Charismania, discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Discernment Column (article 1)

Theological Thoughts

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God”—–. “rightly dividing the word of truth”  2 Tim. 2:15

Theology: the study of God that recognizes all His works as being systematic and orderly, revealing that theology is to the Bible what science is to nature, proving God’s word to be a consistent, harmonious system of Christian belief and practice

We live in a day where theological thoughts are subtly being distracted by a worldly system of non-thought. Our vocabulary is even being dumbed down for the sake of “texting,” or other forms of empty chatter, when God says our conversation is only worthy of the gospel, Phil 1:27. Yet, desensitized by media, opinions, doctrines of men, and legalistic do’s and don’ts, our mind may become passive to the point of just believing whatever we are told, rather than going to God’s word ourselves. In fact, lack of reasoning is why so many are ending up in cults today. “The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Prov. 14:15

Acts 17: 11-12 tells us of Apostle Paul’s encounter with noble minded Bereans. These men and women were not only ready to receive God’s word, but they also searched the Scriptures daily for themselves, to see if all they were being told was true. Not only does this scenario show us that women are to be involved in theological matters too, but that we all need to “test the spirits” with sound doctrine and discernment to keep from being deceived by “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils,” which are sadly shipwrecking the faith of many today, 1 Tim. 4:1.

The Bereans applied themselves to know the truth, as God was drawing them thru His word and by His grace granting them belief in Jesus, with the Holy Spirit enabling them to respond in faith.

 So dear friend, by God’s grace search the Scriptures daily and ask Him for firm belief in Jesus, so that you too may respond in true faith and repentance. For now is the day of salvation! 

 

freewill vs. Sovereignty of God

Forbidden Fruits of Freewill

Why on earth did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden—-KNOWING they would eat of it???

For one, He already had the plan of salvation in place to cover their sin……ultimately to show the glory of His mercy.  In fact, the whole scenario was all about God’s glory.  Think about it, Adam and Eve learned obedience by the things that they suffered, (an O.T. antitype for what Jesus would do for us).

Jesus died for His people, “learning obedience by the things that He suffered” Heb. 5:8.  Showing that this is how God changes our will so that our conscience is purged from dead works so that we can serve the living God–Heb. 9:14

Only after God covered them w/ animal skins (the first blood sacrifice)—could they then serve God w/ fear and godly reverance.  Their eyes were not only opened to how terrible sin is but opened to the goodness of God, which they may have taken for granted had He not allowed them to choose and to suffer as a result.

Like Adam and Eve, we may think that we want freewill, but realize its freegrace we really want.

As one can see, it wasn’t about how great it was to have a freewill, but one of the main points was God, through this scenario, showing us how thankful we should be that we are not just left to our own devices.  The devil is a liar.  Did they really become like God??—NO—or else they would have created their own planet to inhabit, etc. etc.

That demonic lie in the garden is still w/ us today.  The flesh wants to scream—-freewill—but it is in the fiery furnace of failure that we learn it is really God’s freegrace that we want more than life itself!!

What do you really want?

Just remember that when we follow God, we are automatically going to suffer at the hands and mouths of the wicked, but this is also part of God’s chastening process so that we learn obedience because we are not condemned with the world, but saved out of it.  Heb. ch.12

Phil. 1:29  “For it has been granted to you, not only to believe in Him, but to suffer for His name sake”—–What a gift!!!

freewill vs. Sovereignty of God

Theological Thoughts

We need to remember that when Jesus broke the bread, symbolizing His body, He wasn’t eating His own body w/ His disciples. It was in remembrance of what He was about to do for us. It didn’t contain His actual body as some blashphemously proclaim. Same goes for His blood.

Jesus is the door and He explained what that meant—-that He is the only Way to be reconciled back to the Father.

Baptism also is symbolic, or else the water would be how our sins are actually forgiven, rather than Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. The book of Acts makes it clear over and over again that one could only take action and be baptized if they had already been regenerated and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so. Any other view leads to believing our works save us, rather than God’s pure grace thru faith in Jesus alone.
All are summonsed to repent and believe, not because all have the ability to do so, but because those who were preordained before time began—-will respond to the universal call of the Gospel, because God has given them the ability to do so. This all glorifies God, reminding us that salvation is of His mercy alone toward those He has chosen to show mercy (Rom.9). And He chose us before we could have had anything to do with it!!! Wow, mind boggling isn’t it!! Praise Him!!!

freewill vs. Sovereignty of God

Who is —“whosoever will” ??

