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In 1983, I wrote a book titled Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust. The first chapter was called, "A Contrary Scenario," which I based on my understanding of Scripture. Here was the situation as I recall it: interest rates in the U.S. were over 20 percent; the stock market was around 700 on the DOW, and the experts were predicting a crash that would make 1929 seem like prosperity; the housing market was dead, with tens of thousands of houses unsold and apartments vacant; the most popular books in Christian bookstores were about "the death of the dollar, the imminent international financial collapse, the pending Soviet attack on Israel, etc." Gloom and doom prevailed.
In that first chapter, I gave my opinion based on Scripture that the doomsayers' predictions were wrong: Reaganomics would work, prosperity was on the way, and there would be no imminent invasion of Israel. Unknown to me at the time, the Soviets had placed a cache of their weapons in Lebanon for a million-man invasion army. Israel hauled it all out, thousands of truckloads, after their invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 to stop the incessant shelling of Israel and to quell terrorism.
This "contrary scenario" held true for 25 years. Then came the current worldwide financial near-collapse after years of building "prosperity" on impossible debt. Very serious problems have bankrupted banks and businesses, have put tens of thousands out of work, and have adversely impacted millions of hard-working citizens. Of course, the problems are being "solved" by governments printing money and accumulating more debt. Where is this taking us now?
Some are fearing the possibility of another 1929-like stock market crash and Depression. Most economists, however, doubt that this could happen with all of the new regulations that are being put into place. Above and beyond worldwide financial problems, my real interest is in the Rapture, which I still believe could happen at any moment.
Christ declares that the days just before the Rapture will be like the days of Noah and Lot. Notice, however, that although those were times of gross immorality, He doesn't even mention that fact. Here are His words:
And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.... Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Luke:17:26-30, Matthew:24:37-39; Matthew:24:44)
In the case of Noah and Lot, judgment and destruction fell instantly after the believers were taken out. But that scenario does not fit with what the Bible tells us will follow the Rapture: further prosperity and even greater persecution of Jews worldwide.
No Old Testament illustration perfectly conveys the full New Testament prophecy. In Noah's and Lot's day the phrase, "until the day" or "the same day" meant within that very 24-hour period. The New Testament has in mind "the day of the Lord" that begins with the Rapture, includes the Great Tribulation and the Millennium, and ends in the new heavens and new earth.
Christ's warning is centered on the fact that the Rapture ("Noah entered into the ark...Lot went out of Sodom...") will come at a time when even professing Christians will be taken by surprise! It will be at a time when the return of Christ to gather His own into His Father's house of "many mansions" (John:14:1-3) will be the last thing most Christians are expecting or even hoping will occur. False prosperity will make many Christians reluctant to leave earth for heaven ("Let the Rapture occur before I die, but not yet!"). It will be a continuation of the spirit of Laodicea, which has played a major role in the apostasy into which the church has been sinking ever deeper since the end of World War II.
We could almost say that this spirit has been present from the beginning of the church after Christ ascended back to heaven, having spent 40 days with His disciples in His resurrected body. That was a glorious time for His bewildered followers to come to know their Lord in a new way, to remove any lingering doubts from their minds, and to get them started in fulfilling the "great commission" that He had given to them.
Oddly enough, in spite of fierce opposition and persecution, the thousands of new disciples were not eager to leave their homes and jobs in order to obey their Lord's parting command to "go...into all the world, and preach the gospel..." (Mark:16:15). It was still too comfortable for them in Jerusalem. It took the "great persecution" that followed the stoning of Stephen to scatter the disciples "abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria..." (Acts:8:1). Far from going into hiding, as the eleven had done on resurrection day, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where [not "giving their testimonies" but] preaching the word ..." (Acts:8:4). The church thrived under persecution. This was a time of real growth, which the "church growth movement" (that Schuller in a 1974 book claims he began and of which he said Bill Hybels was his most successful student) eventually corrupted.
