Rob Bell – Not Surprised

Several years ago Rob Bell’s video series was becoming popular.  It was being pushed in the local Christian bookstores and in church literature.  I don’t remember why but I checked out the series I guess mostly just to satisfy my curiosity.  Those were the days before my website so I don’t have recorded what bothered me about Bell’s series of DVDs such as Nooma or his book Velvet Elvis.  That is a nice thing about having this website.  I can eventually go back and remember things I have forgotten.

{Just a side note: My husband dislikes one word titles like the Nooma series which tell nothing about the topic; Rain, Trees, and Dust. He prefers titles like Edwards Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, that tells you something.}

Anyway Rob Bell has a new book out called Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived .  I was surprised at the interest this book has generated but obviously there are many people who still were undecided about about Bell.  Personally this new book just confirms my initial conclusion. So in case you didn’t know I don’t recommend Rob Bell and believe he is not preaching the Biblical Gospel.

The important thing to know about Rob Bell is how he has twisted the gospel so that in the future you will recognize false teaching from smooth tongued liberal emergents. That is very important!

Quotes from Bell himself:

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided, toxic, and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. (viii)

It begins in the sure and certain truth that we are loved. That in spite of whatever has gone horribly wrong deep in our hearts and has spread to every corner of the world, in spite of our sins, failures, rebellion, and hard hearts, in spite of what has been done to us or what we’ve done, God has made peace with us.

These [Eucharist] rituals are true for us, because they’re true for everybody. They unite us, because they unite everybody. These are signs and glimpses and tastes of what is true for all people in all places at all times—we simply name the mystery present in all the world, the gospel already announced to every creature under heaven. (157)

Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way according to the person telling them the gospel, and they were hit by a car and died later that same day, God would have no choice but to punish them forever in conscious torment in hell. God would, in essence, become a fundamentally different being to them in that moment of death, a different being to them forever. A loving heavenly father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would, in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormenter who would insure that they would have no escape from an endless future of agony.

If there was an earthly father who was like that, we would call the authorities. If there was an actual human dad who was that volatile, we would contact child protection services immediately.

If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being that quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted. Let alone be good.

Loving one moment, vicious the next. Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye.

Does God become somebody totally different the moment you die?

That kind of God is simply devastating. Psychologically crushing. We can’t bear it. No one can. . . . That God is terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable. (173–75)

We Have Seen All This Before: Rob Bell and the (Re)Emergence of Liberal Theology – Al Mohler

This brings us to the controversy over Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. As its cover announces, the book is “about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Reading the book is a heart-breaking experience. We have read this book before. Not the exact words, and never so artfully presented, but the same book, the same argument, the same attempt to rescue Christianity from the Bible.

As a communicator, Rob Bell is a genius. He is the master of the pungent question, the turn-the-picture-upside-down story, and the personal anecdote. Like Harry Emerson Fosdick, the paladin of pulpit liberalism, Rob Bell is a master communicator. Had he set out to defend the biblical doctrine of hell, he could have done so marvelously. He would have done the church a great service. But that is not what he set out to do.

The Blood-Drained Gospel of Rob Bell – Russel Moore

… What caused me to gasp out loud though was Bell’s dismissal of the blood of Jesus.

There’s nothing wrong with talking and singing about how the ‘Blood will never lose its power’ and ‘Nothing but the blood will save us,’” Bell writes. “Those are powerful metaphors. But we don’t live any longer in a culture in which people offer animal sacrifices to the gods.

“People did live that way for thousands of years, and there are pockets of primitive cultures around the world that do continue to understand sin, guilt, and atonement in those ways,” he continues. “But most of us don’t. What the first Christians did was look around them and put the Jesus story in language their listeners would understand.”

On this point, Bell couldn’t be more wrong.

Rob Bell: Universalist? – Justin Taylor

So on that level, I’m glad that Rob Bell has the integrity to lay his cards on the table about  universalism. It seems that this is not  just optimism about the fate of those who haven’t heard the Good News, but (as it seems from below) full-blown hell-is-empty-everyone-gets-saved universalism.

God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins” – Kevin DeYoung (long review)

Love Wins, by megachurch pastor Rob Bell, is, as the subtitle suggests, “a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Here’s the gist: Hell is what we create for ourselves when we reject God’s love. Hell is both a present reality for those who resist God and a future reality for those who die unready for God’s love. Hell is what we make of heaven when we cannot accept the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But hell is not forever. God will have his way. How can his good purposes fail? Every sinner will turn to God and realize he has already been reconciled to God, in this life or in the next. There will be no eternal conscious torment. God says no to injustice in the age to come, but he does not pour out wrath (we bring the temporary suffering upon ourselves), and he certainly does not punish for eternity. In the end, love wins.

