrong, and at the same time, teach you the right, so you don’t have to continue in a mistake.

For example, if I’ve been trying to make muffins from a wrong recipe, you as my friend will not keep quiet about it if you know that the recipe is wrong. Rather, you’ll be happy to give me your recipe for great muffins. Likewise, I’ll be so thankful for the recipe and gladly throw out the wrong recipe.

Repentance is the same. God is good, and He alone knows what is good. Man can try to be good, but God says:

Romans 3:12 (New International Version)
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

You see how we’ve all turned away from the original goodness, and now we’re lost. Though we may still have the understanding that we’re required to do good, but we don’t do the good that is according to God. The good that we do is so much perverted because the world that we live in, that God is the only One who is able to teach us what good really is. Isaiah spoke of us:

Isaiah 5:20 (New International Version)
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Can you recognise that this woe has come upon us? If you can recognise this, then you’ll agree with me that repentance is good. It’s not a bad thing. It’s only bad if we refuse to change. But if we sincerely desire what is good, if we’re not too proud to admit that there is One who knows all things better than we do, then, repent is really a welcoming word. For everytime we embrace it, we get better.

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

There are great and wonderful promises for us from this verse. But first the condition. Can you see that if you want God, there must first be repentance?

It also promises to wipe out our sins, and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

What then, do we need to repent from? According to…

Luke 16:15 (New International Version)
He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

Isn’t this true of us? We are offended when told to repent because we feel we are right. But right according to who? As our Lord Jesus says: “We justify ourselves in the eyes of men…”

We must believe that our natural (worldly) values are completely the opposite of what God holds as good.

Truly, friends, look back on our past and judge for ourselves if the word that God spoke is not true. Have we not made so many WRONG DECISIONS, many Mistakes, took many wrong turns, have messed up! All because of our lack of wisdom and our foolishness. And what great distress this has caused us and our loved ones!

Until we are willing to humble ourselves and admit that we are unable to direct our lives wisely, we will not turn to God and lean on Him.

Simply put, if we cannot see that we’ve gone wrong, we will also not need God to save us from our dire situation. But the one who knows his mess and regrets the consequence of it, he will treasure his salvation. A second chance in life - this time to live it right – it’s the greatest gift. It will not matter if he had to forsake all that he had, his only desire is to grab on to this second chance and make it right that he may be a blessing to all.

Matthew 16:25 (New International Version)
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Repentance is to change your mind about all that you think and believe is good and right.

Repentance frees us from all the wrong values and beliefs that we had been fed with all our lives from the world. She teaches us new values and beliefs which are written in the Word of God which leads us to God.

Repentance cause us to admit our wrongs. As we confess our mistakes, God forgives, so that sin may not hold us.

Repentance kills pride and makes us humble, that we may receive grace from God.

Repentance makes us weak that He may be strong, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Repentance makes us in the image of Christ, that those who sees us will no longer sees us, but Christ in us the hope of glory.

Repentance will bring us to God, and when finally her work is complete, the heart is now pure, we’ll see God!

Repentance is the result of love. It’s meant as a blessing not a curse. It’s a Wonder-Full, Miracle Performing Word!


Friday, January 21, 2011

PROPHETIC MOVEMENT in AN UPROAR upset by Dennis Cramer's Word for 2011

Andrew Strom

Earlier this week we published big chunks of Dennis Cramer's "Word for 2011" in which he basically tears into a lot of the flakey and dangerous "New Age"- type practices found in today's Prophetic movement. Well, to my great amazement, I found that the Elijah List had actually published Cramer's piece as well! And it caused such a storm that they had to remove it after just one day - for  "clarification"! But then they re-published it - only slightly changed!

For those who don't know, the Elijah List is the main email List for the Prophetic movement - publishing the likes of Todd Bentley, Patricia King, Rick Joyner, Bob Jones, etc. It also sells mounds of their books and CD's. For the Elijah List to publish something that basically refutes all the "Spirit Travel" and "Third Heaven Visitation" stuff is simply unbelievable. It would almost be like the Pope refuting the veneration of Mary!