From the very beginning, "prosperity" has been a dangerous condition for most Christians to handle. The "health and wealth...name it and claim it" gospel, which Copeland learned from Kenneth Hagin, Sr., and which he claimed the Lord commissioned him to preach, has been promoted by the Crouches and the heretics and frauds of various stripes that they have sponsored on their worldwide TV network. This supposed "gospel" has always been wrong, but with "Christian" television and publishing promoting it to an apostate church, the deadly Laodicean mentality that has been germinating for centuries is now in full bloom. Being "rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing," unknown to the "little flock" that Christ left behind and to whom He promised the kingdom (Luke:12:32), has become a sign of God's blessing in today's "growth-industry Churchianity."
The Rapture is almost a forgotten hope. Most Christians are too comfortable on this earth to be willing to leave it for heaven. Matthew 24 is a key chapter in understanding the timing of the Rapture. Verse 34 has generated heated controversy: "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." This is also recorded at Luke:21:32. The disagreement centers around the meaning of the phrase "this generation." There are three possible interpretations of that phrase:
1. Preterists hold that by saying "this generation," Jesus referred to those living on earth at that time and that the Matthew 24 prophecy was fulfilled within that generation in the AD 70 siege and destruction of Jerusalem. That is clearly wrong because in those days all flesh was not in danger of being wiped out (v. 22) by bows, arrows, swords, and spears. Today's weapons could turn this earth into a glowing ember, devoid of any life, drifting silently through space. Much more is included in Christ's warning that didn't occur at that time: the greatest tribulation ever for Jews, (v. 21, since exceeded by the Holocaust, with even worse yet to come, ultimately bringing full repentance and salvation to Israel- Zechariah 12:8-13:9  ). Nor did any of the events foretold in verses 27-31 take place in AD 70.
2. Others think that Jesus meant the generation living on earth when Israel returned to her land in 1948. How could "generation" in that sense be defined? Surely it couldn't include those not yet born. It must be a generation already established and still alive- and this particular one is now nearly gone.
In my opinion, Jesus was not talking about either of the above. There is a third possible meaning, which I would respectfully suggest. The key is the way Jesus, John the Baptist, and Peter all used the word "generation." The Bible is its own interpreter: "generation of vipers" (Matthew:3:7; Matthew:12:34; Matthew:23:33; Luke:3:7); "evil generation" (Luke:11:29); "evil and adulterous generation" (Matthew:12:39); "wicked generation" (Matthew:12:45); "wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew:16:4); "faithless generation" (Mark:9:19); "faithless and perverse generation" (Matthew:17:17, Luke:9:41); "adulterous and sinful generation" (Mark:8:38); "untoward generation" (Acts:2:40).
Scripture indicates that although many individual Jews will be saved, Israel as a whole will continue in unbelief and rebellion against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When will Israel at last repent and return to faith in the only true God, the God of Israel? Not until the armies of the world, led by Antichrist at Armageddon, have pushed Israel to the brink of defeat. That is when Christ himself in His "Second Coming" will return visibly to earth and destroy Israel's enemies ("every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" - Revelation:1:7).
All Israel will repent of their departure from the Lord of hosts and rejection and crucifixion of her Messiah, and "all Israel shall be saved..." (Romans:11:26). There will be an unprecedented time of mourning in Israel (Zechariah 12:10-13:1  ) as every Jew alive will realize that Jesus Christ, the one they crucified and had despised ever since, died for their sins and is the Redeemer whom their own prophets had promised.