Bell correctly notes (many times) that God is love. He also observes that Jesus is Jewish, the resurrection is important, and the phrase “personal relationship with God” is not in the Bible. He usually makes his argument by referencing Scripture. He is easy to read and obviously feels very deeply for those who have been wronged or seem to be on the outside looking in.

Unfortunately, beyond this, there are dozens of problems with Love Wins. The theology is heterodox. The history is inaccurate. The impact on souls is devastating. And the use of Scripture is indefensible. Worst of all, Love Wins demeans the cross and misrepresents God’s character.

Love Wins – A Review of Rob Bell’s New Book – Tim Challies

Questions matter. They can help you to grow deeper in your knowledge of the truth and your love for God—especially when you’re dealing with the harder doctrines of the Christian faith. But questions can also be used to obscure the truth. They can be used to lead away just as easily as they can be used to lead toward. Ask Eve.

Hell appears to be more about what we do to each other than what we’ve done to God. Bell reads Jesus’ warnings of divine punishment as addressing only the temporal, rather than both the temporal and the eternal. These warnings were for the religious leaders of the day, and had very little to do with some other reality or some other time, he argues (pp. 82-83). Instead, hell is “a word that refers to the big, wide, terrible evil that comes from the secrets hidden deep without our hearts all the way to the massive, society-wide collapse and chaos that comes when we fail to live in God’s world God’s way” (p. 95). There’s no fire and no wrath, at least, none that is extrinsic to us.

Does Rob Bell deny the existence of hell? He would say no. We would say yes. He affirms, but only after redefining. And that’s just a clever form of denial.

And the video of the MSNBC interview of Rob Bell:

Just a note: I didn’t read the book nor do I intend to. Just like I’m not eating spinach from Japan to see if it has radiation, I can trust those who know. 😉


Preacher With Bad Theology

I read the following quote yesterday from a memorial service.

“… was a good person and God would not judge him on one act,… “

The person he is talking about really isn’t the important issue so I won’t share the link.  But why would a pastor say something like that?  That is just ear tickling to try and relieve the grief of the family and friends.  But worst of all it is a lie.  Remember the post just from Sunday?

For One Sin …

For one sin God banished our first parents from Eden. For one sin all the posterity of Ham fell under a curse which remains over them to this day (Gen 9:21-22). For one sin Moses was excluded from Canaan, Elisha’s servant smitten with leprosy, Ananias and Sapphira cut off out of the land of the living.


Attributes of God – AW Pink

This is a short list of people judged for one act. There are many more in the Bible.

What about Achan? Joshua 7:1-26

What about Achan’s family?

Joshua 7:24-25 (ESV)
24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.


Faith, Truth and a Can of Worms

Free Pod Cast now available from the Apologetics Resource Center on iTunes.

I have met both Craig Branch and Dr. Steve Cowan at different Bible Conferences in Alabama. They have an abundance of resources online, books and pamphlets, to help believers answer questions and deal with the culture at large and with cults in particular.

The first podcast is about the church in trouble, Islam and Mormonism.


The Law and the Believer

I must admit this wasn’t something that I was particularly interested in beyond the general interest I have in all of God’s Word.  But the Lord desired me to really study His Word concerning the Law.  I have had several people email me asking questions about it.  I also got a comment on a previous post about the OT dietary laws.  Beyond that I had been noticing more and more over the last few years an increase in the interest of believers following the OT dietary laws, feast and other regulations.  I’m not talking about Jews who have become believers but Gentile believers whom are turning to follow the Law.

It was clear to me in the NT that believers are not bound by the Law and are even warned to not return to the Law.  However, when I ran across this teaching essentially I ignored it as a wrong teaching and something to pity those who fell into it.  But the Lord has convicted me that this isn’t just some wrong teaching but is a false Gospel.  We are not talking about the differences between denominations but the differences between being a Christian and a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness.

There is so much of the NT that deals with this return to the Law.  The whole books of Galatians and Hebrews are full of warning about returning to the Law.  All through the NT you can find references to the Law, Covenants and returning to the OT Law.  Paul warns the Galatians of this False Gospel with dire warnings of having “fallen from Grace” or being “under a curse”.  That is downright serious and thus I’m convicted by the Lord that I should not have let that slide without confronting it.

Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. ESV

Galatians 3:10-12

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” ESV

Also as Terry and I discussed those who are teaching this return to the Law also tend to focus on what name they use to refer to Jesus and God.  I don’t know if that is consistent or not just something we’ve noticed.  Many of the differences in interpretation are furthermore blamed upon the differences in Bible translations with of course the KJV being the preferred translation.  I don’t know what significance those features all have with each other though.

So let us examine the Scriptures and see what they say about the Law and specific portions of it such as Dietary Laws, Circumcision, Sabbath observance, etc.

Because this subject can get so convoluted with different topics and verses I’m going to try to stick with one idea at a time.


Unclean Foods

This post is in response to a question from An Abomination.  I’m sure it is many more verses and covers much more than the question asked, but I have run across so many questions lately about unclean and clean foods and the believers duty in relation to them.  So warning this is verbose, but notice it is mostly Scripture and very little of my own words. 🙂  That is the way it should be.

I wasn’t sure if your question was due to the perceived need to follow the Jewish dietary laws or if it was just questioning what seemed to be a contradiction between the Lord calling foods unclean and then later calling them clean.  Hopefully, I’ll answer both questions.  I have been amazed lately at the number of people who feel we as believers are to follow the Jewish dietary laws.

The dietary laws were for the Jews.  We believers have a new and better covenant (Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 8:6-7).  In the New Testament there was much disagreement about what should be required of the Gentiles.  Many Jews wanted the Gentiles to become Jews before they could become Christians, while others such as Paul understood that was not what the Lord demanded.  Thus in Acts we have the following passage:

Acts 15:1-20

1  But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

2 And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.

3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. 

4  When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.

6  The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.

7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,

9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me.

14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.

15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 “’After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,

17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things

18 known from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,

20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.   ESV

So what was required of the Gentiles was not observing the Jewish dietary laws.  Peter told how the Lord was blessing and giving the Gentiles the same Holy Spirit the Jews had received. 

Notice what Peter says “… we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will…” Acts 15:11.  We will not save ourselves by returning to the Law of Moses, the law that even the Jews could not keep.  Jesus is the only Jew who was able to keep the whole Jewish Law of Moses.

Then we also have Peter’s vision:

Acts 10:9-16

9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.

10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance

11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.

13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.  ESV

Peter was commanded to eat the unclean animals, which he vehemently refused and said never Lord.  Then Peter was rebuked and told that what the Lord had made clean was not to be called common or unclean.


koinoo (koy-no’-o); from NT:2839; to make (or consider) profane (ceremonially):

KJV – call common, defile, pollute, unclean.

(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The Lord can make clean anything that He so desires.  He thankfully has chosen to make clean those of us whom He has called.

Then we have lots of verses from the NT.

Romans 14:2-3

2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. ESV

Romans 14:20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. ESV

Wow, how much plainer can it get?

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean….”

But for the sake of another do not be offensive in what we eat.  That means no matter how clean the foods are now, if I am inviting an observing Jew to my home I will not be serving BBQ Ribs.

Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. ESV

1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.  ESV

Just a few verses before the Romans verse we are told this:

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ESV

Still pretty plain to me.

1 Corinthians 8:8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. ESV

1 Timothy 4:4-5

4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. ESV

Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. ESV

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

24  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

25  Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—

29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience?

30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

32  Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.  ESV

For those that don’t know where the old rule for children and eating came from here it is:

“… eat whatever is set before you without raising any question …”

Now some would say but what about Jesus, as if the red words in the Bible are the only ones that matter.

Luke 11:41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. ESV

Matthew 15:11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” ESV

Matthew 15:16-20

16 And he said, Are you also still without understanding?

17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 

18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” ESV

Mark 7:15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”  ESV

Mark 7:18-23

18 And he said to them, Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,

19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” ( Thus he declared all foods clean.)

20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

23  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” ESV

Who will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Does what we eat have any bearing?

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 

10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. ESV

But even those may be washed clean by the blood of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ESV

The OT separation of clean and unclean food represents the separation of Jews from Gentiles.  There is now no separation.

The law is to reveal our sin to us, not to justify us.

Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. ESV

Plus the whole book of Hebrews.  🙂  It would be worth a serious study.

Here are just a few examples:

If we could have been made perfect through the Law, we would need no change to the Law.  We have a different High Priest and a changed Law.  The old covenant is a covenant of dead works. (Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 9:14)

Hebrews 7:11-12

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?

12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. ESV

A former commandment is set aside and a new one is introduced, a better and more perfect hope, that will draw us to God.

Hebrews 7:18-19

18 On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness

19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. ESV

Hebrews 8:6-7

6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.  ESV

We are under a new covenant which was referred to both in the OT and the NT.