Revelations 21:6 “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelations 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come.  And whosoever wiill, let him take the water of life freely.

Jesus had already preordained those He was dying for. Those chosen of God will have their wills changed by God Himself so that they can “welcome Jesus into their heart” as some call it. God removes the hardened heart and replaces it w/ a new heart to serve Him. He removes the cause of resistance in us—-making His grace truly irrisistible!!

So you see all thru Scripture God makes it clear that His promise of salvation to those who are His is an unbreakable blood covenant (example Heb. 6:17-18). Even Apostle Paul exclaims in Rom 8:39 that nothing can keep us from the love of Christ who died for His own. None who are His will be lost. Jesus Himself explains this in His prayer to the Father in John 17:9…..that He died only for ALL those whom the Father had given Him.  He also proclaims that He prays not for the world, only those who are His.  The whole chapter explains that He does not lose any of them—-none of those Jesus died for will ever suffer God’s wrath in Hell!!! Praise God!!! Any other view would make it seem as though Christ died and shed His blood in vain for those who perish.  That would imply that His blood was not sufficient—–that He was a failure.  God forbid!!!!  God’s grace IS sufficient.  And His grace is the “water of life” that His chosen can take freely….FREEGRACE! 

Some say that His death was hypothetical and would only be applied to those who would believe.  This not only implies that we can conjure up faith and belief with our own natural abilities but also implies that Jesus didn’t die for the sin of unbelief—–it is a sin you know.  His blood covers ALL sins—–even the sin of unbelief.  What a thought huh!!

Did Christ really die for people who would finally perish—-making no Divine provisions for their eternal security??  Absolutely not.    Heb. 7:25—He is able to save to the UTTERMOST those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make INTERCESSION FOR THEM. 

I’m overwhelmed by His glory just writing this!!!

John 3:16 makes it clear who the “world” is in this verse—-those who will believe in Him—the chosen throughout the whole world, from every tribe, tongue and nation. This is all for His glory and causes us to truly serve Him w/ godly fear and awe!!!

Newspaper Articles

Pagan Origins Argument

This was a “Dear Editor” letter I wrote for the local paper in order to address a pagan origins argument, but also in hopes of sneaking in a refute toward our local Word of Faith/River cults that are spreading corruption like cancer.  I’m hoping this will inspire others to do the same in their own home towns thru the local newspaper.  Just think of the thousands of people who will read it and possibly come to their senses so that perhaps God will grant them repentance.