As for the church, anyone who knows God's Word has mourned the fact that for decades we have been steadily sinking ever deeper into apostasy such as few men and women of God could have imagined only fifty years ago. There are a multitude of causes, but a major one is the way God's Word is despised today, even by some who call themselves Christians, and even by many church leaders. What God has inspired "holy men of God" to put down in writing and that the canon of Scripture comprises is looked upon as boring and must be presented in ways that will appeal to the modern mind. We have movies and DVDs by the dozens dramatizing "thus saith the LORD." For one's teaching from the Word of God to be recorded onto a DVD is one thing. To present the Bible not in the pure words of Scripture but by a dramatization thereof on a DVD is an abomination. Imagine the pride of anyone who attempts to "improve" the Holy Word of God! These revisionists, instead of improving actually trivialize, mutilate, and destroy what God has said.
Many Christians, especially their children, are so enamored with TV that they can't sit still to read the Bible. Christ is called "the Word of God." He is the "Living Word "...the " word of truth" (Psalm:119:43), " word of life" (Philippians 2:16). Never is He called the " picture " of truth. We are "born again...by the word of God...the word which by the gospel is preached..." (1 Peter:1:23-25). There are scores of such verses.
Let's try to modernize a bit for this new generation: "born again by the DVD of God...the living DVD...the DVD of truth...the DVD which by the gospel is preached, etc." Paul told Timothy to "preach the word " (2 Timothy:4:2). He didn't say "Revise or dramatize the word"! This is not a matter of semantics. It's the difference between God's way and man's way, between life and death!
We dare not succumb to the apostasy that has invaded the church. As Amos declared, there is a famine for the Word of God -not because it is not available to hungry readers but because it is not being preached in many churches that only a few years ago were sound in doctrine and truly preached the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. The flock has been fed phony "translations." Surely we are seeing "a famine...of hearing the words of the LORD" (Amos:8:11). Not only is God's Word not being preached, but most of those who think they are doing so are using false "Bibles," to the detriment of their souls and those of their hearers.
Eugene Peterson is a case in point. He dares to call The Message "another version of the Bible" when in fact it perverts the Bible! T.A. McMahon has brought us up to date on Rick Warren (TBC, 9/08  ). The compromises that Rick has made, relative to the gospel, break my heart. I have been reluctant to put him in the same category as such enemies of truth as Peterson, yet The Message continues to be Rick's favorite "Bible" (see TBC, 4/04 for quotations from The Message ). He has influenced millions to follow his example in following Peterson. He now seems to believe that it is more important to give lost souls food and medicine for this life through his P.E.A.C.E. Plan than to give them the gospel for eternity , more blessed to give them physical and temporal blessings than to lead them to heaven.
We must ask ourselves repeatedly whether we truly believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and whether we live according to His words. Can we say with Paul, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ"? Do we really believe that this gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes" and that the world is lost without Christ? Has the full and awesome meaning of that fact truly gripped our hearts and minds? I speak to my own heart first.
TBC has thoroughly and often exposed the false gospel of Roman Catholicism that is still sending countless millions to hell. Yet in spite of excellent exposés by others as well, the Catholic "gospel" gains an ever-wider acceptance among evangelicals. There used to be many sound authors and leaders who powerfully opposed Roman Catholicism. Now scarcely anyone raises an objection to this religious system that has likely sent as many to hell as has Islam. One becomes exceedingly weary reminding evangelicals from Billy Graham to Rick Warren that Roman Catholicism is damning billions-especially when these two men lead the evangelical church in embracing Catholicism as just another way to heaven.
Didn't the Lord in "the great commission" command His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature? Has that command ever been revoked? Absolutely not. It still holds for every Christian today. But which gospel should one preach? The gospel has been so perverted, compromised, and Catholicized that the power of God unto salvation has been taken out of it for fear of giving offense. Would those in hell thank us for sparing them the offense that would have taken them instead to heaven?
Do we withhold the gospel from the unsaved for selfish reasons? Are some of us ashamed of the narrow gate that the gospel forces us to present to those who prefer the broad road to destruction? The Word of God is clear: "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe" (Proverbs:29:25).
