Insanity

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

The news is always bad. That is the nature of news. But it seems lately (2020) the news has been relentlessly troubling, perplexing, and dismaying.

The virus scare that began in March 2020 caused people to do a spiritual inventory. This is because the new virus was supposed to be a rampant killer, and we Americans, as well as citizens in other nations, were told that lots of people were going to die from the virus. We weren’t going to have capacity to handle the thousands predicted to need hospital rooms, ventilators, and other life-saving equipment. Death was coming for us, they said. Fear became the prevailing atmosphere of 2020.

The saved are secure about our eternal destiny. The unsaved are scared out of their minds.


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The Roarings Of Woke Evangelicals

The Outspoken TULIP

More and more, evangelicals demand all manner of social justice. The predominant issue is reparations for racial inequality, but the umbrella also covers women’s rights and LBGTQ concerns. The Black Lives Matter crusade is actually a cleverly marketed program to transform the culture into a Marxist society.

People are buying it because they’ve ignored history to the point of not understanding that socialism really amounts to communism, and communism is infinitely more oppressive than the alleged systemic racism and binary patriarchy of our present culture.

Although it troubles me that non-Christians embrace this velvet gloved Marxism, I can understand how they fall into such deception. It bothers me to a far greater extent that evangelicals (even some within the Reformed camp) have jumped on various corners of this bandwagon, many going so far as to claim social justice as a Gospel issue.

I thought of this dangerous false teaching as…

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Grace Community Church is not hiding their light under a bushel basket

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday, Sunday, September 13, Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur opened his service with an announcement. In an ongoing legal battle the church is fighting against the County of Los Angeles, Dr. MacArthur told his congregation the requirements that LA County is demanding that churches (and other large venue gatherings) fulfill in order to meet (an not inside, either, just outside). In the latest legal skirmish, the Judge this week ruled against the Church, saying they may not meet unless the ‘health restrictions’ were met. After all, the County wasn’t denying them the opportunity to meet at all, just that they could not meet in the way they desired.

I suppose that is one way to circumvent the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. In effect, the Judge on behalf of the County…

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Throwback Thursday ~ 10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

Michelle Lesley

Originally published April 22, 2016.

plain vanilla

Baskin Robbins is one of my favorite places to get ice cream. Not only is their ice cream good, but they boast a plethora of flavors to choose from. I love to start at one end of the counter and work my way through all their offerings, getting a little “taste spoon” here and there if a particular flavor piques my interest.

Flavor_Enlarged_Peanutbutter'nChocolate2 Photo courtesy of BaskinRobbins.com.

Having a myriad of options is great when it comes to ice cream, but when it comes to studying the Bible, the tsunami of materials, methods, and other choices out there can be overwhelming. Where do I start? How do I know if a certain Bible study book or teacher is doctrinally sound? Is the study method I’m using in line with good hermeneutics?

It can be enough to make you throw your hands up in the air and…

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You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

Michelle Lesley

Originally published July 17, 2014

Bible Five Reasons

As a women’s Bible study author and teacher, I have the unique privilege of talking to women from all kinds of backgrounds about their spiritual lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had women share with me that they didn’t grow up in church, or they grew up in a church that “didn’t allow” them to read the Bible, and now they have to use a Bible study or devotional book in their quiet time or they’re afraid they won’t be able to understand the Bible. My heart goes out to these ladies because they desperately want to learn from God’s word, but somewhere along the way, someone or something has convinced these perfectly intelligent women–I haven’t met a dumb one, yet– that they’re not good enough or smart enough for God’s word.

As Colonel Potter used to say:

ColPotter MM

Ladies, you are not dumb…

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Who Said That? Who’s There?

Yada, Yada

Have you ever been in school and your teacher suddenly announced, “All right close your books and put up your notes- it’s pop quiz time!” Then, in an attempt to ease the panic amongst the students faces, the teacher says, “Don’t worry! You’ll be fine….as long as you’ve been keeping up with your readings.”

Our entire existence on this earth is filled with daily, multiple pop quizzes. We are constantly being tested on what we know to be true.

