The Jonah Syndrome

The prophet Jonah and his resentment of the Ninevites.  He did not like the Ninevites.  He did not want to see God’s mercy given to them.  He did not want to preach to them, telling to repent of their sins or God will send judgment upon that city.  He tried to run away but God would not let him, so Jonah did what God had told him to do.  He preached repentance to the Ninevites, they believed and repented before God in sackcloth and ashes, and God showed them mercy.  Jonah was not pleased with this outcome and still was expecting judgment to fall upon Ninevah so he waited on a hill overlooking the city to watch it happen.  But it didn’t because God is merciful, and Jonah was angry.

If we are honest with ourselves there are times when we are not much different than Jonah but in a different context.  We call out false teachers like Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes and others for their ear-tickling fodder.  We call them out because they are living fat off the “tithes” of their mesmerized and enthralled followers.  We hear them use and abuse the Word of God for selfish gain, saying what they ought not to teach for earthly gain.  We are sitting on that hilltop under the tree provided to us for shade and we are waiting for God’s judgment to rain down on them.

I am there now.  I bust my butt working 14 hours a day.  I give to the church and give extra when I can.  I am barely treading the financial water around me, barely keeping my chin above the waves.  I am floundering about looking for refuge but the waves just keep getting higher.  Every time I think I have made a step forward another bill or expense crashes over me and I am momentarily under the water.  Instead sowing generously so I can reap generously as 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, I sow bountifully and seem to reap more debt bountifully.

I am on the hilltop.  I am wondering why the wicked prosper, especially those who abuse the Word of God to reap earthly gain.  Those who spit on the bible so they can strip those who hang on the very words, their prophetic dreams, the promises of riches beyond imagination, only to be tossed aside when the well is dry, are living without worry, while I need to scrounge up what I can so I can buy food for my family.  I have heard the stories of people who promised God to give ten percent of their money and have been successful, and I don’t want to hear those stories any more.  I know all the promises and I know I need to rest in Him, but I am tired from treading water.

So, I am Jonah in chapter four. 

95 Theses against the modern church

The 95 Theses

Against the Modern Day Church

1.       Preach the whole counsel of the gospel.  Anything less is a disservice to the people in your audience, both the believer and unbeliever.

2.      Preach the Law.  The Law of God convicts sinners of their sin that is the purpose of the Law.  It is a standard set by God to demonstrate how far short man falls in regards to His holiness.

3.      Relationship evangelism is not true evangelism.  It is possibly effective but it is not the only means. 

4.      The apostles preached the gospel to mostly strangers.

5.      All of the human race is totally depraved before the Holy God.  Our sin is a gulf unfathomable gulf between us and Him.

6.      All that is wrong in the world is the consequences of our sin.  All sickness, disease, physical disabilities, natural disasters, etc., are a result of sin entering into the world because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God, and ultimately ours.

7.      Define sin.  Sin is an affront to the Holiness of God, a refusal to acknowledge His sovereignty, a rebellion against His Law and the failure to worship Him as we should and especially as He is due.

8.     Stop calling sin “mistakes”.  Sin is not similar to adding bleach to a non-whites load of laundry.  Jesus did not die for our mistakes, oopsies or any other misnomer used to describe sin.  Jesus Christ died for our sins.

9.      Preach repentance.  Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sins.  Sinners must repent before the just God.

10.  Jesus did preach repentance.  Before Jesus began teaching about the kingdom of God He preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  Repentance is taught throughout the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.

11.   God is not just a God of love.  He is a Holy God, just, righteous and light.  In Him darkness cannot dwell in which sin must be repented of and Christ’s righteousness has been imputed before one can enter His presence.

12.  Christianity is not inclusive, it is exclusive.  All must acknowledge their sin, repent of their sin and believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one gets to the Father but through Me.”  (John 14:6)

13.  Cease and desist with the sinners’ prayer, the heads bowed and eyes closed.  This not biblical in any sense of the word.

14.  Law and Gospel must be preached together.  Neglecting one or the other is a false gospel.

15.  If a sinner is in one’s church and feels comfortable and not convicted, then there is something wrong with that church.

16.  Cease and desist with life-lesson and life-coaching messages (they cannot be called sermons).  Jesus is not Dr. Phil or Oprah and the Holy Spirit is not Tony Robbins.

17.   Cease and desist with the comedy routines during the preaching of the message.  Read the text, cite the text and cite related texts that enhance the central point of the message.

18.  The bible is not about you or anyone else, it is about Jesus.  We are not any of the bible heroes in the Old Testament.  We are not Davids who need to slay our Goliath problems.  Any message that deviates from Christ is either a pep-talk or a self-improvement message, not a sermon.

19.  Women are forbidden by scripture to speak from the pulpit.  This is not a man-made rule or tradition.  It is an edict from God.

20. The bible is not a collection of proof-text verses.  It is false teaching to preach a man-made and man-centered doctrine and then use bible verses out of context to buffer the false teaching.

21.  The social gospel is not gospel at all.  It will save no one.

22. The social gospel can only lead to anger or discontentment towards God for any perceived injustice, and self-righteousness and arrogant piety towards other Christians.