Time is short and eternity is forever. We need to reexamine our hearts and begin to live as though we really believe this. TBC
Our reverence for the great Author of Scripture should forbid all mauling of his words. No alteration of Scripture can...be an improvement. The gentlemen who see errors in Scripture may think themselves competent to amend the language of the Lord of hosts; but we who believe God, and accept the very words he uses, may not make so presumptuous an attempt.... Do we know the sacred volume half so well as we should know it...? Is it not possible that we still meet with passages of Scripture that are new to us? Should it be so? Is there any part of what the Lord has written that you have never read?
The Greatest Fight in the World, C.H. Spurgeon's Final Manifesto , pp. 22-23
"Who was I to write another version of the Bible?"
Eugene Peterson [ author of The Message Bible] , recalling his first thought when NavPress approached him to write a contemporary rendering of the Bible
Question: Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has been getting so much attention lately that I picked up his book, The God Delusion . In one chapter he questions the historical accuracy of the four gospels, points out many supposed contradictions, even says the gospel writers are unknown and "almost certainly never met Jesus personally," and finally declares the gospels to be fiction! I'm a simple person (Dawkins would call me "unsophisticated") and have no trouble resting on Bible verses such as "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God," and "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar," but I'm concerned that there are a lot of folks whose faith could be shipwrecked by Dawkins' lies. They need evidence to rescue them with the truth. Is it a worthwhile pursuit for a simple Christian with the Bible and a high school diploma even to try to stand against this educated atheist?
Response: Of course it is! Christ declared, "If ye continue in my word...ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John:8:31-32). Your confidence is not in your education or intelligence. Remember David's rebuke of the armies of Israel, who were trembling before Goliath and afraid to confront him one on one: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine to defy the armies of the living God!" He did not approach the giant cautiously in awe or fear but ran toward him with bold confidence. As the Philistine derided him, David shouted, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand." We need that same unshakable confidence in the Lord today!
If you truly know the Lord, know His Word, and are walking with Him, you have all you need to put Dawkins to shame. Don't be awed by this man. He's bluffing. He is no expert on the "historical accuracy" of the four gospels. He has read some critics who start with the assumption that the Bible is not what it claims to be and then try to prove it.
Plenty of books have been written proving the historicity of the Bible that clearly reveal the lie in Dawkins' libel of God's Word. I've written much about the overwhelming proof for the authenticity of the Bible. But let's take an even simpler approach. Think with me for a moment.
The claims of critics who attack the authorship of the Bible are preposterous. They literally charge that the Bible is a deliberate fraud from beginning to end! They say, for example, that Daniel didn't write the book that bears his name. It was written centuries later by an imposter. Where is their evidence?
They are sure that miracles can't happen, so the story of the three Hebrews walking about in a blazing furnace without so much as their hair being singed couldn't possibly be true. Nor could Daniel have survived in a den of hungry lions, so that story must also be fiction. Such is the "evidence" the critics offer. Of course, this is just what Dawkins is looking for, and he passes it along as though he has verified everything alleged by the critics he quotes.
The Book of Daniel contains accurate prophecies concerning events recorded in history that actually occurred four centuries after Daniel's time. The critics don't believe in God-inspired prophecy; therefore what the Book of Daniel says about Antiochus Epiphanes, for example, could not have been written by someone named Daniel who lived in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, who was an eyewitness and participant in the events recorded in the book bearing his name, and who received the prophecies in that book from God. "Daniel" had to be some unknown imposter living 400 years later. The Book of Daniel must be discredited, or readers would begin to believe in Bible prophecy and miracles and thus in God. Discrediting the Bible is what Dawkins is interested in, not the truth that would expose his atheism for the folly that it obviously is.
So it must be, say atheists, with the entire Bible. The level of preposterousness is beyond belief. It would mean, for instance, that there is not an honest author among the biblical writers; they are all liars! It must be one long spoof from Genesis to Revelation. The disciples must have been fictitious characters; Jesus probably never existed; Paul made up a different gospel from that which Jesus preached...and on and on this nonsense goes.
