Feb 262015
 

1-140P3130R5It’s been fascinating to me to watch the evangelical responses to the 21 Coptic Christian martyrs.

There were those who denied that they could be Christians because they formulated the Gospel in a different manner than they did.

There were others, however, who proclaimed them true Christians who died in faith… even knowing that they believed a “false Gospel” by their doctrinal and creedal confessions..

That raises some large questions…

If they were truly saved (and I believe they were) then;

a. Their doctrinal formulation was right and mine is wrong, or;

b. God chose to save them despite their errors, or;

c. God isn’t nearly as concerned about doctrinal formulations as we are.

There was a day when I thought I had it all down.

My faith had been narrowed down to a set of doctrinal propositions.

If you assented to those propositions, then heaven was yours.

If you didn’t, you were going to split hell wide open and I was happy about it.

I was a gatekeeper to the kingdom and quite skilled at separating the sheep from the goats.

I was quite proud of my doctrinal acumen and quite scornful of any perceived lack thereof.

Life was simple, life was good.

Then, I met people who did not affirm my doctrinal propositions who had quite evidently met with Jesus anyway.

That sucked.

I either had to change my doctrinal propositions or change my mind about how one gained access to the throne of grace…or both.

I chose both…which then required me to learn to love people I had formerly consigned to the pit.

It has been difficult and messy.

We love our tribes in Christendom and when you love the other tribes you end up with no tribe of your own.

We curse each other over doctrinal propositions, traditions, leadership, interpretation of Scriptures, sacraments, and a seemingly endless list of sub categories.

We pay lip service to unity in Christ while secretly doubting whether the other tribes (and those in them) know Him at all.

We believe the road is narrow and we’re on it, the broad road is full of other tribes walking into hell with the heathens.

Even when someone offers up the right propositions and participates in the tribal rites properly, we who are convinced of our own right standing before God examine anything we can for possible disqualification.

We can almost always find something.

We so often make the ‘good news’ something like one of those envelopes you get from Publishers Clearing House…”You’ve won!”…if you meet about a hundred qualifications.

Our mantra is that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship….then we try to force people with a relationship into our religion.

Why…do we go out of our way to make heaven so distant for so many?

Why… does it seem that we are more concerned with keeping people out than getting people in?

Just asking…

 

  94 Responses to “The Gatekeepers of the Kingdom”

  1. Good article, Michael. I don’t really have answers why we so want to be the Decision Maker, about who gets in to heaven and who doesn’t, but it seems to tempt so many of us.

    Maybe it is because we want others to experience God in the same way we do, just like the person gifted in helps can get angry when the whole church won’t join him down at the local rescue mission or the person gifted in evangelism can understand why not everyone want to join her in handing out tracts at the local fair.

    Maybe we seek validation of our own experiences and beliefs by wanting everyone else to have that exact same experience/ insight/ doctrinal stance/ emotional high/ musical taste/ spiritual priorities/ etc.

    Tough questions. I don’t believe the Bible supports a Universal Salvation stance, but the Bible also doesn’t contain a list of names of who is in and who is out. The Lamb’s Book of Life does, but I know of only One who is qualified to open that up and look inside. 🙂

  2. EricL,

    Well done…thank you for “getting it” before my critics show up. 🙂

  3. Good stuff Michael.

  4. Thanks, Alex.

    This is probably one of those times when I should keep my thoughts to myself instead of putting them on cyber paper, but it’s worth thinking about.

  5. … or, these could be Coptics who for one reason or another had the correct doctrinal formulation as held by the church of all time stated in the creeds.

    If someone can affirm the 3 ecumenical creeds (I will even include Xenia leaving out the filioque 😉 ) – then to me they are in.

  6. Michael — Man looks at the outer appearance, God looks on the heart. I know people who got saved while still in a cult. Does that mean we should endorse cults? Of course not! But it does mean that while refuting cultic beliefs, we stay away from the topic of who’s going to hell or making it to heaven. No one’s creed or systematic theology is going to get them in. I’m sure there are many who have all their theological hairs in place, but have never come to Jesus as a child. Think of all the pharisees who are in hell. Jesus told their followers to do what they say, not what they do. So you cannot say that a person is going to hell because they recite the Nicene Creed anymore than you can say someone is going to hell for never studying theology at all. Jesus knows who are His. He can divide between those who give Him lip service whose hearts are far from Him, versus those who merely read the Bible and fall in love with Its Author.