Think about what has been told to you most recently. What pretty, scripted quote is coming up on your news feed? Is it from God? What “random thought” has been entering into your mind most recently? Is it from God?

Now for the follow up questions: how are we going to know the validity of what is being told to us unless we’ve read the Word of God? How are we…

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Rebellion

Into the Foolishness of God

I have gone out of my way to be provocative, mischievous, and unclear, reflecting my belief that clarity is sometimes overrated, and that shock, obscurity, playfulness, and intrigue (carefully articulated) often stimulate more thought than clarity. There is great danger in the quest to be right.

Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy

Yesterday I pondered the idea of simplicity, of accepting God for who He says He is. Is it so bad to be simple-minded? I think it’s quite a gift, actually. Today, with some help from the headlines, we look at the idea of certainty and ask the question, “is it bad to be sure about things?” As always, real life in the year 2020 does the work for me, and provides me with some fantastic, parody-level examples of postmodern anxiety regarding truth:

Thanks, CNN. I thought I was reading The Onion, but alas, we’ve just made the leap…

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Wide-Path Walkers

Into the Foolishness of God

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:1-3

I’m pondering today what an absolute mess we make of our lives when we reject the most simple truths given to us by our Creator.

When we are born again in Christ, we have new life. Our minds, spirits, even bodies are renewed, redeemed and no longer slaves to entangling sin or it’s consequences. We aren’t perfect, we will stumble and get back up many times, but but if we accept who God is and who we are in Him, we are changed.

Something we often forget though, is that in order to have that new…

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Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?: A Lesson for Conservatives and Charismatics

 

I was recently asked for my take on the controversy surrounding Francis Chan speaking at what some call “questionable events.” I took time to pray while driving three hours to one of these events to meet Francis and hear him speak. When I posted the picture on my Facebook page, it created quite a firestorm, branding me as heretical, ecumenical, and part of the NAR (I don’t even know what that is unless they meant the NRA). The irony is that nothing could be further from the truth; listen to the controversial sermon here beginning at the 18-minute mark and judge for yourself.

My ministry allows me to meet many different Christians. Last week I attended the National Religious Broadcasters event, was invited to Fox News studios in Los Angeles just days later, and worked with Pure Flix’s Billy Hallowell on the new series After Columbine earlier in the month and was able to chat with Ray Comfort before filming. My schedule provides many opportunities for me to observe what’s going on in American Christianity.

When I met Francis backstage, I found him to be very humble and eager to listen as we talked about these issues. True to form, he also delivered a powerful message on repentance. Isn’t that our goal as preachers? The event moved me deeply during worship, and I had the opportunity to meet some of the other speakers such as Corey Russell and Derek Carr. Their passion for the lost and their heart for “genuine” revival was evident, as thousands came forward to recommit and renew their relationship with the Lord.

The irony is that when I try to tell the other side of it, heresy hunters are not open, humble, or teachable. The old adage “Don’t confuse me with the facts” comes to mind. Why is emotional worship, nights of prayer, and pressing into God viewed as fanatical when these things are actually biblical? Why do I never see the heresy hunters at all-night worship services or broken by the Lord at the altar? This question demands an answer – the answer is that many have never been filled mightily with the Holy Spirit. They can’t say, like Jeremiah, that God’s Word is in their heart like a burning fire (Jeremiah 20:9). Read more here on emotional worship and listen to my sermon on the true cost of revival here.

The men and women who do the most for God are always people of prayer and worship – heart-wrenching, soul-searching prayer. Prayerlessness is the great sin of America today.

For those interested, many of the teachers I listen to are featured on our radio network, and I use The MacArthur Study Bible often. I love solid teaching and sound doctrine, as well as the movie American Gospel: Christ Alone.I also desperately need the power of the Spirit, like Spurgeon said every time he walked up those famous steps in London, “I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Unction is the dire need in the pulpits today. I’ve noticed that the division between cessationists and continuationists is causing a lot of the controversy. Cessationists tend to be leery of emotionalism and continuationists tend to be the polar opposite.