Jeremiah 31:31-33

31  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

33  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ESV

Hebrews 8:8-13

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:   “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,

9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. ESV

Hebrews 9:1, 8-10

1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.

8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing

9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,

10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. ESV

Hebrews 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. ESV

Hebrews 10:15-17

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,  “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”  ESV

 This pretty much sums it up.

Hebrews 13:9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. ESV


The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown’s New Book & Freemasonry

Dan Brown is the author of the Da Vinci Code that was so popular a few years ago. His newest book is called The Lost Symbol. With the Da Vinci Code Dan Brown misrepresented the Bible and Jesus throughout his book. While claiming the Da Vinci Code is fiction, the down right lies about Jesus have been accepted as fact by many who would rather believe a fictitious story than the Bible.

Now Dan Brown’s newest book is due out. The fictional book The Lost Symbol is based in Washington, D.C. and involves the search for a masonic pyramid and a hidden code. While in the Da Vinci Code Catholics and Jesus are portrayed in a negative light, the newest book portrays Freemasonry in a more positive light.

Anything that encourages Freemasonry is dangerous. Many people may not even be familiar with Freemasonry (Masons, Masonic Lodges, Masonic Temples, etc.) but it is deeply ingrained here in the southern US. The Order of the Eastern Star is the women’s portion of Freemasonry. There are Freemasons that are upstanding members in many of the local churches and there are also pastors of churches that are members. This is something I grew up knowing about and never did really understand. I had an uncle who was a deacon of a SBC church and yet he was a Freemason. He would not discuss it. He also had a Freemason Funeral upon his death. So I have seen the Freemasons bizarre practices in person.

Even Dan Brown himself thinks the book will encourage others to check out the Masons: “I think there will be an enormous number of people who will be interested in the Masons after this book (comes out).”

Brown goes out of his way in “The Lost Symbol” to present the lodge as essentially benign and misunderstood. Masons are praised for their religious tolerance and their elaborate rituals are seen as no more unusual than those of formal religions. The plot centers in part on an “unfair” anti-Masonic video that “conspiracy theorists would feed on … like sharks,” Langdon says.

Freemasons await Dan Brown novel `The Lost Symbol’

(link no longer works)

Ex Masons For Jesus is a website that is dedicated to revealing the false teachings of Freemasons. Here is some information from their site.

How can you quickly know that the foundational teachings of Freemasonry are false?

Freemasonry requires its members to believe in the existence of a Supreme Being and also to believe that there is only One God. Freemasonry refers to its god as the Great Architect of the Universe. It teaches that all men, of all the various religions, worship the one God, simply using a variety of different names. It is on that basis that Masons may be Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, or men who profess to follow Jesus. Freemasonry requires a belief in the existence of A Supreme Being, but does not define that being. …

… Freemasonry teaches that there is one God and men of all religions worship that one God using a variety of different names. In a Masonic Lodge, all join in corporate prayer to the Great Architect of the Universe, (GAOTU). …

… While we were Masons, we sometimes were asked questions about Freemasonry by other church members who were not Masons. Because we had taken an oath to ever conceal and never reveal the secret teaching of Freemasonry, under the penalty of having our throats cut from ear to ear, we were reluctant to respond truthfully. We beg the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in Christ for the less than honest answers we provided while we were Masons. Since we have repented (embraced God’s viewpoint on the issue) we have been released from the oaths. (Lev 5:4-6.) We came to realize that God did not want us to take the oaths to begin with. (Matthew 5:33-37 & James 5:12) As Christians who walk in the light of Jesus Christ, we are now willing to respond truthfully to the questions we continue to be asked. …

Notice these statements from Masons in the following articles.

Freemasons await Dan Brown novel `The Lost Symbol’ (link no longer works)

… “The emphasis on secrecy is something that disturbs people,” says Joseph Crociata, a burly, deep-voiced man who is a trial attorney by profession but otherwise a Junior Grand Warden at the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia. …

… “I have enormous respect for the Masons,” Brown told The Associated Press during a recent interview. “In the most fundamental terms, with different cultures killing each other over whose version of God is correct, here is a worldwide organization that essentially says, `We don’t care what you call God, or what you think about God, only that you believe in a god and let’s all stand together as brothers and look in the same direction.’…

Freemasons hail Dan Brown’s latest novel as “good fun” (link no longer works)

Levenston said modern Freemasons are not as secretive as their predecessors, but said secret handshakes and special words are still used to help identify members as “men of trust.”

