Discernment

The color of the church carpet? That’s pickiness.

Separating truth from error regarding what’s being taught? That’s discernment.

We are to test all things (1 Thess. 5:21) and go to the Word of God to see if what is being taught is truthful (Acts 17:10-11).

Chris Rosebrough said something to this effect: A church may say, “We believe in the Son of God.” That might be entirely different than teaching what the Son of God taught. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” There are so many churches that are in open rebellion to the very words of Jesus because they’re not teaching anything biblical, they’re just making it up, and slapping it on Jesus. They’re not teaching the truth. Saying you have allegiance to Jesus but not keeping and guarding His Word, not teaching sound doctrine, and not rebuking those who contradict it shows that you don’t have any real allegiance to Jesus except for lip-service allegiance.

Article: 7 Traits of False Teachers

Article: A Missive Against False Teachers

Website: Museum of Idolatry – some of the exhibits are shocking

Website: Pulpit & Pen

Website: Fighting for the Faith – just enter the name of a preacher you’d like to know more about like “Bill Johnson” and you’ll have tons of results and info

YouTube: Dangerous Doctrine,  Mangled Manifestations, & The Hurt of Healing

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Phil. 1:9-11

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San Bernardino Shooting

From the AOMin Blog:

1)  Fact:  Islam is not a monolithic religion.  There is not a “single” “true Islam.”

2)  Fact:  Not all Muslims are Salafi/Wahhabi Sunnis.

3)  Fact:  Not all Salafi Sunnis are militarized/radicalized.

4)  Fact:  There are different understandings of what constitutes Sharia.

5)  Fact:  The majority of the victims of the murderous violence of ISIS are MUSLIMS.

James White speaks about how we need to be careful not to group all Muslims together and how the Muslim sources (Qur’an & Hadith) are ANYTHING but consistent enough to produce a monolithic Islam. Great article. It brings real balance to what is in the news now.

Full post seen here. Check it out.

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Seventh-Day Adventism

There is not much out there on Seventh-Day Adventism which is surprising because this group is very active in sharing their message and it makes me think that more info would be out there on them. I wouldn’t be surprised to find SDA folks who are genuine Christians but that would definitely be in spite of SDA doctrine and not because of it. It is worth noting as well that SDA has gone through many changes and may be hard to pin down so its really important to focus on someone who identifies with SDA as an individual and not to deal with all that has been taught by SDA because that individual may not hold to it entirely. We want to accurately identify and represent the views of the person we are talking with (not put words in their mouth) so it would be very useful to ask questions and to listen to the responses of somebody in this cult.

Ask a few questions, listen to the response, and then work from there.

NoCo Radio: Seventh-Day Adventism Part 1

 

NoCo Radio: Seventh-Day Adventism Part 2

 

NoCo Radio: Seventh-Day Adventism Part 3 (really good)

 

More may be found here.

 

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Kong Hee

There has been big news coming out of Singapore.

Fox News – “Kong Hee, the founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church, was found guilty Wednesday with five other church leaders of stealing 24 million Singapore dollars ($17 million) designated for building and investment-related purposes through sham bond investments. The State Court also found that they used another 25 million dollars ($18 million) to hide the first embezzlement from auditors.” Full article HERE.

More information here & here.

Kong Hee, who preaches that Jesus was rich and we should be also, has funneled $35 million of designated funds into his wife’s music career and has been found guilty of seeking to cover up his actions.

I’m so thankful he was found guilty. The more these kind of things happen, the harder it is to share the gospel with people because they’ll use them as excuses for their unbelief.

Christians in Singapore are reacting. Some are saddened. But others are thankful because now the gospel can shine brighter than before. I just heard this sermon from a pastor in Singapore pointing the people of God to the gospel after the Kong Hee trial. Have a listen. It is so pastoral and edifying.

From Gospel Light Christian Church, Dr. Paul Choo: The Prosperity Gospel

“He is a God who cares for me from head to toe….I can lose my wallet. I cannot lose Him.”

-Dr. Paul Choo

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Jesus is Jehovah

So very few of those who follow the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society have any idea what the doctrine of the Trinity actually teaches because they have been misinformed. They often speak against Modalism, the idea that God is one person and appears in different modes/manifestations (think T.D. Jakes), and the JW assumes in doing so that they have dismantled the teaching of the Trinity. I would join them in speaking against Modalism. Modalism does not reflect the Biblical teaching of God.

The Bible teaches there is only one God. It also identifies three separate persons as that one God. The one name referring to the Being of God, Jehovah, is shared by three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Jesus is not the Father. The Father is not the Spirit.