23. We cannot change culture by infiltrating culture as Christians.  Only the gospel can change a person’s heart.

24. Promising a blessing from God for a seed-faith offering is an abomination before God.

25. Speaking gibberish and baby talk is not a secret language of God.  It solely the machinations of a depraved mind to impress upon people their piety and spirituality.

26. People are not infused with an anointing from God to heal miraculously as Jesus and the Apostles did during their ministry.  These people are frauds, charlatans and false teachers, anti-Christs.

27.  God is not manipulated by anything that we do or say.  He will not act simply because we recite a certain prayer in a certain way. 

28. The Holy Spirit is not a genie in a bottle.  He is the third person on the Holy Trinity and is to be revered as such.

29. Grave soaking is an abomination from hell.  No one except Christ has been anointed by God.  No one.

30. No one is not called up into heaven and then sent back to earth to share a message about the existence of heaven.

31.  Cease and desist waiting for the still small voice of God to speak to you.  God does not whisper in the wind.

32. We are not “little gods”.  We do not have the same creative power as God as to speak into being our wants and desires.

33. A ten percent tithe is legalism.  God loves a cheerful giver.

34. Praying is not a lottery ticket or a pull-arm on a slot machine.

35. Jesus is not your romantic lover.  He will not leave a trail of rose petals that leads one into a secluded glade in an enchanted forest.

36. Emotional highs due to extended “worship” songs make people spiritual junkies.  The experience causes people to seek out more such experiences and leads them away from God, not towards Him as they are deceived to believe.

37.  Jesus did not die to make us rich, give us a better job, fix our problems and our relationships, and help us move into a dream house.

38. We do not have a dream destiny.

39. God does not have a special purpose for each and every one in His creation.  His love is for those who have been adopted into His family.

40. One is not the apple of God’s eye if one is still in their sin.

41.  Celebrity “pastors” do not need multi-million dollar mansions, private jets, exclusive hotels and fleets of cars to share the gospel. 

42. Good works are not proof that God is working in a ministry.  If that were true then secular corporations and agencies that do charity work could make the same claim.

43. A large church is not proof that God is blessing that church.  It is mostly evidence that people like that “pastor” and like giving their money to that “pastor”.

44. Volunteering in the church is not a sign of spiritual maturity.

45. Volunteering in the church is not a way to earn points with God.

46. Being involved in the church is not a means unto salvation.

47.  Performing good works in the community is not the same preaching the gospel.  Performing a good work in the community generally only produces warm feelings toward that particular church.  It is not a means of making disciples.

48. Church is not for the unchurched.  It is a place for believers to meet to be refreshed by and with other believers.

49. The gospel is not about a relationship with Jesus.  Without regeneration, repentance, faith and belief in the salvific work of Jesus Christ we cannot have a relationship with God.

50. Unbelievers have no expectation to have their prayers answered unless it is in relation to their salvation.

51.  Miracles do not happen every day.  A miracle is an occurrence where the natural laws are suspended and God intercedes in a supernatural way.  All matters that happen unexpectedly are due to the providence of God.

52. Ecumenism is not to be strived for.  Unity for the sake of unity is neither biblical nor profitable.

53. Mormons are not Christians.  They are a cult who preach a different Jesus and completely different doctrine.  Their good works and morals do not make them Christians.

54. The Roman Catholic Church has not changed its position regarding the tenets of the Reformation in the last 500 years.  The pope is an antichrist.

55.  The canon of the bible is closed.  God is not giving anyone anywhere at any time special revelation.  What we have, the sixty-six books of the bible is all we need to preach, teach, understand and know as much as we can about our Creator and Savior.

56. The bible is sufficient as is.  It is the perfect word of God to be used to disciple, rebuke and discern matters of false doctrine and teaching.

57.  The scriptures are the Holy writ of God and should be treated with reverence.  The Father chose to condescend and communicate to us in a way we could understand.

58. The bible is a historical document with historical facts and can be understood literally where the text dictates such an understanding.

59. The bible will always trump science.  If there is a conflict between the bible and science, always believe what the Word of God says.  The Word of God does not need to be reconciled with science.

60. Creation happened in six literal 24 hour days.  Theistic evolution, Gap Theory or any variation of the creation account is in conflict with the bible.

61.  It does not matter that Genesis chapter 1 is written in a poetic style of writing.  This was a unique occurrence in the history of the world, a magnificent display of the power of the Living God, it is appropriate that the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to use poetic form.

62. In the original text, Genesis was not separated into sections or chapters.  Chapter 1 flowed into chapter 2 and 3.  Chapters 2 and 3 provide definitive details of the creation account.

63. Belief in the literal interpretation of the creation account is an act of faith (Hebrews 11:1-3) and is a component and matter of belief in regards to the plan of salvation.

64. Salvation is a work of faith alone.  We have no part in our salvation save that our sins make it necessary.

65. Works are not necessary for our salvation.  Works are a product of our faith and salvation and are performed for the glory of God.