I don't know what the Elijah List was thinking, but I'm sure glad they did it. Now maybe there's a chance that some of their readers will get out from under those dangerous deceptions.

But I am left a bit dazed by it all - because the very ones who have been advocating "spirit travel AT WILL" and "Trance dancing" and 'Third Heaven visits AT WILL' are the very ministries that the Elijah List has been promoting all these years!

Here is what the Elijah List founder Steve Schultz wrote after they pulled the first article when it caused such a storm-

"Dear Elijah List Readers, There was a huge number of people who were unclear on a few issues with Dennis Cramer’s word... The most controversial aspect was the “AT WILL” issue. Apparently, there are some out and about who are teaching that you can transport or go to Heaven “AT WILL” – i.e. whenever you want. This is truly not taught in Scripture. The word “Doctrine” is another word for “teaching.” It’s an untrue teaching that anytime you want, you can go to Heaven or be transported... As soon as Dennis Cramer sends us a more in-depth explanation of the items he listed, we plan to repost my friend’s word."

ANDREW AGAIN: Steve - I'm so glad you wrote this, but do you truly realize what you are saying? Don't you know that Bob Jones and Todd Bentley and Patricia King, etc, are the VERY BIGGEST promoters of all this "AT WILL" deception that you are talking about? Patricia King even has a whole movement of "Ekstasis" Trance dancing! These guys have entire reams of teaching on how to "visualize" your way into the Third Heaven 'AT WILL'. They have been promoting it for years. Surely you know this? That's why your readers are so upset. Dennis Cramer is finally exposing and rebuking this stuff as the 'New Age' heresy that it really is.

On January 15, Elijah List reposted the "re-clarified" word from Dennis Cramer on their website. It was a little softer in places, but still it said the following very clearly:

"One cannot go to Heaven like Paul or be transported physically like Phillip simply because they want to or because they feel like it (at will). Teachings like this often crossover into dangerous methods and techniques that resemble New Age, Mysticism, Spiritism or other occult manipulative practices. A Believer cannot and must not force, manipulate, or otherwise attempt to reproduce a sovereign supernatural Bible experience by merely following a method, a series of steps, or worst of all “willing it” to happen."

In the same re-posted word, Dennis Cramer went on to say-

• Open Heaven/Spiritual Portals = BAD DOCTRINE
• Third Heaven Experiences At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
• Going to Heaven At Will to Get Your Gifts = BAD DOCTRINE
• Transporting Physically At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
• Over-Emphasis on Angels and Specifically Arc-Angels = BAD DOCTRINE
• Going into Trances At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
• Trance Dancing = BAD DOCTRINE
• Hyper-Grace: Christians Do Not Need to Repent of Sin = BAD DOCTRINE

Well - there goes the Prophetic movement!!
Seriously - I cannot believe they posted this on the Elijah List!
Steve - This is exactly all the stuff your followers have gotten into!
Most of the guys you promote - these are the exact 'New Age'-type practices that they teach! Surely you know this?

So now, to finish this article, I need some "clarification" from Steve Schultz. I am very encouraged by this apparent change of heart, Steve, but I need to know if you will now CEASE forthwith any and all publication of the materials and teachings of these people - until they publicly repent and apologize for this 'New Age' heresy. And I need to know if you - Steve Schultz - will now publicly renounce the promotion of these deceptive preachers around the world. (Sorry to be so blunt about it, but we really need to hear this from you). I am so glad that you published Cramer's piece. But now we really need to know where Elijah List stands - and whether things have truly changed or not. We look forward to your reply.

And I ask everyone reading this to please forward it to your Charismatic friends. People need to know that this stuff is finally being declared as "BAD DOCTRINE" - even by the Elijah List itself.

