Grace and Truth

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My Upbringing in a Cult and Israel Folau

So it looks like Israel (Izzy) Folau may be a Oneness Pentecostal.

Izzy’s “non-mainstream Christianity” is the new line the media is taking in their reporting of this whole fiasco.

When I first read about it I didn’t believe it.  I just thought that it was another way the media was attacking him for his faith.  But having looked into it myself and going by his own words in his own tweets, which I will share, it looks like it may be true.

This is disturbing to me, for two main reasons:

  1. I was brought up in a Oneness Pentecostal cult and so I know the false doctrine that pervades this system of false theology and
  2. I have supported him thus far, what should I do now?

My Upbringing in a Cult

I have hesitated to share my upbringing in a cult for the sake of my parents.  I love and respect them as parents, grandparents and Christians and so I don’t want to bring any dishonour to them.  So before I begin my brief discourse here, I will say that although they brought me up in the Revival Centres International cult, they left when I was in my 20’s and then they were absolutely instrumental in getting me out of the cult.  When I was still indoctrinated with the false teachings they would give me sermons to listen to by Bill Randles, David Wilkerson and Paris Reidhead.  In fact it was by listening to  “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”, which my mum  had given me, that I was convicted of sin and turned to the true Christ.  So I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and I honour them for that.

So back to Oneness Pentecostalism… I was taught and fully believed :

  • that there was no such thing as the Trinity, or Godhead, that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit was an impersonal force and not a person.
  • that you must speak in tongues to be saved,
  • Acts 2:38 was the go-to scripture that we preached, it was the 3-step formula for how to be saved
  • that once you spoke in tongues you could not sin ever again because there is no more forgiveness for sin after that cut-off point,
  • that the devil was also an impersonal force of evil, not a person, or he was just “the world system”,
  • that there was no heaven nor hell,
  • Adam and Eve were not the first people on earth, they were the first farmers,
  • British Israelism was true
  • That we were the only ones really saved etc etc

I remember clearly the head Pastor, Lloyd Longfield, specifically saying “Jesus is not deity”.  (After I left RCI I prayed and do hope that he may have repented of everything before he died.)

I spoke in tongues when I was 9 years old and so from that moment on I believed I could never sin again, because “there remained no more sacrifice for sin”.  Can you imagine the uncertainty, the bondage, the guilt that was provoked by this doctrine? I remember as a teenager, and even into my 20’s trying to work out whether I had done such and such a sin before or after I was 9 years old, so was I forgiven?  Was I saved?  Salvation was a tenuous thing that you could lose at any moment.  We viewed God as an exacting tyrant looking for any little thing we’d done just so He could wipe our name out of the Book of Life.  The pastors would say there was no way of knowing if you’re forgiven, so “just do your best”.

So then a religion of works would kick in… have I done enough to expiate my earlier sins?  Will God forgive me now?  Legalism was rife.  There were rules for everything.  People were encouraged to “dob” others in when they broke a rule otherwise “their sin would be on your head”.  I remember the fear of that.  I dobbed in a fellow teenager for using magic mushrooms because I was terrified his blood would be on my hands.

But all PRAISE TO JESUS, who is God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14) for leading me out of false doctrine by His Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Godhead, (John 14:15-17) and revealing that “it is by grace I have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works…” Ephesians 2:8-9.  I thank my loving, Heavenly Father that He is not a tyrant but a good God who is ever so faithful to keep me and love me just as I am.  I am ever so grateful for the BLOOD of Jesus that even when I do sin it continually cleanses me and that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just and forgives me. (1 John 1)

 

Izzy’s Beliefs

So back to Izzy’s beliefs…

Izzy Folau’s church is called the True Church of Jesus Christ.  I have no idea whether they believe you have to speak in tongues to be saved or not, or any of the other things I used to believe, but they are Trinity-deniers as Izzy’s own tweets show:

 

This goes against orthodox Christianity as well as the Word of God. (See 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:9; John 1:14; Matthew 28:19)

He does also seem very focussed on Acts 2:38 as a 3-step formula which rings alarm bells for me coming out of that false theology:

So What To Do Now With this Knowledge?

I cannot support Izzy’s false doctrine, because it is a denial of the true Christ of the Bible.  I cannot and do not agree with him or his church in what they believe or teach.  I have written to him in love on his Twitter account to inform him of his erroneous beliefs and how I cannot support them, especially since I have come out of similar beliefs myself.

However I still do support his right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.  I still believe he should not have lost his livelihood because he quoted a scripture.  I still believe the scripture he quoted, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, is right and he had a right to quote it.  The fact is that many non-Christians will not understand the difference in orthodox or non-orthodox theology and so I still believe he should fight this as a champion for freedom of speech and Christianity in this country.

It’s not perfect but I guess it’s along the lines of what the late, great Francis Schaeffer said about “co-belligerence”:

 “An ally is a person who is a born-again Christian with whom I can go a long way down the road . . . A co-belligerent is a person who may not have any sufficient basis for taking the right position but takes the right position on a single issue. And I can join with him without any danger as long as I realize that he is not an ally and all we’re talking about is a single issue.”