  7. Michael,

    This is the mystery. We all quote this and that from scripture, but always, always, I am reminded of the thief on the cross.

    Jesus is the gatekeeper to the Father and only God knows the heart and knows w/100% certainty if we are saved. Just because someone doesn’t get election/predestination/sacraments right, does not mean he/she is not saved.

    We can use the fruits verse all we want, but even that is flawed from our POV. IOW, how many of use look at someone’s fruit w/the same eye God does. Heck, the drug guy article you posted was all the proof we need of that. Likewise, I would say that you can have all the bible-producing fruit in the world and not be saved.

    I agree with EricL in that we seek validation in what we think is right, when in fact, all that matters is what God thinks.

    I do believe for most of us, there is a certain amount that is needed to be understood to be saved. Even the thief acknowledged his and the other guy’s sin. He also realized Jesus was innocent. Lastly, he asked Jesus to remember him. All of this to say that in his own way the thief repented and humbled himself. Now, can one be saved w/o all that. Again, God knows the heart and this is why I think the Bible records this as part of the crucifixion narrative. Among everything else, Jesus can save even from the cross and He can save one who is at death’s door. What fruit did that person have on the cross next to Christ?

    As an aside, I really enjoy where you have been going with this lately, Michael. There are def. areas in my life where I need to show more of God’s love and grace, esp. in dealing with my son’s ex-girlfriend, who is mormon. Is she saved? Anyway, thank for this blog. I come here everyday, and sometimes more than once a day. I def. have some Christian man-love for this site.

  8. OCDan,

    Thank you for the kind words…and for some great comments.
    The best I can do is throw this stuff out and hope that it provokes some thought and conversation…that maybe leads to changed attitudes.

    I appreciate the support!

  9. Miss ODM,

    I think we agree… 🙂

  10. I believe the ancient creeds (though admittedly, I choose not to parse between the Apostles and Nicene)–and to more modern confessions such as the Westminster Catechism. I wonder, though, is it enough to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?

    I am finding myself, in these last few years, wondering why I can adhere to the essentially the same doctrinal confession as others and yet feel like beyond those statements, there is little about who Jesus is that we agree on.

  11. Rick,

    You and me both…

  12. If I may clarify–I simply cannot accept that Jesus is American–and holds American values. I say this as a military veteran who loves his country.

  13. Rick,
    “I wonder, though, is it enough to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God? ”

    There must be a definition behind that statement. It would be nice, but some make it difficult. A Mormon can make that statement.

    I usually insist on all 3 ecumenical creeds because of the way they are formulated to go together. I just want people to affirm what they say without denial – they don’t have to swear to anything.

    If you could get a Mormon to say a creed, he could very easily affirm the Apostle’s Creed … so you must go a little deeper with the Nicene. If someone balks at the Nicene and mixes language to say they believe the Trinity with a different meaning, then the Athanasian Creed will flush them out.

  14. A little while back I heard a presentation where the speaker gave the exact percentage of those who were “saved” in Israel. I forget what the exact number was, but I think it was somewhere around 1 percent. A little later in the presentation he gave the population of Messianic Jews and Evangelical Palestinians in Israel compared to the population as a whole. Doing a little math in your head, one could find that these two groups matched the exact percentage of the “saved” in Israel. So that means all other professing Christians in the nation of Israel (Orthodox, Catholic, Anglicans, and other Protestant groups who may not claim to be Evangelical) must be on the outside looking in. Apparently this guy had the Lamb’s Book of Life, at least pertaining to Israel. I mean his numbers were so exact and specific, how else could he have gotten them? (Now where’s that sarcastic smilie.)

  15. Michael…great article; great cognitive dissonance!

    “Why…do we go out of our way to make heaven so distant for so many?”…now that’s a great question?

    Is it because we want to feel special? On top of the heap? In the know? A member of an exclusive fraternity?

    Don’t know but I see equivalents of that behavior in other venues.

  16. While I would be careful to endorse what I would understand to be false, I would hope that I am just as careful not to say that someone who does not share my theology is lost. A honest look in the mirror would indicate I am still a work in progress even with the theology I embrace.

