Tripped up in the church: how Balaams and Jezebels influence congregations

When the Lord Jesus sent out his letters to the seven churches in Asia via his apostle John (Revelation 1-3), he gave us an accurate picture of how churches would operate in the last days before his return. Unfortunately, most of it was negative and when I think about his warnings in those church letters, it reminds me of the question he asked his disciples in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Three of the seven churches (43%) we know for sure had problems with idolatry in the form of doctrines relating to Balaam, Jezebel, and the Nicolaitans. Out of those three, two of them (roughly 30%) had the same doctrines tied to Balaam and Jezebel. Notice the similarities at Pergamos and Thyatira that Jesus points out–

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Revelation 2:14

 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. Revelation 2:20

We can take away three things that Balaams and Jezebels do in congregations:

  1. They teach, trick, seduce, and pressure people into falling for false doctrines–namely,
  2. The false doctrine that it’s okay to observe idolatrous practices, and
  3. The false doctrine that it’s okay to cast down God’s law of marriage in favor of fornication.

These things are played out in so many ways because the agents of Satan have so many fiery darts in their arsenal to throw at the church. But here are several recent examples of how this has played out in the real world–

Sculpture of a rock star on a crucifix displayed in London church (Source: Blouin ARTINFO, February 19, 2015)

For the “sake of art,” an Anglican church in London decided to allow a sculpture of rocker Pete Doherty, who recently left rehab in an attempt to kick drugs and alcohol, to hang on display in their church for a few weeks. The display called “For Pete’s sake” is a likeness of Doherty hanging on a cross to poke fun at how the media has handled his scandals. So a church mocks the accomplishments of our sinless, innocent Lord to compare them to a sinful, humanist, self-absorbed celebrity. Idolatry.

Catholic priest says yoga leads to Satanism & Hindus want Pope to punish him (Source: International Business Times, February 23, 2015)

The RCC is a false church to begin with where some of its leaders are Satanists, but I only mention them because many evangelicals hang on the words of Catholic priests as if they’re gospel. This priest is living in a glass house while throwing stones to make himself appear righteous to fool churchgoers into thinking that since he criticizes idolatry, he isn’t participating in it. Blatant falsehood. Maybe he should brush up on Romans 2:1-3, 22-24–something I have to do myself from time to time.

Millenial “evangelicals” want churches to fully accept LGBT “Christians” (Source: The Christian Science Monitor, February 20, 2015)

In 10 years, acceptance of the LGBT fornicators has supposedly gone up from 11% among ‘evangelicals’ to 21%, thanks to the millenial Balaams and Jezebels in churches who think it’s so great to celebrate how people fornicate. One pastor has even said we can apply the monogamous sexual ethic Paul mentions in scripture for straight Christians to LGBT ‘Christians.’ He ignores the fact that many gay fornicators still fornicate with others who aren’t their ‘partners.’ Furthermore, his attempt to change God’s times and laws is a main marker of an antichrist (see Daniel 7:25).

Balaams and Jezebels just need to repent before they end up like their real namesakes did in the Bible.

Harry A. Gaylord

How to give God our due diligence in the Christian life

Did you know that God saved us to put us to work? Some of us may believe that once we get saved, we can sit back, relax, and let God take care of everything while we kick up our feet. However, the Christian life was given to us by the Lord so we could use what he gives us to carry out due diligence in our character that is reflected in our actions.

unshackledWhat has God given us?

Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:2-4 that we are given God’s grace, peace, and knowledge through the Lord Jesus. All of that is supplied by his divine power, which gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” And there are so many of these “all things” that it would take volumes to cover them.

Along with all of that, we get “exceeding great and precious promises” which make it possible for us to be “partakers of the divine nature” since the Lord helped us escape the world’s ways. This package deal has so much in it, we won’t be able to fathom it all in this life, but that shouldn’t stop us from at least trying. Which brings me back to our due diligence.

What are we to do with all of it?

Since God has given us such extensive and massive gifts, there is some expectation and responsibility at our end if we want them to work to our advantage. The gifts may be free, but how we use them will cost us. By that I mean it will put us at war within ourselves as our flesh strives against the Holy Spirit in us.

Peter goes on to say starting in 2 Peter 1:5, “And beside this”–meaning beside all that God has given us as mentioned above–“giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”

Handschlag - handshakeDue diligence to increase faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and unconditional love should be the purposeful goals in the Christian life. When we focus on these things, they cause us to be fruitful in and for the Lord Jesus (v. 8). If we lack these traits as Christians, according to v. 9 it’s because we are spiritually blind even as Christians and are short-sighted, forgetting that Christ purged us.

But, as v. 10 says, if we “give diligence” to make our calling and election sure (i.e. if we examine ourselves thoroughly to make sure we’re saved), we can avoid falls and will face an abundant entrance into the Lord’s eternal kingdom (v. 11). That abundant entrance undoubtedly will include great and luxurious rewards to be received from the Father. If that’s the case, then Paul’s words in Romans 8:18 are that much more encouraging–“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.”

Harry A. Gaylord

President Obama holds “violent extremism” summit to deny Islam is the problem

prez obamaA summit has been going on in Washington, DC, this week hosted by the White House called the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. But its intent appears to be to mask the true nature of Islam (i.e., to wage violent jihad in a geopolitical lust for power masked as religion). The President seems overjoyed to comply with the ruse, given his administration’s recent lies.

Which lies? Firstly, that the attack in France several weeks ago on a kosher store was not targeting Jews. Secondly, defending Islam with his lack of historical knowledge at the National Prayer Breakfast by attacking Christianity over the Crusades (which were a response to violent Islamists by a non-Christian Vatican) and Inquisitions (a campaign to attack true Christians for not bowing to the papacy). Thirdly, just this week the Obama administration condemned the joint Egyptian and United Arab Emirates airstrikes against Islamist terrorists in Libya, claiming the intent of President Al-Sisi was not as noble or justified as the airstrikes the U.S. and others are carrying out in Iraq. But my opinion is that Obama hates Al-Sisi for destroying his pet Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt.

Yes, most Muslims are against violence. However, we have seen what happens on the world stage when the violent minority of Islamists carry out their plans. The moderate, non-violent majority cowers in the background and/or just stands back to allow the violent minority have its way.

Regarding their efforts to cast Islam in a different light in the media, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (who is part of Obama’s summit) has stated, “For us, terminology is very, very important. Using words like ‘radical Islam,’ we believe is actually hurting the cause.” Well, if the shoe fits…

Meanwhile, as the President parrots the line that radical Islamists aren’t Muslims, this week a church in Melbourne, Florida, was partially torched and the vandals left a swastika alongside the words “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”). The police are dismissing it as juvenile vandalism, but that’s probably them trying to keep people from getting too upset over the estimated $5,000 worth of damage and the popular terrorist slogan.

As if that weren’t enough, a Muslim man in Detroit stabbed a couple he saw on the street this week because they were non-Muslim, after he approached them to declare his religion and asked them about theirs. It wouldn’t surprise me if the man, who is now arrested, was converted in prison at some point in the past.

President Obama’s continued denials of the obvious will only serve to spur on such terrorist incidents and encourage them to escalate in their severity. So why has this President and his predecessors denied the obvious about Islam? For political purposes. Islam is one of the many tools that elitist one world, one religion globalists wish to use toward their last days’ aspirations. In June 2011, it was leaked that the Bilderberg Group, which (like all other globalist groups) answers to the Vatican, wanted any excuse it could conjure up to spread more conflict throughout the Middle East so there would be war on a larger scale in that region.

If this was leaked in 2011, it means that plans were in play for that to happen before that time. Since that leak, we have seen their plans unfold with Syria’s expanded civil war with Russia and Iran’s backing of al-Assad, the Al-Qaeda offshoot now known as ISIS, increased hatred toward Israel, the Gaza War instigated by Hamas, and other violence. Are all of these things I mentioned in this post just coincidences? I think not. Nothing is ever as it seems to the naked eye in these last and evil days.

Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. …Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech [modern-day Moscow], that I dwell in the tents of Kedar [modern-day Saudi Arabia]My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. Psalm 120

Control freaks: they want you in bondage, but Jesus made you free

Throughout my life of involvement in various churches, it has never ceased to amaze and amuse me how much some denominational-minded church folks get hung up on legalistic hang-ups. Jesus Christ saved us to make us free, but it seems there are many who won’t be satisfied unless they can place us under the bondage of their religious legalism.

puppet master control freakI’ve been told things like “Christians aren’t supposed to watch movies”, “Churches are in sin when they allow any musical instruments for worship”, “Churches are sinful if they have any other instrument besides a piano and organ”, “You’re not really saved unless you’ve been baptized in our church”, “It’s a sin not to have church services on the sabbath (Saturday)”, “It’s a sin not to go to church services on Sunday”, “God doesn’t like it when you don’t kneel or bow your head when you pray”, “Women wearing makeup is a sin and shame before God”, and the list goes on.

Paul had a run-in with similar folks who went around teaching that in order to be saved, a man had to be circumcised and heed Mosaic law. Here’s his take on the situation:

But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: Galatians 2

Paul did not mince words here. He straight up called them false brethren. Why? They preached salvation by works–a counterfeit gospel. Paul called them out for wanting to come into the church and enslave people who had been freed from the bondage of sin. They were religious control freaks and he did not give in one inch to their demands because the truth of the gospel was at stake. One thing that helped Paul justifiably stand his ground was the fact he was not one to put people on pedestals because of their title or position (v. 6).

Several chapters later, Paul exposes why legalistic control freaks are so adamant about their views when he says

12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… Galatians 6

There are at least 2 reasons why control freaks (who often become cult-like) do what they do. (1) They’re afraid of being persecuted by a certain group, so their constraints are pushed to appease a group that is threatening to reject them; (2) They want to boast about how they made you give in to your fleshly nature to cave to their fleshly wishes out of their fleshly pride in exercising power over you. To add insult to injury, according to v. 13, they are some of the biggest hypocrites who don’t even practice what they preach themselves.

Ultimately, our peace of mind and fellowship with God is strengthened when we resist them.

Harry A. Gaylord

Interview about “Christianity” + Islam (Chrislam) from Sean Anthony of Flow of Wisdom

Flow of Wisdom’s Sean Anthony interviews Geoffrey Grider of Now The End Begins blog about attempts to fuse Christianity with Islam, how it affects the Bible publishing industry, and how it ties in with Bible prophecy. The interview was released yesterday on YouTube.

UK Anglican church gets kudos from Diocese of Bristol for expelling yoga class

If you have been a genuine Christian for awhile, you know that taking a stand for the Lord Jesus will invoke the ire of unbelievers. In our times, many unbelievers think they are entitled to impose their will on us as if the body of Christ is supposed to be subject to the whims of a perishing, unstable world. This is what the congregation of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Bristol, England is experiencing.

three women yoga poseThe congregation had allowed a yoga class to meet in its building about 9 years ago. Then several congregants learned the true spiritual meaning behind yoga and apparently the Holy Spirit must have convicted them for the decision to allow yoga–which is essentially the worship of the false gods of Hinduism–to take place in their building. So the church got together recently and voted that the yoga classes would have to stop. So they informed the instructor she and her 30 students would have until the end of February to find different facilities.

The church’s Anglican Diocese, the Diocese of Bristol, released a statement of support for the congregation’s decision, acknowledging that “Decisions on who can lease church buildings lie entirely within the remit of the relevant parochial church council (PCC) in each case.” The church said it came to the decision because ‘The primary purpose of these buildings is the worship of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

‘Yoga means the union of “mind, body and spirit”. By definition, therefore, Yoga is a spiritual activity whose roots are not Christ centred.

‘We are confident we have acted legally and have waived the last nine months of Naomi’s fees, amounting to nearly £1,000.’

The Naomi mentioned is Naomi Hayama, the yoga instructor. She laments the decision because none of the church members actually went to her class to see what they were doing and she insists her class is merely for physical exercise. She has started a petition to pressure the church to change its mind, but St. Michael’s congregants insist their mind is made up on the issue.

Nevertheless, others in the community have expressed their disagreement with the church. One person stated, “This is such a tragedy. Isn’t it time for understanding and tolerance? In terms of alternative spirituality it seems to me there are many paths to God not one only and most people attending a yoga class will go for the physical exercise and well-being. Saddest of all that an offer to observe a class was declined.”

Another detractor said, “It is ridiculous! Yoga is yoga, it has nothing to do with religion! Let them continue to have their yoga lessons in your church. Why would you drive people away from God’s home??”

It seems to me if the naysayers were concerned about understanding and tolerance, then they would have respect for and accept the decisions of people to exercise their religion on their own property as they see fit when it is in the confines of upholding human rights and just laws. I thank God when believers like the ones at St. Michael’s listen to the Spirit of God when he convicts them of their errors and then they honor him by moving quickly to reverse the errors. I pray they will stand firm and not bow to the pressure of unbelievers who want them to behave like the world.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19

Sources:

Diocese backs church over turning away yoga class, Christian Institute, February 11, 2015.

Church bans ‘un-Christian’ yoga class from using its hall because of activity’s links with ‘alternative spiritualities’, Daily Mail, February 10, 2015

Church accused of lacking flexibility after it bans yoga class for being too ‘spiritual’, London Telegraph, February 9, 2015.

Does it matter how the Christian music industry is perceived?

Gospel singer Kirk Franklin recently wrote a tribute to the late Andrae Crouch, who died in January. He made note of Crouch’s soul-stirring music which crossed all ethnic boundaries and made the secular world take note of his talents despite the fact he sang about Jesus.

Then Franklin expressed his disappointment that the Christian music industry (CMI) seems to have lost its focus from the time when Andrae Crouch rose on the scene. According to Franklin, “Our music doesn’t affect people the way it used to. It doesn’t create movements like it did during Andrae’s time. Is it because today’s worship leader is too busy trying to get the record deal, the applause, a higher church salary, and that crossover song? [The guilt is all over my hands, people!]

“Every step we take away from the cross — and the cross alone – every time we focus on sales over souls… the goal gets lower and lower.”

When Australian music journalist Jessica Morris first started reviewing Christian music, she describes herself as “completely stunned” at how the CMI worked.Switchfoot Fading WestThe fact that labels, bands and albums were molded to sell records could mean that they were, at times, selling out. Or worse, faking it. As a young and naive journalist, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a band saying they make “Christian music” would be so fueled by the commodity driven market of the secular industry.

However, over time she formed the opinion that Christian artists are “signing onto secular labels yet not deviating from their core values; and they are doing it by making music for everyone, everywhere.It is music that is delivered with a purpose and heart for a cause far bigger than themselves. And the best musicians, whoever the artist is and whatever genre they fall under, proves this by being the real deal commercially, personally and authentically.”

So whose take on CMI is more accurate? To answer that, maybe it’s a good idea to focus on Christian music’s purpose as found in God’s word. Paul commanded the following of believers:

18 …be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… Ephesians 5

Godly music takes place inwardly, springing forth from the Holy Spirit inside of the believer. We speak to ourselves to encourage ourselves in the Lord and to glorify and thank the Lord in our hearts. But wait, there’s more:

1Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3

Christian music also has an outward purpose. When we let Christ’s word abound in us, music is a tool we can use to teach and admonish (gently correct wrongs with encouragement to do right) each other about godly principles with God’s grace in our hearts so that whatever we do is done to represent Jesus in thankfulness to the Father. Do our favorite Christian artists represent these ideas in their lives and in their lyrics? If they meet the criteria, should it matter what record label they have a contract with or who they tour with? These are questions we should ask ourselves.

However, it should be noted that as the Church becomes more worldly in these end times, it should be no surprise if that worldliness spills over into the CMI. Especially since New World Order secularists are actively recruiting religious people who look Christian to influence churchgoers to get on board with their one world religion aspirations.

Sources:

Czarina Ong, Christian music loses meaning when artists focus on sales, says Kirk Franklin, ChristianToday.com, February 9, 2015.

Jessica Morris, The Problem with the Christian Music Industry, FDRMX.com, January 30, 2015.

Harry A. Gaylord