I pray for Izzy that he will see the truth and repent of his erroneous beliefs, just as I had to do.

Happy to hear your thoughts on this!

Belinda 🙂

 

 

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The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church

The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without dominoesGod, heaven without hell.” (William Booth)

This post is part 4 in this series and follows on from Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church.  I had planned to write about the role mysticism and the New Age plays within the Emergent Church but the Holy Spirit stepped in.  He has impressed upon me that another step, in this post, is required by Him, before I post on mysticism.

It is my position that when absolute truth is discarded, then logically the next step is the re-emergence of mystical spirituality.  However it is necessary to understand how it is that the breakdown of absolute truth leads to the re-emergence of these ancient mystical practices.  And so I will concentrate this post on some of the Truths of Christianity which have been recently changed, diluted or rejected.   In the last post we looked at how the philosophical theory of de-constructionism has taken hold within the Emergent Church and that its leaders, such as Tony Campolo, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and Brian Mclaren, to name a few, are unashamedly using this system to interpret the Bible.  Now we will look at some of the results of de-constructionism.

“Stamping out faith in Biblical absolutes is central to this transformation (of the “church”). A mind anchored in God’s Word won’t compromise, but when that anchor is removed, the current of change can carry that mind anywhere. As Jesuit scholastic, Mark Mossa, wrote in his endorsement of Brian McLaren’s latest book: “The Secret Message of Jesus, challenges us to put aside our sterile certainties about Christ and reconsider the imaginative world of Jesus stories, signs and wonders.” (Quote from http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/brianmclaren.htm)truth ies

No doctrine is safe when Biblical absolutes of truth are put aside.  Here are some examples of the essential doctrines that are now being re-defined by the Emergent Church’s method of “Did God really say?”  They are:

  • The doctrine of sin.

Tony Campolo says : ““…Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing “Amazing Grace” was all too ready to call himself a “wretch” … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …”

It seems that Mr Campolo has believed the lie of the serpent that “Ye shall be as gods…”  This denial of the sinfulness of humanity leads to the distortion of:

  • The centrality of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

Take a look at what Mclaren himself has said:

“”[T]his is one of the huge problems with the traditional understanding of hell, because if the Cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching, then I won’t say the only and I certainly won’t say … or even the primary or a primary meaning of the Cross … is that the Kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing voluntary sacrifice right? But in an ironic way the doctrine of hell basically says no, that’s not really true. At the end God gets his way through coercion and violence and intimidation and uh domination just like every other kingdom does. The Cross isn’t the center then, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”

The substitutionary atoning work of Christ on the cross is pushed aside in the name of voluntary sacrifice. Of course, dismissing Christ’s atoning work on the cross then leads to the rejection of:

  • The doctrine of Hell.

Rob Bell says this about hell in his universalistic book “Love Wins”:

“A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”

(Misguided and toxic?…Jesus Himself said to:  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” and described hell as a place “where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”)

Because Jesus Himself said something this “violent” and “elitist”, then naturally the next question would pertain to:

 

  • The person of Jesus Christ Himself, God Incarnate in human flesh, the Son of God.

Tony Campolo writes of his pantheistic beliefs:

One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet. I find Jesus everywhere. The difference between a Christian and non-Christian is not that Jesus isn’t in the non-Christian–the difference is that the Jesus who is within him is a Jesus to whom he will not surrender his life.”

 If Jesus perhaps isn’t really God in the flesh, then of course the next doctrine to question is:

  • There is no other name under Heaven by which man can be saved than that of Jesus Christ.

Tony Campolo again: “Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving.”

This doctrine has been undermined by Rick Warren as well as numbers of other Christian leaders having signed the Yale document produced by Muslims leaders called “A Common Word Between Us and You”.  This document is in line with the commandment in the Koran which says to “Say: ‘O People of the Scripture! come to a common word as between us and you: that we worship none but God’“.

The Muslim god Allah and the God of the Bible, YahWeh, are NOT the same.  These Christian leaders seem to have no idea that they are signing themselves over to Islam and, of course, paving the way for Chrislam.  Read the document here: http://www.acommonword.com/the-acw-document/ .

Here is a list of all the Christian leaders who have signed the document: http://www.acommonword.com/christian-signatories/

And so it goes on.  As one doctrine is changed, watered-down or rejected the next domino falls, then the next, and so on.

The changing, dismissing or outright rejection of God’s Word by His “church” is not something God takes lightly.

“For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” Psalm 138:2.

man dominoes“God’s Word is His communication, His promise, the revelation of Himself to His people. It is to be a lamp to our feet in a dark and fallen world, without it we would have no way to know God or how to do God’s will. To disregard God’s Word that is holy, pure and absolutely true is to defame God’s name and character. It is to bring ruin upon our walk. So it becomes the main focus point in our daily walk with Christ.” (taken from Let Us Reason http://www.letusreason.org/Doct42.htm)

The result of de-constructionism in the church is to undermine the authority of the Bible, as the Word of God, to question even the most basic fundamental tenets of Christianity and to “re-define” it to become more relevant to our post-modern society. (see “The “Emergent-cy” of Post-Modernist Christianity“) The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of truth, will only witness to truth, so when truth is discarded, the Holy Spirit cannot bear witness, becomes grieved as Christ is blasphemed and, then, like a dove, eventually takes flight.  In Ezekiel 10 the glory of God departed from the Temple as a result of Israel repeatedly ignoring God’s Word through His prophets.  Israel became Ichabod.

