Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chemical Attack Against Christian Church

*Persecution. It comes in many forms: spiritual battles targeted against the Church, against individual churches, and battles setup within our own personal lives.

Chemical attack strikes Dickinson church

GALVESTON — Last week, Mary Frank arrived early as she does every Sunday to open the Christian Fellowship Ministry Church in Dickinson. When she got there, she found someone had knocked off the front-door lock.

Frank, 60, the church secretary, stepped inside to find a chemical had been poured on the carpet from the front door to the pulpit, eating all the way through and into the concrete.

The chemical was poured over the 20 pews, cutting through wood and upholstery, and in the kitchen. The church's three guitars, two keyboards and amplifier were gone.

"I can't put it into words how I felt that day; it was so emotional," Frank said.

Dickinson police Detective Frank Price estimated the damage caused last Sunday at about $25,000.

The chemical still covers the church floor, said Assistant Pastor Eddie Glenn, who suspects it is some sort of acid.

"If you are in there for a period of time, you can feel it burning your eyes," he said.

Dickinson firefighters and police do not have the resources to test the chemical, so next week Glenn plans to ask the Houston Fire Department's hazardous materials team to find out what it is.

Glenn said the church may have to hire a contractor to remove the hazardous material.

The Rev. Noble Cooper Jr., who commutes from San Antonio to preach at the church, was one of the last to arrive on Sunday.

Inside the front door, he saw that a picture frame that had held a photo of him and his wife lay broken on the floor, the glass shattered. The photo was missing.

Glenn said that Cooper's name had been ripped from a sign in front of the church the previous summer.

Price declined to say whether investigators have any suspects.

The destruction is a big setback for Cooper and his tiny congregation, who took over the vacant church building two years ago.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Elijah List Controversy

*This was received via email by Andrew Strom’s ministry concerning a publication regarding error in the prophetic movement; ironically published by the Elijah List folks. Hopefully people will began to question the source of these manifestations many caught up in this deception so desperately seek.

-Andrew Strom.

Earlier this week we published big chunks of Dennis Cramer's "Word for 2011" in which he basically tears into a lot of the flakey and dangerous "New Age"-type practices found in today's Prophetic movement. Well, to my great amazement, I found that the Elijah List had actually published Cramer's piece as well! And it caused such a storm that they had to remove it after just one day - for "clarification"! But then they re-published it - only slightly changed!

For those who don't know, the Elijah List is the main email List for the Prophetic movement - publishing the likes of Todd Bentley, Patricia King, Rick Joyner, Bob Jones, etc. It also sells mounds of their books and CD's. For the Elijah List to publish something that basically refutes all the "Spirit Travel" and "Third Heaven Visitation" stuff is simply unbelievable. It would almost be like the Pope refuting the veneration of Mary!

I don't know what the Elijah List was thinking, but I'm sure glad they did it. Now maybe there's a chance that some of their readers will get out from under those dangerous deceptions.

But I am left a bit dazed by it all - because the very ones who have been advocating "spirit travel AT WILL" and "Trance dancing" and 'Third Heaven visits AT WILL' are the very ministries that the Elijah List has been promoting all these years!

Here is what the Elijah List founder Steve Schultz wrote after they pulled the first article when it caused such a storm- "Dear Elijah List Readers, There was a huge number of people who were unclear on a few issues with Dennis Cramer’s word... The most controversial aspect was the “AT WILL” issue. Apparently, there are some out and about who are teaching that you can transport or go to Heaven “AT WILL” – i.e. whenever you want. This is truly not taught in Scripture. The word “Doctrine” is another word for “teaching.” It’s an untrue teaching that anytime you want, you can go to Heaven or be transported... As soon as Dennis Cramer sends us a more in-depth explanation of the items he listed, we plan to repost my friend’s word."

ANDREW AGAIN: Steve - I'm so glad you wrote this, but do you truly realize what you are saying? Don't you know that Bob Jones and Todd Bentley and Patricia King, etc, are the VERY BIGGEST promoters of all this "AT WILL" deception that you are talking about? Patricia King even has a whole movement of "Ekstasis" Trance dancing! These guys have entire reams of teaching on how to "visualize" your way into the Third Heaven 'AT WILL'. They have been promoting it for years. Surely you know this? That's why your readers are so upset. Dennis Cramer is finally exposing and rebuking this stuff as the 'New Age' heresy that it really is.

