When Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the church, he did so not to create a denomination, as some believe. Martin Luther wanted to correct anti-biblical practices being promoted in the church. The main theme revolved around the practice of “selling indulgences”. What the church was doing was convincing people that they could “pay” their family members out of purgatory. The church did this primarily to finance the Popes greed and desire to finance the Cistene Chapel in Rome. Now we Protestants read this stuff in Church History books and we gasp, yet how many of us “enlightened” Spirit-filled Protestants that know of Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers in our Protestant churches that “sell blessings” today.
We have condemned Catholics for centuries, yet we have the same skeletons in our closets. From Reverend Ike, Robert Tildon, or to the pastor in the storefront in the inner city, we too have been guilty of “selling blessings”. Every Protestant denomination (and non-denomination) has had it share of “Greedy Popes”. I really admired Martin Luther’s guts, but where are the Martin Luther’s of today? When Oral Roberts said he would die unless he got 80 million dollars in donations, where was the outrage from Christians? Of course the world ridiculed his nonsense, but there was no moral outrage from any Christian leaders. Why? Well I’ll tell you why! It is a very lonely position when you stand on the truth of scripture. We are quick to condemn Catholics trust in traditions and church doctrine, but we are equally guilty! How often have you seen and heard things done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in your church, but in your gut (spirit) you knew it was against the Bible? And why didn’t you say something is the more disturbing question.
Jim Jones was able to take hundreds of lives in Guyana because someone refused to listen to their gut (spirit). I firmly believe in supporting the local church and helping pastors, I want to make that clear. However there is a real epidemic of spiritually stupid “saints” that don’t study their Bibles and try every spirit by the Spirit. We were given the ability to discern so we WON’T end up giving our money to crooks and drinking poison Kool-Aid! Many of today’s most prominent preachers would be labeled heretics hundreds of years ago because MOST clergymen were devout Theologians and serious students of scripture. Today ordination papers and licenses are given to anyone that say’s they are called to preach. I agree that being Spirit-filled and called is the first priority of being a preacher, but ALSO there has to be training…SERIOUS TRAINING! A lack of understanding of just the basic Bible doctrines of the faith can lead to the types of abuses I am talking about. Martin Luther was able to stand up to the lies of Rome because he was filled with the knowledge of the truth. I am a Pentecostal preacher, I believe in the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we must have a scholarly approach to the scriptures and its teachings.
I have heard PREACHERS say stupid things like, “I don’t know the Bible that well but I am filled-with the Holy Ghost and fire!” This person is a prime candidate for deception and a good whipping from the devil! The Bible say’s in 1st Timothy 4:4 “In the last days some shall DEPART from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and DOCTRINES of devils.” The Devil will fill your head with HIS doctrine (teaching) if your head isn’t filled with sound Bible doctrine. Martin Luther unlike other priest actually studied the Bible for truth and not to support a man made lie. We must as individual believers have reformer’s courage to stand up to the church when it strays from the truth of scripture. I know it sounds crazy to say stand up AGAINST the church, I am of course talking about organized denominational/non-denominational institutions that profess to be of Jesus Christ, yet stray away from the truth of Jesus Christ. I have seen enough heresy in the church in the last 25 years of my life to make ones head spin and the majority of it went unchallenged.
We allow “preachers” to say anything in our pulpits and we say AMEN! We are afraid to be attacked for standing up for the truth. In 1980 I was stationed at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. While there I heard a Baptist preacher (Who was also a Freemason) tell a group in Bible study that “all roads lead to Rome” meaning every religion can get you to heaven. I was a new believer, but I knew this was wrong! I challenged him, because NO ONE else would say a word. He was a popular preacher and I was a new convert so you can imagine whose side everyone lined up on. My point is this, when you hear false preaching or teaching SAY SOMETHING! The Apostle Paul was the new kid on the block (Read Galatians) yet he challenged and corrected the Chief Apostle Peter for treating the Gentile believers wrong.
Ministers are NOT infallible, only the Word of God is! No matter how popular or how powerful a preacher is, they are NOT above reproach!
But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4 Amp)
This is one of the key verses in the Bible to help a novice minister be a successful tool for the Master. Preaching has nothing to do with popularity, titles, or position. The successful minister is the one that realizes that sharing God’s Word is a divine call and privilege that can’t be done in one’s own strength.
The Apostles took this charge so seriously that they knew total devotion to prayer and study was paramount. A preacher that doesn’t devote his life to prayer and study is a potential false prophet. Satan loves preachers that say “I’m to busy to study” or “I don’t think preachers need formal Bible training.”