And so it is with the Emergent church.  What remains is but an empty shell consisting of a mixture of religious platitudes and man’s philosophy.  But as “nature abhors a vacuum” something must fill that emptiness.  Something ancient and spiritual.

And that “something” is mysticism.

Next post:  The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism

  • The Re-emergence of ancient mysticism
  • The Connection with the New Age


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Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church

480_sheepscloth1This post follows on from The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity where we saw that philosophy can and does shape reality.  Just like any other movement in society, the Emergent church movement is underpinned by a system of philosophy. I would like to look at this philosophy, called “de-constructionism”, in order to discover its roots and where it is leading.  The outcome of this philosophy is very REAL and is taking hold in the Church right now.  I believe it is very important for every Bible-believing Christian to be aware of how the enemy is working, because none of us are beyond deception. 

What is De-Constructionism?

“De-constructionism” is: “a philosophical theory of criticism (usually of literature or film) that seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning”   http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=deconstructionism

De-constructionism is a “fascist world-view where all authority is rejected and truth is denied by attacking language”. (see “Where’s Truth?” on “absolute truth”).  Its roots are from ex-Nazi Heiteger but developed by French philosopher Jacques Derrida.  As Nietzsche had previously asserted that “life is meaningless” (known as Nihilism) so this philosophy carries nihilism further – into literature itself, and says that:

  • Language is meaningless
  • Language contradicts itself
  • Language is lying
  • Literature lies

By applying this philosophy to a book, poem, paragraph or sentence the text is de-constructed and it is found that every word contradicts itself, contradicts the other words and contradicts the whole work itself.

So to write :  “The sky is blue” for example, may not actually really mean that the sky is in fact blue.  It could mean that the sky is another colour, but we just call it blue.  It could mean that the sky isn’t blue or even a colour at all.  It could mean that I am not even really talking about the “sky” after all, but something else entirely.  “The sky is blue” cannot be understood because all words are meaningless and contradict themselves.

So we see how de-constructionism has removed absolute truth from literature.

What would happen if this method was applied to the Word of God, ie the Bible?

What would happen if Christians adopted this method of studying the Bible?

The Emergent Church

persecutionUnfortunately they are both already in full-swing, within the Emergent Church.  Many of the Emergent Church’s leaders (whom are Evangelicals, not Liberals!), such as Tony Campolo, Rob Bell and Brian Mclaren, have studied and adopted de-constructionism as their method of studying the Bible.  Here is what Leonard Sweet, Brian Mclaren and Jerry Haselmayer wrote in their book “A is for Abductive”:

“Traditional modern interpretation is fond of finding the one “true” meaning in a text while de-constructionists do not give any one reading privileged status, but rather are interested in hearing the interplay of many interpretations that arise from within many different interpretative communities.”

So in essence, they do not view the Word of God as the ultimate authority – all opinions, views and interpretations are equally valid.  This would mean the Koran and other ancient non-Biblical texts are just as valid too. This is classic relativism denying the absolute truth and authority of the Bible in their drive to be :

  • “relevant” to a new generation and
  • palatable to non-believers

The First De-Constructionist

In fact this is not a new “literary technique” at all.  It is as old as time itself!  Satan’s aim, as the world’s first de-constructionist, has always been to cause human-beings to doubt God’s Word.  We see that his tactics haven’t changed since the beginning of time.

In Genesis 3:1 he said to Eve: “…Has God indeed said…?”

And that is essentially what Christian de-constructionism is – has God really said…?emergent-church

The denial of the authority and truth of God’s Word has led to the demise of the preaching and expounding of God’s Word within the Emergent church and rather “dialectics” are now being encouraged.  Dialectics is discussion, analysis, criticism, contrasting ideas etc.  Absolute Truth is side-lined while each individual’s opinions, interpretations and views are held in high regard.  And in the light of relativism, each opinion is equally valid and opposing “truths” are ok.

Ultimately Satan’s aim is to break down “absolute truth”. Why?

Because he is paving the way for a One-World religion, getting ready for the Anti-christ.   How?

By combining a “thesis” with an “antithesis” and making into a “synthesis”.

A thesis is a “proposition (of truth) to be maintained or proved”, such as Christianity.  An antithesis is a “contrast of ideas; direct opposite of”, such as Islam as the opposite to Christianity.  A synthesis is the “combining of elements into a whole.”

It looks like this:

THESIS                  arrow              SYNTHESIS            LeftArrow      ANTITHESIS

Christianity             arrow            Chrislam                 LeftArrow       Islam

bible-cover-pageChrislam is gaining momentum outside of Nigeria now, and Wycliffe Bible Translators have just translated the first “Chrislam” Bibles (that remove or change terms deemed offensive to Muslims and thus creating a Muslim-friendly Bible). 

Next time…  The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church