  17. Maybe the Catholics have it right — none of them — not even the pope — can say for sure whether or not they are saved. It is called “the sin of presumption.”

  18. From the RCC Baltimore Catechism:

    “Q. 481. Can we merit the grace of final perseverance or know when we possess it?

    A. We cannot merit the grace of final perseverance, or know when we possess it, because it depends entirely upon God’s mercy and not upon our actions. To imagine we possess it would lead us into the sin of presumption.”

  19. Miss ODM,
    Why would God not want you to believe his promise?

    I think it is a false pride to say “I can’t presume on God.” God tells us all throughout the scriptures to presume on him – to take him at his word.

    With the RCC it’s a control thing

  20. Fear

  21. MLD – Ask a Catholic – though most of them don’t know the Magisterium teaches that. I think it’s sad – which is why I brought it up. We’re concerned about the issue of who gets in and who doesn’t and the RCC says we’re wrong to even ask the question. My comment was not in support – but I was being a bit sarcastic.

  22. Lutherans believe that all who name the name of Christ are saved – how can you argue that? No one can say that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit – and i am not one to go against the Holy Spirit.

    Now, since we are all going to heaven, the question is are we going in different cars. Doctrine matters and who we commune with matters – so as I will see you all in heaven – well, you know.

    By the same token, if someone tells me they are not a Christian or that they are not saved – I believe them also.

  23. When I was in New York City I had a cab driver who was Coptic.

    He was listening to a video on his phone which was sitting on the center divider of the front seats.

    It was a Coptic priest who was performing exorcisms.

    I questioned the driver about it.

    He told me the priest was well known by Copts.

    Islamic people were bringing demon possessed family members to his meetings to be released from demons.

    I can’t recall the name of the priest right now, but when I arrived back home I looked up the priest on YouTube and watched the video.

    I was fascinated as I watched a demon possessed woman set free.

    The taxi driver had told me that because of all the Islamic people who were being set free, there was great tension.

    I just searched Youtube and found video of the priest.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60Ju1zFUIsM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9N6Z-UYrZU

  24. In total reality no one has the slightest concept of what God is or how He thinks. We seem to agree that we have fallen from his tangible physical presence and want to argue about how to retrieve it for eternity after this life. Not one person can know positively what happens after this life ends, because not one of us have been there. Much less can we know for sure the manner to obtain how to be in one realm of the hereafter vs. another realm. We cannot even agree on how the Bible itself is to be interpreted. The only thing we know for sure is that we do not know anything about afterlife for sure; but God does. I admit to my sinful stupidity and God’s righteous wisdom. I give Him my personal surrender for Him to control my life according to His will and to do with me how He sees fit when I die. That is the best I can do. I call it, “Simple Faith”.

  25. Looked more like a Benny Hinn show.

  26. I was healed at Hinns in the early 90’s. When I mean healed it was such a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit, I was frozen stiff, as electrical showers and heat went through me like neutrinos. It was a glorious, and the nearness of God wasn’t out there, it was in me. Knock Hinn all u want. But I sure was blessed as no one touched me or prayed over me.

  27. Erik I am glad you were healed, I know many I worked with begged to be healed, not one was, never, not one time, ever where they in the physical sense. In the spiritual, often, finding comfort hope etc. Of course that has no meaning and is stupid but that is another post. I am glad you were healed, From my personal experience Hinn is a hack of the first order and even a broken clock can be right two times a day. No offense I really am glad you were healed. From my faith tradition if one is healed most likely it was from Satan and hell fire awaits those who are healed in such a way. Its no wonder I go crazy of this stuff. It really is a strange religion it really is.

  28. PS I would never expect nor even pray God would heal me, if God does not cast me into eternal perdition with my family members that would be grace, I dont expect that as we are all human and deserve to suffer eternal torment for being human but I do hope. Like I said it really is a strange religion, it really is.