The gospel preacher must devote his (or her) life to purity of doctrine. Paul warned Timothy to avoid fables and old wives tales. It’s very easy for preachers to get involved in the “flavor of the month” teachings. In last 20 years we have been bombarded with the “faith” message, “prosperity gospel”, “Spiritual Warfare”, and “Prophecy”. Every one is an “Apostle” or “Bishop”; no one is simply a Gospel preacher. Don’t get caught up in trends and hype. Be lead by the Holy Ghost and walk in your calling. I have been preaching 23 years. I have done the work of an evangelist, and served in pastoral capacities, but I am called to teach. My anointing is that of a teacher. It would be foolish to try and be anything else. I live to study and teach the Word of God. We need more “Martin Luther’s” in the church today. Too much of our teaching today is unbalanced. We have churches teaching crazy things like you have to speak in tongues to be saved, Christians should never get sick, or you can only be saved in MY church! Wake up saints and speak out against false teaching! There are churches that teach everyone has a demon, yes some people need demons cast out! However some problems are not demon powered but human error! Teaching the truth can solve more problems in the church than by casting out a “demon”.
(Note: I am not picking on any particular denomination, there is enough heresy in every Protestant denomination)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
"What is so bad about pornography?" Overall, porn affects every viewer negatively, regardless of religious belief, creed, gender or age. Here is my list of reasons that explain why.
1) Pornography feeds lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh, which are never satisfied. It leaves the viewer craving more and more in order to achieve the same "sexual high." It easily enslaves people to their own cravings and opens the door to other forms of evil, like anger, abuse, violence, hatred, lying, envy, compulsiveness and selfishness. The power behind porn is revealed when the porn addict tries to stop their habit - it is virtually impossible without help.
2) Pornography sexualizes the viewer's mindset. It warps and perverts their perspective such that sex is unnaturally elevated in their thoughts. Porn's images are stamped into viewer's brain with the aid of hormones released during sexual arousal. Even if a person decides to stop looking at porn, the past images can remain for years or even a lifetime.
3) Pornography promotes destructive practices and can lead to progressive addiction. For example, porn sites routinely link viewers to depictions of every type of sexual perversion imaginable, such as child porn, homosexuality, bestiality, necrophilia (sexual interest in corpses), masochism (pleasure from abuse or suffering), rape and sadism (gratification from inflicting physical or mental pain on others). The viewer's exposure to such themes naturally increases the likelihood that they may attempt to act out what they've viewed. This can lead to sexual crimes, a la the late Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer).
4) Pornography intensifies an individual's drive to serve oneself, rather than serve others. For example, masturbation, which typically accompanies looking at pornography reinforces a self-centered sexual orientation (i.e. lust), which can detract from a person's ability to give and receive love.
5) Pornography addiction can lead to debt. The convenience of credit card transactions on the internet encourages covert spending without limit. Additionally, pornographers flood common internet areas with enticing banner ads ("teasers") and spam email, which bait potential viewers with free porn. Once lured by the free porn to the site, the viewers must then pay to see more.
6) By viewing and/or purchasing porn, viewers are supporting the porn industry and facilitating its growth. By viewing porn, the viewer is also contributing to the sexual exploitation of whoever or whatever is in the images he or she is viewing.
7) Looking at porn can damage the viewer's family relationships, not to mention increasing the chance of his or her spouse and children finding the material. Porn may also inspire the viewer to explore incest, which is a common porn theme. Other things porn may inspire in the viewer (which could in turn affect the family) include sexual frustration, lying, abuse, affairs, debt, violent behavior and irrational thinking. (see Testimonials on how porn destroys lives)
8) Looking at porn at work could damage the viewer's reputation, decrease his or her productivity and lead to job loss. It could also inspire unhealthy and/or inappropriate relationships with co-workers.
9) Looking at porn can damage the viewer's current or future marriage sex life. Porn viewers may find that it's difficult to enjoy true intimacy with their spouse when they're fantasizing about somebody else! Additionally, porn builds an unrealistic perception of sexual relations. Porn sex is a portrayal or an act made for the viewer's enjoyment. It takes what God intended as a private expression of love between a husband and wife and prostitutes it for entertainment. When a person has been looking at sexual pictures of other people for entertainment, he or she will have a downgraded value of sex. This in turn will detract from their appreciation and value of sex with their spouse.
10) Looking at porn will increase the viewer's tendency to lie, because he or she will have a natural desire to keep it secret to avoid criticism, embarrassment, shame and/or having to surrender their habit.
11) Looking at porn can lead a person into masturbation addiction.
12) Looking at porn brings serious spiritual consequences (see consequences page). For example, it opens the doorway to spiritual oppression and confusion in the viewer's life. The power behind pornography is inherently evil. It seeks to control and dominate the viewer's life, while allowing other forms of evil to gain influence in that person. Once a person starts looking at the porn, their eyes become the gateway for the evil power to enter them. As it gains influence, the evil can numb the viewer's ability discern right and wrong. As traditional moral values are blurred, confusion sets in.
13) Looking at porn helps you start to believe the lies it promotes. Examples lies include:
Sexual freedom = happiness
Perverted sex (homosexual sex, incest, BDSM, etc) is more enjoyable than "normal" heterosexual sex
There are no consequences to sexual promiscuity
Sexual expression is a right, not a God-given or God-defined gift
You can live a healthy life with the porn images floating around in your mind
Porn doesn't harm anyone
Sex is something to be done primarily for self gratification
The porn stars are the happiest people on earth
Adults can view porn without any lasting side effects
Porn will help your sex life
Porn is just a harmless thing that everybody looks at