66. Not all people will be saved.  Some will go to hell.

67.  Hell is a real destination for some who choose not to believe in Christ.  The earth and heaven are both destined for destruction.

68. God speaks through His written word which the Holy Spirit uses to instruct Christ’s disciples.

69. Sola Scriptura, scripture alone.

70. Sola fidelis, faith alone.

71.   Sola gratia, grace alone.

72.  Sola Christus, in Christ alone.

73.  Sola Deo Gloria, for the glory of God alone.

74.  Jesus Christ is the sufficient sacrifice, the Lamb of God, whose shed blood was more than enough to pay for our sins.

75.  When Christ said “It is finished” the Father’s wrath was satisfied.  Nothing more is necessary for our salvation.

76.  Exposit and exegete the scripture one verse at a time.  Teach all that the bible has to be taught, in season and out of season.

77.  Our sins were imputed onto Christ on the cross.  He is our propitiation.  He who knew no sin became sin for our sake.

78. Christ’s righteousness was imputed onto believers at the moment of belief.  Those who believe in Christ are now right before God.  He is our Mediator and we need no other, no dead saints or Mary.

79.  The truth of the gospel will offend, and should offend, no matter nicely it is packaged.  We are proud in our rebellion against God and do not want to be told we are sinners and are accountable to God for our acts of sin and rebellion.

80.The pastor of the church is not the only person responsible for sharing the gospel and making disciples.  It is the responsibility of all believers.

81.  Christians are to be loving and charitable in all ways and means.  Christ died for us while were in rebellion against His Father to show His love for the Father and for us.  We are to live in humility and gratitude.

82. Forgiveness of grievances against us is a commandment.  We are to forgive anyone who sins against us.

83. Church attendance is a commandment.  We are to gather together to sing hymns and praises to God, hear instruction from pastor divined from the written word of God and minister to one another’s needs.

84. We must partake of the elements of communion.  It is a memorial and a commandment.

85. Truth matters as the Holy Spirit has laid it out in the bible.  God is the owner of all truth and it is never to be determined by what is relevant in the culture.

86. We are to expect pain, emotional hurt and persecution in this life on account of the name of Jesus Christ.

87. We are enemies with God, at enmity with Him.  Without becoming at peace with (Romans 5:1) we cannot expect to receive the peace of God.

88. God does not need to reason with us.  He is sovereign over all His creation and does not our input and He does not need to explain why bad things happen to us.

89. We cannot make a decision for Jesus.  We do not have free will.  We are free to choose and if not for the work of the Holy Spirit we would never choose God.  The Holy Spirit and the intervention of God on our behalf enable us to choose God.

90. We are to submit to spiritual leadership God has set over us.  The only situation that dictates otherwise is if the leadership is on the road to false teaching and apostasy.

91.  We are to practice discernment.  We are to be Bereans and check that what is taught squares with what is written in the word of God.

92. Discernment is a necessary good for the church.  The church needs people who are able to expose and explain false teaching.

93. Polemics is a necessary good for the body of Christ.  Some sound teachers can at times be wrong about a doctrinal matter or a matter of Christian liberty or the role of the body in the culture.

94. Doctrine matters.

95. He is an awesome God who, for His glory and His glory alone, provided a means of salvation.  We are insignificant and worthless without His grace.  Teaching otherwise is an affront to His Holiness.

Jesus in the rearview

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips,  but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me,  teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matthew 15:7-9

I Facebook on the interweb.  I post pictures of my kids, especially of my three month son, so my friends and family can see them.  Actually, my wife usually does most of the posting.  But I do post sometimes, too, and we get a lot of comments and likes on the posts of pictures of our kids.  I am introvert and prefer not to have many face-to-face interactions so posting pictures of our kids on Facebook is perfect for me.  More often than not we get a lot of likes for the pictures.

I also repost and share articles about national, well-known Evangelical teachers who teach questionable, dangerous and/or outright heretical things.  Recently, I resposted and shared all the articles related to Clayton Jennings and his propensity to sow his seed under the guise of sowing the seed of the Gospel.  I have also reposted some articles of other dangerous teachers, like Jen Hatmaker, Todd White and Joyce Meyers, because people should be aware of them.  Guess how many likes I received?  Well, at last count it was zero, which is to say there was nothing to count.  I didn’t even get negative comments.

I am not sure what to say.  Am I shocked? Not really.  Why? Not too many people in the seeker-driven purpose-friendly church today care about false teachers and their false teaching.  The more popular they are the more right they must be with God.  In fact, I’m sure a lot of them like what is being taught because it tickles their ears, which is why I am surprised I didn’t even get a negative response.  Please, someone repeat to their neighbor “lukewarm”.

My observation from reading their posts and listening to their conversations is that they like to keep Jesus close, but not too close.  They like to experience their sin vicariously through TV shows and movies, as Jeff Maples pointed out in his article about entertainment and the church on Pulpit and Pen.  They like the Beth Moore Jesus.  I picture the Beth Moore Jesus as Jesus sitting in the back seat of your car.  If you look just right in the rearview mirror then you can see him sitting there.  And when he notices you looking at him I picture him putting on a cheesy smile, cocking his head to one side with a wink, and his two hands in the form of guns pointing at you like he is saying, “S’up, Girlfriend!”.