  29. Michael I appreciate your boldness in tackling this subject. I think though you make some generalizations that are not exactly true. Although many tribes profess that thier way is the right way I have not experienced an overwhelming call for condemnation of other tribes that do things differently. I’m sure you agree that if a tribe teaches false (FALSE) doctrine (such as Jesus and satan r brothers or you can’t get into heaven without receiving the sacraments or u can b prayed into heaven after u die) it’s necessary for that tribe to be called out. But I think most here agree that the heart of an individual cannot b known by anyone but God. Thus anyone from any tribe can enter into salvation. You know there are only a few essentials of the faith. The rest is religion. But the only essentials are still ESSENTIAL

  30. Erik – I’ve seen Benny Hinn’s power — but it is diabolical. He becomes possessed and his voice changes and as he has said, when ‘it’ comes upon him his children are terrified of him. You had an experience — of that, I’m sure. He throws ‘it’ like a baseball and then after the show lives a life of perversion and sin privately.

  31. Brian @27

    We must always remember that when Jesus was at the pool of Siloam He chose to only heal one person, even though everyone there desired to be healed.

    Only one lame man got up and walked away fully and completely healed.

    Once again the sovereignty of God came into play there.

    I was at Benny Hinn’s service right next to a man who stood up with his hands outstretched towards heaven as, what he described to me, intense heat pulsated through his chest while he was being completely healed.

    He had a form of diabetes where he had to eat every hour practically to keep from low blood sugar.

    After having attended this particular service the man was completely headed.

    We may not approve of the man that God chooses to use when He (God) heals that one person in a meeting while others remain unhealed.

    But who are we to question God?

    Benny Hinn heals no one. None of us can do what only God can do.

    It is God who heals.

    And just as at the pool of Siloam, God does not always heal everyone present who desires to be healed.

  32. “After having attended this particular service the man was completely headed.”

    LOL my spell checker got me.

    After having attended this particular service the man was completely healed.

  33. “The Beautiful Side of Evil”

  34. Jonny b

    I guess u could call only healing one of hundreds sovereign.
    -mike

  35. Athanasian Creed

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this:

    That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.
    For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.
    Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.
    The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated.
    The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited.
    The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal.
    And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.
    So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
    And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God.
    So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord.
    And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
    So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.
    The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding.
    So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
    And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.

    He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

    Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood.
    Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead.
    He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living[16] and the dead.
    At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
    This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

  36. @30 Miss ODM

    Below is Pakistanian Christian minister. He is a low key dude, He preaches the gospel to his own nation. He has a big bounty $$ on his head being in a nation that is 94% Muslim. But ten of thousands of Pakis are getting born again, healed, delivered in a country. He is not flamboyant like Benny. But has a gift of Holy Spirit is on his ministry. Consider the scripture in Acts 5:2. “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people”. Make your own application 🙂

  37. Forgot the link

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-N9XTbcP2A

    Here is Reinhard Bonnke. Who has preached to more people on the earth in the hot climate financially poor Africa.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8pgyTCOB-k

  38. Erik – I could easily have a dueling video clip battle with you — but maybe when and if that becomes a topic of a thread — this one is about heaven & hell and who’s going there.

  39. Miss ODM, Read some of the historical outpourings like the Welsh Revivals, Great Awakenings, Hebrides Revival, Argentinian Revival, Kentucky Revival, Cane Ridge, Skye Revival and so and so on. Under Wesley, Finney, Peter Cartwright, Lonnie Frisbee, Dwight L Moody, Amy Semple McPherson, George Whitfield, All of these revivals and ministers had these types of manifestations in there meetings at different times. Wesley himself noted, that he was disturbed by this new phenomena of the Spirit when it happened in his meetings. That Wesley stopped it all together. Then immediately saw the healings had all ceased. Wesley mind was offended but realized as he wrote in his letters that it revealed his heart. So he went to prayer and confessed to the Lord his quenching the Spirit. Then people started getting healed again. Events like these have been well documented through church history. Its not a Benny Hinn thing. There is no question that some of the people in Hinns meetings fall as to not disappoint the man of God lol. And we have seen when they don’t fall down often they are pushed hard on the head. So im critical of the pushing or courtesy falling stuff, but the real is there too. And ive seen the real and courtesy falling in the same meetings.

  40. Studied all that and more for 30 years Erik. I know who all the players are in this deception. It helps to have the gift of the discerning of spirits, obviously not your gifting.

