Friday, August 3, 2018

Health of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church

The above link is to a very interesting article posted on the Christian Index.  Though I wholeheartedly agree the SBC is in its death and the stench of decay can no longer be masked with our churches Glade Plugins hidden behind our silk roses, I see the thesis of this argument as the other side of the coin that is killing it.
In considering social justice, which many in the conservative branches of Evangelicalism see as a catch all watch word for the new liberalism, I would ask you to see if Social Justice is any different from Conservative Politics.  In a desire to want to do what is right and have a group fall into line the Social Justice Warriors have become militant and taken to recruiting.  This is no different than Evangelicals championing causes through Conservative Politics in an effort to fulfil the righteousness that they see fit. It is all a system of social engineering through governance that is all corrupt because the heart is corrupt.  Change the heart and the world will change.
In the Social Gospel, many will say that the church should not engage in such things.  Pishh Posh.  I would say that if anyone is without clothes or daily food and we say, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed.”  Well like James said it.  You are the smell of death.  The full blame for the social system we have in this country can be laid at the feet of the Church.  When the depression hit, the one force large enough to do anything about suffering, starvation, medical care, care for widows, care for orphans, and myriad other maladies was the Church.  Through callousness and indifference we allowed our fellow man to suffer and when called we failed to act.  So, FDR sprang forward with his New Deal.  We lament the cost of social programs, but it is the unfortunate consequence of a Church who loves its wealth more than sinners.
The feminist movement is dangerous.  It is a plot of the Devil to ensnare the mind of women who have been mistreated or those who love women who have been mistreated.  It’s evils are exactly the same as all other evils that put one person over another and cry out for their rights.  Truth is, we have no one to thank but ourselves.  If we were truly living the principles of Jesus teaching as found in Matthew 20:16, feminism would not touch the church as it has.  Out of our refusal to stand against the mistreatment of women we have allowed this to come into our churches.   No one would fault a man for attempting to protect himself against injustice, battery, or death.  So maybe we should look at the feminist movement as their attempt to do that as sinful as it is.
Tolerance has abounded in the church for centuries and it continues with much vigor.   I agree we have dead and lifeless men preaching the Gospel.  Time and again I have seen preachers refuse to acknowledge the sin in their own pulpit while claiming the world is the sinfulness that is destroying the moral fabric of the world.  The moral fabric of the world has been ripped beyond repair since Adam and Eve sinned.   We must no longer allow sin to overcome our churches.  We must call out gossip, slander, lust, adultery, child abuse, spouse abuse, thievery, lying, and pride when we see it rise in our church.  To preach against LBGT but to skirt any other sin is death. 
We then arrive to Nationalism.  When I look through the fruits of the Spirit or the good vices in Colossians 3:12, I see a strange absence of the words loyalty, pride,  nationalism, identity, or patriotism.  I am sure this will ruffle some SBC feathers, but I am a citizen of the Kingdom.  I will only serve one master.  Nationalism is a vice of excess and I will not submit myself to it or anything else.  I will give respect to the V.P. or the President, but I also give respect to the House and Senate Minority Leaders, soldiers I see,  children who come to my church, and homeless people I come into contact with.  I treat them all the same and pray for all who need it and will use every opportunity I get to tell them the Gospel so that they can also become citizens of the Kingdom of God and no longer be trapped in their sin.
Yes there is death in the SBC.  The prognosis is bad, but the Church will live on.  We must preach Christ crucified to sinners who love their sin and are going to Hell.  We must call believers to lives dedicated to holiness and mercy, and in doing so we speak life into death.   This will bring revival.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Trump Prophecies

I have been asked several times about the book, The Trump Prophecies, so I got a copy of The Trump Prophecies at Barnes and Noble and I read it and made a bunch of notes.  I have some serious concerns with Mark Taylor and Mary Colbert concerning this book.  I do understand the audience and the message that it is speaking.  I don’t disagree with everything in it, but the things I do disagree with seal its fate for me.