Please let everyone know, so this deception can be stopped. You would be amazed how widespread it is - Andrew Strom

From the desk of Steve Shultz:
Steve Shultz: Important Clarification of Dennis Cramer's Word: "Eleven Words for 2011"

There was a huge number of people who were unclear on a few issues with Dennis Cramer's word from the Lord and they wrote to us about it. There was likely an equal number of people who are upset with us for TEMPORARILY pulling Dennis Cramer's word for clarification. This has happened before when a word went out and people didn't quite understand what was being said.

Many people LOVED the word and understood it from the start. Yet many others were confused. It was simply "many" on both sides. Since the response was so intense, we pulled it quickly. I just got off the phone with Dennis Cramer to speak to him about a clarification of the word. He is happy to do it but time is not on his side. We will receive it Friday. When we get it, we'll send it out ASAP. I don't know if we'll have his clarification in time to send it to you on Friday, but if not we'll get it out during the weekend.

Let me explain that Dennis Cramer also assured me that he had NO specific ministry or minister in mind when he wrote his word.

The most controversial aspect was the "AT WILL" issue. Apparently, there are some out and about who are teaching that you can transport or go to Heaven "AT WILL" – i.e. whenever you want. This is truly not taught in Scripture. The word "Doctrine" is another word for "teaching." It's an untrue teaching that anytime you want, you can go to Heaven or be transported.

It's God's choice to tell you what HE wants to do with you and HOW HE wants to do it and when. Yes, we can place ourselves in a place of being ready for such a thing or transportation to Heaven – but God calls the shots and calls people to Open Heaven situations as HE CHOOSES.

As soon as Dennis Cramer sends us a more in-depth explanation of the items he listed, we plan to repost my friend's word. My apologies for any of our readers who were offended.

Dennis Cramer is a Bible-believing Christian, who is also a highly accurate prophet. Again, he will get to this by Friday and then we will repost the word for you. We are attempting to be a good steward of God's prophets and prophetic people. We do understand that some will be happy with us for this temporary situation and others will be upset. But the final product will be all the clearer, so we pray we are making the right decision - Steve

Dennis Cramer: Clarified Word for 2011

Greetings my brother!

First, let me begin by offering you my personal love and deep concern regarding your state of health. Allow me to suggest that this is a spiritual attack, a spirit of infirmity, and that you need to be the focus of prayer and fasting by others for your healing and deliverance. You are a strategic weapon in the hands of God, and the devil would just love to continue to hinder you. You have always been there for everyone else. Now the Church needs to be there for you.

More Clarity on this Word for 2011

Second, thank you for this opportunity to help the Body of Christ by bringing some more clarity to my 2011 prophecy. Thanks to you, I have received virtually dozens and dozens of emails from very supportive Elijah List followers thanking me profusely for this timely "word in season." The response has been incredible! Numerous pastors and ministers within this group have expressed their deepest gratitude to me and to you for addressing these volatile theological concerns with directness and honesty. They told me that the stand I made against these "doctrines of concern" through your website took real courage on both our parts.

Because of your love and commitment to the prophetic, many Believers have been helped through my 2011 prophecy. It is always my pleasure to cooperate with you each year at this time with my yearly word of the Lord. And, I believe this 2011 prophetic word will prove to be a pivotal prophetic word for you, your website, and the Body of Christ at large. Again, thanks my friend.

Below is my very best explanation of the critical phrase "at will" since you stated this was a major point of contention for some. I would suggest you insert this letter of explanation, that I have written below, as an introduction to the prophecy. I think it will REALLY help folks.

Your servant,
Denny Cramer


What Exactly is Meant by the Phrase "At Will"?

I would like to add some clarity to explain my 2011 (global) prophecy, a "word in season" for the Body of Christ in every nation. Perhaps, the phrase "at will" that appears after a number of the "doctrines of concern" that I address in point three below, could be more clearly understood by the reader.