  41. Moody, Wesley etc are in this deception? That’s your deception not mine 🙂
    Since you claim you have the gift of the discerning of spirits. How does it work? Do u get it by studying for 30 years? If its a gift of the Spirit, is it a feeling, good pimples, audible voice, ? Do you see things? Since you have this amazing gift, how does it work so that we might all learn.

  42. Me thinketh Miss ODM quencheth the Spirit!

  43. I could not validate these experiences or teachers from a biblical basis or from personal experience in my time spent in the Pentecostal church.

  44. The salvation thing always bothered me, I watched this hack of a movie about the end times called the seventh sign where a Jewish kid was talking about end times with a pastor and he said “What if nobody is saved?” There is a part of me that thinks like that towards God sort of like holding a spider over the flame lowering it in and then raising it up watching the poor creature struggle to avoid a sure death. Then cutting the line and watching the spider falling into the flames only to do that over and over and over again for all eternity. I know that is not true but there is a part of me that sometimes thinks like that.

  45. “What if nobody is saved?”

    Good quote brian.

    It seems to me there is a natural built in knowledge about he need to cooperate, and live together in peace and yet evil intentions never stop their domination. The gate keepers of who is in and who is out and the debate of who these people or ideologies are also never ends.

    The text of Christianity is not about promising how one gets into “heaven” or who gets cast into “hell.” It is about who wants to live in God’s created world and live in His design. The whole book promises a restoration of the fallen and chaotic into new world, a place for those who want to live in it.

    Men were never designed to live with God and in the Heavens, they are created to walk with Him in His Garden. Arrogantly we want to be the owners of heaven and not the stewards of what He has created us with.

    So who are the “gate keepers?” The text says they aren’t humans.

  46. Regarding #40. Has spiritualized a work of flesh for a work of the Spirit. Calling it a gift of the discerning of spirits, when its reality its a gift criticism, a counterfit gift.

  47. The post Erik lists and the many who are like this man, Hinn…, take advantage of the poor and those in need. But, so do many of the world’s major denominations over the centuries.

    Just look at the reasoning behind Martin Luther and his thesis, was it to tear down the faith of people in God and our Lord Jesus or was it pointed at something else?

    While I don’t know this man in the video I do know Hinn and many others like him and they rob and steal from those in need.

    Doesn’t take too much “spiritual” discernment, even the worldly see such things.

  48. Regardless of what a person believes about Hinn (I definitely have my concerns), many that attend his meetings are attending in faith in expectation of God. I ask this: Can God still work and heal someone, even through a man that might not be right with God? Answer: Yes. Because God cares about the people…

    For the record, I have always been very skeptical of Hinn. But, I also think that many (and I’ve seen this done countless times on this forum over the years) also link every healing-related minister/ministry into the same category and dismiss them all as “health, wealth, and prosperity” teachers without really truly examining what they teach. Just because there are those that perhaps are fleecing the flock, doesn’t mean they all are…Many Christians have been taught to FEAR the Spirit and manifestations of the Spirit. If someone is prayed for in faith by someone truly believing that God wants them well and they receive their healing, all too often that gets called into question as being of the devil.

    I have learned and benefited greatly from several teachers that I have seen maligned on this forum over the years – people that are into healing and us being well in every area of our lives and also profess Jesus Christ clearly. I have seen some of them profess the Gospel of Jesus Christ more clearly and with more passion than I’ve seen in most churches, and yet I’ve seen many “religious Christians” attack them as being of the devil because they don’t understand some of where they’re coming from theologically (i.e. with healing etc).

    Oh friends, we need to be very careful, because:

    1) We may not know nearly as much as we think we do. And we could be unknowingly attacking a brother or sister in the Lord because they have received revelation on some subjects that we have not or where we have been taught our whole lives are not of God.

    2) Even if someone is wrong in some theological issues, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t our brother or sister in the Lord. The truth is we ALL have got some things right and some things wrong. When I listen to a teacher, I adopt an attitude of “take the good, discard the bad”. There’s almost always some “bad” (or at least what I THINK is “bad”), but my life philosophy is not to get hung up on that, I just take what the Lord IS clearly speaking that’s good. If all the ODM’s would take a chill pill, I think the Christian world would be a better place IMHO.

