Why Believe that Jesus is the Only Way?

Why Believe that Jesus Is the Only Way?
Recent polls show that a disturbing percentage of Christians fail to understand what the Bible tells us about Jesus. According to a Barna poll from 2000, about one out of four born-again Christians believes that it doesn’t matter what faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons. Fifty-six percent of non-Christians agree. Many today water down the radical claims of Jesus – to say that “Jesus works for me” instead of “Jesus is Lord.”

My experience highlights the challenge facing those who claim that Jesus is the singular way to God and redemption. Spirituality is ‘in,’ but Christianity is often ‘out.’ Our culture openly addresses the nature and needs of the soul and how to be spiritually successful. Most Americans have a positive view of Jesus, however blurry it may be. They see Him as a sage, mystic, or a prophet. Yet when Christians affirm that Jesus is “…the way, the truth and the life:…” and that no one can be reconciled to God apart from Him (John 14:6), many reject it.

Is there a strong biblical case for the supremacy of Jesus in a world of personalized spirituality?

Many today don’t have a firm grasp on what the Bible says about Jesus. Was He just a wise man? A prophet? Douglas Groothuis presents Biblical evidence for Christ’s lordship.

SPIRITUALLY INCORRECT
I love Jesus“, exclaimed a woman in the audience, “but He never wanted anyone to worship Him!” As I looked at the group of about thirty people, I saw nods of agreement and heard rumblings of approval. Another member of the panel discussion that I was on said, “I find the way of Jesus helpful, but I can’t exclude anyone’s spirituality outside of Christianity.” Someone else in the audience declared that Jesus was only a prophet and that the Qur’an was more important than the New Testament.

These comments were offered during a panel discussion on ‘spirituality’. Two of the other panelists were from a theological seminary where Jesus is not acknowledged as Lord and the Bible is not respected as God’s written communication to humanity. Another panelist repeatedly said all religions teach that we are one with God. She said she accepted Jesus – but only as one way, not the only way.

Recent polls show that a disturbing percentage of Christians fail to understand what the Bible tells us about Jesus. According to a Barna poll from 2000, about one out of four born-again Christians believes that it doesn’t matter what faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons. Fifty-six percent of non-Christians agree. Many today water down the radical claims of Jesus – to say that “Jesus works for me” instead of “Jesus is Lord“.

My experience highlights the challenge facing those who claim that Jesus is the singular way to God and redemption. Spirituality is ‘in’, but Christianity is often ‘out’. Our culture openly addresses the nature and needs of the soul and how to be spiritually successful. Most Americans have a positive view of Jesus, however blurry it may be. They see Him as a sage, mystic, or a prophet. Yet when Christians affirm that Jesus is “…the way, the truth and the life:…“, and that no one can be reconciled to God apart from Him (John 14:6), many reject it.

Is there a strong biblical case for the supremacy of Jesus in a world of personalized spirituality? A careful look at the New Testament – the main document we have about Jesus’ life – answers this question for us. I will present some of the Biblical evidence that Jesus Christ was God incarnate and the only way to abundant and eternal life. As Christians seeking to think Biblically, it is important to know and affirm what the Bible says about Jesus and the way to salvation – whether it’s politically correct or not.

PROPHET, PRIEST AND KING

Jesus never suggested that He was another prophet or that He was merely one of many mystics who tapped into spiritual power and knowledge. When Jesus was involved in a dispute about the Sabbath, He exclaimed that He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:23-27). Genesis 2:3 teaches us that God created and instituted the Sabbath; it was not invented by any mere human. Jesus is, therefore, claiming to have divine authority over the Sabbath as God.

In another argument about the Sabbath, Jesus proclaimed, “…My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” At this, the Jews tried even harder to kill Him because He was “…making himself equal with God.” (John 5:17-18). One should notice that Jesus did not oppose their conclusions.

Jesus ended another dispute by saying, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58). Jesus was referring to the time that God declared Himself to Moses as “…I AM THAT I AM:…” (Exodus 3:14). Hearing this, the Jews then tried to stone Jesus, because He was claiming to have existed as God before He was born. Jesus claimed to be God incarnate.

Jesus’ claim to be God in the flesh singles Him out of the crowd

Although many claim that Jesus does not differ much from other religious leaders such as Buddha, Jesus’ claim to be God in the flesh singles Him out of the crowd. The Buddha claimed no such thing, nor did Muhammad or Confucius. But Jesus’ claims’ were not spoken in a vacuum. They were backed by His credentials. He fulfilled a host of prophecies given by the Hebrew prophets concerning 1. His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38),
2. His divinity (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1),
3. His atoning work on the cross (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24-25) and
4. His resurrection from the dead (Psalm 16:8-11; Acts 2:24-28).

Besides this, Jesus substantiated His divine claims with a perfectly righteous life, compassion for the downtrodden (which was often expressed through His many healing miracles, including raising the dead), His genius and authority as a teacher, and His unsurpassed insight into the human condition. It is no wonder that people worshipped Him.

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciple Thomas, who had doubted the reports that His master was raised from the dead. When Thomas saw Jesus, he cried out, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28). Jesus accepted Thomas’ worship. The Book of Revelation tells us that a host of angels and saints are continually worshipping “…the Lamb that was slain…” (Revelation 5:12-13; see also 7:17). No other religious leader in history is accorded this honor; none other deserves it.

RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

To better understand why Jesus is the only way, we need to center on His death and resurrection. No founder or leader of any world religion claimed to die as a sacrifice for human sin in order to set us right with God. Nor is any other world religion based on the resurrection of its divine founder.

Jesus taught the Jewish teacher Nicodemus that God’s love was supremely expressed by sending His “…only begotten Son…” so that whoever trusts in Him would not be lost but would experience everlasting life (John 3:16). Jesus is God’s only begotten son, the once-for-all revelation of God among us (Matthew 1:23). He came not simply to display His deity in humanity, but to offer Himself as a sufficient sacrifice for our wrongdoing and separation from God. Jesus declared, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) and “…to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).

Jesus announced to His disciples that “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”, and that they must “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:(Matthew 28:18-20). This call to discipleship is rooted in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus in history. The origin and rapid growth of the Christian movement cannot be explained apart from this supernatural event.

The New Testament’s reports of the resurrection of Christ are written by eyewitnesses or those who carefully consulted them not long after the events occurred (2 Peter 1:16; Luke 1:1-4). Their truthfulness as historical documents stands up to careful testing. Confessing Christ as the risen Lord need not be and should not be a blind leap of faith in the dark. Indeed, Peter told his readers that they should “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15).

Jesus is not a hobby. He is Lord. Therefore, Peter preached that “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). In a world filled with many false views of Christ, we can rest in the truth of the gospel, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16).

© 2006 Douglas Groothuis

Slain in The Spirit

Article From Searching Together Magazine, Spring 1996

Many today are enamored with a phenomenon called “slain in the spirit,” which is sweeping through many denominations. What does the phrase “slain in the spirit” mean? Do we find evidence of such activity in the Scriptures? Do historical and modern “slain in the spirit” services produce manifestations that could be considered occultic in origin? Who is the power behind “slain in the spirit” activity? Do we have a responsibility to ascertain whether such activity is godly or ungodly?

I John 4:1 provides this command: “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Most Christians are aware that cults or New Age sects are backed by false prophets and evil spirits. However, too many Christians are unwilling to honestly assess the spirit behind their own assembly or favorite televangelist.

Australian author, Nader Mikhaiel, in his book entitled, Toronto Blessing: “Slaying in the Spirit, the Telling Wonder,” starts his evaluation by asking, “What would your response be to the account of the following New York missionary?”

During the 1800’s, cripples, paralytics and the blind were healed “as in the days of old, by laying on of hands in the name of Jesus,” under a New York missionaries ministry. Healing recipients, praising God, rushed to gather ill friends and neighbors who were also healed. Seeing the miracles, converts clamored to receive baptism and join the church…of a Mormon missionary.

Biblical theology soundly refutes the central teachings of Mormonism as blatantly cultic and unscriptural. Until one discovers that the missionary was Mormon, such testimony is apt to inspire an elated chorus of “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!” The moral of this anecdote is: just because miracles occur, Jesus is not necessarily the power behind them.

From this anecdote we also learn that we must be careful not to call evil good or good evil. What complicates matters is the fact that the whole issue of spiritual gifts divides the body of Christ. We need to honestly evaluate the “slain in the spirit phenomenon without dogmatically jumping into our camp of choice. While some Christians refuse to believe that God works in signs and wonders today, others will accept any spiritual manna they find without discerning its origin. Religious history is rife with spiritual excesses and demonic activities that were concealed “for the good of the work.” Inordinate emotionalism, for the most part, can be gracefully accepted. As for the cases of actual demonic activity, it is common knowledge that the enemy of our souls will always attempt to thwart or counterfeit the genuine work of God. However, this does not excuse Christians from their responsibility to honestly examine controversial movements and ministries.

Both the early American frontier camp revivals and California’s famous Asuza Street meetings (circa 1908), known for “slain phenomena, provide examples of controversial movements that necessitated examination. For the moment we will focus on the associated signs, rather than the “slain” phenomenon itself. Frontier camp meetings exhibited the following problematic behavior:

* While “Slain in the Spirit,” people unconsciously stripped or exhibited lewd behavior.’

* Special patrols….discouraged lascivious activities around the camp perimeters.

* People while “slain in the Spirit” writhed barked and howled”

* Azusa Street meetings also had problems with mediums and familiar spirits controlling church meetings.