"At will" means a Believer makes a decision, on his own, to initiate or attempt to duplicate a particular sovereign, supernatural experience. The individual wants a particular supernatural experience to happen so badly, he will do anything (within his power) to make it happen – to force it, to duplicate or copy it, whether or not it is God's sovereign will. Rather, a Believer should allow God to SOVEREIGNLY cause it to happen at His chosen time, as we see recorded in all similar Bible examples.

When a Believer unwisely exercises his (soulish) human will, outside of or in conflict with the sovereign will of God (anything contrary to the written Word of God, the Bible), he is producing a seemingly supernatural (source unclear) experience from his own will or "at will." This is the meaning of "at will." "At will" is self-will, and self-will can be sinful and can lead to all kinds of spiritual deception and questionable practices.

The Question of Supernatural Sovereign Experiences "At Will"

Do I believe in Third Heaven experiences? Absolutely, I do. The Bible supports such sovereign experiences as in the example of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12. Do I believe in being physically transported? Absolutely, I do! By a sovereign act of God, Phillip was physically transported (Acts 8) from one location to another. So if it's in the Bible I believe it! I believe it all! Amen!

However, there is a HUGE difference between God willing you to have a certain sovereign Bible experience (like Paul or Phillip), as opposed to you willing it or trying to make it happen, to duplicate it through mere human effort or merely through the exercising of your human or soulish will, in other words, "at will." These Bible experiences were 100% sovereign. They did not happen because these individuals willed them into existence or willed them to happen. God and God alone initiated them – He and He alone willed them.

This is the very nature of a sovereign experience: God makes it happen when He wants, where He wants, and with whom He wants. Period! And they usually happened when the candidates or recipients least expected it. Why? Because these were sovereign events, not planned or initiated by man, but by God.

When discussing a sovereign experience there is a big difference between initiating versus cooperating. God INITIATES all sovereign experiences and the Believer COOPERATES with them. Mix the two, crisscross them, and this can lead to some real doctrinal confusion and counter-productive measures.

It's All About God's Sovereignty

The critical issue with operating in the supernatural is: who is initiating what or who is "willing" what? Teaching Believers that by following certain steps, teachings, formulas, and/or merely exercising their own human wills, they can duplicate any sovereign supernatural experience – is dangerous and unscriptural.

One cannot go to Heaven like Paul or be transported physically like Phillip simply because they want to or because they feel like it (at will). Teachings like this often crossover into dangerous methods and techniques that resemble New Age, Mysticism, Spiritism or other occult manipulative practices. A Believer cannot and must not force, manipulate, or otherwise attempt to reproduce a sovereign supernatural Bible experience by merely following a method, a series of steps, or worst of all "willing it" to happen.

Whether we are discussing being translated in the spirit or transported physically, or any supernatural sovereign experience we read about in the Bible, the critical difference between whether it is God or not is who "willed" it to happen: Was it you or was it God? If you willed it to happen it ceases to be a sovereign, God ordained, supernatural, Bible experience, and you risk experiencing a counterfeit.

Below are the "Eleven Words for 2011" with clarification from Dennis Cramer:

It is Time to Dust Off Your Bible!

Picture in your mind, if you will, the image of an unused, dust-covered Bible. Now picture in your mind that this same dust-covered Bible is your Bible! This is not a good image to be sure, especially for a Bible-believing Christian in 2011. Sadly, many Christians now read more books about the Bible then they do the Bible itself.

Consequently, many in the Church have gradually and somewhat unknowingly, become Biblically ignorant, unaware or stunted. And doctrinally speaking, anything goes. There is now wide-spread acceptance of "marginal to heretical" doctrines. Just 25 years ago individuals would have been thrown out of the Church if caught teaching these heresies. How did this happen?

Simply, we have become Biblically ignorant. We have not been diligent to feed on the unadulterated Word of God. We are at best malnourished, and in some cases, starving to death. Biblical ignorance is on the increase in the Church, even to epidemic levels! Like any form of "lack" created by ignorance which can lead to sickness, only the proper "intake," or in these cases, only proper Biblical education can remedy it.