For such a huge fraud to be so well coordinated, century after century, someone must have been in charge to oversee the deceit! This being must be timeless and must have at least intermittent access to men's minds. Who could that have been?
The deliberate lies and duplicity that atheists attribute to the authors, who claimed to have been inspired by God to write down the Scriptures, are beyond credibility. Yet the biblical writers sound genuine. Peter solemnly swears, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables...but were eyewitnesses..." (2 Peter:1:16). John says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes...and our hands have handled...declare we unto you..." (1 John:1:3). He solemnly swears, "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true" (John:21:24). Atheists insist that this was written centuries later by a liar pretending to be John! What could his motive have been, and who paid him?
Luke also testifies, "Many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses...it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee...most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed" (Luke:1:1-4). Luke, too, is lying? It would take more faith to believe this ridiculous conspiracy story than to believe the truth.
Furthermore, if these are all liars and the prophecies were written after the fact, why didn't they make the fake prophecies clearer, as cheats surely would have done?
Question: Matthew:11:11 has bothered me for years: "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." I don't understand it.
Response: When Satan and his demons have been thrown into the Lake of Fire, never to be released, and the kingdom of God and of heaven (they are the same) has been established for eternity, spanning from earth to heaven, the very least in that future eternal state will be greater than the greatest saint or prophet was while living on earth. Christ is giving us a little glimpse of how much better heaven is than the best earth can offer.
We get hints of this all through Scripture: "When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John:3:2); "the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory..." (1 Peter:5:10) Nothing like this has ever been said of the greatest saints alive on earth.
Now let's look a bit further at what the disciples asked and at the prayer Christ taught them to pray, which the church for centuries has erroneously called "the Lord's prayer." It's really the disciples' prayer.
They ask: "Lord teach us to pray" (Luke:11:1). His response was: "After this manner...pray ye...Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew:6:9). Our own hearts and day-by-day experience assure us that God's kingdom has not yet come because His will is most assuredly not yet done on earth as in heaven. We are not yet "in the kingdom" to which Christ referred, or this prayer would be meaningless.
We should use this pattern often in our prayers. The answer to this prayer will not come until this future kingdom has been established.
Question: Daniel C. Dennett (one of the "Four Horsemen" of the New Atheists) explains how Charles Darwin's book Origin of Species clearly shows how natural selection is a key factor in the creation (Dennett's word) of new species. He admits that Darwin's ideas about natural selection were little more than "musings" or "speculations," but he also claims that in more recent times scientists have "clearly demonstrated" the veracity of this concept. I'm having a hard time finding anything anywhere to back up this claim. Dennett makes broad generalizations such as, "Anyone...who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by...evolution is ignorant..." and "What else could account for evolution, if not the mechanism [natural selection] that [Darwin] had described?" This seems to be the approach that many atheistic scientists take. Rather than actually offering evidence, they present their ideas as fact. Millions of years and small, successive modifications are called upon to "explain" the "creation" of new species. My question is this: How does this qualify as science, since it is admittedly based on speculation; and has anyone ever come up with any proof that this could possibly happen? Why are we, and our children in public schools, being forced to accept something as fact that is so subjective? These "experts" feel free to make any "claim" that they want and we are to buy into it because "they say so"?
Response: We do not doubt "natural selection" up to a point, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with "creating new species." That is impossible. Nor do we have to be experts on genetics to know this. All we need is common sense and some knowledge of the elementary facts. Modern dogs come from the wolf, for example, and there are many varieties, from Great Danes to tiny Chihuahuas. Some atheists, to cheat a bit, call these different species. No, they are all dogs, deliberately created through selective breeding. The capability to do this is not a scientific invention. It is in their genes (DNA) and has always been in their genes; no new information has been added.
Genesis chapter 1 repeats the phrase several times, "after its kind." There is a barrier between "kinds" of living creatures, and that is defined by the DNA. "After its kind" is a clear declaration by God that evolution from one "kind" to another can never occur! Nor can any atheist produce an example of new information being created in the DNA.
