Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in. In today’s program, Tom wraps up a two-part series with guest Ed Newby. Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. If you’ve followed our discussion, the discussion with Ed Newby that I’m going to reintroduce in a minute, but we’re dealing with things like the influence of evangelical Christians – or Christians per se – Christendom, because of our affinity for conservatism. And we are conservative, especially in comparison to the liberal ideas and views that are out there. But our concern is how influential are entities, whether they be talk show hosts, columnists, whatever they might be, how are they influencing us with regard to their conservative worldview – political? Social? Even moral, in some cases. How are they influencing those who claim to go by the Bible? And what we’ve seen, many have an affinity for conservative views to the point of making it part of their religious worldview. And that’s not good…from our perspective.
Today we’re going to address more of the same. Last week, if you’ll check out part one, we dealt with things like Glenn Beck and his influence as a conservative – not just talk show host but columnist – and his views and how he has intermixed his religious worldviews, whether it be Mormonism, New Age ideas; we talked about his book with the psychiatrist, and how he presents - and folks, you can check us out on this – his book Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life, coauthored with psychiatrist Keith Ablow, so you not only have psychobabble there, but you have New Age ideas and concepts, and he specifically lays out what his theology is, even though he tries to play to a wider group of people.
Today, however – well, first of all my associate in the studio today is Ed Newby. He’s a TBC staff member. He handles most of our correspondence, Q&As; he produces our online updates, and again, he’s a researcher and contributor to TBC’s newsletter. So, again, Ed, welcome back!
Ed: Thanks, Tom.
Tom: Now, I say that. I see you every day, but…for the sake people who don’t know you…
Ed: But “welcome back to the studio.”
Tom: There you go! As we mentioned last week at the end of the program, probably the most influential, especially in terms of numbers, in terms of influencing Christians from a conservative and a theological view because they profess to be evangelical Christians, is WorldNetDaily. The numbers are just amazing in terms of people who go to that website, and so on. So we’re not just “picking” on them because they’re big in numbers. But we want to be Bereans. The Scripture says, “Search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so,” so that mentality we try to encourage among our readers, among our listeners, and so on, so we need to check everything out. You know, as Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them.” So with regard to WND, there are some issues, some concerns, that we have, and I think they’re important concerns.
So, Ed, just generally – we’re not going to get into the specifics right away – but what’s your take on WND?
Ed: WorldNetDaily would seem to have a good motive for what they’re doing. We have received their publication Whistleblower for years. There have been some helpful articles in there over the years. But we have become concerned because of some of the individuals who are allowed to write articles for them, who …do not have a biblical view, who are slipping into their articles – and we mentioned, Tom, you mentioned last week about Glenn Beck [who] inevitably will slip in something of his theology in his address to evangelical Christians. Well, these writers and authors are doing the same thing.
Tom: Yeah. WND builds itself as a conservative news website, and I’m quoting here their website: It’s a conservative news website with “an emphasis on aggressive, investigative reporting.” It also lists “faith” as one of the subjects that it addresses. So, when we’re talking about “faith,” people of faith – now we have a mixed bag. A problematic mixed bag. Where does it align itself, Ed, among different faith groups? Is it evangelical? Is it Catholic? Is it charismatic? Is it fundamental? Is it all of the above?
Ed: Unfortunately, we would have to fall in all of the above, when you see the people that are writing these articles. We’ve already referred to some Catholic writers for their publications, a lot of Hebrew roots people, including Jim Staley, who just this year was sentenced to seven years for defrauding investors of some $3.3 million, and which, of his writings, Joseph Farah said, “We’re not going to remove any of his materials because he…” Well, exactly, he said, “It’s unfortunate that he’s being punished for something that took place a long time ago, long before he entered the ministry.”
That’s not quite how it really happened, but he says, “He is one of the most gifted Bible teachers I know…” and in other places, and I remember reading the article where Farah was really pushing Jim Staley, he said, “I consider him my pastor.” Others have picked up on that as well.