Warning: We Live in an Age of "Anything Goes" Theology! The Charismatic Church is in Big Trouble!

So, here is my 2011 prophetic "prescription" for this beautiful but Biblically challenged, even unhealthy, Bride.

1. Orthodoxy! I would like to prescribe a good healthy dose of the written Word of God, the Bible. The Church needs an immediate injection of the truth! We must all pray for the Church to return to the orthodoxy (traditional belief) of Scripture. This means a return to the proper reading, INTERPRETATION, and application of the Bible in our lives. There is a growing trend toward some really bad doctrine out there. And we, the Church, must put a stop to it! If we don't, no one else will! The Church must begin to police herself against unorthodox (false) teaching and bizarre practices. You must reacquaint yourself with the Scriptures and know your Bible.

In 40 years of serving God, I have not heard so much bad doctrine preached from so-called "Bible-believing" Christians – specifically charismatic Christians.

2. Berea! We must pray for a "Berean Revival" in the Church – a revival which returns us all to our roots – our roots in the Word of God. In the Bible, the original Bereans were Believers who "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things be so." There is a lot of doctrine currently in circulation in the charismatic Church that is highly questionable – even heretical.

Each Believer must begin to "search the Scriptures" for himself to discover whether what he is believing is Biblical or not (Acts 17:11). Stop unequivocally trusting ministers and their pulpits to always and completely preach the truth – some do, some do not. You need to search and know the Scriptures for yourself. If their teachings sound too good to be true – they very well may be! Know your Bible.

3. Preach the Word! (2 Timothy 4:2). It is time for the Church to return to her basic Bible beliefs (fundamental doctrines) and the core values these fundamental doctrines produce. Peripheral doctrines or beliefs are peripheral for a reason, and can lead to dangerous theologically positions and questionable practices. We must stop extracting obscure, vague, single, solitary verses out of context, and stop trying to make major "sound" doctrines out of them.

This "stretching of the truth" must stop. Some of our so-called "proof texts" do not prove what's being preached at all. We are "twisting the Scriptures to our own destruction." We must again major in major doctrine and minor in the minor ones. My prophetic word to all Pastors/Teachers for 2011 is simple: "Preach the Word!" Know your Bible.

Some examples of current doctrine circulating in the Church: You must believe me that I am NOT making this stuff up!


Open Theism: Teaches God is Not Sovereign = BAD DOCTRINE
Teaches that God does not always know the outcome of earthly events when man is involved – that man can actually catch God "off guard," surprise Him, and alter His will. For example, it teaches that God did not know Adam was going to sin. Yet there are numerous verses that clearly teach God is sovereign and knew exactly what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. If God did not know that Adam was going to sin, then why was the Lamb slain from before the foundations of the world? (1 Peter 1:18-20). Additional proof texts: Ephesians 1:4, Psalm 139:4, Psalm 139:16, Isaiah 46:10, Ecclesiastes 3:11, 1 John 3:20, John 21:17.

If God is not omniscient, then He is not sovereign. If He is not sovereign, then He is not God. God is all-knowing: past, present, and future. Open theism is a dangerous teaching that under-mines the sovereignty, majesty, infinitude, knowledge, existence, and glory of God and exalts the nature and condition of man's own free will. A god of open theism is not as knowledgeable or as ever-present as the true God of the Bible.

Ultimate Reconciliation/Restitution of All Things = BAD DOCTRINE
Teaches that Hell will one day be emptied, that all of mankind (saved and unsaved) will live together eternally in Heaven, regardless of their actions while they lived on earth. This is an old heresy that pops up every fifty years or so. There is no Biblical basis for this very dangerous doctrine.