On January 15, Elijah List reposted the "re-clarified" word from Dennis Cramer on their website. It was a little softer in places, but still it said the following very clearly: "One cannot go to Heaven like Paul or be transported physically like Phillip simply because they want to or because they feel like it (at will). Teachings like this often crossover into dangerous methods and techniques that resemble New Age, Mysticism, Spiritism or other occult manipulative practices. A Believer cannot and must not force, manipulate, or otherwise attempt to reproduce a sovereign supernatural Bible experience by merely following a method, a series of steps, or worst of all “willing it” to happen."

In the same re-posted word, Dennis Cramer went on to say-

"• Open Heaven/Spiritual Portals = BAD DOCTRINE
• Third Heaven Experiences At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
• Going to Heaven At Will to Get Your Gifts = BAD DOCTRINE
• Transporting Physically At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
• Over-Emphasis on Angels and Specifically Arc-Angels = BAD DOCTRINE
• Going into Trances At Will = BAD DOCTRINE
• Trance Dancing = BAD DOCTRINE
• Hyper-Grace: Christians Do Not Need to Repent of Sin = BAD DOCTRINE"

Well - there goes the Prophetic movement!! Seriously - I cannot believe they posted this on the Elijah List! Steve - This is exactly all the stuff your followers have gotten into! Most of the guys you promote - these are the exact 'New Age'-type practices that they teach! Surely you know this?

So now, to finish this article, I need some "clarification" from Steve Schultz. I am very encouraged by this apparent change of heart, Steve, but I need to know if you will now CEASE forthwith any and all publication of the materials and teachings of these people – until they publicly repent and apologize for this 'New Age' heresy. And I need to know if you - Steve Schultz - will now publicly renounce the promotion of these deceptive preachers around the world. (Sorry to be so blunt about it, but we really need to hear this from you). I am so glad that you published Cramer's piece. But now we really need to know where Elijah List stands - and whether things have truly changed or not. We look forward to your reply.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Youssef On The Episcopal Church

*Excerpt from an article on Perspectives by Michael Yossef. I have noted some conflicting perspectives within the Episcopal church regarding homosexuality; however, for the most part--leaders increasingly are subcombing to their hierarchical leadership redefining the Word of God.

Episcopal Church: Christian?
Dr. Michael Youssef - Guest Columnist, Perspectives

Based on everything I am currently reading and what I experienced firsthand in that Church in the past, my answer to this question is a forceful, "No!"

Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of that once-vibrant Christian church came as no surprise to many of us when M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, kicked off the new year of 2011 by performing a lesbian marriage ceremony at St. Paul's cathedral in Boston. Two "priestesses" of the church -- Katherine Hancock Ragsdale (dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, no less) and Mally Lloyd (canon to the Ordinary at St. Paul's) -- were united in homosexual bliss in the presence of 400 guests. The whole debate of homosexuality has deteriorated into an emotional argument on equality with total disregard to God's created order that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

But how can one be surprised at this defiance of church cannons when the Episcopal leadership has defied God? Once the fear of God and obedience to His Word are trampled underfoot, then any sort of church resolution is not worth the paper it's written on.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

The Changing "Black" Church

*Below is an excerpt from a very interesting article concerning the changing dynamics within predominately black churches in the United States.

Is the Black Church Dead? Debate Flares Among African-American Christians

LITHONIA, Ga. -- Under a sparkling blue sky, thousands of worshipers in cars and SUVs streamed into the mall-like parking lots at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a sprawling campus just off I-20 in this suburb of Atlanta.

It was Sunday morning, and for the African-American families flocking to services that meant it was time for church, just as it had for generations of black Christians who had found in the pews not only a sanctuary from a hostile world, but also a platform for communal action to make their lives better.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday the nation commemorates on Monday, was a product of the black church, and the black church has arguably done as much as any Christian community to inspire the soul and culture of modern American society. It has supplied the prophetic language that has driven the nation's ongoing reconciliation with the original sin of slavery, and it helped form the character of Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president and an orator with the delivery of a black preacher.

Yet New Birth Missionary Baptist -- with 25,000 members who generously bankroll high-living pastors and high-tech services -- is also emblematic of what many in the African-American community see as a profound crisis in black Christianity, or even the "death" of the black church.