In the area of nation, prophecy and the Bible I usually draw  hard line when it comes to those who claim a prophetic word from the Lord.  The Bible takes an extreme line on prophets who prophesy falsely.  Deut. 13:5 says that they must be put to death.  That being said, the prophecy of the Bible is either forthtelling or foretelling.  Forthtelling is the most common and always is concerned with speaking God’s word to God’s people, calling them to repentance.  We see this with Moses, Nathan, Jonah, Malachi, Elisha, Elijah, John the Baptist, and many others.  
Foretelling is of course speaking about events that will come to pass.  In most cases they revolve around the coming of the Messiah, the destruction of a nation for wickedness, or the end of the world.  For them to be valid they must be in full agreement with the rest of God’s word.  
When we look at the promises of the Messiah, we see that they were fulfilled through Jesus with His life, Death, Resurrection, and one day His Second Coming.  These Prophecies line up perfectly with the events that happened.  The destruction of a wicked nation always follows a similar pattern.  God calling a people to repentance.  It never stared with a ruler of a nation though, possibly Josiah did but only after the High Priest found and brought the scroll of Law to him.  It always started with one of His prophets.  Usually a man (or woman) who was called to judge, prophecy, or preach repentance to a world who had forgotten God.   When we see these national prophets, we do not see God saving a nation because of who they are.  Remember Israel was destroyed and carried away by Assyria, and even Judah fell and was taken to captivity by Babylon.  I don’t think that God is a respecter of nations and He is certainly not a respecter of Nationalism as it is usually a vice of excess.  Meaning that it is so easy to be swept up into pride and patriotism that we lose focus on Jesus and that we are citizens of the Kingdom of God.
When we start to look at Eschatology Prophecy, we must remember that though the Bible says quite a bit about it, much of it is veiled in mystery and symbols.  Every generation (I mean every last one) since Jesus left has thought their was the one that would see Jesus return.  Each thought their nation would play the pivotal role in the great gathering that is to come.  Time and again, people have calculated the day, but been wrong every time. 

Forthtelling prophets are hated because they call out our sin.  Nobody wants to be that, because we have to call out all the sin, not just the ones everybody loves to hate on. 

I will add this about the foretelling prophets.  If memory serves, all of them (or at least most) all performed miracles alongside their foretelling.  This was God’s way to show they were of Him. 
As I stated previously. I draw a hard line for “Foretelling Prophets”.  Their prophecies must be 100% correct every time.  And typically you will see miracles to prove that the foretelling is genuine, not just the voice of the one saying it is so.  Without Mark Taylor performing miracles we will have to wait and see.  I have listed the following prophecies that he stated would come true below.  Note there is some concern with a few of them already:  This Prophecy was reported written on April 28, 2011, there is no way to prove time and authenticity other than the writer's own word. 

  • Donald Trump will win the next election.  (would have been 2012)
  • There is a part that says when Trump announces.  (some say he never officially announced in 2011, but others say he did.  He did bow out of the Republican Primary in May, 2011.)
  • Billions of dollars will be spent to keep Trump from winning.
  • Mainstream media will be captivated by Trump.
  • Donald Trump is chosen by God and will be for the USA what Benjamin Netanyahu is for Israel.
  • The US Dollar will restore to its strongest point ever in history.
  • The US Dollar will be the standard of world currency again.
  • Honor, respect, and restoration will come to America because of Trump.
  • The enemy has stolen from the USA and this will be returned 7 fold.
  • America and Israel will once again stand hand in hand.
  • Israel will flourish like never before.
  • USA and Israeli ties will be stronger than before.
  • Trump will be a man of his word.
  • When Trump speaks the world will listen.
  • Trump will be fearless.
  • A financial harvest will appear in the USA and so will a parallel spiritual harvest.
  • Trump will use the army to defeat God’s enemies.
  • Trump is to be the spiritual gatekeeper.  (Not much is explained about this.)
  • Trump will build a wall between the US and Mexico.
  • USA will no longer need OPEC.
  • Gasoline will be cheaper than $1 per gallon.
  • The Supreme Court will lose 3 by resignation or impeachment due to a scandal.
  • Trump will replace those 3 with picks from “MY TREE!”
  • 2 other Supreme Court Justices will also be replaced for a total of 5 replacements.
  • “El Chapo” the drug lord, will be located and will be killed.  Body will be seen by the world, in the red shirt that he wore.  (He was captured alive in 2016 and extradited to the USA under the agreement that the death penalty would not be sought.)
These are the main prophecies that Mark Taylor has given.  Many of them are vague in meaning. A few of them seem to be failed or in the process of failure.  Only time will tell, so I reserve judgement on these as of now.