Tom: Well, aside from the fact that Staley had some legal problems, that’s not our main concern. Our main concern is the Hebrew roots movement, which Joseph Farah aligns himself with and really takes much of Staley’s writings as his own, because as you said, he called him his pastor. So that influence – that’s what we’re concerned about.
But let’s talk about some others within the editorial staff, or at least the contributors to, whether it be Whistleblower, or to articles on the WND website. What about Kovacs?
Ed: Joe Kovacs. Clearly, he is a follower of the late cultist Herbert W. Armstrong. Some time ago we published a TBC Extra called “A Shocking Lack of Discernment,” and in the TBC Extra we had a side-by-side comparison of the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and the teachings of Joe Kovacs. And they were identical. There’s no…well, and he’s a welcomed speaker. He spoke at the Church of God of Tulsa, OK, which is an offshoot of the old Worldwide Church of God, one of the splinter groups that came into being after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong. And they were praising him, his teaching, recognizing he’s right in line with them. Although Kovacs himself identifies himself – he never says specifically - he always identifies himself as a “nondenominational Christian.”
Tom: Now, folks, the point of this, and go back to what I said earlier, when you have Christians – supposedly Bible-believing Christians, evangelicals – when they’re listening to or reading the writings from a website or from an organization that they believe is Christian, lines up with their biblical worldviews, and so on, now, you have things that antithetical, that are contrary, being promoted in some degree – in other words, they’re being influenced theologically, spiritually, by things that they are reading or are listening to, and it’s contrary to the Word of God. That’s our concern. It’s these influences. You’re drawn in by the conservatism, okay? But then you’re coming away with things that are contrary to – [they] maybe line up with conservatism, but they certainly are contrary to the Word of God. That’s our concern.
Now, in addition to that, and Kovacs, and the Catholicism, you’re right. I mean, I’ve read articles on there that I said, “Wait a minute. Where did this come from? This doesn’t line up with the Word of God.” Are there other perspectives that come from WND?
Ed: Well, we have the issue of him offering materials by Michael Rudd, whose theological training is The Way International, Victor Paul Wierwille’s cult. They deny the Trinity, and he has said that. Obviously, we haven’t looked at every single resource by Rudd offered by WND…but his teaching on the denial of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is very plain, because that was a tenet of The Way International. And we looked…I’ve been following this, and WND used to offer an astrological calendar produced by Michael Rudd. They have pulled that, but I counted more than twenty of his videos that are still there, still for sale, and still from the same perspective of Michael Rudd.
Tom: Yeah, now, perhaps because we’ve written about it, we’ve produced a couple of books dealing with the teachings, “prophecies,” of Jonathan Cahn, and WND has been one of Cahn’s chief promoters, not only did they develop a DVD promoting that, but they also promote his books, Mystery of the Shemitah, his latest, and also The Harbinger, which was produced by, or published by, Charisma. That was his main book. And they have been supporting Jonathan Cahn – you know, I’m not going to put Jonathan Cahn, per se, particularly in the Hebrew roots movement, but he certainly aligns himself with many of the ideas, many of the teachings of that. Also, we have Mark Biltz – blood moons…
Ed: Absolutely, yeah.
Tom: …as of late, particularly because of the implied…you could certainly go beyond that, but we’ll just say the implied idea of the prophecy of the blood moons coming together with the mystery of the Shemitah, supposedly going to take place last September, October, and these were going to bring about cataclysmic issues, particularly economic issues, and so on. It never happened.
Tom: But you had WND not only promoting survival stuff, even gas masks – I don’t know how that fit in…
Ed: Interesting you should mention that. There was an email that came this morning from WND announcing a new sale on survival materials.
Tom: Ed, again, I want to avoid sarcasm as much as I can, because I want to stay with the issues. But now you have false prophecy, promotion of false prophecy. Now you have supposedly an issue that deals with eschatology – the last days. Blood moons? According to the Scripture, that takes place at the end of the Tribulation – the Great Tribulation, of the seven years. So, somehow, because of these teachings and ideas, these things that they’re supporting, they – WorldNetDaily, as an organization and all of their different media devices – they are promoting an eschatology that’s contrary to the Word of God, and that’s influencing a lot of people. I have an article that dealt with fear-mongering. Well, when there’s fear, you’re going to buy into something that’s going to preserve you, and WND has been certainly supportive of that these cataclysmic things, these catastrophes are going to take place, and here’s how you survive them.