The DNA alphabet is the same for every living thing, from plants to fish to birds, to animals and humans. Much is made of the similarity in the DNA of chimps and that of humans. Based on the DNA, Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, even claims that men and mice are descended from a common ancestor. Similarity in DNA, however, does not support evolution through natural selection. DNA prevents evolution from ever occurring. DNA defines each "kind." For evolution from one species to another species to occur, the DNA would have to be changed radically. DNA is information written in words. Information can only originate from an intelligence by specific intent. There is no other way to create a new species ("kind").
Richard Dawkins (the leading light of the New Atheists) was asked on camera how new information could be added to the genome. Looking back, he was not happy with his response, so he devoted an entire chapter in two different books ( A Devil's Chaplain and Unweaving the Rainbow ) to show how new information could enter a genome. He failed utterly. We deal with DNA in detail in Cosmos, Creator, and Human Destiny , due for release in early 2009.
Associated Press, 9/17/08: Professor Dismayed over Christians Rejecting Evolution [Excerpts]-- A professor at a Vatican-sponsored university expressed dismay Tuesday that some Christian groups reject the theory of evolution-implicitly criticizing the literal interpretation of the Bible. Further emphasizing the official Catholic stance, a Vatican official restated the Church position that evolution is not incompatible with faith.
Both men spoke at a press conference ahead of a March event aimed at fostering dialogue between religion and science, and appraising evolution 150 years after Charles Darwin's landmark On the Origin of Species . The forum is being organized by Rome's prestigious Gregorian Pontifical University, which is highly influential in Vatican circles, and by the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. state of Indiana.
Popes going back to the mid-20th century have "recognized the scientific value of the theory of biological evolution," Gennaro Auletta, who teaches philosophy of science at the Gregorian, told reporters. "I would like to point out that unfortunately one cannot say that about the faithful of all Christian confessions, as media reports indicate," Auletta said. Auletta appeared to be referring to stories about fundamentalist churches that maintain a literal interpretation of the Bible, including the belief that the world was created in six days.
Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi told reporters that: "One thing is sure. Evolution is not incompatible with faith. Creationism from a strictly theological view makes sense, but when it is used in scientific fields it becomes useless," Ravasi said. Quoting the late Pope John Paul II, Ravasisaid that "evolution can no longer be considered a hypothesis."
Pope Benedict XVI warned last week against fundamentalists' literal interpretations of the Bible. The pontiff told a gathering of intellectuals and academics in Paris that the structure of the Bible "excludes by its nature everything that today is known as fundamentalism. In effect, the word of God can never simply be equated with the letter of the text," Benedict said.
[ TBC: It's rather ironic that the Roman Catholic Church decries the biblical literalism it ascribes to fundamentalists, while at the same time supports its major dogma of the Eucharist from a literal interpretation of John:6:50-58. Even Augustine recognized that to take "eating Christ's flesh" literally was to promote an evil condemned by Scripture. ]
Dear Dave and T.A.,
I just want to thank you for your diligence to study the Word and warn people about the heresies that are out there. My heart is grieved that so many Christians are so lacking in discernment-no doubt because not much time is spent in really studying God's Word. Please don't ever stop doing what you are doing! Please continue warning the body. There are some who are listening. Your newsletter is a balm to my spirit. BH (SC)
Your ministry is invaluable in our times of apostasy and spiritual delusion. I am blessed with a Godly pastor who preaches the whole counsel of God, keeping the foundation on the fear of God, holiness, repentance, and the like. He also sounds the alarm on false doctrine. His stand for truth (particularly in exposing Rick Warren), cost him his ordination....This circumcision proved to be a great blessing. Our church is smaller but more pure. Ever growing in grace, love for God, and a very tangible love for one another. Keep on doing what God has called you to do. You are a blessing. TM (NY)
Dear Brother Dave,
