Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Is It Apostasy... or Just Coincidence?" by Steven Kozar

     There aren't many Christians who believe that apostasy is upon us; they are just going to church and following the agenda that's been prearranged for them. And if you mention the fact that true doctrine-the true Biblical Gospel-isn't being taught in the overwhelming majority of churches, most Christians will deny it. "Where's the evidence?!" will be the reply; or perhaps "My pastor would have told me about it already!" Once you supply the evidence (and it's overwhelming) they will refuse to accept it.
     But the very definition of the apostate church demands that this be the case. In other words, in order for the church to be in a state of apostasy it would mean that most Christians would refuse to believe that they were in a state of apostasy.


     So, what most Christians prefer to believe in is a ridiculously large number of "irrelevant" facts, figures and statistics-and they believe that the Bible has nothing to say on the topic. Again, the problem is not that convincing evidence doesn't exist, it's that convincing evidence surrounds each and every Christian (at least in the American/Western church) but they refuse to look at it; or they look at it and pretend it's something else-just a coincidence, perhaps. Christians seem to think that deception will announce itself. "We shouldn't worry about being deceived-someone will make an announcement for us if we need it" they seem to say. It's as if we all have a Christian weather radio that sends an apostasy alert, and some guy in some office somewhere is watching out for us: "they'll let us know if a tornado of false belief is heading our way. Don't worry about it-we can keep enjoying ourselves!.."
     A foundation has been laid that precludes the possibility that an end times deception/state of apostasy could be taking place. The very idea is ridiculed as primitive, narrow-minded and irrelevant. If you bring up all the scripture verses that warn us you get called a Pharisee or "too legalistic."

 Even though Jesus and the Apostles warn their followers not to be deceived, those "followers" now believe the exact opposite.

 Imagine the absurdity of claiming to follow someone while doing the opposite of what they say. I believe the primary thing that prevents Christians from seeing the apostasy all around them is this simple little thought:

"But somebody would have said something if that were true!"

But Somebody did say something-and He could not have been more clear:

     “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'” (Matthew 7: 15-23)
Matthew 24: 3-14; 24-25 “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Vs. 24): For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (25) Behold, I have told you in advance.”

He has SAID SOMETHING. Now is the time to listen to Him and reject the teachings of men.

Monday, August 10, 2015

"Not Feeling It: The Gospel for Everyone Else" by Steven Kozar

I know you’re out there. In fact, I know there are untold millions of you out there.

You’ve heard about the need for “intimacy with God” and “having a personal relationship with God” and how “it’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship,” and you're just not feeling it. You’ve maybe even mustered up the courage to admit to a close friend or pastor that you’re not getting the feelings that everyone else is getting. Maybe you’ve been reassured that “feelings come and go but God’s love never changes!” But the unspoken answer underneath that pat-answer is this: “keep trying and maybe someday you’ll be intimate with God like the rest of us.” 

Which is a profoundly sad thought. It’s like God has His omnipotent hands tied; “He’s trying to be intimate with you, gosh darn it, but you need to do your part…”

And God’s Word says none of these things. You’ve been taught a pack of lies. Seriously.

You’ve been taught the latest version of Gnosticism or Mysticism or Pietism or Semi-Pelagianism or some other “ism” that’s been circulating since the very start of the Christian church; and it’s been firmly declared as un-biblical heresy in the first few centuries of church history. But since the modern Evangelical church usually ignores theology, church history and often even the Bible itself, it’s no wonder that bad ideas that can be easily refuted are not. Instead, these (very) bad ideas flourish and grow under the profitable nurturing of false teachers disguised as pastors (usually with good intentions).

If you’ve been hurt, confused or frustrated by your lack of emotional experiences with God, this little article is for you. You're the person out in the lobby getting some coffee while the "worship service" keeps going and going... and going. I've been out there with you. You are not the problem. 

The Pharisees were rebuked by Jesus for keeping people under a burden-a heavy load-that they would not move. Today, the latest version of a Pharisee is always telling you that you need something more-something bigger and better. Something Super Spiritual. Something Really Deep. The Next Level. A New Secret to really getting close to God...

So here’s the real Good News:
      “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9

True Christianity is God coming and rescuing us from sin and death. It’s God doing 100% and us doing 0%.
           Just believe-and be free! 
(This article is written for Christians, so I'm simplifying a bit; technically I should be mentioning repentance and baptism, etc., but hopefully you get my point)

That isn’t just enough-it’s much, much more than enough! 

In fact, it seems just too good to be true...

So, in our tiny human brains we feel compelled to “do our part” and show God we “really mean business!” We actually like it when pastors put us back under the Law so that we can show how serious we are about serving God. We actually like it when the pastor gets all worked up and “really preaches it” about our need to “do more for God.” And our refusal to accept the total and complete gift of salvation rears its ugly head when we think we can get even closer to God by our subjective and ambiguous mystical experiences. And, to make matters worse, we sometimes look down on our fellow believer who actually admits that they don’t “feel” intimate with God.

Jesus never said: “Someday I’m going to require my followers to muster up a great deal of emotional fervor so that my love can really be felt.”
Jesus never said: “If you really love me and want to be close to me you will have an intimate encounter with me during an extended quiet time (or worship service, or special Intimacy Conference...).”
Jesus never said: “It’s not enough to just read my Word; you need to go beyond my Word and experience me in a personal way.”
Jesus did say: “Take and eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”

That’s intimacy with God; instituted by God; described in God’s Word. Your intense and dramatic feelings: Optional.
 You can stop following the teachings of men and be truly free. 
It is finished, indeed!