A contemporary movement, called the “Toronto Blessing,” has exhibited many of these manifestations. According to George Koch’s article, “The Force or ‘Pumped, Scooped, Charged and Slain’”, the Toronto Blessing was the product of So. African Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne’s “laughing-revival” crusades. Koch states that “The phenomenon included infectious laughter, spasms, resting in the spirit, and a variety of noises that some describe as sounding like animals.” Koch is worried by the parallels he sees between this movement and manifestations associated with the “shaktipat” of practitioners like Swami Muktanada. Shaktipat is defined as the “art of transferring supernatural Hindu powers from one person to another.” After the swami touched a follower, that person would fall unconscious, shake uncontrollably, or laugh ecstatically.

Dr. Pat Dixon, in his book Signs of Revival, endorses the Toronto Blessing movement and associated manifestations. He states, “[Altered States of Consciousness] are…the key to understanding many Christian experiences, particularly in what is happening to many churches today…we may refer to this as a trance or hypnosis.”‘ Hypnosis, considered demonic by Christendom, has always been associated with occultists, shamans, sorcerers and others of their ilk.

In The Toronto Blessing. Slain in the Spirit. the Telling Wonder, Mikhaiel devotes more than one hundred pages to a comparison between hypnotically induced behavior and “slain” behavior. After studying the phenomena, he offers several conclusions:

* Non-Christians can receive the Toronto Blessing and remain unsaved.

* Analysis is not conducive to experiencing the manifestations.

* True prayer stops the manifestations.

* The invoking of the Blood of Jesus stops the manifestations.

* Manifestations may cause people to get out of line with Scripture.

* Manifestations “may cause people to forget about Jesus. ”

* Manifestations allow people to experience supernatural power without devotion to Jesus.

Mikhaiel also includes statistics on the study of 350 people who were “healed” at Charles S. Price’s revival in British Columbia. Following are the results of the six month follow-up study: 301 people remained sick, 39 died and 5 had become insane. Five claimed that they had remained healed. When a charismatic service leaves sham healings, death and insanity in its wake, Christians are disgraced and God is impugned!

Now that we have examined historical examples of Toronto Blessing type manifestations and other “slain” activity, let us explore the scriptural data that appears to parallel the “slain in the spirit” phenomena. Since phrases like “slain in the spirit” and “under the power” do not appear in the Bible, we must take an indirect approach.

Do we find evidence that people “fell” when prophets, apostles or Jesus of Nazareth laid hands on them? No. Matthew 19:13-15 records an incident where Jesus prayed for a group of children. Do the Scriptures say, “He laid hands on them and the children fell at his feet”? No. Jesus put his hands on the children, prayed, and went away. John chapter twenty records that Jesus breathed on his disciples, blessed them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Did they fall? Not according to the scriptural account. Do we find evidence that people ever “fell” in the presence of Jesus? Yes. However, not one incident is linked with the laying on of hands.

Is there evid

ence of people falling during divine visitations? Yes. Let us examine a few Scriptures that describe “falling behavior” in such situations. When Daniel fainted during an angelic encounter, the angel touched him and commanded him to rise (Dan. 8:16-18). Twice, when Ezekiel fell in the Lord’s presence, the Spirit entered the prophet and helped him stand (Ezekiel ch 2-3). When the Father commended his Son on the Mount of Transfiguration the disciples fell to the ground (Matt. 17:5-7). Jesus “. . .touched them and said,’ Arise and be not afraid.”‘

Honest exegesis demands that we do not omit those Scriptures that contain encounters where the fallen were not commanded to rise. Genesis 17 specifically records an incident where Abraham fell and apparently stayed prone as the Lord conversed with him. Revelation 1:10-19 records a riveting account where John, while “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…fell as if dead.” Jesus laid his hand on John and said, “Fear not,” but did not command him to stand. Ignoring Scripture references such as these could lead one to the false conclusion that it is improper to remain prone before the Lord!

Following are two more examples of falling behavior. Note that in both instances the people involved were hostile to the Lord. The first happened in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas betrayed the Lord to the temple guards (John 18:3-6). Also, Saul (prior to becoming the Apostle Paul) became blind and fell on the Damascus Road when confronted by Jesus for persecuting Christians (Acts 9:3-9).

Many incidents of “falling behavior” are recorded throughout the Bible, but it is not clear whether people fell “under the power” or were overcome with awe, fear or anxiety. While this sampling of scriptural “falling behavior” provides possible precedent for a “slain” phenomena, it seems like the “falling” that occurs in many Spirit-led services is not the same as that which is portrayed in the Bible.

In his book, Mikhaiel defines the phenomenon and cites several differences between scriptural “falling” and modern-day “falling.” The following is his definition of the “slain in the spirit” phenomena:

“[It] usually starts with the leader inviting people with physical, emotional, or spiritual needs forward…as the leader begins to lay hands on the individuals, some fall backwards. They are usually caught by “catchers,” who prevent them from falling directly on the floor. Some lie quietly on the floor, others jerk, twitch, laugh, weep,…roar like lions, bark…howl or cluck like chickens. Others might jump up and down, roll on the floor, and some see visions.”

* Mikhaiel contends that scriptural “falling” and modern-day “falling” are quite dissimilar.

* God (or angels), not people, caused every “spiritual” falling mentioned in the Bible.

* Modern falling usually occurs when people come to the front to be touched or pushed.

* “Catchers” are not scriptural.

* No scriptural personage was ever healed after participating in a “falling exercise.”‘”

Note also that it is highly significant that in the Scriptural occurrences of “falling” God encountered people as individuals and had special, not trivial, revelation to communicate. When God met these individuals they were not in a corporate setting and their response to the Lord was one of fear and awe, not laughter. In the few incidences where God confronted multitudes of people, and some or all fell, the purpose was often for judgment, not blessing, and their falling was caused by great fear at God’s overwhelming presence.

Mikhaiel, having researched the “slain” phenomena, feels that most of the manifestations that occur in many churches today are either faked or occultic. At the conclusion of a chapter entitled, “The Spirit Behind the Manifestations,” Mikhaiel states that “This is not the work of the Holy Spirit, but the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.”” While Mikhaiel definitely believes that all phenomena associated with “falling behavior,” from tongues to “under the power” healings are suspect, his research is certainly worthy of serious consideration.

Watchman Nee, a Chinese evangelist, proposed similar observations during a series of lectures in 1928. Nee stated that “Man’s soul power is Satan’s working instrument” and that soul power will be used in the last-days as a substitute for God’s gospel and power. He further predicted that many last-day Christians would be deceived by Satan’s use of this counterfeit power.”

How can we discern the spirit behind such manifestations? Several tests may help our discernment: the Scripture Test, the Fruit Test, the Person Test and the Wilderness Temptation Test.

Scripture Test: We must honestly compare all such manifestations to the Scriptures. Since the phrase “slain in the Spirit” cannot be found in the Scriptures, that in itself should cause us to question the validity of the phenomenon.

Fruit Test:

We must judge spiritual leaders and their ministry by the fruits that are produced. Note that success, power, influence and wealth in themselves do not validate a minister or his ministry. Many people look at the “buds” of a spiritual leader or his ministry and pass judgment before the “fruit” has time to mature.

Person Test:

Remember that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal power to be wielded. Simon the Sorcerer made that mistake in Acts 8. Many practitioners of “slain” activity communicate that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force that can be controlled by Christians. Such a view is unscriptural because the Holy Spirit is intelligent (1 Cor. 2:10-11), has feelings (Eph. 4:30) and has a will (1 Cor. 12:1).

Wilderness Temptation Test:

Take note of the temptations of Christ in Matthew 4!

First, Satan tempted Jesus to immediately satisfy His needs rather than wait for God’s wisdom and timing.

Second, Satan tempted Jesus to substitute His own will for God’s will and use supernatural power to bring it to pass. God is not a genie-in-a-lamp whose purpose is to grant our every wish. When we try to use Scripture or supernatural power to bend God’s Word or God’s Will to our will, it is like using magical incantations to alter reality. When you hear teachings that say “God must grant any petition you want and He has to do it NOW,” because of verses like Matthew 18:19, beware! Also, remember that Joseph wanted to escape from prison, but he did not get out until God’s purpose was fulfilled!

Third, Satan tempted Jesus to trade worship and service to God for power and possessions. This third form of temptation can come in an obvious form as in Matthew 4:8-9. Crafty being that Satan is, however, he often uses a more subtle approach.

Scripture says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Neither authority nor wealth are wrong. But if authority or wealth are your treasures, rather than worship or service to God, it is sin. Just as Satan tempted Christ with these temptations, he will tempt Christians today. When examined closely, many statements issued by those associated with “slain” or Toronto Blessing type ministries fail one or more of the above tests!

Many have failed to test the spirits and have been duped into teaching twisted doctrines of seducing spirits. Other teachers have knowingly become false prophets or sold themselves into immoral bondage. Sadly, many deceived Christians, when they discover their error, refuse to admit their mistake. Pride and ignorance hinder many Christians from testing the spirits today, especially concerning contemporary Toronto Blessing and other “slain in the spirit” movements.

Conclusion

Just because signs and wonders, including the “slain in the spirit” phenomenon, occur “in the church,” that does not mean that Jesus is the power behind them. There is little doubt to the discerning that many Christians today are being exposed to seducing spirits and Christianized New Age philosophies on an unprecedented scale. Whether much “slain” activity occurs because of lack of knowledge, fakery, hypnotic suggestion or evil spirits, Biblical precedent for “falling behavior” does exist. However, the genuine “slain in the Spirit” experience, as portrayed in Scripture, often differs radically from the “falling behavior” associated with past and present religious services. Christians must test the spirits and observe both the fruit of the spiritual leader and his ministry. Members of the body must always remember to seek Jesus Christ himself, not his signs or gifts. Following after people whose ministries display great supernatural power, whether they are genuine servants of God or servants of evil spirits, can lead to spiritual shipwreck.