First, let me say that I love reading The Berean Call. It is very informative and defines the true meaning of "rooted and grounded in love"(Eph: 3:17). God is love and to not share what God has given us is to not love. God commanded us to love one another.... JC (prisoner, FL)
I just wanted you to know that I appreciate the article you wrote about the Dalai Lama (TBC 8/08) . It is so easy for many of us to get wrapped up in the hype surrounding celebrities. Thank you for constantly reminding me of the one and only way to God. SN (email)
Dear Dave and Tom,
I am writing to you about your review of The Shack. Novels are generally not meant to be taken literally or to be the basis for teaching doctrine....Novels serve many different important purposes: a tool to generate discussion, a spotlight on a person's character or choices made, a parable shedding light on difficult to understand issues, or simply a good read!...I believe you owe the author a sincere Christian apology. Your rant against his [literary] work subscribes to him intentions that you have no evidence to support. The Shack is a novel, a work of fiction. It was never intended to be [a] statement of Christian doctrine. Rather, it serves a different and justifiable purpose. HK (email)
Dear Mr. Hunt,
Somehow, your booklet, The Nonnegotiable Gospel , recently came into my possession. I've read this through twice now and find my heart at absolute agreement with yours, although it's a lonely place to be over here in the UK, endeavouring to promote such truth, yet I believe that the reason for the state of our sick nation lies firmly at our door, in refusing to preach an undiluted Gospel. May God have mercy on us all. In our small church, God has been leading us to enjoy the old hymns and the old sermons of godly men such as Charles Spurgeon...your emphasis seems to knock at the same door....May God continue to be with you. TT (United Kingdom)
Having just finished Ruth Hunt's East Wind , I wanted to express to Mrs. Hunt how touching, haunting, and beautifully written was Maria's story. I read the entire book in less than a week, and am deeply touched by how very human and approachable Maria was, and yet, so resilient, which can only be attributed to Jesus Christ. Her story leaves me with the great call to obedience of seeking my Lord's face while I am in a time of peace; to write His word on the tablet of mine and my children's hearts, and yield to Him that He may increase while I decrease. I admire Mrs. Hunt's skill of weaving such a complicated story. Surely no one could have done better. RJ (TX)
I wanted to let you know what a terrific job you and Tom are doing in defending our faith. Your job is not easy, but do-able with our Lord's help. I use your materials in a traveling ministry all the time. I have shared the newsletter with dozens of people....It is a privilege to help support what you do. I refer to you both as the "watchdogs of conservative Christianity." I depend so heavily on you and the writers at Midnight Call for the insight I need on all the latest "perversions" that are out here. Please take care of your health so that you will have many more years of productive service. We all need and depend upon you. RR (NY)
It was of great interest to me when you answered the question about the book The Shack. The author of this book has been speaking in several of our area churches and has been well received....It is sad that there are so many undiscerning people who are being deceived by Satan....Keep up the good work of warning all of us of the great deceptions in these last days. AW (WA)
Dear Brother Hunt,
A friend sent me via email a copy of your newsletter. The article by T.A. McMahon, Warren's P.E.A.C.E movement-was most enlightening. The social gospel is taking hold in my church. Vocal witnessing for Jesus is being replaced by a "everybody-get-along-with-everybody" philosophy. Human relationships are more important than our relationship to Jesus Christ. It is difficult to articulate one's objection. What's wrong with loving your neighbor? I need all the help I can get. JC (OR)
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Since we know that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), we want to encourage everyone to help by making such a meal available to as many as possible.
One way you can contribute is by collecting used Bibles that you or your church may have that are just gathering dust at home or are piled high in the lost-and-found at church and elsewhere. We encourage you to send them to: Bible Foundation P.O. Box 908, Newberg, OR 97132 , and this all-volunteer, nonprofit ministry will distribute them to believers around the world who are hungering for the Word of God.