On Sundays and small group days, they put their Christian suit.  They talk about Jesus, about how much they love Jesus and they should rely on Jesus more than they should.  They talk about how Jesus helps through financial crises and sickness and any other down turn in their life.  And while they are doing this they are probably DVRing some perverse program that they wouldn’t watch if Jesus came for a visit.  Can you imagine if Jesus did come over and asked to see what was on your DVR menu?  How many of us would blush and stutter embarrassingly and try to steer the conversation to something else, quick?

The tragic thing is that Jesus is in the rearview, it’s just that he is not in the back seat anymore.  He stepped out at the last traffic light and they didn’t even notice.  Then when they look to see if He is still there what they see in the rearview mirror is Jesus on the corner talking to someone else who wanted to listen.  He’s not even looking at your car.

The church in general has become lukewarm.  All this self-help, you’re the Old Testament hero, pizza-box sermonettes has watered down the Gospel and has sheathed the Sword of Truth.  Our material wealth has made the church soft and deaf to the truth of the gospel.  We want the worldly things and we want to say we honor Jesus but as John said in 1 John 1:5-10:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The church needs to remove the bushel that covers our light or Jesus will remove the lampstand from our midst, if He hasn’t already, and repent of our whoring with the world, seek His forgiveness in humility and with a contrite and broken heart.

An observation of Clayton Jennings

It appears that Clayton Jennings “ministry” may be at an end, at least for now.  With the way celebrity Christianity seems to work anyone can be “restored” back into ministry if they spend enough time in Purgatory.  If you haven’t been following what has been happening with Clayton Jennings, please read these articles here, here, and here,  written by JD Hall of Polemics Report, and these Polemics Report podcasts here and here.  Also read these accounts of victims of Clayton Jennings here and here.  This post is based on the work that had been already done by JD Hall.  This post is my observation as an outsider of the events that occurred.

It may seem that JD Hall was targeting this person like a laser bomb with the intent to destroy his alleged ministry.  Quite the contrary.  JD Hall was protecting the flock.  JD Hall was trying to extract a wolf who had managed to gain entrance into the sheep fold.  This could not continue to happen.  Clayton Jennings had to be exposed for who and what he really is, which is a sexual predator not above exploiting his position with had spiritual authority in order to take advantage of smitten young women.

Clayton Jennings grew up in the church in which his father was a pastor.  He certainly had the opportunity to learn the vernacular and how to appear to be so in love with Jesus.  He could put on the passionate Christian costume and speak the language that would give him a level of credibility, at least enough to allow him to build a ministry that was geared towards millennials.  He is a very good looking young man so that did not hurt his ability to attract his main target, young women looking for a man who seemed to love Jesus so much and a man who only cared about sharing Jesus.  It turned out to be a useful weapon for a prowling sexual predator, the wolf in the sheepfold.

Clayton Jennings wrote all types of poems and did spoken word pieces that talked about his battles with lust, depression and other struggles with the flesh.  They were vague expositions that appeared to show him as a vulnerable man, one who was able to express his weakness with such an available openness and an apparent reliability on Jesus to help.  That expressed vulnerability is what attracted the young women combined with his attractive appearance and charismatic personality.  He portrayed himself as the man that some women really want with the added twist of claiming to be a disciple of Christ which was especially attractive to young Christian women who are more likely to trust those in ministerial positions preaching Jesus.  They want to trust him more because of his ministry and want to believe that he is on the up-and-up.

All of these were props designed to lure the young women for sexual encounters in his home.  He would seduce them with his poems and with his spoken word blabberings that tugged on the part of a person that discards all thought and discernment:  emotions.  Clayton lasered in on the emotional center of his female targets that followed his ministry, attacking the most vulnerable part and the one that is most easily manipulated.   In doing this he displayed what is the most vulnerable part of most men, lusting after a woman for a sexual encounter.

He would lower their ability to resist his sexual approaches through alcohol (while not drinking any himself) and with his apparent spiritual training.  He would smooth talk them into believing that what they had done or were about to do were do was perfectly fine because they were going to be married.  It wasn’t a sin.  Add this kind of talk to alcohol and watching endless videos of his “sermons” and spoken word blatherings and he was on his way to breaking down the defenses of his victim.  And then he would pounce on them, figuratively and literally.  The victims resisted but due to his tactics they found themselves succumbing to him.

All of which was staged and meticulously planned so he could sin and the victims were just collateral damage to him, an acceptable loss to him in his quest of his ultimate goal: sex.