While some Christians will refuse to test the spirits as commanded in I John 4:1, others will jump aboard the bandwagon which emphatically denies that Jesus works today, at all, in signs, wonders and spiritual gifts – especially when it comes to tongues or a prophetical word of knowledge. Both extremes are bad. We must remember that Jesus was not addressing New Age devotees when he spoke the famous words of Matthew 7:22, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Editor’s Note:

“If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else”

AZUSA STREET The Birth of a Lie – Part 2

SLAYING PLUS TONGUES EQUALS REVIVAL?
When W. J. Seymour preached at Azusa Street, the meetings were called a ‘revival’. Why? Because so-called slaying in the spirit and tongues were combined! To these early Pentecostalists they were the ‘proof’ that God was with them in a powerful way. The hard fact is, all the manifestations were those found in demonic hypnosis (see BTM Article on the subject).
One who took part in these early years, Bartleman, said: “At Eighth and Maple Streets such a divine ‘weight of glory’ was upon us we could only lie on our faces. For a long time we could hardly remain seated even…” (‘Another Wave Rolls In’, by Bartleman. Voice Publications. 1962). And: “It was also reported that the ‘jerks’ and ‘treeing the devil’ (that is, crawling on all fours and barking up a tree like a dog) were in evidence in the (Azusa) mission.
Bartleman, in favour of the movement and not wanting to write anything negative, refers to a Baptist pastor who ran around hugging everyone he could get hold of. This was called ‘divine love’. Remember, all this – and the kissing – all took place at a time in history when such behavior would have been shocking. Yet it was accepted as of God, without question.
One missionary leader spoke with horror about what happened at Azusa Street, declaring that “it would be impossible to publish the things that have occurred there. The familiarity between sexes in the public meetings has been shocking, to say the least. Hell has reaped an awful harvest and infidelity has become more strongly rooted…than ever before.” (‘Demons and Tongues’).
All along in these descriptions we are reading carbon-copies of Toronto and other charismatic antics. Sexual impropriety is rife, as is marital breakdown and other problems.
Significantly, Seymour, a leader of the movement, “ultimately repudiated the initial evidence teaching (speaking in tongues) as providing an open door for witches and spiritualists and free lovism.” (‘Dictionary of P & C Movements’). Parham, the ‘father’ of Pentecostalism, had this to say about Azusa: “Men and women, whites and blacks, knelt together or fell across one another; frequently, a white woman, perhaps of wealth and culture, could be seen thrown back in the arms of a big ‘buck nigger’, and held tightly thus as she shivered and shook in freak imitation of Pentecost. Horrible awful shame!” Yes, that was the leader of the movement talking! (‘Fields White Unto Harvest’, by James Goff Jnr. University of Arkansas Press, 1988). In those days these were scenes of degradation and immorality. Before he left Azusa Street, Parham said “God is sick at His stomach” (Shumway). All of these things and more go on at Wimber and other charismatic meetings. Now we come to worse facts…

WITCHES AND MEDIUMS
The occurrences at Azusa Street soon attracted the attention of occultists far and wide. They did so not because God was in the movement, but because He was NOT!
…spiritualists and mediums from the numerous occult societies of Los Angeles began to attend and to contribute their séances and trances to the services.” (‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’ by Vinson Synan. Grand Rapids. 1971). I would ask Pentecostalists to read that statement again. Does it not tell you something about the true nature of your denomination?
Seymour was terrified by these activities, which took place in the middle of his church’s services. He wrote frantically to Parham, begging him to come to Los Angeles to sort things out. “W. J. Seymour was still writing urgent letters appealing for help, as spiritualistic manifestations, hypnotic forces and fleshly contortions as known in the coloured Camp meetings in the south, had broken loose in the meetings.” He wanted to know which parts were real and which were false. It did not enter his mind that it was ALL false! The manifestations he refers to are exactly those that were shown in Rodney Howard Browne, Copeland, Benny Hinn and other charismatic meetings, during and since the Toronto Blessing. They currently are alive in Pensacola.
As Nader Mikhaiel correctly observes: “How could an outpouring of the Spirit of God attract the witches, the mediums and the spiritualists? Fragrance does not attract flies – a decomposing carcass does. Mediums and spiritualists are attracted to the spirit that is at work in them, that is, the Devil.” How else could these evil people participate in what was supposed to be a ‘revival’ meeting? The only answer is that the events at Azusa Street were not of God at all, but were of satan. That has a serious ramification – that Pentecostalism is based not on the work of God, but on the work of satan. As we have said many times before, this has nothing to do with how ‘nice’ a person is, or how ‘holy’ he claims to be, or how much he says he ‘loves Jesus’, etc. What matters is how he obeys the Lord’s commands as found in scripture. Azusa Street did not obey the Lord, but propagated perversions of truth. What followed, therefore, was also a perversion – which continues to this very day.
Again to quote Mikhaiel: “Did the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost attract mediums and spiritualists, to participate with the disciples?” No, of course they did not! Something I have discovered in my own work is that mediums and spiritualists are powerless in the presence of God. I have noted how spiritualists have been dumb when I have been near, and I have watched a man overtaken by a demon crawl into a corner, crying out that I leave ‘him’ alone because I ‘knew God’. He was forced to crawl and snivel, just as demons cried out to Jesus not to harm them. This happened not because of my own strength or holiness, but because of the Master I represented! I had no power of my own, yet even the derived, delegated authority of a mortal, sinful Christian was enough to send demons scurrying away. Why did they not scatter at Azusa Street? I think you can already guess the answer.
The power of satan was so strong that the “supernatural atmosphere of Azusa Street was felt within several blocks…”! If it had been the power of God, mediums and spiritualists would not have been able to enter that hallowed area. Instead, they flocked there and joined in the revelry, because they recognized that the same spirit as they had was present in Azusa Street.
Bartleman tells us that the folk at the church were petrified by the occultists: “…spiritualists, hypnotists…all the religious soreheads and crooks and cranks came…We had the most to fear from these…This condition cast a fear over many which was hard to overcome. It hindered the spirit so much. Many were afraid to seek God for fear the devil might get them.” A revival? Never! This is the kind of fear generated by the might of satan, not by God. God cannot be hindered by satan.
As Mikhaiel points out – Seymour was a false apostle. But no more so than all others who follow in his footsteps. If God works through a Pentecostalist it can only be by special divine intervention, over and above what He normally does. Such an intervention must be in spite of a man being a Pentecostalist. Any such grace is certainly not a reason to remain a Pentecostalist.

PARHAM – UNABLE TO ACT
Parham could not shift this awful pestilence. He was ‘repelled’ by what he witnessed and when he attempted to rectify the situation, Seymour and his followers split from him. They did not like it. This is exactly how Toronto Blessing leaders reacted to rebuke and help from faithful Christians. Parham saw hypnotists (occultists) practicing hypnotism at the altar. Later, he confessed that it was all of satan, for he saw “hypnotic influences, familiar spirit influences, spiritualistic influences, mesmeric influences and all kinds of spells and spasms, falling in trances etc….” He refuted them as being of God, as his own wife testified. (‘The Life of Charles F Parham’ by Sarah Parham. Garland Publishing. 1985).
It transpired that Parham was “not wanted” at Azusa Street. Why not? Because one of the elders was himself a hypnotist, who passed on the power to speak in tongues to others! Or as Parham put it: “chattering, jabbering, speaking in no language at all”. (Parham).
Parham tried to counter the evil at Azusa Street by holding parallel meetings elsewhere, to deliver people from possession by demons. He said: “between two and three hundred who had been possessed of awful fits and spasms and controls in the Azusa Street work were delivered, and received the real Pentecost teachings and many spake with other tongues.” Superficially this all sounds great – Parham successfully stole away satan’s prizes!
But we must look far deeper than that. satan is no fool. He was as much at work in Parham’s meetings as he was in Azusa Street. But in a different way. He merely shifted his locus of attention, from one church to another. With much panache, he grandly allowed Parham to ‘exorcise’ his demons, and then placed them back again, making Parham’s converts speak in tongues that were just as false as the ones they previously had! satan has a grim sense of humor, friends. If he can gain something by pretending to be cast out by false prophets, then he will gladly join in the fun. So, what appears to be an exorcism is actually a worsening of the situation. As scripture tells us, if a man is not cleansed of sin after being exorcised of demons, then even more demons will enter him, causing even greater havoc in his life…a havoc far worse than he had experienced previously. Remember this when you next contemplate the supposed exorcisms in charismatic and Pentecostalist meetings. satan is not being cast out – he is just reinforcing his position by assuming another guise.

SPREAD OF INFECTION
Just as happened with the Toronto Blessing, so the Azusa Street phenomenon spread, and the same manifestations occurred. The founder of the Foursquare Gospel church, Aimee Semple McPherson, wrote of exactly the same manifestations as are found in Pensacola and in charismatic churches worldwide today. That is because the same satanic influence and falsity has been passed on, decade by decade.
This woman received the ‘spirit’ and the ‘gifts’ in the same way as charismatics do today. Such is obviously not of God. For example, “it was as though He would tear my body to pieces…He verily split my throat…(someone said to her) ‘the Lord is able to repair any damage He does to the old temple. After being tossed about violently for quite awhile until I was panting for breath and wet with perspiration, I…poured forth praise to God in tongues…” (‘This Is That’, by Aimee McPherson. Echo Park Evangelistic Association. 1923). Of God? Never! She, too, called the ‘revival’ the ‘latter rain’ of God. When this ‘rain’ spread to Britain, rooms were ‘rocked’ at prayer meetings. That is the work of demons, not of God.
This is just a smattering of information concerning Azusa Street and the formation of Pentecostalism. If a reader cannot see the demonic behind it all, then there is very little that further study would bring. Pentecostalists should consider this – if what they have is truly of God, why is it the same as is being experienced by charismatics, and which has been experienced continuously since Azusa Street, where mediums and spiritualists recognized the ‘spirit’ to be their own Satanic spirit? The experiences are not just similar – they are exactly the same.
May God help us all to ‘read between the lines’ of what is happening today.
Discernment is essential if we are to remain faithful to the Lord and stand against error.
This Article has given the historical facts concerning the beginning of Pentecostalism. Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it? If you have Pentecostal friends, will you show them their error? Or will you stand by and allow them to think they are okay? Will you let them continue thinking that their various Pentecostal ideas are of God? Will you urge them to repent and leave what is a heinous deception of the Devil dressed in acceptable guise?
The days are short.
There is no time for nice chit-chat. Pentecostalism (charismaticism) is growing rapidly. Will we now stand against it and raise the banner of Jesus Christ? Or will we all stand by and allow charismatics to raise their own false standard, proclaiming themselves to be God’s people on this earth? You have the choice – to stand firm or to mix with error. Telling friends they are in gross error is a very hard thing to do. This is acknowledged. But what is being tested is not friendship – it is loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord, His word and Truth. It is always sad when those we thought were friends shun us because of a firm stand for the Lord. That is the way it has always been.