One objection is that this prominent Georgia megachurch preaches a money-centered "prosperity gospel" that traditional African-American clergy consider a betrayal of their faith's legacy of sacrifice and social justice. This focus on personal financial gain represents a kind of cultural conservatism that is spreading among black churches, critics say, and signals a concern for the success of each individual congregation rather than the national community.

In addition, New Birth's charismatic leader, Bishop Eddie Long, is under intense scrutiny for allegations that he used his position as a spiritual counselor to coerce at least four men into sexual relationships while they were teens, giving them cars and cash in return. Long and his representatives have denied the charges, saying only that Long -- who said he takes pride in being called "Daddy" by the congregants -- was just serving as a mentor to the teenagers and did not engage in sex with them.

Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Escalating Persecution In Iran

Iran Arrests Dozens of Evangelical Christians

Iran has reportedly arrested dozens of Christians, many of them converts from Islam, in a crackdown that began around Christmas. An Iranian official is accusing Protestant evangelical groups of causing a cultural invasion.

Iranian opposition groups are reporting the arrests of dozens of evangelical Christians, many of whom are converts from Islam. Christian groups inside Iran say that the country’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance has also grilled dozens of Christians it accuses of proselytizing.

Armed security officers forcibly entered the homes of Christians, verbally and physically abused them, before handcuffing them and taking them for interrogation," reports the Cyprus-based group Middle East Concern. It adds that some were released after intense questioning and forcibly coerced statements that they would no longer participate in Christian activities.

Seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity or other religions is considered a crime in Iran and many other Islamic countries. Christian missionaries are routinely expelled and sometimes jailed for distributing Bibles and other religious material.

The governor of Tehran province, Morteza Tamadon, confirmed the arrests several days ago, complaining that Protestant evangelicals were conducting an "enemy cultural invasion." He likened Protestants to the Taliban, whom he referred to as "parasites."

Hadi Ghaemi of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says that the names and photos of a number of those arrested have been published, and most appear to be young evangelical Christians who have converted from Islam.

*Click here to continue reading….

Monday, January 3, 2011

Judgement Day In May?

Mark 13:31-33
31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.


End of Days in May? Christian Group Spreads Word
Associated Press Tom Breen

RALEIGH, N.C. – If there had been time, Marie Exley would have liked to start a family. Instead, the 32-year-old Army veteran has less than six months left, which she'll spend spreading a stark warning: Judgment Day is almost here.

Exley is part of a movement of Christians loosely organized by radio broadcasts and websites, independent of churches and convinced by their reading of the Bible that the end of the world will begin May 21, 2011.

To get the word out, they're using billboards and bus stop benches, traveling caravans of RVs and volunteers passing out pamphlets on street corners. Cities from Bridgeport, Conn., to Little Rock, Ark., now have billboards with the ominous message, and mission groups are traveling through Latin America and Africa to spread the news outside the U.S.

"A lot of people might think, 'The end's coming, let's go party,'" said Exley, a veteran of two deployments in Iraq. "But we're commanded by God to warn people. I wish I could just be like everybody else, but it's so much better to know that when the end comes, you'll be safe."

In August, Exley left her home in Colorado Springs, Colo., to work with Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio Worldwide, the independent Christian ministry whose leader, Harold Camping, has calculated the May 21 date based on his reading of the Bible.

She is organizing traveling columns of RVs carrying the message from city to city, a logistics challenge that her military experience has helped solve. The vehicles are scheduled to be in five North Carolina cities between now and the second week of January, but Exley will shortly be gone: overseas, where she hopes to eventually make it back to Iraq.

"I don't really have plans to come back," she said. "Time is short."

Not everyone who's heard Camping's message is taking such a dramatic step. They're remaining in their day-to-day lives, but helping publicize the prophecy in other ways. Allison Warden, of Raleigh, has been helping organize a campaign using billboards, post cards and other media in cities across the U.S. through a website, We Can Know.

The 29-year-old payroll clerk laughs when asked about reactions to the message, which is plastered all over her car.

"It's definitely against the grain, I know that," she said. "We're hoping people won't take our word for it, or Harold Camping's word for it. We're hoping that people will search the scriptures for themselves."

Camping, 89, believes the Bible essentially functions as a cosmic calendar explaining exactly when various prophecies will be fulfilled.

The retired civil engineer said all his calculations come from close readings of the Bible, but that external events like the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 are signs confirming the date.

"Beyond the shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment," he said.

*Click here to continue reading this aritcle.