Now, I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but if these things point to the Great Tribulation, you just need to read the book of Revelation and decide whether a gas mask, or whether it be extra food, would get somebody through seven years of that. I mean, it’s ludicrous. But – it’s worse than ludicrous. It’s tragic! Because it affects people. It’s fear-mongering, and people buy into it and, in some cases, they sell their houses, buy gold, buy all of these things to protect themselves as opposed to turning to the Word of God for understanding how these things are going to take place. But also, for their trust in the Lord. It undermines all of that.
Ed: Yes, if I could mention – it’s interesting - another thing that came in today is another mailing from WND promoting their new documentary called The Harbinger Man, which is a biography of Jonathan Cahn, and it’s interesting that…you mentioned about overtly leaning toward Hebrew roots. In the promo material, it says this: “Now, thousands of years after Christianity began as an outgrowth of Judaism, Cahn believes more Jews than ever are coming to faith in Jesus than at any other time since the book of Acts. What’s more, Cahn said, this is taking place at the same time the Christian church is becoming more aware of its own Jewish roots: ‘There’s this whole revival going on. It’s kind of like coming home, and at the same time, in the church, the other side of the coin, the church more and more is returning to its Jewish roots. The closeness between the true church, true believers, and Israel has never been closer.’”
Tom: So, folks, if this whole idea of the Hebrew roots is new to you, we could certainly go to articles that we have presented in The Berean Call, we could point you to radio programs – early on, I did a couple of sessions with Dick Fisher, who’s addressed this in detail.
And look, we love Israel. We take a back seat to no one when it comes to our love for Israel. But when you start applying these things that are supposedly encouraging people in terms of their views, their ideas, their relationship with Israel, you can’t do it with false teachings and false ideas. I have seen within the Hebrew roots movement – and you can check, again, from our writings and so on – where they’ve moved under the law. That their issues, almost like Seventh Day Adventism, where it’s a selective picking and choosing what you want from the Law and applying it. I’ve been in situations where they say – Well, you can’t really understand this (I’ve been told this!)…you can’t really understand the Word of God unless you understand Hebrew, especially the New Testament, which they claim was initially written in Hebrew. Now show me a manuscript, okay?
Tom: It’s an idea that supports their agenda, but it’s not proved. It’s just not true. So, again, our heart here is how are those who claim to be, or desire to be, biblical Christians, who desire to live their lives going by the Word of God, what influences are they taking in? Are they moving to a conservative worldview because they’re listening to either Beck or Joseph Farah, to Rush? Again, not that these guys aren’t saying some things that we might agree with, but if that’s becoming our influence in terms of how we’re living our lives for Christ, we’re on a wrong track here.
Ed: Oh, absolutely.
Tom: We have drifted away from the Scriptures, or we’re in that process.
Ed: Absolutely. And it’s interesting, in this promotion of The Harbinger Man video, again, we see this focus on these patterns, these secrets that are being revealed, often for the first time. That’s how it’s being promoted.
Tom: Yeah, so that should be a red flag right there. And then most of their prophecies, especially early on, it was like Monday quarterbacking, or…looking at something that… oh wait a minute! I thought prophecy…when God gives a prophecy, it’s something that’s going to take place, but when you look at it from the standpoint of “Well, here’s what God did, but He didn’t tell us He was going to do that. He didn’t tell us what was going to happen in New York, 9/11.”
So, it’s a huge problem, and again, we’re crying out, we’re exhorting, encouraging those not to buy into everything that’s out there. Even though it aligns itself with your conservative worldview. No. We don’t go by that. We’re Bereans. We need to go by the Scriptures.
So, Ed, what I’m getting at here, what’s the solution to those who are buying into this, and, in fact, unwittingly they’re losing their discernment. That has to come from a biblical worldview. What would you say to that?