(Acknowledgements for quotes are made to: ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit – the telling wonder’ by Nader Mikhaiel….an exceptional book written by a man of discernment)
Bible Theology Ministries
PO Box 415, SWANSEA SA5 8YH
Wales, United Kingdom
© November 1994

William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival

AZUSA STREET The Birth of a Lie

By: K. B. Napier
In the past I have said that not all charismatics are the same, but that they all share the same guilt for their errors. Charismatics are the spawn of Pentecostalism. It is therefore prudent to see whether or not the child of Pentecostalism is just a wild and unprecedented mistake – or if it is a genealogical reproduction of its parent. If it is a mistake, then Pentecostalism might be exonerated. But, what if charismaticism is a true child, an image of its parent? If this is so, then we have no option but to cast Pentecostalism into the same pit that charismaticism belongs to.
These are very hard words if we personally know Pentecostalists – especially if they are of the ‘old school’. I know some, and they are nice folk. But this is where we must shed the emotional ties that can cause us to accept and promote error. Our aim must be to exalt and promote God’s word (KJV) and holiness, not our own version of what is acceptable. Emotion and friendships have no part in the process*. There is only one way to do this and, that is, to measure everything by scripture. We will now look briefly at the beginnings of Pentecostalism as a movement, as it manifested itself at Azusa Street church. (* Of course, friendships and emotion are important. What I am saying is that they cannot be allowed to alter the course of Truth, nor should they be allowed to cause us to accommodate lies. If necessary, we must be prepared to put aside friendships and our own emotional responses, if Truth demands it. That is a test of faithfulness).

Pentecostalist-type manifestations (Note: not ‘Pentecostal’ as in Acts 2) and beliefs existed long before the ‘latter rain’ events at Azusa Street, but it was at Azusa Street that Pentecostalism took proper shape and form. The inception of any movement is important. Was it a holy and Godly event, or not? This paper will show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the birth of Pentecostalism was defective. A monster was born.
As a child it displayed an immaturity of outlook. As a youth it desired adventure and started to flex its muscles (early 1960’s when charismaticism began). Then, in the 1990’s, the true nature of the monster was revealed as it rampaged the world and destroyed countless churches and Christian lives. It called itself the ‘Toronto Blessing‘ and personified the Biblical description of satan as an ‘angel of light’ and his activities as ‘works of darkness’.

Old-style Pentecostalists might throw up their arms in horror at this lineage, claiming that they have nothing to do with the evil ‘Toronto’ movement. But they are wrong and deluded. They are the parents of the charismatic movement that produced the Toronto Blessing, even if they attempt to distance themselves. They may not have taken part in the same terrible defilements, but the fact that they call themselves ‘Pentecostalists‘ is sufficient indictment. They are the same family and are bred from the same stock! The only difference is in degree.
We will, then, look at the Azusa Street phenomenon because it created the evil life-form that insidiously grew and erupted into the Toronto Blessing. The conclusion is very simple – every man and woman who calls him or herself ‘Pentecostalist‘ MUST, as a matter of urgency, repent and deny their Pentecostalist theology and affiliations. They must cast aside their erroneous beliefs and activities (which are evil in His sight), that they might receive the true favour of Almighty God.

These are strong words for evil days, my friends. There is no time for a soft approach…an approach that tolerated and advanced the cause of charismatic heresy in the latter part of the twentieth century. If you are a Pentecostalist, take heed. You are being held accountable, by the evidence of scripture. That is, by the Lord. In this Article my own feelings of friendship for Pentecostalists known to me are irrelevant. What matters is that we all adhere to the only measure of Truth we have – God’s word.
In His book The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit’, Nader Mikhaiel points out that Pentecostalists never write about counterfeit miracles. (Although Bill Randles, of the USA, tackles the topic amongst others in his own work, but that is very recent). The reason is very simple – if they once acknowledge that some of their activities are evil, then they risk having them all branded with the same epithet. The danger to the structure and existence of Pentecostalism would be very real. It would collapse, because it is built on a foundation of sand. This is probably why Pentecostalists will not acknowledge the occult beginnings of their own movement…..if, that is, they know their own history anyway.
Some Pentecostalists distance themselves from charismatic ‘excess’ as found in the Toronto Blessing. Some even distance themselves from various leaders such as John Arnott (Toronto) and/or John Wimber (Vineyard). Do not be fooled by this! All they are doing is shifting the furniture around on the deck of the Titanic! They are still Pentecostalists and still believe the same things as they always did, and still practice the same errors. They are like the kettle calling the pot ‘black’….but, sadly, most of them are unaware of this failure and would not dream of being unfaithful.
In general they do not do or say what their more adventurous charismatic cousins do or say. But they do or say other things, which, though less dramatic, are of the same stock of heresy. By saying what many reformed folk want to hear (a denunciation of Toronto-style manifestations etc), they appear to be different from charismatics. This, friends, is a big mistake. As we have already said – they are only different by degree, not by type. That is, their virus is exactly the same; it just manifests itself in a modulated form. In this way, even if Satan is detected in charismaticism, he can still maintain his presence through old-style Pentecostalism without fear of being recognized by most Christians.
he has succeeded admirably and we must admit to his cleverness. Even so, he has been recognized in Pentecostalism! Not just by me, but by a number of other watchmen, who also warn the Church of the charismatic heresy. Those who wish to be truly faithful should now take heed, for their souls’ sake.
There is a very good reason for old-style Pentecostalists to abandon their beliefs and to repent. Some ministries supported by non-charismatics are headed by Pentecostalists. Yes, they denounced the Toronto Blessing. This led many to believe they must be ‘sound’. But this cannot be so. I say this without animosity toward these men or their ministries. A man who remains – and likes to call himself – ‘Pentecostalist’, but who has publicly castigated the Toronto Blessing is still, nevertheless, of the same root. That root is described in these pages. You will see that a man who denounces the Toronto movement must also denounce his own past, which is of the same kind. Such a man’s ministry MUST, by definition, be tainted by his Pentecostalist beliefs and background. At some stage he must revert to those beliefs. Those who follow such men and who give moral or monetary support, must be aware of this probability, to avoid disappointment. A man who does not leave behind his Pentecostalism is a ‘Toronto-ist in waiting’. (Explanatory illustration: If a man in the Nazi Party denounced Hitler, would you be able to trust him if he remained in the Party?).

THE REAL THING – NOT COUNTERFEITS
One other mistake needs to be acknowledged. That is, the fashion of calling recent charismatic activities ‘excesses’ and the gifts and manifestations ‘counterfeits’. Neither of these terms apply. An ‘excess’ suggests that the core of something is acceptable, but that there is simply an abundance of it. That is, the substance is basically good, but what spills over is somehow just a bit ‘over the top’. Toronto-style activities and its allied beliefs are not ‘excesses’ at all, but are a totally different breed. They have no basis in scripture, so they are not just slightly twisted forms of something good – they are without scriptural roots and are evil.
As for their gifts and manifestations (and fruit) being counterfeits…well, this word is used by well-meaning reformed Christians who have only a superficial understanding of what they have observed, usually third-hand. The axiom is, that where there is something real, there will be a counterfeit by satan. The axiom is wrong in this case! In charismaticism, satan is not trying to mimic what is real at all – he has produced his own brand of religious experience, without reference to what God does. Thus, the Toronto Blessing and charismaticism itself are not ‘counterfeits’ – they are the real article. What are counterfeits are the explanations and theology given by charismatics in defense of what they say and do. The Alpha course follows in this ‘new’ tradition, by basing its theology on scripture and then by twisting it to accommodate charismatic heresy.
The manifestations themselves, which are the major cornerstone of charismaticism, are satanic and not counterfeit, for they do not even attempt to copy what God does. There is nothing like them in scripture, so they have no link with previous or present godly realities. That makes them unique and not copies. It is important that we describe the charismatic phenomenon carefully and properly, because the outcome has far-reaching effects. Once we attribute ‘excesses’ or ‘counterfeits’ to Pentecostalism we legitimize it and bring it into the Christian fold.
Let me give just one example of charismatic activity that is not counterfeit – though it is often referred to as such…tongues. Commonly today, Pentecostalists claim their own ‘tongues’ to be of God whilst they call charismatic tongues ‘counterfeit’. Reformed Christians follow this anecdotal image. The problem is, both charismatic and Pentecostalist ‘tongues’ are false! In scripture a ‘tongue’ is a normal foreign language, not a heavenly language that no-one can possibly understand. So, that makes all the ‘tongues’ used by both camps unique manifestatioantics…matan (or, sometimes, of one’s own sinful psychological output – though this also comes from an evil source). They are not ‘counterfeits’ because they do not mimic the real thing. One is a foreign language and the other is a badly cobbled-together form of gobbledegook. This is a central truth to understand, because Pentecostalism mainly hinges on tongues.
Judge the facts for yourselves as we now look at the Azusa Street antics…
Interestingly, the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements itself states that slaying in the spirit is not Biblical. It says that it can be caused by peer pressure, autosuggestion, or self-desire to have ‘it’. But it does not include the possibility of ‘it’ being all of satan, or even partly of satan. Yet, this phenomenon is unbiblical! Both tongues and slaying in the spirit are unbiblical. They were the basis of the Azusa Street activities which gave birth to Pentecostalism.
David du Plessis, a much revered figure in Pentecostalism, admitted that slaying in the spirit should be avoided because it brought ‘nothing but trouble’ (quoted by Cardinal Suenens). God’s phenomenon do not bring this kind of trouble. satan’s activities do.
A blanket of silence is thrown over slaying and tongues, because both phenomena were linked together at Azusa Street. Doubt one and you must doubt both. So, the best strategy is to keep quiet. The fact is very stark – if slaying and charismatic tongues (the very foundation of Pentecostalism) are both unbiblical, then they are of satan. So, if both these phenomena are admitted to be demonic, the whole denomination/movement is a demonic device. No Pentecostalist or charismatic will ever admit to such a fact.
However, Cardinal Suenens, a charismatic, says that slaying is the work of an ‘alien force’! What ‘alien force’ can there be for Christians, except a satanic one? Today Pentecostalists and charismatics (kissing cousins) have fudged the issue with bamboozling words and arguments.