Have some fun as you read this and see if you can spot these sneaky little seeds I’ve sown for the Lord.  I know “sneaky” doesn’t sound very godly, but rememeber Jesus said to be wise as a serpent, innocent as a dove. We live in a time where we have to be very clever or else we will never be heard.
Dear Editor,
Since Christmas is just around the corner (another “supposed” pagan holiday), it seems necessary to address the pagan origins argument made by one of your contributors. This is obviously an issue many Christians seem to be struggling with, so perhaps it would help to evaluate whether or not we are still observing certain days in a pagan way, or “doing all that we do unto the Lord?”
God’s Word seems to address this very clearly in Rom. Ch. 14 by simply revealing that faith is the real issue when it comes to disputable matters. For instance, vs. 5 states that “one person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” Then vs. 6, “He who observes the day observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.” Verses 22-23 especially address the faith issue. So it seems that what we have here is not an issue of whether or not a certain day has pagan origins (even names of weekdays have pagan origins), but rather an issue of how we are observing certain days and whether our present observance of any holiday is compatible or incompatible with Scripture.
From this biblical perspective, (rather than mere opinions or origins arguments) perhaps a clarifying distinction can be made between a right and a wrong observance of any holiday. And although true Christians realize the importance of a clear conscience toward God, it has been largely ignored that this can only begin by reconciliation w/ God by His free gift of grace, thru faith in His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, there’s no point in addressing any of this unless this truth is first established. Without regeneration and revelation by the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t matter how much one “claims” to have a personal relationship w/ Jesus, how many commandments are kept, how many good works are produced or how well one “follows their heart.” God says in Jer. 17:9 that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, so that only God can change it by granting faith in His Son and the sole authority of His Word, whereby He is exalted and glorified, rather than man and his natural resources.
Judge among yourselves; is God glorified when Jesus is presented as just a model of behavior or a mascot for a religious holiday that’s worshiped only once a year? Does it exalt God when His Son is depicted by false teachers as just another man empowered by the Holy Spirit, rather than God in the flesh? Does it bring God glory when He is misrepresented in any way on any given day?
Unfortunately, one such misrepresentation is when well-meaning Christians call Halloween “Satans Day.” God’s Word makes it clear that He is in complete control and every day belongs to Him. Satan is limited and has no dominion whatsoever, for God has placed Jesus in that position (Eph. 1:21, etc.). In fact, no day is evil in itself, but only “evil” in the sense that some people misuse the days that God gives them, as an occasion for evil. Fortunately, we live in a country free from any mandate to celebrate evil. In retrospect, we are also free from any Scriptural mandate to celebrate any certain holiday if we choose not to. Either way, “This is the day the Lord has made; we can rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. 118:24)
So perhaps we just need to examine ourselves to see if we are really in the faith. Are we flying around on a broomstick, trying to superstitiously “speak things into existence” or communicating w/ the dead on Halloween? Or are we handing out Bible tracts, communicating the gospel, showing hospitality to possibly misled children who end up on our doorstep? On Christmas are we running around like chickens w/ our heads cut off, focusing on material things and taking part in unbiblical practices that distort Gods true nature and character? Or are we glorifying the Savior who died once, for all the elect, who is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven—– the One who said “It is finished.”
Sincerely— Lee Anne Ferguson