It is a sad state that Christianity has fallen into.  Weak teaching on the doctrine of total depravity and man’s fatal desire to satisfy his carnal flesh has eaten away at the mortar of the church.  Wolves sneak through the cracks so as to take advantage of the sheep.  We are fighting a war against the flesh with a sword wrapped in bubble wrap, if we are even withdrawing it from the scabbard at all.  How can the church hope to fare in a battle against the flesh if the church is so ill-equipped to mount a defense?  How can we be effective if we are given life lesson sermons with self-centered concerns which Jesus can coach us through?  How can we be effective when our level of maturity is not measured by our understanding of essential fundamental doctrines of Christianity but by how much we are volunteering to serve in our churches?  How can we trust our teachers when the effectiveness of their ministry is measured by how large of a crowd they can attract and not by how well the teachers exegete the scriptures which separate bone from marrow when exposited correctly?

Wolves creep in with false teaching with the purpose to deceive the elect and bring the elect with them into their sinful pursuits.  Satan’s tools of deception are not meant to fall useless against the outside of the walls of the church.  Satan’s attacks are meant to expose weaknesses and get inside the church.  The less the church leans on sound biblical teaching the more effective the subtle attacks of Satan are on the church.  This does not remove responsibility of those who commit sin against the flock or lead the church astray with false teaching.  It is simply a tactic of the Enemy.

Clayton Jennings is one such wolf who needs the blood of Christ to change him into a sheep.  He needs to be taught the gospel, seek real repentance and make restitution with his victims.  The victims do not need another stylized video with his face hidden.  They need an in person reconciliation done out of the spotlight.  He’s done enough grandstanding on the ministry circuit.  He doesn’t need to exploit these young women again for his own personal gain.  May God grant true repentance, a contrite and broken heart, humility, and forgiveness sought out of the contriteness and humility.  And may he remain anonymous so as not to be tempted again.

A written word for Clayton Jennings

A written word for Clayton Jennings

Spiritual malnutrition plagues the church

Starving sheep are out on a search

Here there anywhere for spiritual food

Caring little that it is somewhat crude

Wolves seeking to ravage and devour

Some to crush a young woman’s flower

The wolf is all pomp and primp

Playing the role of an abusive pimp

A narcissist who loves the glamour

With his mirrored image he is enamored

Using all his buttery speech and guile

Evil intent hidden behind a winsome smile

Lure them in with talk of marriage

Then dumps them in the waiting carriage

“Please be sure to take the pill”

As he hands her a $20 bill

 

She succumbs to his dogged persistence

She imbibes wine at his insistence

The woman, fooled by flattery, style and fame

Is left feeling dirty, worthless and full of shame

She becomes an emotional wreck

Tossed aside like an annoying insect

Turns to her pastor, a man of God

He says “Not sure that he’s a fraud

He is well spoken and well known

I’m not the one to have the whistle blown”

With nowhere to turn with her case

She remembers a man from cyberspace

 

She calls this man she doesn’t even know

Because she has nowhere else to go

He listens because no one else would

He prays for her as a disciple of Christ should

He wrote a blog to sound the alarm

Clayton said he would do no harm

To the warning pay no heed

Clayton assured there would be no need

To worry about him and his mission

All he was doing was Christ-like fishin’

 

The man relented took him off the block

Less than a year later Clayton ravaged the flock

More than one sheep fell to his charms

Abused and broken in his arms

The man calls out this man of prey

Clayton’s only mission was women to lay

Down with him in his bed on iniquity

So he could satisfy his sexual promiscuity

 

The articles are written Clayton exposed

Of all the women he disdainly disposed

Clayton shrugs it off as nothing to see

As he continues to tour with his ministry

The pressure on him continues to mount

As more victims are added to his count

He says he recently made good

To a woman from his childhood

They secretly went away and eloped

That changed nothing as he had hoped

 

He releases a Facebook post

About sins he claims to regret the most

Nothing about the women he abused

Nothing about how they were used

To satisfy a sexual sinful desire

To use them as women for hire

He postpones his upcoming agenda

Claiming he needs to be with his mentor

He makes a video of a Hollywood style

Decrying his past sins all the while

 

Clayton claims to having repented

Of all the sins he has lamented

He is on the path of restoration

Another caveat in his lamentation

Behind hat and shadow he cowered

His sycophants praise upon him showered

For being so forthright and strong

But only after he was shown in the wrong

Accusing the man of wanting him crucified

But no, the man wanted to admit he lied

To those women he left in tatters

But his restoration is what truly matters

 

The image in my head that stuck

Was that of Bug in Uncle Buck

The time comes for his true repentance

Not this fluff that lacks substance

Time to make restitution

With those who seek retribution

May his repentance bear true lasting fruit

And bring him to begin his pursuit

Of a life striving towards holiness

And not one full of celebrity emptiness

Fame brings pride

Which cannot in Christ abide

 

However the end of the story may come

Answers and confession are needed by some

He abused his place of spiritual authority

To feed his sin of perversity

For Clayton the time is now to never turn back

Confess his sins, repent, and fade to black

a structural analysis of AHA

Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) is a website put together by some people whose main purpose is what their name states, abolishing human abortion.  They self-identify as abolitionists.  The website gives a description of Five Tenets and Two Modes that a person should adhere to if they want to be identified as an abolitionist.  They have chapters in several cities, they sell signs and apparel with slogans and a logo that can be purchased, and they will send a representative to a church to try to recruit people to their cause.  They do not accept donations directly but one of their modes is crisis pregnancy center, Hand of Hope.  They also say that a local AHA adherent can be supported directly.  They have an unofficial official spokesperson, T. Russell Hunter, who is also their de facto leader since he had founded the ideology and designed the logo.  This is all on their website.  I commend their passion in their fight to end abortion, all abortion, and support them with my prayers.