WIMBER – A SON OF AZUSA STREET
Note that the start of John Wimber’s (not God’s) movement – the TB, Vineyard, etc. – contains exactly the same ingredients as those found at Azusa Street. Lies have been told about Wimber’s charismatic start, and lies are weaved into every charismatic wave and activity. The lies are spoken by charismatics themselves in order to boost their own movement, by twisting or lying about what really happened. So beware when listening to the glowing reports of charismatics!

AZUSA STREET
Azusa Street is in Los Angeles, California, USA. The church there experienced its phenomena in the first decade of this century (20th). However, the same phenomena had occurred many times before, in the previous century, though not in such an organized way. The man who first organized Pentecostalist ideas into a theology was Charles Parham. He has the distinction of being the ‘father’ of modern Pentecostalism/charismaticism. His contemporary, W. J. Seymour, helped to spread the new theology and manifestations. (Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, and ‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’ by William Eerds, Grand Rapids, 1971).

The Azusa Street church held its historic meetings three times a day, seven days a week, and sometimes all night as well, for three years. (Note how the time scale and number of meetings coincides with that of the ‘official’ period of the Toronto Blessing?). Just as with the Toronto Blessing people flocked from around the world to experience ‘Pentecostalism’. And what was experienced?
“…a woman…stood shaking from head to foot…a man in front of her slid down out of his chair and became unconscious…the man…was…under high nerve pressure…He arose, staggered to them and began to shake his hand in front of their faces and wave his arms over their heads and moan…Then he put his hands on the heads of the women and began to shake their hair. Some of them lost control of themselves and went under an hypnotic spell. He rubbed a man’s jaw until the victim tumbled over on the floor and lay for half an hour, then suddenly began to jabber. Those who had received their ‘Pentecost’ cried out, ‘He has the baptism, he has the baptism!’.
A young coloured woman, doing her best to get the gibberish, went through all kinds of contortions in her effort to get her tongue to work.
…a coloured woman had her arms around a white man’s neck, praying for him. A man of maturer years leaped up out of his chair and began to stutter. He did not utter a distinct syllable…’tut-tut-tut-tut-tut-tut’. This was evidence that he had his ‘baptism’. (the first woman mentioned) this time singing a far-away tune that sounded very unnatural and repulsive…When the altar call was made, a woman walked up to the front and kissed a man…kissing between the sexes is a common occurrence in the tongue meetings.” (An eyewitness account in ‘Demons and Tongues’ by Alma White; Pillar of Fire Publishers, 1949). Classic early Pentecostalism – and classic 1990’s charismaticism. Both the same!

Here is another eye-witness account: “(Shumway – an author)…attended a ‘Pentecostal’ meeting where pandemonium was loose (Look up the meaning of ‘pandemonium’. This is what Shumway was referring to). Men and women…were talking excitedly ‘in tongues’. A man (holding on to a post) seemed to be in possession of an old-fashioned Peter Cartwright camp-meeting (charismatic-style antics in the previous century – see BTM article) case of the jerks. He was muttering and mumbling most of the time, but would (also) shriek. About sixty or seventy of the three hundred present were ‘possessed of the spirit’ (*I refuse to prefix the word ‘spirit’ with a capital ‘S’. It is not the Holy Spirit) and each was (trying to be louder than the others).
One of the three men…leading the meeting…was praying…kneeling upon an open Bible…He was almost beside himself with excitement, His arms waved and his body swayed. I thought…that he might be heard two blocks away. In this meeting there was barking like dogs, hooting like owls, and the like…After adjourning, one of the leaders remarked in my hearing ‘God had a wonderful hold on this meeting for a little while, didn’t He?’. (The same man then added) ‘God’s got a crowd ‘o folks here that’s willin’ to let him make fools of ‘em if he wants to.’
Do you not find all this frightening? This could be a description of a modern Toronto-style meeting! Note the leader kneeling on God’s word? The ‘pandemonium’? The sexual activity? The same manifestations? The suggestion that God had control of only a small part of the meeting (thus satan had the rest!)? The making fools of people? It is also worth noting that early Pentecostalist congregations were commonly ordered out of town by the police because of the racket they made, and because of their general misconduct. (‘A Critical History of Glossalalia’ by C W Shumway. PhD Dissertation, Boston University, 1919). This is what today’s Pentecostalists revere and this is their true birthright.
Yet another eyewitness said:
…I found men and women lying on the floor in all shapes… (they were) jabbering all at one time in what they called unknown tongues. While I was praying, one of the workers took hold of me and said, ‘Holy Ghost, we command Thee to go into this soul’. The workers were jabbering and shaking their hands over me, and a demonic power (as I now know) took possession of me, and I fell among the people on the floor and knew nothing for ten hours. When I came to my senses I was weak and my jaws were so tired they ached. I believed then that this power was of God. They said I was wonderfully blessed, and the leader sent me from one place to another so that I could jabber in tongues.” (‘Demons and Tongues’. See above reference). Note – they commanded the Holy Spirit! Just like today.
He knew nothing of what he had done for ten hours! The same evil as we see today in charismatic meetings. If you are a Pentecostalist, can you not see it is evil? That your roots are in satan and not in God? That those you revere were themselves controlled by demons? If not, read on…

Continued in Part Two

Snails Kill Thousands

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

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When we consider deadly animals, we normally think about venomous snakes, ferocious sharks, crocodiles, or bears. You might be surprised to learn that the animals or organisms most deadly to humans don’t match our mental picture of dangerous creatures. The creature that kills the most humans per year (between 750,000-1,000,000) is the lowly mosquito. Because of the various diseases it spreads, such as malaria, mosquitoes are the animal kingdom’s leading human killers. Another creature that has proven to be extremely deadly is the harmless looking freshwater snail. Freshwater snails are host to dangerous parasites known as cercariae that cause an infection in humans known as schistosomiasis. Millions of people each year ingest this parasite through contaminated water,1 and about 10,000 die every year.2 While contamination from water is the most common cause of the infection, another way the parasite can spread is when a person consumes raw or undercooked snail meat.
The fact that many snails carry parasites that are harmful to humans turns out to be another piece of evidence that shows the King James Bible is the inspired Word of God in English. When we look at the food regulations written by Moses in approximately 1450 B.C., we find that the Israelites had specific laws about what they could and could not eat. One of those regulations dealt with animals found in water. The Law permitted the Israelites to eat any animal that had both fins and scales, but any creature without both fins and scales was “an abomination” to the Israelites. They were told not to eat them or touch their dead bodies (Leviticus 11:9-12). Land-living snails were also prohibited (Leviticus 11:41-42). Some people contend that the food laws had nothing to do with health regulations and were merely ceremonial, religious rituals. We have documented at length that such is not the case and that the food regulations were specifically designed to help the Israelites avoid many of the diseases that plagued the nations around them.3
When Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, there were approximately 603,000 males ages 20 years old and above (Numbers 1:46). By adding to that the number of women of the same ages, along with those who were younger, we arrive at an estimated two million Israelites exiting Egypt. Due to their disobedience, they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. Many of the laws found in Exodus-Deuteronomy were sanitation, quarantine, hygiene, and disease regulation designed to keep the Israelites healthy and safe during their wilderness wandering and their future lives in Canaan. These regulations exhibited a scientific knowledge that was far beyond any nation’s ability at the time to have acquired through the natural course of human understanding. This characteristic is referred to as scientific foreknowledge and is an attribute of divine inspiration. In short, there is no possible way Moses could have known the science that lies behind the food, hygiene, and sanitation regulations in the books he penned.
Snails provide an excellent example of scientific foreknowledge. Both water-living snails and land-living snails are highly susceptible hosts to numerous parasites. In an article titled “Some Health Risks With Eating Giant African Land Snail”, entomologist Paul Skelley stated, “Most of the infections and deaths from snail-transmitted diseases apparently come from eating raw or undercooked snails or ingesting slime residue left on fresh fruits and vegetables.”4 Skelley went on to say, “In my opinion, eating wild snails should only be done in an ‘eat-snail-or-die’ survival situation” due to the high probability that most snails host dangerous parasites. The CDC put out a blog about snails and slugs carrying a parasite called the rat lungworm that can cause meningitis, blindness, and death in humans. The author said, “Humans become infected by ingesting raw or undercooked mollusks.”5
With two million Israelites moving around in the wilderness, it would have been extremely difficult to properly cook all the food they consumed. There were no meat thermometers that could be used to guarantee that snails, pork, or oysters were cooked to the necessary temperature to kill parasites. Since God provided manna every day for the Israelites to eat, they were not in any type of “eat-snail-or-die” situation. The consumption of meat and animals would have been for the purpose of providing variety to their diets and not at all necessary for survival. Therefore, the best approach to what should or should not be eaten would be to prohibit the consumption of any creatures that had a high probability of carrying parasites or diseases.
Moses could not have taken a microscope to meat samples to identify which animals carry tiny parasites or which animals (such as bats, see Leviticus 11:19)6 are remarkably prone to diseases such as rabies. We might expect that Moses could have guessed a few such instances correctly. But to have accurately listed numerous regulations that contain in them safety measures that were not understood by any nation until literally thousands of years after the books were written? That is superhuman. That is Divine! It is not surprising that Moses told the Israelites, “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6).