Newspaper Articles

Occult Invasion

Due to inquiries regarding the concerns addressed in my last article, it seems necessary to first elaborate on what constitutes spiritually dangerous occult practices infiltrating many ministries today, and how these are occurring within prayer and counseling techniques that are subtly invading the local Christian arena.
Naturally, when religions outside of biblical Christianity become integrated into the fold, these occult practices will gradually begin to invade the Church and the local outreach ministries that are funded by compromised churches. Some of these practices include Catholic mysticism, contemplative/soaking prayer, healing rooms, Theophostics, SOZO, transcendental meditation, “Christianized” yoga, Reiki, etc.
Interestingly, the common link within all mystical occult practices is that they all involve techniques that require mental passivity in order to seek “truth,” healing, etc., through sensations, guided imagery, visualization, spirit “encounters,” and other subjective experiences. Some of these practices require human mediators or “seers” that help clients summons “a vision of Jesus” that brings temporary healing, guidance or a “prophetic word.” However, this mystical practice w/ the help of a “mediator,” (medium) is never mentioned in Gods Word as a way to Him or as a way that He draws us near. The Bible makes it clear that we are made near by the blood of Jesus, not by subjective experiences and that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man. Eternal salvation and deliverance can only be granted by God’s gift of grace, thru faith in the TRUE Jesus, not by works, techniques, legalistic lies, or formulaic, positive confessions.
When mystical experiences are portrayed as having eminence over the revealed Word of God, or are given a “Christian” label w/ twisted Bible verses to provide proof texts for heretical doctrines, it subtly suspends God-given reasoning abilities and removes the tools necessary to “test the spirits.” Such is the case when it is presumptuously assumed that the biblical Jesus as revealed in Scripture, will automatically cooperate with an unbiblical process. Therefore, many “spirit guides” that are summonsed, pose as “Jesus,” which shipwrecks faith in the sufficiency of God’s Word, makes the gospel obsolete and leads clients to such a deep level of deception and delusion that only God can reach them and grant repentance.
Biblical practices, involve sober, mentally active and alert consciousness. According to Gods Word, Christians are to test all things, study His Word in context, be discerning, watchful, prayerful, sober, and vigilant. Even our natural God-given imagination, when used biblically, can be a way to actively express worship and petition to God, NOT as a way to passively hear from God, leading to superstition and creating an idol in the mind or what pagan circles call seeing w/ the “minds eye” or connecting to the “god within.” Therefore, its no surprise that these unbiblical practices require altered states of consciousness, which leaves one open to dangerous supernatural experiences that are assumed to be of God (Col. 2: 8, 18).
Jesus never mentioned Him following us into a regressive, subconscious, trance-like state, thru an “inner healing of memories,” SOZO journey to our past. No, Jesus said to put the hand to the plow and not look back and to go directly to “Our Father who is IN HEAVEN,” through Him, NOT to empty our mind or go within ourselves. Believers are to follow Him, all the way to the Father, not the other way around. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life; no one comes to the Father except thru Him. Imposters climb up another way, (John 10:1) claiming to know the truth, but have no love of the truth, (2 Thess. 2:10) false teachers producing false conversions by using Christian terms w/ an appearance of godliness but denying the power of the gospel by gradually marginalizing, perverting, diluting, negating, contradicting, undermining and undoing any proclamation of it, resulting in Satan snatching the Word from peoples hearts (Luke 8:12).
Some of the damaging results include False Memory Syndrome, which has led to many unnecessary court cases involving “recovered memories.” Ironically, most victims of abuse admit to the fact that “not remembering” isn’t the real issue; the real problem is not being able to forget. Entire families are at serious risk due to the psychological manipulation embedded within these practices. Other devastating results include severe mental and physical illness due to “kundalini” effects that can last months, even years. Locally, this has opened the door for opportunists to “make merchandise” of those whose mental, physical and spiritual health has been damaged by such (2 Pet. 2: 1-3 KJV). The fact that this has come to our area without much resistance shows that local churches haven’t been fully prepared to deal with the spiritual abuse that’s beginning to surface and Gods impending judgment, which His Word says comes to the Church first. Sadly, those in alliance w/ those involved, who ignore the warnings, may be future victims.
In many “Christian” organizations today the gospel is just added to a spiritual smorgasbord as a lukewarm attempt to appease both sides of the fence, a futile effort. When ecumenism portrays all religions as having a “portion of the truth,” it’s like saying they all have a little bit of Jesus (whoever “Jesus” is to them). The pagan Greeks in Acts 17 had this kind of mentality, also described in Rev. 22:15 as those who love and practice a lie. While lying convincingly w/ appeals for love and unity, w/ flattering speech, Jesus’ name is blasphemed by imposters who promise “liberty” but lead into bondage (2Pet. 2:19). Yet the true Shepherd leads those who are His out of darkness (John 10:3). Faithful followers of Jesus are to have no other gods, to have no fellowship w/ their works of darkness, to expose them and those who promote them (Eph. 5:11,1Tim.5: 20), to come out from among them, bear witness to the truth and warn others (2 Tim.4).
Lee Anne——(Former Volunteer counselor at a pregnancy crisis center that was slipping in SOZO)

Newspaper Articles

Heres the article I wrote for the local newspaper

When the pro-choice writer came up against the

pregnancy center, the director began to persistently

induce paranoia in all of us over the minor threat of Planned

Parenthood, rather than the major threat of God’s

impending judgment upon the heresy that was being promoted.

She used it all as an excuse to totally try to make the

gospel obsolete, hinting that it was too offensive, that we needed to

“honor others paradigm” and adhere to more secular ways of

dealing w/ clients, etc. etc.   My way of getting people to

question was obviously so elusive, that the publisher thought

it was on behalf of the center, and it could be taken that way.  I

just basically laid it out on the line about what a pregnancy

ministry should really look like and what hinders that.  I could go

on and on, but I’ll just say that the one thing that finally

gave me the courage to go thru w/ this article, was that

God gave me peace about leaving and confirmed to me the day

that I left that my discernment had been right all along.  They

came right out and told me that day that they were ecumenical

and heavily into the “River,” etc.—even the board member I met

w/ that day.  Enough said for now—heres the article.  Thanks

Mkayla for encouraging me to post it.

