Monday, September 29, 2014

Find the Baby in this Bathwater

In the most recent edition of Hither and Thither 2.0, Dan Phillips linked to two articles from Charisma magazine online. Morbidly curious, I checked them out and - wow. Have a look for yourself:

Zechariah 1 Holds a Key to a Third Great Awakening, where the author mangles Zechariah before telling about the time he supposedly spent six hours with God in his sanctuary.

Prophecy: Posture Your Hearts to Receive Power at 5:55, which is written by a faux-apostle, features a mix of dreams, numerology, awful word study, sappy Disney movies, utter nonsense, and false prophecy. It's a real tour-de-force.

The sidebar of each article has links to other featured content at the site, and it all looked pretty special, too. But I wasn't sure if that was really representative of what was at this site, so I went to the front page, spun the mouse wheel to scroll down a random amount, and this is what I saw:


Three articles, three examples of utter unbiblical nonsense. How to Command Your Angels? An interview on Practical Strategies to Defeat the Devil? Both were garbage. But the sheer stupidity of What the Python Spirit Really Wants stands apart as witchcraft with a thin veneer of Christian language (do read Lyndon Unger's comments, the term "Wiccangelicalism" needs to catch on).

Look, all through the run-up to the Strange Fire conference, the main complaint was about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, of attacking the "fringe" at the expense of the sane, actually-Christian mainstream. I have to ask, is Charisma Magazine part of the fringe, and somehow not mainstream? Because at Charisma, there's no baby, there's not even bathwater, there's just a big tub of toxic sludge.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Awesome Power of The Word

Not long ago I heard an entertainer-type give his testimony, telling his story of how he was brought to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. He had almost zero exposure to Christianity or scripture until he was 30-ish, when a friend suggested he should read some of the Bible. He chose at random, and read Ecclesiastes. Then he read it again, and again. Solomon's writings cut him to the core, laying low his pride and self-righteousness, and exposing his absolute need for a savior.

RC Sproul has half-joked that he may be the only person in history who was saved through the preaching of Ecclesiastes 11:3: "Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie." Read more of the story of his conversion here.

I was a freshman in college, thinking I was saved because I went to church a lot when I was a kid, but completely lost. I was hypocritically involved in a Christian group on campus, because hey, what better way to soothe my conscience after a week of wanton sin? I was reading the Bible for some reason, got to Ephesians 4:17ff, and was crushed. This passage describes the night-and-day difference between those who are reborn in Christ and those who remain dead in sin, and there was absolutely no doubt which group's description I fit. At that point the choice was to repent and come to faith in Christ, or walk away entirely; either way, continuing to pretend was not an option. Thankfully, God raised me and brought me to faith.

What do all these vignettes have in common? In each case, someone was brought to repentance and faith through scripture that will never be described as evangelistic. I mean, Fred Butler will write Jar Jar Binks fan fic before someone puts Ecclesiastes 11:3 in an evangelistic presentation. Every evangelism class will have you learn Ephesians 2:8-9, but I can't imagine one having you learn Ephesians 4:19. Yet these passages, being the Word of God, are fully capable of convicting of sin and the need for Jesus, the only Savior.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God" (2 Tim 3:16) - and as our Arminian friends uncritically say, all means all. And this scripture, as Paul says, is "the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 3:15).

The Word of God is powerful. Preach it.