ENDNOTES
1 Christopher Stephens, “10 Creepy Snails that Will Ruin Your Day,” Listverse, http://listverse.com/2015/01/30/10-exceptional-creepy-or-dangerous-snails/.
2 “What Kind of Health Risks Do Snails Pose?” https://www.curejoy.com/content/diseases-caused-by-snails/.
3 Kyle Butt (2007), Behold! The Word of God, Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf,  pp. 103-130.
4 Trina Sargalski (2013), “Health Risks With Eating Giant African Snails,” http://wlrn.org/post/some-health-risks-eating-giant-african-land-snail.
5 Alex de Silva (2009), “Snails, Slugs, and Semi-Slugs: A Parasitic Disease in Paradise,” Center for Disease Control, https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2009/04/snails-slugs-and-semi-slugs-a-parasitic-disease-in-paradise/.
6  Butt, p. 124.

How the Vatican created Islam

The astonishing story from an ex-Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera, which was told to him by Cardinal Bea while he was at the Vatican.
2006 04 13
By Alberto Rivera

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The Destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem
by Nicolas Poussin (1637)

This information came from Alberto Rivera, former Jesuit priest after his conversion to Protestant Christianity. It is excerpted from “The Prophet“, published by Chick Publications, PO Box 662, Chino CA 91708. Since its publication, after several unsuccessful attempts on his life, he died suddenly from food poisoning. His testimony should not be silenced. Dr. Rivera speaks to us still …

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“What I’m going to tell you is what I learned in secret briefings in the Vatican when I was a Jesuit priest, under oath and induction. A Jesuit cardinal named Augustine Bea showed us how desperately the Roman Catholics wanted Jerusalem at the end of the third century. Because of its religious history and its strategic location, the Holy City was considered a priceless treasure. A scheme had to be developed to make Jerusalem a Roman Catholic city.
“The great untapped source of manpower that could do this job was the children of Ishmael. The poor Arabs fell victim to one of the most clever plans ever devised by the powers of darkness. Early Christians went everywhere with the gospel setting up small churches, but they met heavy opposition. Both the Jews and the Roman government persecuted the believers in Christ to stop their spread. But the Jews rebelled against Rome, and in 70 AD, Roman armies under General Titus smashed Jerusalem and destroyed the great Jewish temple which was the heart of Jewish worship…in fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24:2.
“On this holy placed today where the temple once stood, the Dome of the Rock Mosque stands as Islam’s second most holy place. Sweeping changes were in the wind. Corruption, apathy, greed, cruelty, perversion and rebellion were eating at the Roman Empire, and it was ready to collapse. The persecution against Christians was useless as they continued to lay down their lives for the gospel of Christ.
“The only way satan could stop this thrust was to create a counterfeit “Christian” religion to destroy the work of God. The solution was in Rome. Their religion had come from ancient Babylon and all it needed was a face-lift. This didn’t happen overnight, but began in the writings of the ‘early church fathers’.
“It was through their writings that a new religion would take shape. The statue of Jupiter in Rome was eventually called St. Peter, and the statue of Venus was changed to the Virgin Mary. The site chosen for its headquarters was on one of the seven hills called ‘Vaticanus‘, the place of the diving serpent where the satanic temple of Janus stood.

“The great counterfeit religion was Roman Catholicism, called ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth’- Revelation 17:5. She was raised up to block the gospel, slaughter the believers in Christ, establish religions, create wars and make the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication as we will see.
“Three major religions have one thing in common – each has a holy place where they look for guidance. Roman Catholicism looks to the Vatican as the Holy City. The Jews look to the wailing wall in Jerusalem, and the Muslims look to Mecca as their Holy City. Each group believes that they receive certain types of blessings for the rest of their lives for visiting their holy place. In the beginning, Arab visitors would bring gifts to the ‘House of God’, and the keepers of the Kaaba were gracious to all who came. Some brought their idols and, not wanting to offend these people, their idols were placed inside the sanctuary. It is said that the Jews looked upon the Kaaba as an outlying tabernacle of the Lord with veneration until it became polluted with idols.

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The Kaaba, Mecca. Image from: webislam.com

“In a tribal contention over a well (Zamzam) the treasure of the Kaaba and the offerings that pilgrims had given were dumped down the well and it was filled with sand – it disappeared. Many years later Adb Al-Muttalib was given visions telling him where to find the well and its treasure. He became the hero of Mecca, and he was destined to become the grandfather of Muhammad. Before this time, Augustine became the bishop of North Africa and was effective in winning Arabs to Roman Catholicism, including whole tribes. It was among these Arab converts to Catholicism that the concept of looking for an Arab prophet developed.
“Muhammad’s father died from illness and sons born to great Arab families in places like Mecca were sent into the desert to be suckled and weaned and spend some of their childhood with Bedouin tribes for training and to avoid the plagues in the cities.
“After his mother and grandfather also died, Muhammad was with his uncle when a Roman Catholic monk learned of his identity and said, “Take your brother’s son back to his country and guard him against the Jews, for by god, if they see him and know of him that which I know, they will construe evil against him. Great things are in store for this brother’s son of yours.
“The Roman Catholic monk had fanned the flames for future Jewish persecutions at the hands of the followers of Muhammad. The Vatican desperately wanted Jerusalem because of its religious significance, but was blocked by the Jews.
“Another problem was the true Christians in North Africa who preached the gospel. Roman Catholicism was growing in power, but would not tolerate opposition. Somehow the Vatican had to create a weapon to eliminate both the Jews and the true Christian believers who refused to accept Roman Catholicism. Looking to North Africa, they saw the multitudes of Arabs as a source of manpower to do their dirty work. Some Arabs had become Roman Catholic, and could be used in reporting information to leaders in Rome. Others were used in an underground spy network to carry out Rome’s master plan to control the great multitudes of Arabs who rejected Catholicism. When ‘St Augustine’ appeared on the scene, he knew what was going on. His monasteries served as bases to seek out and destroy Bible manuscripts owned by the true Christians.
“The Vatican wanted to create a messiah for the Arabs, someone they could raise up as a great leader, a man with charisma whom they could train, and eventually unite all the non-Catholic Arabs behind him, creating a mighty army that would ultimately capture Jerusalem for the pope. In the Vatican briefing, Cardinal Bea told us this story:
‘A wealthy Arabian lady who was a faithful follower of the pope played a tremendous part in this drama. She was a widow named Khadijah. She gave her wealth to the church and retired to a convent, but was given an assignment. She was to find a brilliant young man who could be used by the Vatican to create a new religion and become the messiah for the children of Ishmael. Khadijah had a cousin named Waraquah,, who was also a very faithful Roman Catholic and the Vatican placed him in a critical role as Muhammad’s advisor. He had tremendous influence on Muhammad.
‘Teachers were sent to young Muhammad and he had intensive training. Muhammad studied the works of St. Augustine which prepared him for his “great calling.” The Vatican had Catholic Arabs across North Africa spread the story of a great one who was about to rise up among the people and be the chosen one of their God.
‘While Muhammad was being prepared, he was told that his enemies were the Jews and that the only true Christians were Roman Catholic. He was taught that others calling themselves Christians were actually wicked impostors and should be destroyed. Many Muslims believe this.
‘Muhammad began receiving “divine revelations” and his wife’s Catholic cousin Waraquah helped interpret them. From this came the Koran. In the fifth year of Muhammad’s mission, persecution came against his followers because they refused to worship the idols in the Kaaba.
‘Muhammad instructed some of them to flee to Abysinnia where Negus, the Roman Catholic king accepted them because Muhammad’s views on the virgin Mary were so close to Roman Catholic doctrine. These Muslims received protection from Catholic kings because of Muhammad’s revelations.
‘Muhammad later conquered Mecca and the Kaaba was cleared of idols. History proves that before Islam came into existence, the Sabeans in Arabia worshiped the moon-god who was married to the sun-god. They gave birth to three goddesses who were worshipped throughout the Arab world as “Daughters of Allah” An idol excavated at Hazor in Palestine in 1950’s shows Allah sitting on a throne with the crescent moon on his chest.
‘Muhammad claimed he had a vision from Allah and was told, “You are the messenger of Allah.” This began his career as a prophet and he received many messages. By the time Muhammad died, the religion of Islam was exploding. The nomadic Arab tribes were joining forces in the name of Allah and his prophet, Muhammad.
‘Some of Muhammad’s writings were placed in the Koran, others were never published. They are now in the hands of high ranking holy men (Ayatollahs) in the Islamic faith.’
“When Cardinal Bea shared with us in the Vatican, he said, these writings are guarded because they contain information that links the Vatican to the creation of Islam. Both sides have so much information on each other, that if exposed, it could create such a scandal that it would be a disaster for both religions.
“In their “holy” book, the Koran, Christ is regarded as only a prophet. If the pope was His representative on earth, then he also must be a prophet of God. This caused the followers of Muhammad to fear and respect the pope as another “holy man.”
“The pope moved quickly and issued bulls granting the Arab generals permission to invade and conquer the nations of North Africa. The Vatican helped to finance the building of these massive Islamic armies in exchange for three favors:
1. Eliminate the Jews and Christians (true believers, which they called infidels).
2. Protect the Augustinian Monks and Roman Catholics.
3. Conquer Jerusalem for “His Holiness” in the Vatican.
“As time went by, the power of Islam became tremendous – Jews and true Christians were slaughtered, and Jerusalem fell into their hands. Roman Catholics were never attacked, nor were their shrines, during this time. But when the pope asked for Jerusalem, he was surprised at their denial! The Arab generals had such military success that they could not be intimidated by the pope – nothing could stand in the way of their own plan.
“Under Waraquah’s direction, Muhammad wrote that Abraham offered Ishmael as a sacrifice. The Bible says that Isaac was the sacrifice, but Muhammad removed Isaac’s name and inserted Ishmael’s name. As a result of this and Muhammad’s vision, the faithful Muslims built a mosque, the Dome of the Rock, in Ishmael’s honor on the site of the Jewish temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. This made Jerusalem the 2nd most holy place in the Islam faith. How could they give such a sacred shrine to the pope without causing a revolt?

