Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Beware of the New Occultism: Charlie, Charlie Challenge

June 5, 2015

Title: Beware of the New Occultism: Charlie, Charlie Challenge
Text: 1 Samuel 28, Philippians 4:8-9, James
Time: June 2nd, 2015

During the past week I learned of an Internet craze sweeping the nation that teaches young people to try speaking to a supposed spirit of the dead in order to ask it questions and get answers. It’s called “The Charlie, Charlie Challenge” and it consists of taking two regular, ordinary pencils and stacking one upon the other in the form of a cross over a piece of paper with the words “Yes, No, Yes, No” written on it. Then the young people ask the so-called spirit a question and wait for the top pencil to rotate and point to either Yes or No. When I first heard about this I immediately, I mean immediately, recognized it as an instrument of the occult world. No question. It’s nothing but a modern day Ojai board stripped of all the additional add-on extras. But an even closer parallel is the old folk practice of using a whiskbroom straw piece for picking a watermelon at the fruit market. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, but in older days some people would pluck a straw strand from a whiskbroom and place it on top of a watermelon. If it moved, then it was thought the mellow was a good one. Now I never understood the principle behind the practice but I’ve seen it done a few times in my lifetime, although I’ve never done it myself. Now why are these examples of the occult? Because they purportedly work by means of an unknown power. It’s the same with the so-called water-witching practitioners who use a stick that’s supposed to lead them to water in order to show you where to dig a well. There are people who make a living finding a suitable place to dig a well using the water witch – they’re that good at it. So far, there is no known scientific reason why some kind of a stick should be able to point out a source of water. So then what force or power is behind it? It sounds like occultism to me, having researched the matter for a number of years now. What is occultism? It’s contacting or tapping into a secret, hidden spiritual reality that doesn’t originate from God through prayer or divine miracles, but instead comes from fallen spirits or otherwise known as demons. The Internet craze called “Charlie, Charlie Challenge” fits into the same pattern. It’s so blatantly and obviously occultic. For example, the Charlie Challenge plan says to speak to the so-called spirit – who by the way, as the story goes, is the departed soul of a little Mexican boy named Charlie, and ask questions. That’s clearly of the occult – asking questions of a “spirit.” But let me explain in a little more detail why playing the “Charlie Challenge” is a bad idea and what possibly could be going on with it by examining an Old Testament Bible passage, 1 Samuel 28. (more…)

The Creator Made Them Male and Female

May 15, 2015

Title: The Creator Made Them Male and Female
Text: Matthew 19:4-6, Deuteronomy 22:5, Romans 1:28, 32
Time: April 23rd, 2015

I just finished watching a television video clip of an interview between journalist Diane Sawyer and gold medal Olympian Bruce Jenner – and I have to say I’m shocked by what I saw and heard. Evidently former decathlon athlete Jenner, formerly known as the greatest male athlete in the world after his Olympic victory, is “transitioning” from male to female through drugs and surgical sex-change operations. And from all indication Sawyer thought this was something to encourage, affirm and celebrate! During the whole interview there was not even a hint that it indeed might be wrong. Although the Bible was discussed and its prohibition against a male wearing female clothes and vice versa, these teachings were casually dismissed and ignored. Diane Sawyer actually quoted from Deuteronomy 22:5, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” And Jenner himself was familiar with the passage, since as he claims, he is a religious person. But nothing more is said to affirm or deny the passage; it’s just passed over. He talked about God perhaps giving him a beautiful life but then also throwing him a twist by giving him the mind of a woman in the body of a man. Now it’s really difficult to sit and watch such nonsense because here is a man who once embodied the greatest symbol of masculinity – winning the Olympic decathlon event, which is widely seen as the determining standard for the world’s greatest athlete – and now we hear he’s really “a woman trapped in a man’s body.” His solution, and the subject of the interview, is he’s gradually transitioning into a woman so that eventually at some point he’ll actually look more like a woman and then supposedly he’ll feel for the first time like a whole person. And this prime time television interview was aired and watched by millions and millions of people all around the world. It saddens me to think of how many young, impressionable minds will hear this foolishness and start to think maybe they too need to “transition” from male to female or female to male. So what are we to think about such things as Christians? It appears that the culture at large is accepting and even approving of such transitioning. The media seems to be totally on board with the idea of “a woman trapped in a man’s body” and desiring to “transition” into a different body. President Obama and many or most politicians today seem to be okay with the idea. Academia and education are going along with it. And it seems to be gaining wide acceptance in more and more areas of society. But as Christians we need to ask, “What does God think?” Or more importantly, “What does God command in his Word?” To help sort all this out, let’s review a number of biblical passages that help us response to what strange things we’re witnessing today. (more…)

Refuting Gay Scripture Twisting 2

April 15, 2015

Title: Refuting Gay Scripture Twisting 2
Text: Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10
Time: February 18th, 2015