JW’s are a very disciplined group. They meet together many times a week and learn how to take apart Christians that don’t know their Bibles. It is so easy to follow rabbit trails when speaking with them. I have found it most helpful to focus on how the NT authors identify Jesus as Jehovah over and over again. When they realize this, their entire system falls apart and hopefully it is then that they will encounter the Jesus of the Bible.

Who is Psalm 102 written to? Jehovah.

What do verses 25-27 tell us about Him? That He is the eternal, unchanging Creator.

Is there anyone like Jehovah? No, Isaiah 46:9.

Look at Hebrews 1:7-12. It is a reference to Psalm 102. And now the writer of Hebrews applies that text to Jesus. How can a writer of the NT apply a scripture about Jehovah from the OT to Jesus?

No writer of the NT is going to take passages about Jehovah that talk about the very things that make Him God (Eternal, Creator of all things, Unchanging) and apply them to an angel.

 

John 12:39-41 When did Isaiah see the glory of Jesus? In verse 40, John references Isaiah 6:10. This comes from Isaiah’s temple vision. If you were to ask Isaiah way back when that was written whose glory He saw, who would that be? Jehovah (verse 1, verse 3). Who does John say Isaiah saw? Whose glory? Jesus. So who is Jesus according to the writer John? Jehovah.

Notice in the conversation below how the JW’s refuse to answer the questions asked of them. They are taught to go after “sheep-like” people. If you know your Bible, then sadly, most of them will not spend much time at all speaking with you. I cannot recommend highly enough this book, The Forgotten Trinity.

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Monotheism and Mormonism

Lorenzo Snow, 5th President of the LDS Church: “As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be.”

Joseph Smith, Founder of Mormonism: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.”

And this: “In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.”

And this: “These ideas are incomprehensible to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.”

Bruce R. McConkie, LDS Apostle: “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you…”

 

The Bible teaches there is only one true God.

Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, 
“and my servant whom I have chosen, 
that you may know and believe me
 and understand that I am he. 
Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel 
and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”

Isaiah 44:8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.

Mormons may respond to the verses above and say God is speaking about idols. Whenever someone gives you an alternative explanation of a text, plug it in and see if it works. “Before me no idol was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” We know there are idols today so clearly that doesn’t work.

Other Mormons will say the texts above taken in context refer to THIS earth. At this point you’ll want to point them to Deuteronomy 4:35-39 and point out that God says there “is no other besides him” and that God says He alone is “God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”

Dr. James White (Alpha & Omega Ministries) has rightly said that Islam is closer to Christianity than Mormonism could ever be. This is true because the very foundation of Christianity is monotheism. There is only one true God.

Here is a video demonstrating how to have a gentle, respectful conversation with Mormons:

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The Culture War

One of the reasons I live in Southeast Asia and not America is so that I can reach unreached people with the gospel. Another reason I’m not in America is because Voddie Baucham is there (at least until next summer when he moves to Zambia). Watch below as Voddie speaks at an evangelism & apologetics conference on the culture war – all in his very unique style of course. The sound and video quality is not the best, but the content is excellent.

 

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When You Don’t Know the Answer

Few things can strip away boldness when presenting the gospel like a fear of the unknown. “What if they ask a question and I don’t know the answer?” It’s important in these situations to realize there is more than one right way to move forward. Here is an option for you. I have used it for years. Simply say:

“That is a great question. Would you really like an answer to it?” They may have just been giving you a hard time but if they say they really would like an answer then say:

“Ok. Well give me your email, I’ll look into it, and I’ll get you the answer.”

What just happened? You’re right back in the conversation! Go back to sharing the gospel.

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3 Questions

In 2006, I started doing a lot of cold-turkey street evangelism in Dallas, TX. Dallas, like any other city, has people from all over the world with different backgrounds and worldviews/religions. Many of the conversations from those first few years are still in my mind. I could communicate the gospel and was comfortable doing so at the time however I could get into unknown waters quickly if I didn’t understand someone’s worldview. Here are the 3 questions I would ask in order to navigate the conversation. They are beneficial because they cause the person you are engaging with to question their own system of thought. It’s putting the ball back on their side of the court.

Ask the following in order:

1) What do you mean by that?   This is a harmless question that should bring about more clarity.

2) Where do you get your information? The conversation may go a few different ways after this question is asked. What may come up is ultimate authority, how do we know what we know, etc.

3) How do you know it’s true? Again, the one you are speaking to must evaluate their own position. Seek to have a conversation and look for what is consistent and what isn’t.

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