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Image from: letsgo.com

“The pope realized what they had created was out of control when he heard they were calling “His Holiness” an infidel. The Muslim generals were determined to conquer the world for Allah and now they turned toward Europe. Islamic ambassadors approached the pope and asked for papal bulls to give them permission to invade European countries.
“The Vatican was outraged; war was inevitable. Temporal power and control of the world was considered the basic right of the pope. He wouldn’t think of sharing it with those whom he considered heathens.
“The pope raised up his armies and called them crusades to hold back the children of Ishmael from grabbing Catholic Europe. The crusades lasted centuries and Jerusalem slipped out of the pope’s hands.
“Turkey fell and Spain and Portugal were invaded by Islamic forces. In Portugal, they called a mountain village “Fatima” in honour of Muhammad’s daughter, never dreaming it would become world famous.
“Years later when the Muslim armies were poised on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, to invade Italy, there was a serious problem. The Islamic generals realized they were too far extended. It was time for peace talks. One of the negotiators was Francis of Assisi.
“As a result, the Muslims were allowed to occupy Turkey in a “Christian” world, and the Catholics were allowed to occupy Lebanon in the Arab world. It was also agreed that the Muslims could build mosques in Catholic countries without interference as long as Roman Catholicism could flourish in Arab countries.
“Cardinal Bea told us in Vatican briefings that both the Muslims and Roman Catholics agreed to block and destroy the efforts of their common enemy, Bible-believing Christian missionaries. Through these concordats, satan blocked the children of Ishmael from a knowledge of Scripture and the truth.
“A light control was kept on Muslims from the Ayatollah down through the Islamic priests, nuns and monks. The Vatican also engineers a campaign of hatred between the Muslim Arabs and the Jews. Before this, they had co-existed peacefully.
“The Islamic community looks on the Bible-believing missionary as a devil who brings poison to the children of Allah. This explains years of ministry in those countries with little results.
“The next plan was to control Islam. In 1910, Portugal was going Socialistic. Red flags were appearing and the Catholic Church was facing a major problem. Increasing numbers were against the church.
“The Jesuits wanted Russia involved, and the location of this vision at Fatima could play a key part in pulling Islam to the Mother Church.

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Lucia de Santos, Francisco Marco and Jacinta Maro in 1917. Image from: mystae.com

“In 1917, the Virgin appeared in Fatima. “The Mother of God” was a smashing success, playing to overflow crowds. As a result, the Socialists of Portugal suffered a major defeat.
“Roman Catholics world-wide began praying for the conversion of Russia and the Jesuits invented the Novenas to Fatima which they could perform throughout North Africa, spreading good public relations to the Muslim world. The Arabs thought they were honouring the daughter of Muhammad, which is what the Jesuits wanted them to believe.
As a result of the vision of Fatima, Pope Pius XII ordered his Nazi army to crush Russia and the Orthodox religion and make Russia Roman Catholic.” A few years after he lost World war II, Pope Pius XII startled the world with his phoney dancing sun vision to keep Fatima in the news. It was great religious showbiz and the world swallowed it.
“Not surprisingly, Pope Pius was the only one to see this vision. As a result, a group of followers has grown into a Blue Army world-wide, totaling millions of faithful Roman Catholics ready to die for the blessed virgin.

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“But we haven’t seen anything yet. The Jesuits have their Virgin Mary scheduled to appear four or five times in China, Russia, and major appearance in the U.S.
“What has this got to do with Islam? Note Bishop Sheen’s
statement: “Our Lady’s appearances at Fatima marked the turning point in the history of the world’s 350 million Muslims. After the death of his daughter, Muhammad wrote that she “is the most holy of all women in Paradise, next to Mary.
“He believed that the Virgin Mary chose to be known as Our Lady of Fatima as a sign and a pledge that the Muslims who believe in Christ’s virgin birth, will come to believe in His divinity.
“Bishop Sheen pointed out that the pilgrim virgin statues of Our Lady of Fatima were enthusiastically received by Muslims in Africa, India, and elsewhere, and that many Muslims are now coming into the Roman Catholic Church.”
Article from: http://www.cloakanddagger.de/lenny/alberto_rivera.htm

Homosexuality

Bible verses about homosexuality

When speaking on this topic many people act like it’s a toss up. Many people ask is homosexuality a sin and the answer is that it is a sin just like stealing is a sin. It has always been a sin. I’m tired of all these lies that I see on the internet, on YouTube, and in real life.

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Here are some lies brought on by the devil.

God is OK with you being gay, you can be a gay Christian, the Bible says nothing about homosexuality, you were born that way, David and Jonathon were gay. I’ve even seen mockery signs that said Jesus was gay.

People can make all the jokes that they want. GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED. As the world gets worse for the Antichrist there are more and more deceitful people who will literally twist and take away from God’s Word (as they already do with corrupted “bible” versions) and run away from the truth. I’ve seen people provide every single excuse for verses that clearly condemn homosexuality.

Why should we condone it? Do we condone murdering others? Do we condone stealing? Do we condone lying? What if thieves speak out and say, “stealing is good”? Do you not see the hypocrisy? When has it ever been OK to parade sin around? Why do homosexuals get a pass?!

Why are some so called Christians condoning the gay lifestyle and allowing gay pastors to preach to others when it’s just going to drive more people to hell? PLEASE THIS IS NOT TO OFFEND ANY GAYS, I JUST WANT TO SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE TO SAVE SOULS.
Many Christians are afraid to do this, but WOULD RATHER WANT YOU TO GO TO HELL by being silent.

QUOTES

Concerning homosexuality: This once brought hell out of heaven on Sodom.Charles Spurgeon
America is every bit as sin-sick as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were. We’re rotting from within.John Hagee
Satan delights in homosexual perversion because it not only exists outside of marriage, but it also defiles God’ very image reflected as male and female.

Homosexuals cannot reproduce. They must recruit. And they want our children! That’s why they are getting public officials to require school teachers to present homosexuality as “normal” and acceptable. They know that the next generation will one day be voters, and they will change the laws so that homosexuals can prey on children and not worry about breaking the law!

YOU WILL BE PERSECUTED.

Homosexuals are suing and threatening to sue preachers, churches, Christian bakers, and more. These days you can’t say anything about homosexuality. Even if you try to warn them it’s called hate speech. Look to see more people being sued in the future. Some homosexuals are going into Christian bakeries with the intention of finding a reason to sue them. Just like the Bible says you will be hated for being a Christ follower and part of being a Christ follower is standing up for Him, His Word, and all the consequences that come with it. Christians are being persecuted more and more and this will lead to many denying God and going astray.

1. 2 Timothy 3:12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Same-sex attraction is a form of idolatry.
You exchange the glory of God for self and your gender. When you idolize self, one of the things it can lead to is same-sex attraction.

2. Romans 1:24-25 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Homosexuality leads to aids and early death. It is proven and it is a punishment from God.

3. Romans 1:27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Homosexuality doesn’t harm anyone.

THAT IS A FLAT OUT LIE! Sometimes harm doesn’t reveal itself immediately and sometimes it does. The legalization of same-sex marriage is extremely wicked. It destroys everything. It destroys families and God’s intended purpose for marriage.

It perverts what God intended for good and it makes it evil. It destroys kids, mothers, fathers, and it opens the doors to more wickedness such as pedophilia marriage, incest marriage, human–animal marriage, and more. There are already cases of these things throughout the world.

You can legalize same-sex marriage all that you want, but you will never change what marriage is in God’s eyes, which is one man and one woman. To say otherwise is blasphemy against the Lord and it is of the devil. God defines morality not the government.

4. Genesis 1:27-28So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Women were made to compliment men. The same sex was not made to compliment each other in marriage. Trying to do something else is a distortion of God’s ways.

5. Genesis 2:20-24And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Did Jesus talk about homosexuality?

Yes, He talked about it by reaffirming what the Old Testament said about marriage, which is one man and one woman and not one man and one man or lesbianism. Another thing that many people forget is that Jesus is God. The same way that God feels about it is the same way that Jesus feels about it because they are one. He never changes.

6. Matthew 19:4-6And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

MORE VERSES ON HOMOSEXUALITY….

How to Grow Strong in Your Faith

In Romans 4, Paul tells us Abraham grew strong in faith and urges us to walk in Abraham’s footsteps. To believe like he believed. How do we do this?

In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told.  He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:18–21)

Look to God’s promise not your circumstances.

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations;” (18)

Abraham’s situation looked bleak. God promised him multitudes of descendants, but the only problem was he was well past child producing. “he considered not his own body now dead,…” He also considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. Not only was Abraham almost 100 years old, but Sarah his wife was very old, and she had never been able to have children her whole life. How are they going to have children? If Abraham had based his hope on his circumstances he would have given up. But In hope he believed against hope—God’s promise gave him hope in his hopeless situation. He put his hope in God’s promise, not his circumstances.

