THE ECCLESIA

BE CAREFUL, VERY CAREFUL in choosing who and what to believe!   The early ecclesia, the church, followers of Jesus the Messiah, were deceived following the death and resurrection of Christ as many are deceived today.   Today, as in the early church, many will chase after money as their god, or try to redefine the person of Jesus and/or confuse people with rules and laws building mountains of behavioral activities.

There are those today who “create” a new twist to belief as in “The ‘Church’ of Scientology,” the prosperity gospel, and  “Think and Grow Rich” preaching.  

One of the most insidiously half religious-half secular teachings is the New Age “theology.”  The New Age preaching infects the mind with little cherubs flying around leading the gullible into happy-happy thoughts, finding eternal bliss in yoga, positive thinking and the avoidance of milk and meat. New Agers have no problem with smoking a roach, but “god-hep-yew-if-yew-smoke-tobacco-around-me.” Secondhand smoke is bad!

New Age preachers encourage followers to find salvation (although that word is never used) in the clouds, everything of beauty, happy TV shows and promises, and they tell us that we’ll never be sick or poor. Their Paradise ministries tell us we “deserve” the very best of health and wealth.    For god-sake, don’t mention Jesus or Blood or sacrifice or discipleship or hell or that Jesus is the only “way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.”     John 14:6 (niv)

My friend, this may sound offensive, but we don’t deserve anything apart from the sacrificial Blood of God in the flesh,  Jesus Christ.

I remember the day when pastors preached the Word. They were instant in season and out of season. They reproved, rebuked and exhorted with long-suffering and doctrine.  Can you?  I remember the congregation singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Do you? And what about children in Sunday School memorizing the 23rd Psalm?  Now we have  7/11 songs  (7 words repeated 11 times or vice versa). There was a time when everyone (including the pastor) showed respect to the House of God by the way they conducted themselves in dress and conduct.  

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.”      Galatians 1:6-9

“But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong. But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong. They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on.”            2 Peter 2:1-2 (msg)

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NEW AGEISM AND CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

THE HILL, an online news group, HAS AN ARTICLE OF NOVEMBER 1, 2018, about the growing popularity of “New Age” beliefs.  The elites through the media have now given this belief system legitimacy by calling it a group, a precursor to a Church with its theological authority.   Disturbingly, the Pew Research Center poll “found 62 percent of Americans hold New Age beliefs, such as astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in trees or mountains.”  The Pew poll “found that those who identify as Christian were more likely than atheists and agnostics to hold at least one New Age belief.”

Some of my friends and associates have teased me about how I rail against some of todays Church services replete with acid rock bands, dancing across the stage, no amens and hallelujahs (only a nice little clap as in a broadway show), no basic theology, no creed, in some cases no Bible; just feel good stuff!   With the main attraction being a “Johnny Carson-Jay Leno-Jimmy Fallon-Conan O’Brien” standup comic to entertain the happy-happy crowd, as long as they are entertained  why preach & teach apologetics and basic Christian theology?

In the Old Testament Judges 21:25, “ … every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” In other words, there was no cohesive, basic belief system. They didn’t follow the Mosaic Law ordained by God Himself.

One of the worst teachings today, [in my humble opinion] is the push for prosperity and positivity!  “Send me your seed money” is one of the most recognizable.  You’ll be healthy, wealthy and wise, they say.  Another is the little cherub-angel thingies – “isn’t it so cute!”  How ‘bout Yoga!  Much of what we hear in church today is a biblically based “Tony Robbins” show.  Make sure absolutely nothing is said from the pulpit about sin, repentance, confession, the cross or the redeeming blood of JESUS CHRIST.

Here is genuine Christian THEOLOGY:

“Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!”

Hebrews 1:1-6 (msg)

“In the beginning the Word [Christ Jesus] already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.”

John 1:1-2 (nlt)

“God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ. This is true for all who believe in Christ, because all people are the same: Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.”

Romans 3:22-24 (ncv)

“Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one fools you. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will fool many people. You will hear about wars and stories of wars that are coming, but don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. Nations will fight against other nations; kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat, and there will be earthquakes in different places. These things are like the first pains when something new is about to be born. “Then people will arrest you, hand you over to be hurt, and kill you. They will hate you because you believe in me. At that time, many will lose their faith, and they will turn against each other and hate each other. Many false prophets will come and cause many people to believe lies. There will be more and more evil in the world, so most people will stop showing their love for each other. But those people who keep their faith until the end will be saved. The Good News about God’s kingdom will be preached in all the world, to every nation. Then the end will come.

“False Christs and false prophets will come and perform great wonders and miracles. They will try to fool even the people God has chosen, if that is possible.”

Matthew 24:4-14, 24 (ncv)

“We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.”

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 (msg)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9 (niv)

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

1 Peter 1:15-16 (niv)

“The time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find many more teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear. They will stop listening to the truth and will begin to follow false stories. But you should control yourself at all times, accept troubles, do the work of telling the Good News, and complete all the duties of a servant of God.”

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (ncv)