What about Roman Catholic priests at events? The theology of Rome cannot be reconciled with historical Christianity. This type of ecumenicalism is not biblical. When asked why no one says anything when leaders allow priests on the stage, I’m saying something now: it’s not right. Maybe some leaders don’t understand Rome’s theology, but to hastily charge them as heretics and part of the One World Order is naive at best, dishonest at worst. I can’t speak for Francis, but I’m assuming he believes the same. And how do we know that Francis isn’t bringing solid teaching into the charismatic community? I would love to see more of that. Maybe John MacArthur can reach out to Jesus Culture, John Piper to Bethel, and Alistair Begg, or better yet, Paul Washer, to Elevation Worship. No, I’m not joking. I would love to see more unity.

What about some of these people with eccentric behavior such as Todd White, Heidi Baker, and Lou Engle? Personally, I don’t understand many charismatic mannerisms, nor do I agree with some video footage from past events, but I would have to speak to them directly and see the fruit. I love Lou’s heart for prayer and fasting. Some people are eccentric and very emotional. It’s difficult for me to properly evaluate everyone because I tend to be reserved, and I sometimes judge those who are different (meaning, not conservative like me). I can neither endorse nor rebuke speakers I don’t know unless something is clear and evident, such as when I debated a pastor on Fox News about gay marriage. Click here for the quick video version and here for the hour-long audio.

If Todd White has said controversial things in the past, let’s give him the opportunity to clarify. Would some of these leaders be willing to go on the podcast Remnant News and answers these questions with me, and my podcast Idleman Unplugged where I talk about controversial issues? Both can be found on iTunes and Podbean. I did a recent interview on Remnant that just posted on YouTube. Todd, Heidi, Lou, and Mike Bickle… I’m easy to reach. Would love to try to better understand your ministries.

Do I have concerns with Benny Hinn? Absolutely, but I recently heard he restored his marriage and denounced the false gospel. Has anyone checked these facts? Again, I’m not endorsing him; based on what I have seen in the past, I have several issues with his ministry, especially if repentance has not taken place. My question isn’t why did Francis speak to a huge group of people, but why did Benny Hinn if he has not repented of the false gospel? If he hasn’t, why did organizers allow it? Again, we need clarification.

If I was offered the chance, like Francis was, to speak to thousands of people about the true gospel – to preach hell hot and heaven sweet and call the stadium to repentance – I would have a hard time saying no. Speaking at an event doesn’t always mean endorsement. Francis and I don’t follow many of these ministries closely… we don’t always know who is safe and who is dangerous. If our motivation for going into a dark and dying world is to preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, that should be taken into consideration.

I tend to be “safely” conservative when considering the power of the Holy Spirit, however, Scripture clearly supports the miraculous work of the Spirit today. I’m open but cautious. I think we have too many prophecies and not enough humility; too much self-centered worship and not enough waiting on God. We need sound doctrine and the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s possible to be “Bible taught” but not “Spirit-led”—straight as a gun barrel theologically but just as empty. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (c.f. 2 Corinthians 3:6).

Don’t get me wrong. Theological and expositional teachings are essential to Christian living, but how often are theology students encouraged to fast and pray as well as study? How often are they taught brokenness and repentance in addition to translating the Greek language? How often are they taught the surrendered life? We can sometimes be more concerned about a master’s degree than a degree from the Master.

All of us need to be filled with God’s Spirit… we need gentleness, love, grace, and mercy to overflow from our hearts. Then, and only then, can we preach, write, and speak with boldness for the truth. Sadly, it appears that many are eager to be critical. God help us. When we point out error, we should be broken and humble, not excited about it.

Many bloggers disqualify themselves by their attitude, and most have limited facts. They grasp at a picture here or a YouTube video there and begin their tirade. I have a question: When was the last time you led someone to the Lord, visited the sick, worshiped and prayed for hours, and served your family with humility? That’s a true mark of a believer. A defender of truth should also be a defender of love and grace. This lack was the pitfall of the Pharisees.