However, they are not an organization, at least that is what they claim.  They are only a group, for lack of a better term, who all adhere and practice the Five Tenets and Two Modes of abolitionism.  They are almost as passionate at defending that sentiment as they are in abolitionism.  This post is not about going into legal and official government documents.  There is an article that already did that here.  This is about definitions of words and how those definitions apply to AHA because AHA likes to redefine words to suit their own agenda.

Here is the definition of an organization from Dictionary.com, the fifth possible understanding of the word:

5: a group of persons organized for some end or work; association: a nonprofit organization.

That seems pretty straight forward.  AHA has a central ideology that a widespread group of people adhere to and practice, and the ideology is to end abortion.  They have signs and apparel with the AHA logo.  I don’t about you but that definition seems to fit AHA.  I mean, they help people set up chapters in their local cities.  They send people out to churches to recruit the people of the church to their cause.  Stuff that organizations are usually involved in doing to further their cause.  But tell them that they fit the definition of an organization and they get defensive.  They give their own qualifiers, such as no one is paid or draws a salary as part of AHA.  In that definition I gave that is not listed as a qualification in order to be called an organization.  They have no overarching leader or board of directors yet they seem to have the same person speak for them every time AHA needs a representative.

It’s all very confusing.  They do everything that qualifies them as an organization even in the logical sense.  They have a core set of ideals that is central to their cause and people and groups of people organize around those ideals.  That’s the best way to describe it because the gather at abortion clinics with their signs and t-shirts, together.  They send representatives around the country to churches to recruit people but they are not an organization because that is what organizations do.  They have chapters in different cities like an organization would but they are not an organization.

So what do they want to be identified as?  After a lengthy conversation the answer given is that AHA wants to be considered a “movement”.  So what is the definition of a movement?  Let’s see:

a diffusely organized or heterogeneous group of people or organizations tending toward or favoring a generalized common goal

Well, there it is.  Even under their preferred description the definition still incorporates the idea of being organized.  So why is AHA so adamant about not being considered organized?

There can be only two reasons that are really one, accountability and responsibility.  AHA wants to be able to take credit for and boast about, while pretending to defer to God, any success they have in abolishing abortion.  What they don’t want to do is hold anyone who adheres to their tenets and wears their gear accountable for their actions or take responsibility for questionable actions while acting on behalf of AHA.  Whether AHA likes it or not, when someone wears their gear and uses their signs they are representing AHA, good or bad.  And AHA wants to be able to wipe their hands if someone goes off the rails while representing them.  Unfortunately, AHA cannot have it both ways.

So while AHA continues to vehemently deny that they are an organization but are a movement it still cannot be denied by official definitions that they are organized around a shared core of ideology and actions.  They are organized and organization.  No official documents are needed to be identified as such.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its probably a duck.

For further reading, click here.

Is abortion the only sin that is legal?

This article was posted on the polemics website Pulpit and Pen (link).  It is a very good article from a proponent for abolishing human abortion but has decided that the polemics website he administers would sever ties with an organization with the same name, Abolish Human Abortion (AHA).  The point of this blog post is to address something in that post that may have been directed towards some of my posts on their FB group.  I want to say now that I am all for abolishing abortion in all stages and in all ways, period.  In fact, during this whole situation with AHA I have been convicted to become more involved in the abolishing abortion.

That being said, my original comments were meant to challenge their assumptions about how abortion should be the one ministry that is highest on the list of all Christians.  I tried to show that their assumptions could be applied to sex trafficking and pornography specifically.  While I was making my point I repeatedly stated that I am against abortion and that it should be stopped.  The unfortunate part is that the two people who commented completely ignored those statements and assumed that I believe that the sex trade should be raised to a higher status than abortion, which seems to be how they react to people who question the a priori status of their position.  This is how they react to anyone who even raises concerns about the level of focus attributed to opposing abortion.

To repeat, I am not against abolishing abortion.  Abortion should be abolished

In his article, the author states the three reasons why abortion should be of the highest concern:

I’m not opposed to calling the Church, or churches to repent of apathy–I believe the church is largely apathetic to this greatest sin. I also disagree with the argument by AHA opponents that other sins or social justice issues are equally as grave and important. Not to write off other issues as unimportant, but I do strongly believe that abortion is a top priority over other issues. It is the only sin in the world that is a.) legal, b.) celebrated in our culture, and c.) directly and immediately takes the lives of innocent children. (emphasis mine)

Abortion is murder, the taking of a life, is what I believe to be true.

Now I will only apply this criteria to pornography because I believe his assertions are incorrect.