Ed: Well, this whole idea about going back to the Hebrew roots, or going back to the Bible, which talks about the Hebrew people, how God chose Israel to be the line from which our Messiah, from which the Savior would come. We need to go back to the Bible, and even when he says something like (Cahn, that is), says something like “after Christianity began as an outgrowth of Judaism…” – no! Christianity began as a fulfillment of what was typified in the Old Testament law! All of those Old Testament laws, those types and shadows, which Paul wrote about in Colossians 2, pointed to the Savior! So we need to go back to the Word.
Tom: Well, folks, we can’t underscore, underline, that enough. God said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” so what I’m going to say here, conviction starts with my own life. How much time are we spending in the Word of God? Is that a habit for us? Because if it’s not, it needs to be. And if it is, it’s the best habit you will ever have. Why? Because you’re hearing from God through His Word. If you’re truly a believer, if you believe that Christ paid the full penalty for your sins, that He’s God, who became a man, who went to the Cross to pay the penalty which we all deserve. He paid that penalty. So, admitting that you’re a sinner, admitting that you can’t save yourself, only Jesus Christ can save you. That’s where it begins. But once that belief – once you profess that, it’s by faith and faith alone - once you profess that, then you’re born again. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit - not just the Comforter but the One who will teach us the truth. So that’s where we need to be.
So God has given us His Word. As believers, He’s given us His Holy Spirit to help us to understand and to grow in the faith, grow in our relationship with Him. Folks, if you’re not there, that’s where you need to be. And the great thing about it is if you have a heart and if you’re willing to receive not only the gospel, the other things will take care of themselves. We may have struggles, but nevertheless, God is greater than our struggles, and He will get us through those things.
So, that’s what the program’s about. What kind of influences are we taking in? Are we looking to the world? Are we looking to our own flesh? Or, in some cases, looking to the Adversary, the devil? And I don’t know where…whoever’s listening to this…where you are, but I know where you need to be; I know where I need to be, all of us need to be: we need to be in God’s hands, believing and trusting in Him, willing to do what He has laid out for us to do, and, if we’re willing, He will enable us, right, Ed?
Tom: So, Ed, I’ve said this, I say it, for the most part, maybe every program, because that’s what our ministry’s called, The Berean Call – calling people to be Bereans. Ed, what’s that about?
Ed: Well, it’s following the example of the Bereans who listened to Paul’s message.
Tom: Hey, wait a minute! They were Jews, weren’t they?
Ed: They were Jews, yes!
Tom: How about that? Many people say, “Well, these guys are starting to sound anti-Semitic.” Well, wait a minute. Our ministry is named after the Jews. In fact, they were not Christians. They were Jews in the synagogue of the Greek city of Berea – check it out: Acts:17:10-11. It’s right there.
Ed: But they were willing to listen to Paul, but they took the most important step: “they searched the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”
Tom: And what was…that was his missionary trip. What was he preaching and teaching? He was preaching that the Messiah, that the Jews who he was speaking to, whom they’re looking for, and he said, “Hey! He’s arrived. Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” And he explained from the prophets – that’s where searching the Scriptures come in. He was exhorting them, encouraging them, to search the Scriptures, which they wanted to do, to see if what he was saying was true. “Yes, Jesus the Messiah! Jesus, our Savior has come!”
Ed: Absolutely. And we often quote 2 Timothy:3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” but we need to throw in verse 15, where Paul is writing to Timothy, whose mother is Jewish, but he’s saying, “From a child, thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, which is in Christ.”
Tom: So that’s our heart and in all of this, that’s our prayer. So, Ed, thanks for joining me in this discussion. And we’ve got some other things down the line that the Lord has put on our heart, and we’re going to give you the perspective from our researcher, certainly contributor to The Berean Call, Ed Newby, and Lord willing, we’ll do some more. Thank you, Ed!
Ed: Oh, you’re welcome!
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019, Bend, Oregon 97708; call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to search the Scriptures 24/7.