This is an overdue response in connection to the pro-choice write up (in the April 28, 2011 issue) against Crossroads Pregnancy Center and its “agenda.”  For purposes of clarification it must be made clear that the secular “Earn While You Learn” program is what is highly promoted at most pregnancy centers.   Clients signed up for EWYL must go through an hour of parenting classes every other week for a month and a half before they begin to redeem any “mommy bucks”, unless they just come once every six months to receive a small material assistance package.   The Christian counseling and Bible study are optional and only lasts thirty minutes each visit.  Therefore, the concern shouldn’t be whether or not clients are “forced” to receive Christian counseling before getting material assistance or whether the counselors are college educated (most are), but the real concern should be whether or not the Christian counseling and Bible study is doctrinally sound according to true biblical Christianity, even after such worldly attacks.

It is because of such pressure from the world and advocates of tolerance (who are ironically intolerant of Bible-based Christianity) that many “religious” organizations today compromise their stance on truth.  They feel backed into a corner to conform to a progressively morally declining society in order to “serve” the public without offending.  However, if the worst accusation that an organization gets from the world is that they are “religious” with a political agenda, many question whether they have a Christian agenda at all.

Therefore, the concern of many Christians is that some politically controversial organizations have only a Christian front with a fully political agenda.  Many give lip service to the gospel today, striving endlessly to maintain the public image of their “ministry” so they can get financial support from local churches in order to build their own kingdoms.  Some are even experts at using Christian terminology but in practice its something else altogether.  This is where godly discernment is needed.  It’s true that although the pro-life stance is Christian based, not all of its supporters and outreaches are.  Therefore, many Christian churches may be unknowingly financially funding a political and possibly interfaith/ecumenical agenda, thinking they are donating their time and money to a purely Christian cause.

Interfaith agendas involve the ecumenical idea that those of different faiths can sacrifice truth on the altar of “unity”, in order to come together for a common cause, the first steps to forming a one-world religion.  However, biblical Christianity is based on the narrow way, upheld by those who are faithful to the teaching of the first apostles, “contending for THE faith once delivered to the saints,” not a different gospel, a different Jesus or a different faith.   According to Gods Word,  (2 Cor.13: 5 for instance), one is disqualified if believing and practicing within the broad way of a false faith apart from the truth.

Jesus is the Rock of offense, the Truth, the only Way.   Naturally, there will be those who are offended because of this exclusive claim in such an inclusive world.

So in response to the secular worldview, true Christians do have an “agenda” and its not centered around political correctness.  It’s to share and defend the gospel, out of love for God and those who are perishing.  It’s to boldly proclaim the truth despite the world’s hostility.  Some of us may have a mission field where the secular seeks to dominate but that doesn’t mean we personally feel we have to use worldly tactics to lure people.  The gospel is sufficient enough in itself to attract those in need of Gods grace and mercy, the power to change lives and help clients become the parents God means for them to be.

Out of deep concern, Christian churches need to not only ask but also thoroughly investigate whether or not the clients who are opting for Bible study and Christian guidance in these types of ministries, are receiving the true gospel.  Is it an “all love,” or works gospel, watered down and distorted to the point of being indistinguishable from New Age philosophy?  Are the Christian volunteers there pressured to use flattery or altar the gospel message, or are they encouraged to give the full counsel of God, to “speak the truth in love?” Are some counselors being subtly indoctrinated to employ spiritually dangerous counseling and prayer techniques similar to occult practices?  Do Christian counselors feel pressured to appease counselors of other “faiths” or those who have already compromised and pretend that they are in agreement?  And if not yet, is the organization being directed toward the broad way to destruction, while the true laborers suffer in silence as they become increasingly manipulated and marginalized?

We all need to at least be reminded of the subtle signs of deception, the invisible war that threatens biblical Christianity from having free reign within its own ranks.  It’s not a Christian duty to judge character, but to warn of Gods judgment and to discern between good and evil according to His standards, not the worlds.  It’s expected that secular organizations fall in with the world, but organizations that bear the title “Christian” have a stewardship to uphold and “it’s required in stewards that one be found faithful,” not to a political or secular worldview, but to a biblical worldview.  True stewards don’t fall away when persecuted or get offended when biblically corrected.  This will be the real test.  Who will exhort these Christian organizations to be accountable to God so His truth will not be blasphemed?  Surely, it must begin with the Christians who are donating their time and money —–

Sincerely,

Lee Anne Ferguson B.S.W. —–Crossroads (volunteer Christian counselor)