The "Nefilin" Children Alive on Earth = BAD DOCTRINE
Teaches that there are currently living beings on the earth who are the distant offspring of the original "giants" conceived by angels and women mentioned in the book of Genesis. This is pure speculation. Recent books on the subject have caught our attention, but this topic was never supposed to be a major Bible doctrine. Some authors have taken extreme liberty and license to write about it. Again, it is pure speculation and could serve as a distraction from more important issues in the Church.

Open Heaven/Spiritual Portals = BAD DOCTRINE
Teaches that we, as Christians, should be asking God to "rend the heavens" and open them to us so we can experience God's power and presence. Actually, this is totally unnecessary since God, through Jesus Christ, has already fully opened the heavens to each and every Believer. Every Believer has been walking under the "Open Heaven" atmosphere from the moment they were born again. Hebrews calls it the "Throne of Grace" (Hebrews 4:16). This "Throne of Grace" in Heaven is already open and available 24/7 – to all Believers who access it in the name of Jesus. How? By faith.

Third Heaven Experiences At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
See my introduction above.

Going to Heaven At Will to Get Your Gifts = BAD DOCTRINE
See my introduction above. There is no Biblical record of any Believer having to go to Heaven to get any gift. This is a totally unnecessary spiritual exercise. The three listings of gifts in Romans, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians have all been in the Church for over two thousand years. They are not in Heaven, so why go there to get them? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have each deposited Their respective gifts in the Church here on earth. For 2,000 years, Christians have been receiving here ON EARTH from this great deposit of gifts. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, ON EARTH, as it is in Heaven." Amen!

Cloud of Witnesses/Dead Saints = BAD DOCTRINE
Teaches that Christians should expect the intervention of dead saints in our daily lives. This entire deception is based on a terribly irresponsible interpretation of a single obscure verse in Hebrews 12:1. We do not need dead saints intervening in our lives. We have Jesus as our Mediator, the ONLY Mediator we need between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and He is not dead. He is alive! Necromancy, that is communication with the dead (any dead), is forbidden in Scripture.

Traveling in Time At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
I have been unable to find this in the Bible. Let alone doing it "at will."

Transporting Physically At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
See my introduction above.

Over-Emphasis on Angels and Specifically Arc-Angels = BAD DOCTRINE
Yes, they are real. But an angelic visitation is a rare and precious event. Most Christians will never have an encounter with one. And it is extremely unlikely that a Christian will be visited by an arc angel. Michael and Gabriel were given specific, significant, world-changing tasks in the Scriptures. It is likely that they have more important things to do than to drop by your house for a visit!

Going into Trances At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
See my introduction above.

Trance Dancing = BAD DOCTRINE
I have been unable to find this in the Bible.

Going to Hell to Discern Evil Spirits = BAD DOCTRINE
No one in the Bible ever had to go to Hell to discern a spirit. Why should we?

Hyper-Grace: Christians Do Not Need to Repent of Sin = BAD DOCTRINE
The only Biblical response for sin is ALWAYS repentance for both the sinner and the saved. How else can a Believer be accountable for his sin except to repent of it? No form of grace removes the Believer's responsibility to repent for his sin.

Quick Restoration of Fallen Church Leaders = BAD DOCTRINE
Why should a fallen leader necessarily be restored back to his ministry, especially after numerous failures over the space of years? Sometimes fallen leaders should not be restored back to ministry at all, but back to finding a secular job, loving their spouse, and raising their kids. However, if it is decided that a fallen leader be restored back to his ministry, I am not against restoring that leader. I am however against restoring that leader too quickly.

Divorce Among Christians without Consequences = BAD DOCTRINE
All of us are aware of the terrible increase of divorce among Christians. Yet, what troubles me more is the lack of consequences from these divorces. Covenant is very important to God. Divorce is not God's best. Breaking the marriage covenant is a serious issue. Yet many Christians, and even ministers, never miss a step. One day they divorce and soon after they are back in the pulpit and/or often in a new marriage.