  • Pornography is legal and has been legal and a protected First Amendment right longer than Roe v. Wade. Worldwide, a lot of countries have “Red Light Districts”, with Amsterdam having the most infamous.  India has sections of their major cities set aside for the purpose of the sex trade with sex slaves.  In Thailand, children are sold or rented to local sex merchants by parents.  All legal.
  • Pornography is definitely celebrated in our culture. It is a rite of passage for young men to view pornography and even to hire a prostitute.  Pornography and internet porn are a regular punchline in movies and TV shows.  I don’t see abortion as a punchline in movies or TV.  Abortion is usually treated seriously and soberly if mentioned at all.
  • While pornography may not result in the direct and immediate death of a person (but it can), it can indirectly result in the death of the person, mostly women, who are in the sex trade by being kidnapped and forced into performing sex. One could argue they may not suffer a physical death but they are certainly being killed emotionally and psychologically.  The other side of that coin is the effect pornography has on the increase of violent sex crimes (sourcesource).

Abolish abortion, it needs to be stopped because it is murder.

I do not believe that murder of unborn babies is the runaway frontrunner of sins wreaking havoc.  The sin of sexual immorality via pornography is a sin that happens within the church.  It is a dirty little secret that has some seem helpless while under its spell.  I’m sure one could ask a pastor friend how many marriages and families have been destroyed because of pornography.  It may be they could tell stories of pastor friends who lost their flock and family because they could not resist the temptation of indulging in pornography.  Pornography mocks and blasphemes against the very symbol of the relationship between Christ and the church, His bride.

Abortion is evil but all sin is evil.

To judge

Matthew 7:1: Judge not lest you be judged.

The favorite verse of those who don’t like anyone who criticizes someone they like.  I love that.  It’s like we can’t say anything critical about anyone if you are a Christian.  It seems like we are supposed to just let anyone tell us anything if said person come in the name of Christ.  What if a young man said to your daughter: “God told me that we will be married one day so it will be acceptable for you to have sex with me, you know, since we are getting married one day.  We both love Jesus so it’s okay.”  He said Jesus’ name and he claimed that God told him directly that they would be married, right?  So who am I to say that he is wrong since he is claiming direct revelation from God?

Let’s use that example in a church.  Someone says something that is somewhat close to what the bible teaches.  But that someone the other 99% of the time is usually hustling people for money donations in the name of Christ.  Or a teacher denies the doctrine of the Trinity and teaches modalism, that God manifests Himself in three different persons but cannot exist in all three at the same time.  There is only God the Father or God the Son or God the Holy Spirit, never God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, are we supposed to let that heretical teaching go unchallenged?

Let’s say we like to use a Christian group’s music in church worship.  The church that the group is associated with does things that are beyond heretical into the demonic.  They will go to the gravesite of some dead “apostle” or person of God and hover around their grave, hoping to soak up their “anointing” so to speak (source).  I believe the word for that is necromancy.  They also claim that glory clouds of gold dust fill their church during their anointed services, and sometimes they have angel feathers too!!!  And lastly, they depict God the Father as a God who is infantile and borderline insane (source).  But wait, they use the name of Jesus in their music and say how much he loves us and such.  Hogwash.  Blasphemers at best, demonic most likely.

Then there are the people who engage in staged healing.  They call people up on stage and touch them on the forehead and they fall.  And when they stand back up they are healed of some ailment that cannot be verified.  Or they are a swashbuckling coat-swinging person slaying people in the spirit with every swing of the coat (source).  Then they ask for money for healing prayer.  The amount of money that is sent is directly proportional to the amount of faith one has to be healed, the larger the better.

These people are the young man who is trying to manipulate your daughter so that he can “go into her”.  They are whispering sweet-nothings in your ears, making promises and proclamations so that you can sleep with the whores that they have become.  Whore may seem harsh but that is exactly what they are doing: they will do anything or say anything and promise any earthly thing of riches so anyone and everyone will send them their money.  They are carelessly tossing around the Name of Jesus, appearing to truly represent Him but their appetite is found in fleshly desires.

There are a lot of verses that command us to question anything and everything that someone is saying in the Name of Christ.  The book of Jude is a plea for believers to contend for the faith against false teachers, those who teach unholy doctrine in the name of Jesus.  Paul commends the Bereans, calling them more noble than other Jews that Paul had talked to, because they searched the scriptures to see if the things Paul was teaching were true.  The apostle Paul’s teaching was questioned and verified against what the scriptures taught, and he was not offended or indignant.

Please, don’t accept all people who claim to come in the name of Christ of believe anyone simply because they are associated with some large ministry or megachurch.   Know the Word of God so you can be equipped to use the Sword of Truth, the Word of God, against these false teachers and wolves.  We are to judge what is taught in the name of God with what is written as the Word of God, the bible.

Hebrews 1:1-2:  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he createdthe world.

Jesus said “Repent”

Luke 5:32: I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

The other day an article was in my Facebook timeline.  It seems the guitarist from Korn, who professes to be a Christian, was lamenting about Christians he labeled “conservative Christians”.  To sum up his lament, “conservative Christians” were giving Christianity a bad name by always bringing up sin and repentance.  His point, which is a pervasive point in mainstream Christianity, that Jesus is about love and having a relationship with Him.  The person’s method of introducing Jesus is through love and just loving on them like he believes Jesus would do.  Jesus always associated with the sinners so He was trying to show them love while apparently overlooking their sin.  “Conservative Christians” are modern day Pharisees.