Last time I talked about the original created pattern for marriage given by God in Genesis 1 and 2. I also showed how certain gay activists try to twist these passages in order to somehow justify same sex relationships, to somehow legitimize what the Bible describes as sinful behavior. I showed how all attempts fail to justify sinful homosexuality when we consider God’s original intent for marriage as outlined in Genesis. But the gay activists aren’t finished. What can’t be justified in one portion of the Bible is attempted in another section. After reviewing the original teachings on marriage in Genesis of the Old Testament one might conclude that the case for homosexuality is done with, finished, futile, since if the Bible so clearly states the heterosexual nature of marriage in its very first pages, what’s left to discuss? Well, any reasonable person would conclude that trying to justify same sex relationships from the Bible is about as futile as freezing water in hell, but for these gay activists, it just presents another challenge that they seemingly never tire of trying to overcome. They move on to the next series of Bible passages that condemn homosexuality, Leviticus 18 and 20, and they try to explain these passages away. They readily admit that these Old Testament verses forbid homosexual activity. Leviticus 18:22, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” And Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Now what gay activists try to do with these clear prohibitions against homosexuality is say that while these were binding laws for ancient Jews they no longer apply to us today. So instead of “messaging” the passages in order to twist them to fit the homosexual agenda for society and the church, these activists don’t even try to deny that in these instances the Bible clearly condemns homosexual activity. They concede that. But what they try to do is say these prohibitions don’t apply to Christians today. They say, “These were old laws for the ancient times. Nobody obeys these old laws today. Why pick laws against homosexuality and then permit other practices the same law code forbids?” So the argument is that it’s inconsistent to single out laws against gay sex and then allow for other things also prohibited in Leviticus. How do we answer such a charge? Are Christians being inconsistent when we don’t enforce some prohibitions while enforcing others? Do the gay activists have a point? No they don’t, but it will take some explaining to make this clear. So let’s look at Leviticus and try to make sense of the matter. (more…)

Refuting Gay Scripture Twisting 1

April 15, 2015

Title: Refuting Gay Scripture Twisting 1
Text: Thessalonians 5:21, Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:18, 20-24, Matthew 19:4-6
Time: February 17th, 2015

For two nearly thousand years the question of homosexuality has been a settled issue within Christianity; add another thousand years on to that if you include Judaism. So for at least three thousand years of biblical tradition, homosexuality has always been seen as a sin, in fact, an abomination or really bad sin, for the faithful. This position is based on the clear and plain reading of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. But recently, in the last few decades, there have arisen voices within the Christian community that challenge the biblical understanding of homosexuality. They claim the Bible really doesn’t talk about homosexuality per se, or if it does, it doesn’t present the blanket condemnation that we’ve always thought it did. So in an effort to reinterpret or revise the Bible’s teaching on the sinfulfulness of homosexuality, these new voices within Christianity have gone through each verse that speaks about homosexuality and gives a new spin. But here’s the problem – the reinterpretation of the Bible on this issue fails miserably; it just doesn’t work. In every instance that revisers try to put a new spin on the old sin of homosexuality in the Bible they fail, they fall flat on their faces. Why? Because the Bible is so obviously clear on the sinfulness of homosexuality that only a stubborn insistence that the Bible must ok gay sex motivates these people. For example, there’s the case of a so-called Christian scholar who for years and years advanced the traditional and straightforward interpretation of the Bible on the sinfulness of homosexuality, then, after his own son came out as gay, suddenly finds himself changing positions and advocating a “gay” reading of the Bible in favor of same sex relationships. Now why didn’t this so-called scholar read the Bible that way before his son announced himself to be gay? It’s obvious that this scholar is letting personal considerations interfere with his academic work. He’s plainly letting his emotions and feelings for his son obscure his scholarship. And this kind of thing is happening all the time within Christianity, as more and more people are basing these new interpretations on feelings and emotions rather than faith and reason. As Christians we must return to the Bible and let God speak from himself on this and every other topic. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” We must test all things by the Word of God, not feelings, not emotions, not popular opinion or any other thing. So let’s now turn to God’s Word and test all the so-called “gay” reinterpretations of the Bible’s prohibition against homosexuality. Let’s examine Genesis 1 and 2. (more…)

The Boy Who Didn’t Come Back From Heaven?

March 8, 2015

Title: The Boy Who Didn’t Come Back From Heaven?
Text: 1 John 4:1
Time: February 5th, 2015

 
A few years ago I read a Christian book about a surgeon who claims he died and went to heaven. He then wrote a book describing his experiences and explaining how his brain had zero brain wave activity yet he was perceiving objects and having mental experiences nonetheless. He argued for the survival of the soul after physical death. I was very impressed with the book. About the same time I was aware of some other books that were out in the Christian publishing world, books that also recounted experiences of heaven, in particularly a few books recounting the heavenly experiences of a number of different little boys. The one book, which I never read, came out as a full-length motion picture, and I was able to see the movie. It was interesting but not all that impressive as far as stories go. But, because it didn’t contradict anything I knew about heaven from the Bible, I categorized it as something that might have indeed happened. There was another book about another little boy who supposedly died and went to heaven and then returned. I was given this book to read, but I never got around to reading it. As it turns out, this little boy, whose story is recounted in the book I never got around to reading, as it turns out the story is false. The little boy admitted recently to making it all up. He also made the comment in the same statement that Christians shouldn’t look to anything or anyone except the Bible for information about heaven. That’s exactly true, and it’s just what I wrote a couple of years ago in a message about heaven concerning the topic of reported heavenly experiences by people who claim they’ve visited and returned from heaven. But I’m afraid Christians routinely fall into the trap of reading and believing too many supposed personal testimonies about heaven and other things, and they begin to put far too much weight in these stories rather than in God’s Word the Bible. I’ve seen it time and time again. Now I’m not against testimonies and recounting spiritual experiences. I find them interesting, inspiring and often helpful to my faith. But I’m always aware, nonetheless, that I don’t need any testimony to convince me of something the Bible already teaches me. I don’t need testimonies about heaven to convince me of heaven because I believe the Bible and it teaches me all I need to know about heaven – or any other subject. But the question is, “Why do Christian keep turning to these kinds of stories to strengthen their faith when they have their Bibles to do that?” Let me say a few things about this most recent disappointment about the little boy recanting his testimony about heaven and see what we can learn from this experience. (more…)