We may feel hopelessly unrighteous. We may feel like God could never forgive us for the sins we have committed, that he would never accept us. But we must not look at ourselves, just like Abraham didn’t look at himself, but like Abraham, we must believe God’s promise of grace. He counts me righteous in Christ!

Our teenager may seem hopelessly lost. Our finances may be out of control. We may lack direction for our lives. Our marriage might be frustrating or our church might be a mess. Look to Jesus Christ! Don’t look to yourself. Look to the promise of the gospel—everyone who believes in him shall be saved. Look to his promises to draw near to those who draw near to him. Promises to hear and answer our prayers.

Give glory to God

he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (20–21)

Abraham strengthened his faith. Here’s how: “but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” Begin to give glory to God—start thanking and praising him for his every promise. Thank him for saving you and declaring you righteous in him. He has promised to be with us when we pass through the waters and walk through fire. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised that nothing will be able to separate us from his love. He has promised to give us everything we truly need to glorify him. He has promised that we can do all things he requires through Christ who loves us. Praise him for these things!

We can look to our circumstances—it may not LOOK like God is being faithful. It may not FEEL like God is with us in these waters. It may FEEL like he has abandoned or forsaken us. We may not SENSE his love. But WE MUST NOT WAVER CONCERNING THE PROMISE OF GOD! Rather, we grow strong in our faith as we GIVE GLORY TO GOD, as we are fully convinced that God is able to do what he had promised.

In Psalm 43:5 the Psalmist says “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Keep thanking God, keep praising him in faith in the midst of your hard times. Say, “Jesus thank you that you are with me. Thank you have promised that your steadfast love never ceases. Praise you that your mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

Growing stronger in our faith is not complicated. Look to God’s promise and glorify him. So, what are you going to believe today—God’s word or your circumstances? God’s promises or your feelings? God’s bedrock pledge of faithfulness or your wavering emotions? Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and strengthen your faith.

How is a Christian a new creation? What does 2 Corinthians 5:17 mean?

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.

God is a Creator. He created the heavens and the earth and everything in them out of nothing (Genesis 1:1-31). “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (v. 3). In a similar way, God creates spiritual life and light in the hearts of men, and actually changes the human heart so that it can receive Him (Ezekiel 36:26). This is called regeneration, and occurs by the Spirit of God (John 3:5-8). The regenerated person believes and is “in Christ” at which point he has become a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is a new entity, the same way that a newborn baby is a new person. The old man has gone away, and a new man has arrived.

What does this mean, in practical terms? How is this experienced? What does it feel like to become “a new creature“? Is it scary, or like an out-of-body experience? Are we brainwashed by God? What does it mean to be regenerated, and be given a “heart of flesh” as the prophet says? Becoming a new creation is not like brainwashing; there is nothing frightening about it. It is more like being restored to health. When Adam and Eve sinned, human beings lost their close connection to God. Regeneration restores that connection, making it possible for God’s Spirit to indwell us and flow through us as it was meant to.

However, there are challenges also to becoming a new creation. The flesh, or the physical body and mind, is influenced by satan, and by the world, and by its own habits built over a lifetime. This flesh fights the new man that is created. It was friends with the old self, but the new self is aligned with God’s Spirit, and the flesh can no longer be in control. This creates conflict within (Romans 7:14-23) that the unregenerated person does not experience. Thankfully, God delivers us over time from this “body of death” and does not condemn us when we lose the fight with the flesh (Romans 7:24-8:1). Instead, He continually works on those He has regenerated. We are in a constant state of re-creation (Hebrews 10:14) until we reach heaven and we are glorified, no longer to struggle with sin (Romans 8:30).

As we are re-created over the course of our lives, God replaces the old “program” with a new one, and we begin to love and crave the things of the Spirit, and to reject the things that He also rejects. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Galatians 5:22–23). The newborn soul wants the things of God. Everything seems new. Believers will testify to this change, and the joy it brings. We still sin and fail, but the result of sin is different. Instead of satisfaction, the new creation feels disappointment after indulging in sin. It has taken us further from God—from the One we now love more than anything sin has to offer. And in the end, we will be part of a brand new creation: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:18-23).

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

An important portion of Scripture that refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit is Ephesians 5:17-21:

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

In these verses being filled with the Spirit is contrasted with being filled or drunk with wine. The idea is one of being controlled by God’s Spirit rather than by other forces. When we are filled by the Spirit, we see a resultant attitude of joy and thanksgiving. We also see a relational posture of humility toward God and of submission to one another.

So how can a person be filled with the Holy Spirit? To be clear, there is an important difference between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit. All believers in Jesus Christ have God’s Spirit living within them, or dwelling within them (John 14:16, Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 4:30); but not all believers live filled or controlled by the Spirit’s power. Some Christians describe this distinction by saying believers have all of the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit may not have all of them. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the time of our salvation but we are filled by Him when we submit to Him.

The filling of the Holy Spirit, then, can vary in the life of each believer. Negatively, a believer in Christ can “quench” or “grieve” the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). Sinful actions can hinder the work of God’s Spirit in his or her life. In contrast, when a believer in Christ lives in obedience to God’s will and commands, he or she should expect to see God’s Spirit living through them.

Some suggest that the filling of the Holy Spirit is an emotional experience that takes place at certain moments, but the concept of “filling” in Scripture is one of being controlled or influenced by the Holy Spirit. At times living a Spirit-filled life may include emotional or mountain-top experiences. But the idea of being filled by the Spirit is more about an ongoing sense of God’s Spirit working in a person’s life, not a one-time experience. As the believer lives out his or her faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit increasingly controls or fills his or her life; this leads to joy, thankfulness, and right relationships.

What should I do if I’m a new Christian?

If you are a new Christian, you have just started a new life. It can be confusing as you figure out what this means. But the most important part is knowing that you now have a relationship with Jesus Who saved you from your sins so you can spend eternity with Him.

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But what is the next step? Fortunately, Jesus doesn’t want to wait until we die to have a relationship with us. How do we start that now?

Learn Who Jesus is:
You know Jesus is God and the Son of God. You know He died for your sins and rose again on the third day. But what is He really like? Why did He do all these things? To find out, read the Bible, especially the Gospels. Start with the book of John.

If you don’t have a Bible yet, I’d encourage you to get/read the King James Version (KJV), or use the KJV on BibleGateway (see my blogs in the KJV and why the KJV is the Word of God).

Learn how to incorporate your new faith into your life:
There’s a metaphor Christians use to describe salvation: Some people just want the “fire insurance” so they can avoid hell; instead, we should get the “health insurance” so we can live our faith. Being a Christian isn’t just about saying a prayer. It’s about involving God in your life. Pray to Him, all the time, about everything (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He likes to hear our prayers. Get baptized as a way to show the world that you follow Jesus now. And listen carefully for the leading of the Holy Spirit. When you have a hard choice to make, feel where God is leading you.

Start the road to sanctification:
As you grow in your faith, you’ll experience a process called sanctification. When you accepted Jesus as your savior, He cleaned your heart. To be sanctified means to be gradually changed so that your attitudes, words, and actions reflect your new heart. The process takes a lifetime, and no one is perfect. It helps to get help. Find a good, Bible-teaching church and join a small group of believers who study the Bible and help each other.

Live your faith:
Show the world what you believe and express your new heart. Show Jesus’ love by serving others. Get involved with the lives of people in your church. And tell others about Jesus. The Greatest Commandments are to love God and love others. With Jesus’ help, we can truly love others in a way that’s for their best. And their best is for them to learn about Jesus, too.

When you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you became God’s child forever. Nothing you do or say or think can take that away. You cannot give away, sin away, or lose your salvation—God is too strong to let you go! All of the things listed above are ways we show appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice; ways we live out our new life. They do not save us, and if we mess up, they won’t threaten our salvation. Becoming a new Christian is just the start of a life-long journey that ends in God’s arms.

Sola fide

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THE LATIN WORD SOLA
Sola is Latin meaning alone or single. Think of it when you sing a song by yourself it is called a solo.

Forms of this word are

Per the Latin Dictionary these are the forms of this word for Alone.

Sola
Solus
Solum
Solius
Soli
Solam
Solum
Solo
Sole
fide
fide is Latin too. This Latin word means Faith.

DOCTRINE OF SOLA FIDE
Sola Fide is one of the 5 Solas. This doctrine, based on justification of faith and faith alone. God’s pardon done through faith alone. Works won’t save us! We cannot earn salvation! Only Jesus Christ earned true justification by His righteous life. His righteousness was imputed to us. It was what Christ did that we couldn’t do. When we see faith and works in the Bible together they are often contrasted.

MARTIN LUTHER AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Martin Luther say this doctrine where the church would either stand or fall based on the belief or disbelief in sola fide. The Catholic Church doesn’t stand on this doctrine. As a matter of fact, Pope Benedict XVI made a startling proclamation: “Luther’s expression sola fide is true if faith is not opposed to charity, to love”. (Wednesday Audience, November 19, 2008). Catholics believe justification comes from sacraments of baptism and reconciliation. With these sacraments comes justification from God. However, in the sola fide doctrine, they would argue that both baptism and reconciliation are works.

FAITH AND WORKS
On the other side, James is showing that true faith will bring forth godly works. Because we love Jesus, we will love the things of the Father. That will lead us to do good works. But those works don’t save us! It is the faith that saves us! Even a Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved. The Apostle Paul replied with, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). That summed it up that we cannot do anything, works won’t save us. Paul didn’t say believe and do this or that. Just simply Believe in the Lord Jesus. It is not just faith in anything … but faith in Jesus!

AUGSBURG CONFESSION – ARTICLE FOUR
Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Romans 3 and Romans 4.

SCRIPTURE
The main scripture references comes from James 2:14-26 and Ephesians 2:1-10.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)