Let’s see if this holds up.  Here are some verses I found about what Jesus said about repentance:

Matthew 4:17: From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 1:14-15: 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 13:1-5: There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

This is just three passages I found (also read Luke 15).  Huh, it seems Jesus did tell people to repent of their sin.  Isn’t that interesting.  The Jesus of the bible taught that people should repent of their sins or they will be punished in hell for their sins.  He didn’t just love on people, hoping that they would love Him back and have a special relationship.  The relationship comes after repentance because we are spiritually dead and God the Father is Spirit.

The most unloving thing a Christian can do is NOT tell people that they are sinners who need to repent of their sins before God the Father.  They are dead to Him.  The results of not repenting of one’s sins carry eternal consequences, enduring God’s wrath in the torments of hell. I did not see any passages about God the Father needing a relationship with His creation so He sacrificed His Son so that God the Father could once again fellowship with man.  We needed to be right with Him so our sins were imputed onto Jesus Christ on the cross and Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us.  (Yes, Peter does say that God desires that all people would be saved but that does not mean that all will be saved, only those predestined, the elect [but that’s another topic altogether]).

So, how it seems to me is that those negative “conservative Christians” who want to bring up the need of repentance of one’s sin are a lot more loving than those people not telling people to repent.  It is the height of deception to let a person believe that they are saved because they simply say they believe Jesus or that they raised their hand during the end of a service.  Repent of your sins before the Lordship of Jesus Christ, because we need a Savior who is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, who saves sinners from the judgment and wrath of His Holy Father, and the freely given gift grace and the free gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us in sanctification.

That is love and those who teach it do so out of love.

imputed sin/imputed righteousness

The bible has recorded a lot of miracles.  Miracles from the time of Moses in the presence of Pharaoh and during the time of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief.  This time of miracles continued through Israel’s incomplete conquest of the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.  Then again there was a time of miracles during the time of Elijah and Elisha.  Then again we see miracles displayed in the time of Jesus’ ministry before His crucifixion and resurrection, and during the time of the apostles as they established the church throughout the known world.  These were important times for these miracles to be manifested because was declaring the importance of a new time in the history of God’s interaction with His creation.

Today, miracles are being cheapened by self-proclaimed or self-identifying apostles and/or prophets.  They are a pathetic attempt, a mockery, of what occurred in the bible.  Those who were the instruments of those miracles in the bible did not boast in their miracles.  They did not say, “Look at me!  Look at that man who was once lame now dancing in the temple courts!  It was through ME that he got healed!”  These can only be attributed to the work of Satan because his best work is a mocking knock-off of God’s workings, a pathetic, second-rate, sleight-of-hand trick.

The utmost miracle is the one we will never understand but we are all benefactors of.  We will never be able to comprehend how God did it.  We will never be able to fully know why He did it.  We will never figure out how He did the transaction, how He took one mass of unholiness and ungodliness and transferred it.

In the time of the early nation of Israel God had instituted the scapegoat.  On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was to take two goats, one for a sin offering and one to take the confessed transgressions of the nation of Israel away into the wilderness.  The High Priest was to sacrifice one goat for the sin offering with the blood sprinkled in the Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting.  After making the atonement by blood the High Priest would then confess the sins of Israel on the remaining goat and have a boy take into the wilderness and let it go free.  It is amazing that this was enough, temporarily, to atone for the sins of Israel.

Then Jesus came, the Passover Lamb, the Lamb to take away the sins of the world.  The ritual of the two goats was precursor to what Jesus would do.  The whole event of the crucifixion is one of wonder, awe, immense power and one to induce an attitude of abstract humility.  God the Father took the sins of the world and imputed them onto His Son.  As Paul says, He who knew no sin became sin for us.  Sin was something that Jesus did not possess.  Our sin had to be taken from us and placed on Him.  Sin is only has substance in the presence of God.  We cannot see it.  We can only witness the effects and consequences of sin.  God took our sin and placed them on His Son. 

And He subjected His Son to our deserved wrath and His, in His humility and ultimate act of obedience suffered on our behalf.

And the miracle of the resurrection.  The Perfect Lamb, unblemished and acceptable sacrifice for the Father, rose from the grave alive and reborn in a new body.  The Father saw His Son’s sacrifice on behalf of His creation as worthy and righteous.  God the Father took the righteousness of the Risen Son and imputed that righteousness to those who would turn to Him and believe in Him as their Lord and Savior.  We receive something we would never be able to gain or obtain or attain to on our own power.

This is a one-sided transaction.  We have no part in any of it except for our sin, the filthy rags of a depraved and destitute soul.  Our sins are gone, taken by God and replaced with Christ’s righteousness.  Our sins were imputed onto Christ and we in turn had Christ’s righteousness imputed to us.  Unfathomable and incredible to behold.