Among the many promises in God's Word, two stand out: He said He would keep His promises to Israel to reestablish her in the land given to her and rescue her when Satan incites the world against her. The end result is the reconciliation and restoration of a godly remnant. Replacement Theology, or the teaching that "The Church is Israel," denies these promises and destroys the hope that God's promises are true. If the Jews can't be preserved in Israel, Satan will have shown that God cannot keep His promises.
Moreover, if the gospel is not preached to the ends of the earth, Satan's purpose is also served. Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew:24:14). There are five specific "Great Commission" scriptures: Matthew:28:19-20, Mark:16:15, Luke:24:47, John:20:21, Acts:1:8. All speak of sending, going, and teaching (making disciples) of "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Revelation:5:9). The direct implication is that God has given His people a message of "good news" that can be taken to the world. If the gospel is compromised, it ceases to address man's true need. If it isn't the gospel that is going forth, but rather good deeds and a watered-down version of the gospel, this also voids God's promise and destroys the hope of His return in triumph.
Let me focus on the Great Commission. Romans:1:16 tells us that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." One of the premises of the Emerging Church movement is that the "old ways" don't work. If this is true, then the "old ways" must have been somehow corrupted, because the Bible says: "In the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians:1:21). God intended for His people to preach the Word. Isaiah tells us very specifically that the Word will not return unto Him "void" but that "It shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah:55:11). Hebrews states: "The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews:4:12).
Any approach that minimizes, the Word of God strips God's people of hope. Satan always unearths and presents the same moldy question to humanity, "Yea, hath God said?" (Genesis:3:1). The consequences of questioning God's Word are always detrimental to man's God-given eternal hope. Prominent Emerging Church leader Brian McLaren has stated, "First, I think our future is more about the Christian way of life than it is about a rigid and polemicized system of belief [the gospel?]. Second, I think our future is mission-oriented-meaning that we focus on forming disciples who advance God's mission [what mission?] in their daily lives [emphasis added]." 1
Although McLaren speaks often of "making disciples" and of "mission," he can't be speaking of the biblical method, because his approach has removed the "hope of the gospel" (Colossians:1:23). Abandoning the certainty of the Scriptures, he not surprisingly seeks other sources of spiritual nourishment: "I think our future will also require us to join humbly and charitably with people of other faiths-Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, secularists, and others-in pursuit of peace, environmental stewardship, and justice for all people, things that matter greatly to the heart of God." 2 Is this the gospel that we are commanded to preach? Will it rescue anyone from hell?
How can McLaren so easily and emphatically pronounce what he says "matters greatly to the heart of God" and yet deny God's inspired Word? The only way one can know what matters to God is by consulting the Scriptures! McLaren has joined with partners who deny the Scriptures. To know the "things that matter greatly to the heart of God," we should pay attention to what Jesus, the eternal Son of God who is the Living Word, has to say: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke:4:18). Jesus is not speaking here of merely bringing comfort and material needs, because He said, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke:19:10). Broken hearts can be healed only by reconciliation with the Father; "deliverance" has to be from sin and Satan; "recovering of sight to the blind" is to reveal the truth and the light of the Word of God; true liberty is realized only through understanding the truth of the gospel.
McLaren's "Joining "humbly and charitably...with people of other faiths" requires compromising and setting the gospel aside for the sake of "harmony." It is one thing to be discreet and respectful of others. It is something else to hide the truth of Scripture and the hope for humanity that it reveals. To keep silent and listen "noncritically" overlooks the simple fact that not everything taught and believed by others is desirable, helpful, or, most important of all, true. Jesus said in John:8:31-32: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!"
One of the best-known Bible verses is John:3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." That is our message. Those who come to Jesus "shall not perish, but have everlasting life." This hope gives meaning now and for eternity to our lives that the most well-intentioned social program can never provide. "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech" (2 Corinthians:3:12). Let us have confidence in the message God has given.
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