The Bible Contains Cultural and Gender Biases = BAD DOCTRINE
No, it does not! I've actually been told by pastors that they have made decisions to counter the various biases that they perceive in the Bible. I was stunned! How can the Bible be inerrant, infallible, and contain biases and/or prejudices at the same time? It cannot! But some preach this from their pulpits, misrepresenting God's Word, the Bible.

4. Seducing Spirits! (1 Timothy 4:1-4). There has been loosed on the Church for 2,000 years a literal army of demons whose sole task is to deceive the Church! Unfortunately, these deceiving, seducing spirits are enjoying some of their most successful efforts. Why?

The average Believer does not know His Bible. The Bible is absolute truth, forever settled in Heaven. It is our sword of the Spirit – two-edged and deadly. To be Bible-ignorant is to have no offensive weapon against our enemy satan. Our ONLY defense against our enemy is a proven offense. And our proven offense against this hoard of demons is the written Word of God, the Bible. Jesus wielded this same written Word-sword against satan in the wilderness with great results. So should you!

I hear the Church saying again, "DEVIL, IT IS WRITTEN!" It does not matter what you think, feel, sense, or even believe. It does not matter what experience you claim to have had, or how many trips to Heaven you claim to have made, or how many angels you know on a first name basis. The only thing that matters is what God said in His Word. Know your Bible.

5. The Devourer! (Malachi 3:11). WARNING: All non-tithing Believers are going to fall victim to a spirit called the "Devourer" unless they return to a systematic lifestyle of financial giving that the Bible calls tithes and offerings! This demonic entity, an actual living thing, will attach itself to the finances of any non-tithing Believer. However, for all faithful tithing Believers the results will be the opposite: God will rebuke this devourer for their sake, and they will enjoy the "open windows of Heaven" lifestyle promised for all who do not "rob" God. They will be a "blessed land" with showers of financial provision from above! Know your Bible.

6. Divorce! Some Believers will suffer the consequences of unwisely entering into unscriptural divorces. These divorces of convenience have angered God, bringing Him to place judgments upon some ministers and their ministries. We need to be reminded that God hates divorce. Know your Bible.

7. Deception! Many will willingly and increasingly enter into incorrect thinking. Hardcore deception will find a home in the Church in 2011 if we are not diligent to know and follow the Word of God. Remember these words from Scripture: "Be not deceived!" This is a command, and the responsibility of all Bible-believing Believers. Notice that deception is a choice! We must choose not to be deceived in 2011. How? Know your Bible!

8. Prophets! As a Prophet, Jesus Christ enjoyed only a very brief season of popularity, followed by His crucifixion as a falsely convicted criminal. Many prophets will suffer the same fate in 2011. I fear that the season of popularity for many prophets is over. As James wrote, "As an example of SUFFERING, take the prophets." Know your Bible.

9. Underground! An exciting and even more powerful supernatural "underground Church" will emerge in 2011. The true Church is much smaller than many think it is. And true apostles and prophets will emerge within this true underground Church. Essentially, a nameless and faceless core, these foundational ministries will re-direct their efforts away from their so called networks, and will devote themselves to returning to the local Church level where their greatest effect and spiritual impact on the Body of Christ will be realized. Know your Bible.

10. Prize! God gave me this verse for literally every Believer worldwide for 2011. "I press toward the goal (in 2011) for the PRIZE of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Remember that you have been apprehended by God, for God. Let's all forget about those things that are behind, and reach forward (in 2011) for those things which are ahead. There is an eternal prize awaiting you! Know your Bible.

11. Pearl! Jesus Christ is the Pearl of great price. He is your ultimate reward for 2011. He is your Master and you serve Him and Him alone for 2011! Make 2011 the year in which you live for Him again without reservation. It is time to sell everything (figuratively speaking) and purchase that Pearl of great price in 2011 and beyond! Amen! Know your Bible.

Beloved, I think you get my point: Know your Bible!

Hope this helps,
Dennis Cramer