“The secret handshakes certainly do still exist, but we don’t roll up one trouser leg any longer. In the old days it was seen as a symbol of humility not for anything else,” Levenston said.


A Different “Bible” and A Prayer Request

Orchestra for my daughter started back this week. This is a full orchestra and the students must audition to be in it. Some of the students are from as far away as two hours but they still make the drive each week in order to participate.

Since we drive quite a bit for the orchestra, I carry my computer and my Bible in order to work during the rehearsal. It can be quite challenging concentrating due to the noise level but I usually get quite a bit done anyway.

The first rehearsal this year there was another mom who was sitting in nearby. Other than smile and nod at each other there is not any possibility of talking during rehearsal. First of all you can’t hear each other while they are playing or if they are paused the conductor is usually speaking. He runs a tight ship and would not mind calling out a parent for talking.

I saw this mom was studying her Bible. Serious Bible study, of the type you don’t see too often, especially in public. She was marking passages in red, writing notes and cross referencing passages, all this I could tell from a distance. She had some printed notes she was reading from as she studied. I had already planned to introduce myself and ask what topic she was studying during the break. But during the break she left the area and did not return until the orchestra was playing again.

However I did see her “Bible” sitting there. This was such a large “Bible” that it makes the new ESV Study Bible look small. But this was no “Bible” I had ever seen.

This was a “Quad Bible” which contains the Holy Bible (LDS KJV version), The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price!

Whew, that busts the hope of another like-minded believer sitting nearby.

So now, I am praying over what I should say if the opportunity arises.

Evidence shows that she is not a new convert to LDS due to the well-worn “Bible.”

She also is not the typical convert that doesn’t know what the LDS church teaches due to the number of well marked passages and much study notes in the margins.

Nothing but the Lord will show her the error of the Mormon Church and particularly of Joseph Smith, but that doesn’t mean that I can just sit back without being willing to share the truth with her. I need much wisdom from the Lord in how to proceed. Surely, over the next year there will be a chance to have some serious discussion without the high volume of an orchestra playing.


The Shack – Still a Top Seller

I posted several times about The Shack over a year ago. Since then I would have thought that The Shack would have become less popular but it still remains one of the most read books, even by Christians.

There are so many problems with The Shack and people continue to read it and base their beliefs about God and Jesus on it.

This is an interesting compilation of several problems with The Shack.

13 Heresies in The Shack

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.

Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.

The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.

Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.

Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

Be prepared to explain to others why The Shack is not suitable reading when compared to The Bible and it’s truth.

See also:

“The Shack” – A Warning

“The Shack” for Sunday School?

The Shack – still a best seller with “Christians”

More on the False Teaching of “The Shack”


Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Nope, we aren’t supposed to.

Matthew 10:34-39
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

James 2:14-16
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

An Open Letter to Rick Warren by Jan Markell

On July 5 the Washington Times online reported that Pastor Rick Warren told his Islamic audience, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA,) that he envisions “a coalition of faith.” Whether Pastor Warren knows this or not, this is just another term for the coming one-world religion outlined in Revelation 13. It is further outlined in Revelation 17. I have not taken on the issue of Rick Warren all that often, but after reading what the Washington Times has to say about his message to a group of spiritually lost Muslims, I feel I must address this in an open letter to who many say is the most influential pastor in America and some would say the world.

Pastor Warren, you pleaded with 8,000 Muslim listeners on Saturday, July 4, to work together to solve the world’s greatest problems by cooperating in a series of interfaith projects. You said, “Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising my convictions or your convictions.”

Pastor Warren, you needed to compromise the convictions of the Muslims in attendance. To just say that “My deepest faith is in Jesus Christ” was not enough to a thoroughly lost crowd. The hour is too late to withhold a gospel message without which they will face a Christless eternity, and you will be held accountable. The “world’s greatest problems” will always be with us and the Bible says so in Matthew 26:11. Sin is at the root of them. I have to conclude you are more interested in ecumenical unity and solving AIDS, poverty, and other social issues. Last Saturday you were given a golden opportunity that 99.9% of American Christians could never get. ….

Rick Warren is Wrong

… Rick Warren is putting works first and faith second. According to the Bible in James 2:14-26, works should follow a person’s faith. Warren has reversed this and has put works first and faith second.

According to the book of James, true faith is believing the exclusive claims of Christ and not putting faith behind works. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven according to the Bible. As we share this truth with the world, we should then do good works.

Speaking at interfaith meetings should not be done if a person does not tell the listeners that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven – period. By not doing this, a person is saying that all ways lead to God by works. Sincere Christian faith is never afraid to tell others that Jesus Christ in the only way to heaven….