I do have some serious concerns for the book and for Mark Taylor’s theology.  This book is about the prophecies of a Christian given to him by God.  Mark Taylor gives an extensive biography about himself in the first 49 pages of the book, but never once goes into his testimony about how he knows Jesus and is saved.  The first mention of scripture happens on page 30, and it is in conjunction with a dream he had in which God appeared to him as a black cloud of smoke.   Mark Taylor is a retired Orlando, Fl. Firefighter and has had many situations that have taken a huge toll on his body, mind, and spirit.  Though the diagnosis never came out he does exhibit many signs of PTSD and he had a debilitating physical condition at the end of his career.  He consults dream interpreters that are affiliated with Streams Ministry in Florida and he attended spiritual wellness sessions at Inner Healing in Tampa, Fl.  I could not find much about Inner Healing, but Streams Ministry is well known and people have mixed reviews about them.  Reading through his section on himself, I got a distinct feeling that Mark Taylor is very interested in Christian Mysticism.  Though there is nothing wrong with this in small and appropriate doses, we must remember what Paul wrote in Colossian 2 about those who would claim access to a visionary realm.  For me, it is just not provable.

Mark Taylor also writes his prophecies like so, “The Spirit of God says.”  This equates his writings with The Bible.  He says his prophecies defer to the Bible as the authority, but you cannot have it both ways.  Either your words are the words of God and are divinely inspired or they are not and are lesser than the word of God.   He also takes the line that those who are against him seem to be against God.  He covers his bases and asks people who disagree with him not to use the Bible to correct him. 

                He writes, “At the heart of this movement, people literally attack each other with the         
                Bible, using their intellect, fueled by what they feel is the interpretation of   Scripture.
                Many of them think that they are doing God’s work but they’re really operating in the
                flesh.  They think that their scholarly knowledge of the scriptural words means that
                they, in their infinite understanding, can quote the heart of God.  But, the Lord is saying,
                “No, you’re off base. You are making My Church a house   divided. You people who create
                 a rift in my house don’t even know me.””

This statement allows him to be authoritative and claim anyone against him is not of God.  That is not what the Bible intended.  We are to call out error and heresy.

Mary Colbert helped Mark Taylor write this book.  She lent a lot of help to the Trump Campaign in 2015-16 in organizing pastors and churches in prayer teams.  She was convinced when she read Mark Taylor’s prophecies in 2014, due to what she called “The Rhythm” of how it was written.  She stated that the rhythm of them proved to her that they were of God.  I would say that this is also very close to the same argument that Mormons make for the Book of Mormon. 

Mark Taylor and Mary Colbert also stated that God has used the outcomes of horse races to help prove to them that these prophecies are real.  I am not kidding.  They have both written extensively about it in this book.

Mark Taylor dives deeply into a heresy on page 46.  He suffered from nightmares of fighting demonic beings, so he got in touch with some intercessor prayer ministries.

He writes, “Eventually I got in touch with an intercessor named Melissa through generational deliverance ministry stationed in California.  Melissa claimed that although we can cleanse our own personal sins through prayer, it does not cleanse the sins that have been committed before us in our familial lineage.  (Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9). So we tackled generational deliverance from every angle, addressing in prayer everything we could think of, from idolatry to addiction to perversion and beyond – but like an onion we kept pulling back layer after layer to find nothing underneath but the next layer.  One by one we ruled out each potential cause of affliction in my ancestry …. until Freemasonry came into discussion.” 

The biggest concerns for this is of course the that he holds we can cleanse our sins and the idea of blood corruption sin.  Yes, the scriptures listed do talk about generational sin being passed on, but they are also negated by Jeremiah 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:2-4;  Psalm 103:3.  Not to mention that we cannot cleanse our sins through prayer.  Only Jesus can cleanse our sin and only when we believe and repent.

There is another undertone in this book that is very dangerous.  Nationalism is heavy in it.    I think that God is no respecter of nations or princes.  I think it is ok to have a healthy pride for our nation, and to want to enjoy the freedoms God has certainly blessed us with, but Mark Taylor’s brand is very blatant.  God will save the USA through Trump.  He even calls him His new champion.  Jesus came to all for all time to save all who believe in Him alone. Christ will not share glory.

There are some redeeming factors to this book.  Mark Taylor does seem to have a genuine desire to see revival in the world.  I share that with him.  When I look at revival in the world and I have studied a bunch of them they almost always start the same way.  Society is at its lowest point.  People lament that God has abandoned the world.  People claim the Church is irrelevant and will be gone soon.  Then God puts on faithful people a desire to get serious about holiness, prayer, and evangelism.  Then when those initial faithful are matured (usually through anguish and prayer) God lets loose His power.  He literally steps down out of heaven into the community of people to be revived and it is irresistible.  A presence that draws sinners to repentance and faith, because they see the enormity of their sin against a holy righteous God.  When this true revival happens it always lasts that generation, but dies slowly once the affected people die.  There is no backsliding in real revival, but you must experience it to be affected by it.  I have prayed long and hard that revival, true revival, might come to our area.  But it will not come through governmental or political means ever.