Also, here's a great episode of The White Horse Inn on this topic:

Friday, August 7, 2015

"Church... Business... What's the Difference? Confused Willow Creek Leadership Conference" by Steven Kozar

Quiz question: What do you get when you combine two Mormons, at least one "word of faith" heretic, some non-Christian business people, authors and public speaker/millionaires, along with a few mega-church pastors? 
Answer: The Willow Creek "Global Leadership Summit!"

I took these screens shots from my iPhone after doing just a little research on the speaker line-up:
Here, author Jim Collins admits he doesn't know the church world 
(but he's happy to make a LOT of money off of it):                                                

Here's a few Mormon sites showing off their best achievers:                                          

 Remember when Jesus told us to hire the very best public speakers to build His church? 
      Me neither...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Bible Believing" Christian?? by Steven Kozar

 If you believe it’s important to follow the Bible, wouldn’t you want to “test all things” by God’s Word? Shouldn't you be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who kept "examining the scriptures daily to see if these things are so?" Shouldn’t you at least see which ideas have more scriptural support than others? In light of that important idea, below are some questions for you:

In the Bible, which are there more of?

...Bible verses about feeling God's presence (so you can know He's real), or Bible verses about knowing, teaching and following correct doctrine? (This is a trick question; there are no verses about feeling, experiencing or “being intoxicated” by God’s presence. Also, capitalizing the letter “p” in presence comes from the New Age movement.)

...Bible verses that tell us to have a "personal, intimate and emotional encounter with God," or Bible verses that tell us we can know God through His Word and Sacraments? (This is a trick question-there are no verses telling us that we’re supposed to have a personal, intimate and emotional encounter with God.)

...Bible verses about how you need to follow along with the vision of your pastor, or Bible verses about the pastor being a servant and shepherd? (This is a trick question; there are no verses telling you to “follow the vision” of your “vision-casting pastor;” that idea comes from the business world.)

...Bible verses telling the church to conform to the pagan culture (in order to "win over" that culture), or Bible verses describing the church as separate and distinct from culture? (This is a trick question; there are no verses telling the church to conform to the pagan culture. The word “church” comes from the word “ekklesia” which means “gathering” or “called out ones.”)

...Bible verses that describe the church as a place for entertainment-style "worship" (so that lots of people will enjoy going there), or as a place where the Bible (and sound doctrine about Christ) is proclaimed, confessed and taught? (This is a trick question; there are no verses telling the church to attract non-believers with flashy and/or emotional music, stagecraft, sermons full of entertaining stories/jokes, etc.)

...Bible verses that teach pastors about effective leadership skills that allow them to direct and manage a large staff (and thus make a huge salary), or Bible verses that say no believer should follow worldly philosophies and pastors should not get rich from preaching? (This is a trick question; there are no verses that describe pastors as businessman CEOs that follow leadership practices borrowed from pagans who want to get rich.)

...Bible verses that describe the Holy Spirit as wanting to get more and more attention (because He's been so neglected), or Bible verses that say He is always pointing us to Christ? (This is a trick question; the real Holy Spirit of the Bible is always leading people to repentance and faith in Christ, He never sends people on bizarre wild goose chases.)

...Bible verses where the Holy Spirit wants to make us act drunk and out of control, or Bible verses where the Holy Spirit wants to lead us to repentance and faith in Christ? (This is a trick question; there are no verses saying that the Holy Spirit wants to make us act drunk and out of control.)

...Bible verses that command us to muster up intense fervor to show how serious we are about serving God (so that He will finally give us something more: more power, more miracles, more success, more influence...), or Bible verses that tell us to simply believe in the forgiveness of our sins through Christ? (This is a trick question; there are no verses telling us to muster up intense fervor so we can show God how serious we are. You can relax now!)

...Bible verses about a great end times revival that features new and better Apostles who will do great healings, signs and wonders, or Bible verses that tell us about an end times falling away, full of false teachers doing great healings, signs and wonders in the name of Jesus? (This is a trick question; there are no Bible verses that tell us to expect a great end-times revival that features new and better Apostles.  All of the Bible verses are warning us about a great falling away with false teachers leading many astray by doing miraculous signs and wonders in the name of Jesus.) 

...Bible verses that tell us to go to meetings and conferences in order to "get the anointing," or Bible verses that tell us we already have all that we need in Christ? (This is a trick question-there are no verses that tell Christians to go somewhere in order to "get the anointing." You can stop throwing away money on travel expenses and conference tickets now!)

...Bible verses that instruct Christians to "speak things into existence?"... never mind, that's so idiotic that we can just go to the next question (this is not an article about witchcraft and sorcery)... 

...Bible verses that tell churches to unify regardless of doctrine (so that God can finally "show up"), or Bible verses that tell us to hold fast to correct doctrine? (This is a trick question-there are no Bible verses where God promises to "show up" once we all give up our doctrine and unite for the sake of being unified.)

...Bible verses that tell us it's "all about a relationship, not a religion," or Bible verses that tell us to repent, be baptized and become members of Christ's body-The Church? (This is a trick question-there are no verses that tell us to "have a personal relationship with Jesus," instead, the Bible points to the establishment of the Church and it's specific doctrine. Christianity is, by definition, a religion. You can stop being ashamed of that now. It is the only true religion-and it offers us the only true Good News! And, yes, we can certainly claim to have a relationship with Jesus, but this article is about what the Bible actually says. Perhaps this video will help: Jesus Is My Friend)  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Andy Stanley's Dishonest, Deceptive, and Dangerous Teaching" by Phillip Lee

No big deal here, just an extremely influential "pastor of pastors" re-writing Christianity...
24 Emmaus Road: Andy Stanley's Dishonest, Deceptive, and Dangerous Teaching

Another article about Andy Stanley (with links to Fighting for the Faith on this topic):

And this is a short video about how incredibly inaccurate Stanley is when describing the Bible: