Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Secret
Christianity or New Age
By Lynn Stuter
February 2007

A “phenomenon” is sweeping America; according to the purveyors, everyone should have it — it’s The Secret.

“The Secret is a feature length, historic and factually based account of an age old secret, said to be 4,000 years in the making, and known to a fortunate few, as told by some of the greatest leaders of our time. The Secret reveals this great knowledge to the world—The Secret to wealth, health, love, happiness, relationships. . .The Secret to life itself.”

The secret of the universe revealed at last! Shouldn’t we all rush to the call! Aren’t we all just thrilled?

The above is from the press kit issued for The Secret. In the background of that press kit is a circular logo. Around the edge of that logo are the words “as above so below”—as in heaven so on earth. This is a New Age precept that defies true biblical teaching, for heaven is nothing like the world around us. As God warned His wayward people long ago,
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The idea of heaven on earth defies the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; that Christ died on the cross for the sins of man; that
“whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting (eternal) life” (John 3:15).
When the mortal perishes—the body—the soul of they who believe in Him will live in eternity with God. At the same time, Jesus said,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
And God said to believers,
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
New Agers believe there is no eternity, there is only the here and now; heaven on earth; as above so below.

On Friday, February 16, 2007, two of the promoters of The Secret appeared for the second time on the Oprah show. For the discerning, what spewed from the mouths of these two men, Michael Beckwith and James Ray, was New Age. One lady, identifying herself as a Christian, spoke about her unease with the seeming focus of The Secret. She was quickly shot down by Beckwith and Ray and by Oprah Winfrey, claiming that she, too, was a Christian. After all, if Oprah Winfrey is a Christian and supports The Secret, isn’t that endorsement enough for all Christians?

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)

Let us be reminded that Oprah Winfrey had Marianne Williamson, New Age leader and guru, on her show back in 1992; that it was Winfrey’s endorsement of Williamson that skyrocketed Williamson to fame along with her book expounding the virtues of the New Age “Bible”: A Course in Miracles. (Source: http://www.reinventingjesuschrist.com) Williamson now appears on Oprah and Friends XM Satellite Radio as a “friend and contributor.”

Within seconds of the lady proclaiming her unease with the focus of The Secret, Michael Beckwith announced to all that “God is within.” This is another New Age precept—God dwells within all people, man is divine, self-divination. God and humanity are one! This again defies the true biblical teaching of The Trinity and of God as the ultimate Higher Authority.

The natural outcome is evident throughout the New Age ideology: Man-centered “affirmations”—statements of positive attributes and desires, repeated often enough, will come true: believe and receive, my will be done. If I want a red Lamborghini, and I believe it will come to me, I will receive it. This is not what the Bible teaches; the Bible teaches that it is God’s will that shall be done.

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” (Matthew 6:9-13, the Lord’s Prayer)
God does not say to us, “wish for what material things you want, they shall be yours at your request.” He says, “I am the ultimate Authority, My will be done.”

And above all else, what became very apparent, as the show moved along, was the true focus of The Secret: money -- the more the merrier, and the more money in the pockets of the promoters, the better. Go back and read the press kit trailer quoted above. What is the first thing revealed by The Secret? “The Secret to wealth….” If you go on the website of The Secret, there you will see, front and center, “The Secret -- The Science of Getting Rich.” The promoters of The Secret are not nearly as interested in doing good as they are in increasing their net worth.

Is wealth the measure of our obedience to God? Of course not. Is wealth the measure of whether we will be with God in eternity? Of course not. Is wealth the measure of grace? Of course not.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 3:15)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasurers upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasurers in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. … No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other: or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:19-21, 6:24)

Also evident in the press kit trailer is the promotion of The Secret by Jack Canfield, New Age guru of long standing; disciple of the likes of theosophist Alice Bailey; promoter of confluent education—of placing children in altered states of consciousness known to many as guided fantasy/guided visualization for the purpose of meeting spirit guides.

As Warren Smith and Brian Flynn—both former New Agers, one a former “medium”—have confirmed, spirit guides are not of God! They are of Satan; they are demons. Coincidentally, or maybe not, on Thursday, February 15, 2007, the Oprah show had John Edward, psychic medium, as a guest. On the Oprah.com website was posted a survey asking participants:

1. Do you believe in the supernatural?
2. Do you believe that sixth-sense abilities are real?
3. Do you believe human spirits can survive after death?
4. Do you believe it is possible for psychic mediums to see, hear and talk to the dead?
5. After watching this episode of the The Oprah Winfrey Show, did your opinions on this subject matter change?

6. If you have ever visited a psychic medium to try to communicate with a dead relative, was it a successful experience?

I answered “yes” to questions 1 and 2; and “no” to questions 3 through 5; I didn’t answer question 6 as I don’t consort with psychic mediums. I hit “submit” and the results of survey came up, preceded by “…You might be featured in an upcoming show!” WOW! I might be on the Oprah show, coming into the presence of her eminence, the queen of television! How exciting!

Under the results of question number 4 was a link asking the participant to Tell us why you believe or why you do not believe it possible for psychic mediums to see, hear and talk to the dead. I responded, stating that psychic mediums were not communicating with the dead, they were communicating with demons whose soul purpose it is to lead people away from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I suggested Brian Flynn as a future guest on the Oprah show.
“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31)

You just can’t imagine how disappointed I was to receive a response from the Oprah show as follows:

“Thank you for your e-mail! Your message is important to us. Unfortunately, due to the volume of e-mail messages we receive every day, we cannot guarantee that you'll receive a personal response. Feel free to check out our Frequently Asked Questions for additional help.


What? No offer to appear on the Oprah show? How devastating! Think maybe that had anything to do with the fact that I exposed John Edward as someone who communicates with demons? And imagine my surprise when, during her interview with John Edward, when John Edward made the mistake of referring to his “guides”, Oprah Winfrey did not ask him to explain but moved the interview right along!

“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” (Isaiah 8:19-22)

So, okay, what these people, Oprah Winfrey included, are pushing is the New Age world view, philosophy, religion. Don’t these people have a right to their beliefs? Oh, very much so.
So, if you don’t participate, why should you be concerned?

For one very simple reason: the New Age religious world view is the “spiritual dimension” that is inextricably engrained in the transformation of America from a constitutional republic to a participatory democracy. In short, it is the intent, the agenda of these people that they will usher in a one-world religion based solely on the New Age world view! You see, while you might be willing to allow them their religious beliefs, they are not willing to allow you yours. In fact, in the unpublished papers of one world futurist (fancy name for New Age theosophist), she states emphatically (sic) we are all atoms in a molecule (representing the one-world system concept); radical atoms (dissenters) must be exterminated in the greater good of the collective whole. Do I need to paint a picture?

The New Age world view, along with its near cousin, humanism, permeates government-run public schools, the work place in the name of Total Quality Management, and is rapidly infiltrating churches in the name of “the church growth movement” while pastors are being emasculated by the promise of overflowing pews.

Has Rick Warren and his “Purpose Driven” agenda been brought in and accepted by your church? Is your pastor aware of the connection between Rick Warren and such New Age gurus as Neale Donald Walsch, Robert Schuller, Bernie Siegel and Marianne Williamson? Why would a church, supposedly Christian in foundation, agree to teach New Age principles and precepts to its congregation?

In the words of Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy,
“You can only have a new society, the visionaries have said, if you change the education of the younger generation.” (1987; page 280)

Is your pastor telling you that contemplative prayer is okay or sanctioning it by saying nothing? Are you aware that contemplative prayer is nothing more than transcendental meditation (TM) or yoga; that it is grounded in Eastern mysticism and is totally antithetical to the teachings of the true Bible? Transcendental meditation and yoga both utilize altered states of consciousness, the state in which children in public schools, taken on guided fantasies and guided visualizations to meet spirit guides (demons) are being placed by teachers who are being taught the methodology by the likes of Jack Canfield, New Age guru.

In an article published in New Age magazine in 1978, Canfield instructs …

“If you're teaching in a public school, don't call it meditation, call it ‘centering.’ Every school wants children to be relaxed, attentive, and creative, and that's what they will get.”
In a sidebar to this article, it is acknowledged that …

“Many of the new methods and approaches we have written about in this article are beginning to be adopted by more and more teachers in pilot programs.”

The Bible does not teach that we need to be in an altered state of consciousness to pray. But children, subjected to this in the government-run public schools are being introduced to New Age practices from an early age. When ministers fail, from the pulpit, to expose contemplative prayer for what it truly is, young people are given the message that contemplative prayer is just okay, and in so doing, ministers are encouraging children to participate in self-destructive behavior in defiance of God’s word.

Ever wondered why teachers in your local government-run public school cannot speak of God, Jesus, our Lord, our Savior, and even having a Bible on school grounds could be cause for disciplinary action, but the same prohibition on “religion” does not exist for Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism?

children study the spirituality of the Native American Indians, their spiritual wheels and animal spirits, shamans, dream catchers and the like are okay topics and art projects for the classroom but speaking of God or coloring a picture of Christ is taboo?

children cannot wear clothing proclaiming their belief in God to school, but clothing depicting Satan, the peace symbol, the yin/yang do not receive the same censorship?

children cannot pray to God in the classroom, but they can go on guided fantasies and guided visualizations to meet spirit guides (demons) in the classroom?

Do you get the impression that the only discrimination going on, in the realm of religion in the government-run public schools is against Christianity? If you do, you are absolutely correct.
Why is that? Very simple, systems theory—that which provides the foundation upon which the transformation of America from a constitutional republic to a participatory democracy is built—cannot tolerate the individual and true Christianity teaches that we are all individuals.
Enter the New Age movement, one of the precepts of which is that we are one with one another: one with God: in communion with God 24/7: as above so below.

Enter Karl Marx who was not shy in proclaiming that Christianity, because of its teaching that we are all individuals, should be stamped out in pursuit of “Oneness of Mind”—the Hegelian Dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis with synthesis becoming the new thesis, ever evolving to a higher plane of reality. If you think that sounds like something right out of the New Age Movement, remember that the religions of New Age and humanism are close cousins, the difference between the two being nothing more than the spiritual dimension of the New Age world view.

New Age Religion:
One with another and with God
Believe and receive; my will be done
Gaia Hypothesis
Human potential
Create the Future

Humanist Religion:
Oneness of Mind
No deity will save us; we must save ourselves
General Systems Theory
Create the Future

And lest we forget, Karl Marx is considered the “father of communism”.

The Hegelian Dialectic is familiar to most under the name of “consensus building” and “facilitation.” The teacher will become the “facilitator of learning”; not the “sage on the stage” but the “guide on the side” — all terms that those familiar with education transformation, better known as performance-based education, outcome-based education, standards-based education, competency-based education. The Hegelian Dialectic is also the basis of such concepts as higher order thinking skills, critical thinking, peer mediation, peer tutoring, team building—the purpose of each and all is to move the child away from individuality and to the concept that they are but one atom in a molecule; Oneness of Mind.

The government-run public schools are preparing children to be willing participants in the new world of tomorrow; a world in which true Christianity has no place, but the false teachings of the New Age religion are considered to be Christianity. In short, Christianity is being hi-jacked and too many churches are willing participants in what is becoming known as the emerging church or church growth movement.

In the work place, people are coming face to face with the transformation of the work environment to the “total quality” environment, sometimes known as continuous quality improvement, the high performance work organization, or the learning organization.

No better evidence exists of what the total quality environment is about then The Fifth Discipline; the art and practice of the learning organization by Peter Senge. In his book, Peter Senge states that he came up with the idea for the book during his morning meditation—our first clue that what Senge espouses has nothing to do with the true teachings of God.

Senge further states that people committed to one of the key precepts of the learning organization—personal mastery—practice some form of meditation which he defines as including contemplative prayer. (1990, page 164) Senge identifies systems thinking as the fifth discipline—the focus of the book—as it is the “conceptual cornerstone” of not only itself but the other four disciplines: personal mastery (New Age world view), mental models, building shared vision and team learning (1990, p 69, pps 6-10) tying his New Age world view to systems thinking, making it very apparent the two are inextricably connected. Senge makes the case for teaching these precepts early, “…experiments with young children show that they learn systems thinking very quickly.” (1990, page 7)

Senge also makes it very apparent in his book that those committed to the learning organization are also committed to truth, further claiming, “The power of truth was no less central to early Christian thinking, although it has lost its place in Christian practice over the last two thousand years.” (1990, page 161) In other words, if the Christian refuses to participate in “personal mastery” ie, meditation, viewing such (as many Christians do) as against the teachings of God, it is because the Christian denies truth as, according to Senge, Christianity has denied truth for the last two thousand years.

This, of course, then becomes a matter of job performance with the ability to apply coercion in the name of continuing to receive a paycheck. The Christian will either conform to the new “Christianity” or be forced out of the workplace.

If you, the reader, are not beginning to feel uneasy, you should. It is not my purpose here to put anyone’s mind at ease; what I write here is a dire warning to every American who does not understand what is happening as we watch the transformation of our nation into something we no longer recognize. New Age thought and practice, principles, precepts, are being inculcated in children in the government-run public schools; in the churches where pastors are being courted and deceived by the prospect of overflowing pews; in the work place in the name of total quality. I will return you to the words of Dr Shirley McCune, raving New Ager, author is The Light Shall Set You Free; made in 1989 at the Governor’s Conference on Education held in Witchita, Kansas:

"It seems to me that far too much of our efforts have been focused on the issue of let's find a short term fix... rather than... understanding that what we are about is total restructuring of our society. What's happening in America today... is not simply a chance situation in the usual winds of change. What it amounts to is a total transformation of our society. We have moved into a new era... But what I'm not sure we have really begun to comprehend and act on sufficiently is the incredible amount of organizational restructuring and human resource development restructuring.”

As a Christian you may tolerate New Agers, but New Agers have no intention of tolerating you. And what is at stake here is not of this earth, but our obedience to the true word of God,
Jesus said … “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3; 1st Commandment of God to Moses)
God also commands us ...

"Occupy until I come (Luke 19:13) ... of which you shall know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:13)."

Ferguson, Marilyn; The Aquarian Conspiracy; Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time; 1987; J.P. Putnam’s Sons; New York.

Senge, Peter M; The Fifth Discipline; the Art & Practice of the Learning Organization; 1990; Currency Doubleday; New York.

Flynn, Brian; Running Against the Wind; 2005; Lighthouse Trails Publishing; Oregon.
Smith, Warren; Deceived on Purpose; 2004; Mountain Stream Press; California.
All biblical references come from the King James Version or New King James Version.

Recommended reading:
The four books listed as sources above.

Eidsmoe, John; Basic Principles of New Age Thought.
Kjos, Berit;
Your Child & the New Age.
Kjos, Berit; Brave New Schools.
Kjos, Berit; Under the Spell of Mother Earth.
Michaelsen, Johanna; The Beautiful Side of Evil.
Smith, Warren;
Reinventing Jesus Christ. This can be purchased in book form with updates or can be accessed on line at http://www.reinventingjesuschrist.com/
Smith, Warren; The Light that Was Dark; A Spiritual Journey.
Recommended websites:
Reinventing Jesus Christ
Discernment Ministries


Friday, February 23, 2007

The Sacrilege of T.D. Jakes.


It’s time for me to upset some of you folks who feel T.D. Jakes is the best pastor since the apostles themselves. In fact, I’m going to upset some of you who feel T.D. Jakes is a pastor of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, because the doctrine of this nondenominational individual has strayed far from the truth. I just wanted to be sure I had enough firm examples to show you before giving him a full post of his very own.

First, Jakes does not believe in the Holy Trinity. He believes in something that is totally obscure to me and not supported by scripture. Jesus made it clear God is triune when he said himself:

Matthew 28:18-20 (New King James Version)

18) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

(There are tons of other scripture that verify the Trinity, that is just one example.)

No he did not say just in his name, he said 3. This is what the most basic Christian doctrine teaches is the Holy Trinity. The God head and full nature of our Lord. Jakes has something else in mind, known as a form of “Oneness” doctrine. Melvin has it detailed and actual audio from Jakes in this post on his Pulpit Pimps blog.

Then there is the fact that Jakes preaches the Prosperity Gospel and is very close with others like Eddie Long, who preach this same twisted heresy. I used to see Jakes all the time when caught up at Eddie Long’s church. And where you find the Prosperity Gospel, you always find the Word-Faith heresy. That link has plenty on Jakes and others. I usually only mention the Prosperity Gospel when speaking of the heresies preached by folks like Jakes, because the Word-Faith aspect always goes hand in hand with that. People who want to name and claim more for themselves. Keep in mind, that a “Bishop” is not supposed to be a man who is greedy for money.

I first became turned off with Jakes when I noticed that like other preachers including Eddie Long, they have fee based events where they preach to the people who pay the fee for entry. I NEVER paid a fee to see any of these men preach, because the Gospel should be freely given. Donations to the church are what should cover any expenses, otherwise don’t have the event. I always asked people who would consider attending those paid events, how much did Jesus charge for the sermon on the mount?

Now some good folks have highlighted an NPR interview T.D. Jakes did back in May of last year. Melvin has a new post about it on his blog and this was also highlighted by the blog Doctrine Matters. It is important that these issues in Jakes’ doctrine be raised, because given his massive following he could lead many people from the truth.

At that NPR interview, Jakes was promoting his book Mama Made the Difference. You can hear the full audio of the NPR interview here.

A Muslim woman basically asked Jakes if he feels Christians and not Muslims will go to Heaven. Jakes, instead of standing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and against the cult of Muhammad, took a more ecumenical route. Here’s what the blog The Heresy Hunter transcribed of the exchange.

ANNETTE: I’m a Muslim here in Portland. I’m part of a Shiite community. And we had a wonderful interface dialogue last weekend with a local Unitarian church. And I’d like to ask you please to speak about concrete experiences you’ve had as far as interfaith dialogue goes. And also would like to ask you, do you feel that only Christians could hope to enter Heaven?

Pastor JAKES:
Very great question. When it comes to interfaith experiences, I’m currently serving by the appointment of former President Bush and President Clinton, as co-chair of an interfaith advisory committee to help people get back up on their feet.

And we do have on the board Muslims, Catholics, a Jewish Rabbi, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals across the board. And we’re working together very effectively because we all care about common goals. We have our distinct theologies and our own ideologies but there are common grounds that we can work together very effectively in many, many cases.

When it comes to Heaven, I try to leave that up to God. I certainly believe that Christianity is right, but when it comes down to the final test–who goes and who doesn’t go–Jesus said, Other sheep have I who are not of this fold. Them also must I bring. I’ll let Him identify who those sheep are and I stay out of the conversation.

Jakes speaks pure blasphemy. Knowing the doctrine of the Muslims, plus the Biblical history, for him to hedge on the question is totally against Christian doctrine. But he can’t say Islam is a cult, that denies Jesus as Lord and leads to hell. That would keep him off those neat “interfaith” organizations, that are supposed to offer politicians faith-based guidance.

Also, for Jakes to infer that Jesus speaking of “other sheep” possibly including people who fail to accept Jesus (like Muslims) is ludicrous. You read the full passage of scripture and it’s clear that Jesus shows he is THE ONLY WAY.

John 10:1-18 (New King James Version)

1) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

2) But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3) To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

4) And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

5) Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

6) Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

7) Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

8) All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9) I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

10) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

12) But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.

13) The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

14) I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

15) As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16) And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

17) “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.

18) No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Jesus was speaking to Jews and simply was saying that people other than Jews would be able to follow him and be saved. For Jakes to obscure the issue with a Muslim is just wrong. He should have informed the Muslim that Jesus is the way to salvation and that the teachings of Muhammad are incorrect. Oh, but then he’d have to offend somebody and might sell less books!

When it comes to the books, Jakes wants you to know he’s not just a pastor.

I’m a clergyman, I’m a preacher by calling, but when it comes to vocation I’m also an author. I like to write and I’m here as a guest of Penguin Putnam and when I write a book they treat me like anybody else who wrote a book. There’s no difference there at all.

Wouldn’t want to say anything that might upset that big book deal, by telling a Muslim Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Jesus made it clear he is the true way and people like Muhammad are false and a robber, but you won’t hear Jakes tell that full portion of scripture.

After not giving proper guidance to the Muslim woman, the NPR commentator attempted to pin Jakes down. To see if he would say that somebody is going to hell. The commentator brought up homosexuals and once again, Jakes put on his dancing shoes instead of giving a direct answer.

(my transcription of the exchange is below)

Commentator: You don’t stay out of the conversation necessarily when homosexuals are the issue.

Uh, what makes you say that?

Well uh, I’ve read that you consider homosexuality is a sin. So if you’re practicing ah homosexual you’re not going to heaven.

You know something, I don’t know anybody of any faith who can say that they have no sin in their lives. Whether it’s homosexuality or lying on your income tax or speaking rudely to somebody at a window. What we call sin may differ from person to person, but who amongst us can say that they have no sin? Jesus said that. And he said he that is without fault among you let him cast the first stone. I’m certainly not casting any particular stones at any particular group of people. All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but the question was about hell. And when it comes down to hell, that’s an issue that I believe in a way of salvation. I believe that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. That no man comes unto the Father saved but by him. But I’m not so dogmatic in my views, that I’m willing to condemn anybody and send them to hell, I leave that up to God.

Nobody asked him to toss a stone at anyone. Just say what he believes. Jesus is not “a way”, he is THE WAY.

I sure wish the apostle Paul were doing that interview, because he’s given a more honest answer.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New King James Version)

9) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,

10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Yes we all have sinned and continue to battle with that. I emphasize he word BATTLE regarding sin, because that is the core issue here. Jakes was asked about someone being gay and getting into Heaven. Paul has made it clear, that someone who continues to live in homosexuality or other sins will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven. We all have sins, but we must fight those sins and if someone does not desire to fight against sin, including homosexual behavior, they are not following Christ and won’t make it into Heaven. I have fully explained this and the various temptations we all have to sin in a previous post. No we can’t say that someone who desires to remain living in any sin will make it to Heaven and Jakes should have been clear. People who are fighting against the sinful nature of their flesh will fair far better. The ambiguous answers given by T.D. Jakes leave people who refuse Jesus and people who endorse sinful behavior with the view that they might get into Heaven. Of course it’s God’s call who will get into Heaven, but we must be clear about what we believe. Because God has already made the criteria for entry to Heaven clear. At best, Jakes’ statements leave people thinking they can accept Jesus and continue to be at peace with sinful behavior. It treats sin as if it is just a word and if you’re doing sin it’s OK so long as you claim Jesus while doing it. The way to Heaven involves accepting Jesus and turning from sin. This is something Jakes should not hedge over.

Later in the interview, Jakes babbled about his church’s charitable works. It is best for Christians to remain quiet about charitable deeds.

Matthew 6:2-4 (New King James Version)

2) Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

3) But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4) that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

When asked about Democrats and Republicans Jakes said.

We survive by the balance of the two extremities.

Tell that to the millions of babies who die via abortion. I’m not saying all that Republicans or Democrats advocate is good, however I don’t see God’s will at their center either! And I can’t use the word “survive” when babies are allowed to be killed in that balance. Democrats and Republicans are both the political embodiment of various special interest groups and nothing more. Given the issues caused by illegal immigration, plus terrorists entering with them, that neither party will adequately address, survival is very much a relative term.

Jakes’ answers are so open ended and his doctrine so out of step with true Christian teaching, that I worry what he really thinks regarding faith in private. And I must be honest, it’s very annoying listening to him with that terrible lisp. For someone who speaks as much in public as he does, to still hold a lisp is just troublesome to me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Those were the words that continued to ring through my head as I listened over and over again to all the news reports on the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith.

It was in 1983 when she quit high school at the age of 16 to work as a waitress and a cook. Shortly thereafter she married Billy Wayne Smith, another fry cook, and together they had a son, Daniel Smith VIII. The marriage lasted less than a year, and Anna Nicole, then known as Vickie Lynn Hogan, moved back to Houston to work at Wal-Mart, a restaurant, and a topless strip club as a dancer. It was there at a strip club in 1992 where she would meet her second husband, billionaire oil-tycoon, J. Howard Marshall II. In less than 10 years, she when from a high school drop-out and hometown waitress to the verge of marrying into billions (even though he was old enough to be her grandfather).

But the prospect of billions was not enough. A year later she made it on the cover of Playboy magazine, and Hugh Hefner made the public statement that Anna Nicole would be the next Marilyn Monroe. It is reported that throughout her life, indeed, she considered it her ambition to be just like Monroe, and tragically, her short-lived life ended in a very similar fashion.

The last chapter of her life began with a reality show (”The Anna Nicole Smith Show”) where cameras followed her life story. In between reality shows and bankruptcy, Anna Nicole’s life was constantly in the courts, trying to get the millions from the Marshall family after the death of her husband. And just last year, with the birth of a baby girl, her son overdoses and dies there in her hospital room. Mourning after the death of her son who apparently was the love of her life, she became more and more depressed and found new court battles to face, in particular over who was the father of her newborn baby. And just five days ago, Anna Nicole collapses and dies in her hotel room at the age of 39.

This is a brief summary of a woman who, for 39 years, heard the words “Go and sin some more.” She had everything this world could possibly offer: beauty, riches, sex, fame, etc. Coming from a small town in Texas a high school drop-out, this looks like the American dream. After all, what was it that America could offer that she did not receive?

Yet over the past week, I heard testimony after testimony from her friends, family, and associates about how lonely, depressed, and empty Anna Nicole was her entire life. One of her closest companions shared that Anna Nicole felt no one loved her and that no man cared enough to pursue her, so much that her last husband, her lawyer, came by default since he was her closest friend. This woman, having walked the red carpet, lived in mansions, and posed before thousands of cameras couldn’t look at herself in the face and accept who she was.

I hearkened back to Scripture and more specifically to the life of Jesus Christ to think about a couple of Anna Nicole’s in Jesus’ day. I recall a woman of Samaria who had many men in her life (John 4:1-42), a woman of the city who was characteristically known as “a sinner” (Luke 7:36-50), and a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Like the Samaritan woman, Anna Nicole had experienced many men in her life. Like the woman of the city, she prostituted herself for riches. Like the woman caught in adultery, she knew what it was like to be in a courtroom, being judged by others. Jesus was no stranger to the Anna Nicole’s of his day.

But Anna Nicole was a stranger to Jesus Christ. She had not met the man who “told me all that I ever did” (John 4:29). She did not hear the question, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:49). She did not hear the words “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). No, she heard the opposite from the world around her. At every point in her life, whether as a stripper, a Playboy Playmate, an unfaithful wife, or wrapped up in drugs, sex, and fame, she heard the words, “Go and sin some more.” And ultimately, such wages of sin lead to her death (Rom. 6:23).

Everything that she wanted she had, and everything that she had led to her death. Such is the story of a life wasted by the world, ruined by its supposed benefits, duped by its fleeting promises. What did Anna Nicole need?

She needed the gospel. She needed forgiveness of sins. She needed a man who could tell her all that she ever did. She needed to hear the words, “Go and sin NO more.” She needed Jesus.
The money, the sex, the riches and the fame, were all broken cisterns which could hold no water (Jer. 2:13), leaving a thirsty soul parched, barren, and empty. She drank of the water which made her thirsty again and again, but she never drank of the water that would be a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14). She knew many men in life, but she didn’t know the Son of Man who died so that we might live. Until her dying day, Anna Nicole fought up to the U.S. Supreme Court for $474 million only to find that riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death (Prov. 11:4). Having succumbed to death, an even higher court she must face as she stands before the Judge of the earth on that day of wrath where the wealth of the world cannot vouch for a bankrupt soul.

Turning to myself, I have to ask, “Who are the Anna Nicole’s in my life?” No, I am not talking about strippers or playmates or Hollywood superstars with millions to spare. I am talking about those who, like Anna Nicole, have never come to treasure Jesus Christ as the all-satisfying Savior and Lord of their life. Have I so presented Jesus to them that they would be lead to reply, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:15)? Or have I become a modern-day Pharisee who would tell Jesus, “If you were a prophet, you would have known what sort of woman this is who is touching you” (Luke 7:39)? Do I find my hands filled with stones or does my life reflect that I am a debtor to sovereign mercy?

The fact is that I am not better than Anna Nicole or the men who she stripped for, save the grace of God. What I most desperately needed was forgiveness of sin, for I am all the more a worm, wretched and blind, rotten and wicked. Yet, having become a debtor to mercy and a child of God, it is my privilege to go to the Anna Nicole’s with the love of Christ and say, “Go and sin no more.” It is my lifelong calling to call sinners to repentance who long to be like the Marilyn Monroe’s to long to be like Christ. It is my earnest prayer that, whether in life or in death, Jesus Christ would be on display, that words would be spoken of Him and His great salvation, and that all would be gain because I have treasured Him.

I tremble to think that my world might hear the words, “Go and sin some more” with the way I live my life. I shutter to think that the Anna Nicole’s in my world would find a Pharisee in me, questioning the worth of their alabaster box rather than kissing the feet of my Savior. May God spare me the horror of such disgrace and use these recent events in the death of Anna Nicole Smith to awaken me to the tragedy of a wasted life and the glories of treasuring the excellencies of Jesus Christ.

It may be that you may be reading this, and you can relate to Anna Nicole. You have tasted the bitter water of this world and find that it does not satisfy. You have bought into the bad deal of goods this world has to offer, only to find yourself restless all the more. To those weary, restless, and thirsty, come to Jesus and be satisfied in Him alone. Turn from your wretched ways and trust in Jesus to save you, and His promise is true and faithful, that He will accept you no matter where you are or what you have done. The only hope of God being satisfied with us is in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the death he died was once and for all for sinners like you and me, so that we might be accepted in heaven because of His sacrifice and taking our place on the cross. The message the world tells you is to go and sin some more. Yet such sinful living has an eternal price tag to pay, and that is everlasting separation and punishment in hell. Jesus tells you to go and sin no more because He came that we might be forgiven of our sin through His victory over it on the cross. Flee to Him today, and treasure Him for a lifetime, yea for eternity.

Berit Kjos has written an important new article in which she examines the tolerance of teachers such as Brian McLaren. Is this the “secret” of success in the Emergent agenda?

In his popular book, The Secret Message of Jesus, Pastor Brian McLaren writes:

“…to be truly inclusive the kingdom must exclude exclusive people, to be truly reconciling, the kingdom must not reconcile with those who refuse reconciliation…the kingdom of God is
open to all, except those who want to ruin it by dividing it against itself.” [emphasis added]

Much insight is gained from Berit’s new article, Tolerance as a Tool for Transformation,
exposing an emergent, cerebral “tolerance” without the Law rising among American
“Christians” with the upsurge of socialist thinking to “redefine” the American judicial
system for “a new kind of tolerance” in our land:

Tolerance as a Tool for Transformation

Intimidating the masses into socialist consensus
By Berit Kjos, January 29, 2007

"...the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are... suppressed.”[1] 1965, Herbert Marcuse, an influential Marxist.

"The techniques of brainwashing developed in totalitarian countries are routinely used in psychological conditioning programs imposed on American school children. These include emotional shock and desensitization... stripping away defenses... and inducing acceptance of alternative values...."[2] Thomas Sowell

"I cannot stand narrow minded idiots like yourselves. You are seriously sick." A visitor to our website

Throughout history, "tolerance" has meant different things to different people. A century ago,
most Americans would have defined it as civility toward disagreeable persons, not as acceptance of contrary views. In contrast, today's "tolerance" demands acceptance of politically correct views
but intolerance toward those who cling to "traditional" values. While media leaders feel free to mock Christians, believers are losing their freedom to state their convictions. After all, they
might hurt someone's feelings.

This transformation didn't "just happen." During the 20th century, socialist visionaries redefined tolerance and began using it as an effective weapon against Biblical values. Trained facilitators
(in schools, government, corporations and churches) began turning cultural norms upside
down -- then held the masses accountable to the new cultural guidelines. NEA leader, Professor Raymond Houghton, summarized the deception in 1970,

"...absolute behavior control is imminent.... The critical point of behavior control, in effect, is sneaking up on mankind without his self-conscious realization that a crisis is at hand. Man will... never self-consciously know that it has happened."[3]

Former Carnegie strategist Marc Tucker, a friend of Hillary Clinton and the master-mind behind America's "School-to-Work" agenda, shared that vision: "[Our objective] will require a change in the prevailing culture -- the attitudes, values, norms and accepted ways of doing things."[4]

Tucker had followed the footsteps of mind-changing behavioral "scientists" such as Herbert Marcuse, a transformational Marxist trained in the "inner circle" at the revolutionary Frankfurt Institute for Social Research in pre-war Germany. With Hitler's rise to power, that "inner circle"
fled to America. In 1934, Marcuse, called "the father of political correctness," joined other
socialist change agents at Columbia University, where they built on the liberal foundation laid by John Dewey. Years later, Marcuse wrote the report, Repressive Tolerance, which exposed his oppressive Communist goals:

"The uncertainty of chance... necessitates tolerance. However, this tolerance cannot be indiscriminate and equal... it cannot protect false words and wrong deeds which demonstrate that they contradict and counteract the' possibilities of liberation.... Such indiscriminate tolerance is justified in harmless debates.... But society cannot be indiscriminate... where freedom and happiness themselves are at stake: here, certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed, certain behavior cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude."[1]

Marcuse became a hero to the revolutionary student movements during the chaotic sixties. Now, forty years later, we see the fruit of his labor: moral corruption and intolerance toward traditional values. Facing these painful consequences, Kevin, a young Christian, sent us this note:

"On my school bus kids would like to sing rap songs that includes a lot of profanity and perversion.... Liberals, gays and others say we Christians are intolerant when they are intolerant themselves. One time my seventh grade teacher said those who say God forbids or hates homosexuality are racists!"

Few of today's results-driven churches will take their stand with believers like Kevin. Inspired by "successful" leaders like Rick Warren, churches -- like the corporate world -- now wield their "tolerance" like a whip with which to intimidate resisters who still cling to Biblical certainties and intolerant-sounding truths. After all, such "lone rangers" hinder today's collective march toward the envisioned earthly kingdom of universal peace and solidarity.

In his popular book, The Secret Message of Jesus, Pastor Brian McLaren seems to echo Marcuse:

"...to be truly inclusive, the kingdom must exclude exclusive people, to be truly reconciling, the kingdom must not reconcile with those who refuse reconciliation.... [T]he kingdom of God is open to all, except those who want to ruin it by dividing it against itself." [5]
The changeable nature of Tolerance

Tolerance is never neutral. Its boundaries keep changing, often through self-serving governments that mandate public values through state-controlled religious hierarchies. Using various forms of propaganda and discipline, powerful establishments have turned public intolerance against foes of the planned solidarity.

Take the British monarchy during the 16th and 17th centuries. The shameless Henry VIII replaced Catholicism with the Church of England (Anglican) when the Pope refused to approve his first divorce (Henry beheaded three of his six wives). After his death and the short reign of his sickly son, the throne went to his Catholic daughter (Bloody) Mary I. She restored the Papal hierarchy
and showed her intolerance for dissenters by burning them on the stake. When she died in 1558, her Anglican sister, Elizabeth I, became queen.

While Mary had persecuted Protestants, Elizabeth persecuted those who refused to conform to
the Church of England. After her death in 1603, King James I (already the reigning King of Scotland) gained the British throne and joined the two nations. James formalized the rituals of the Church of England and had no tolerance for protestant Separatists who sought a simpler form of worship. Seeking religious freedom, these Puritans fled to Holland. Pursued even there, they boarded the Mayflower for America in 1620.

King Charles I, son of James I, was executed for treason in 1649, and the throne stood empty for almost three decades. In 1662, the British Parliament passed the Act of Uniformity, mandating religious conformity with the ritual practices of the Church of England. Baptists, Presbyterians,
and Puritans (like John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress) who followed their Bible-trained conscience, were labeled "non-conformists." Non-conforming pastors who continued preaching faced persecution.

In 1677, James' grandson, Charles II, was crowned king. The persecution of dissenters quickly intensified. Among those who faced torture and "death by hanging" was a young maidservant, Marion Harvie. As she prepared to climb the scaffold, her final words showed her faith in Jesus, her Lord:

"Because He lives, I shall live also.... How I bless Him that thoughts of death are not terrible to
me. He hath made me as willing to lay down my life for Him as ever I was willing to live in this world.... Seek Him and ye shall find Him. I sought Him and found Him; I held Him and would not let Him go."[6]

Relief came in 1689 when the British Parliament passed The Act of Toleration, granting limited freedom to dissenters.

The Christians who fled to America during this time had seen the dangers of government-controlled religion. A century later, the religious freedom they sought became a legal promise through the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

But that freedom is fading fast. Once again, the tool of "tolerance" and government mandates threaten our freedom. But today's leaders are far more subtle and sophisticated than British
rulers were centuries ago. Armed with the latest psycho-social strategies, postmodern revolutionaries are facilitating a mass consensus aimed at silencing all opposition.

Today's public values show the results. Since I write reviews of popular entertainment (usually in response to questions from concerned parents), I get lots of angry letters. It matters little that I
have tried to be kind and factual in my reviews -- or that I criticize the message rather than a person -- zealous defenders of popular entertainment have little tolerance for contrary views. Notice the emphasis on feelings rather than facts in the following comments:

· Unfortunately people like you guys actually do exist... While reading one of your many articles on Harry Potter for a class on censorship, I came to realize that religious fundamentalism is dangerous and maniacal no matter what religion it is. You guys are on par with muslims....
· Hate and fear peddlers is all you are. You're no worse than the KKK.
· You are intolerant bumbling fools.... There is nothing wrong with pokemon.... Live a nice life and die.
· ...your opinions are every bit as dangerous as those expressed by so-called "hate" groups....

Star Wars is just a movie, Pokemon is just a card game, and Christianity is just a belief. ... The most disturbing part about your articles is the vast number of "weak minded" individuals who blindly follow your beliefs, accepting your irrational way of thinking.
· I can't believe there are actually idiots like you on this planet! You people REALLY scare me....

I often ask such visitors if they would want to outlaw websites like ours. Many answer "Yes." They don't believe we have the right to share our offensive views on a public website. Instead, they
claim the right not to be offended by inconvenient facts or logic.

Our response to an intolerant world

If we can't stop the transformation, how should we relate to this strange, new world? How can we love those who hate our beliefs?

There's a clue in Proverbs 15:1. It reminds us that "a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." It's true! When I replied with kindness, many would send back grateful -- even repentant -- responses. The subsequent correspondence didn't include Hegelian Dialogue as a means to consensus. Instead, the angry expressions became opportunities to show God's love -- without compromise!

America's "traditional" values may be vanishing, but some things never change: human nature, God's timeless Truth, and His all-sufficient strength. Human nature may be driving this social and spiritual transformation. But God and His Word enable us to stand firm in the midst of the raging battle.

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord...." 1 Corinthians 15:56

1. Herbert Marcuse, Repressive Tolerance, 1965 at http://www.marcuse.org/herbert/pubs/60spubs/65
2. Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., "Indoctrinating the Children," Forbes, February 1, 1993), 65.
3. Raymond Houghton, To Nurture Humaneness, ASCD (curriculum arm of the NEA), 1970
4. Marc Tucker, "How We Plan to Do It," Proposal to the New American School Development Corporation: National Center for Education and the Economy, July 9, 1992. See Tucker Plan Includes Cradle Control
5.Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Nashville: Thomas Nelson's W Publishing Group, 2006), pages 169-170. See also Who defines the Kingdom of God?
6. Michael and Sharon Rustin, The One Year Book of Christian History
(Tyndale House Publishers, 2003), page 52-53.