    Michael, I applaud this post and also your other recent posts regarding grace and our standing in Jesus. You are right on. I recently ran across these articles on Romans by another oft-maligned teacher (though not usually as much since he’s not “showy” like Hinn is). Again, not that I agree with everything that this man says/has ever said either, but I have found much value and I think you might really enjoy these articles given some of what you’ve written as of late.

    http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/romans
    http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/grace_power

  49. Chris L:

    “Can God still work and heal someone, even through a man that might not be right with God? Answer: Yes. ”

    Non doubt and Jesus warned his disciples about the others who weren’t disciples and yet were doing the same work as them.

    But, and it’s does make us look fat, why would you ever support those who continually speak, write, prophesy and teach utter garbage? I believe God gives people a pass for ignorance, but why would you or I, once we learn what is true, give these false teachers, abusers and others such as them a free pass?

    “The truth is we ALL have got some things right and some things wrong. When I listen to a teacher, I adopt an attitude of “take the good, discard the bad”. There’s almost always some “bad” (or at least what I THINK is “bad”), but my life philosophy is not to get hung up on that, I just take what the Lord IS clearly speaking that’s good. If all the ODM’s would take a chill pill, I think the Christian world would be a better place IMHO.”

    I’m not an ODM, nor do I believe heresy chasing is a viable profession, but I do believe pointing out and telling others to avoid such is important and biblical.

    By your statements I get the idea you would say nothing and let people learn at their own peril. Kind of the ultimate free market system of of faith. How would you teach truth?

  50. Bob @ 49: No, I do believe sometimes pointing out error is in order. You can find such clear admonition in the Word. However, I do think we have to be VERY VERY careful in this. Sometimes what we are attacking as error, might not actually be error but just something we don’t understand. Also, I think we need to be careful that we’re not just nitpicking every little theological difference. People can disagree with us on some theological things and still be our brother and sister in the Lord. There’s a very fine line here and I think we need to be really careful. There’s a fine line to walk between calling out error and extending grace to those that differ on some theological points than we do.

    I’ve actually written a very lengthy article on this subject called “Unity & The Body” a few years back if you’re interested:
    http://www.laughandlift.com/personalarticles/unityandthebody.html
    And the first addendum: “Balance Between Unity & Defending Against Heresy” at
    http://www.laughandlift.com/personalarticles/unityandthebody-a1.html

  51. Chris, I can’t think of a pastor, church, or ministry that hasn’t been exposed by someone. There needs to be a fine line walked as there is stuff that needs exposing.

    Let me ask you. Has Benny Hinn produced a verifiable miracle that passed the examination of a doctor? I understand God can work however and whenever he pleases so I would think one of these healings would have been documented.

  52. Erunner, I’m not defending Benny… If there ever was someone I’d be willing to speak out against, he’s pretty much at the top of the list. But that doesn’t mean that God couldn’t work through him. My point is that he holds crusades where lots of people go looking for healing and miracles. Some have claimed to be touched and receive healings there, including Erik in post 19. I’ve got some good friends that I very much respect that have been there and were personally touched. How many have been “verified” as medically documented, I don’t know. My guess is not many, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there haven’t been plenty of healings. God meets people where they are at and even if the messenger is wrong or flawed, faith is a powerful force and I have no problem envisioning people being healed as they exercise their faith. We give too much credit to the man at the front…

    Let me say it this way: A person with wrong motivations (i.e. they just want to fleece the flock) gives an invitation for people to come to Jesus to receive forgiveness of their sins. People respond in faith and receive Jesus. The messenger may be flawed, but their being born again was a faith interaction between them and God. God looks on the peoples’ hearts and meets them where they are at. Is it possible that a similar thing happens in some of these crusades – where even if the leader up front may be doing things for wrong reasons or even with some wrong theology – that between some people and God as people exercise their faith – that various manifestations take place – be that healing or whatever? I don’t want to turn this into a healing debate as that’s a huge can of worms, but when you look at many of the healings Jesus performed, you find him mentioning the faith of the individual a whole lot – there is clearly an interaction. Is it possible that someone like Benny, even if perhaps saying some wrong things or being extremely showy, or whatever, can be providing an environment (i.e. miracle crusades) where some people are coming in faith expectation expecting a miracle – and they get it? I think it is – but people make a mistake in assuming that means that God is validating the messenger. God cares about the people…

    In fact, I’ll bet there’s been plenty of people that – gasp – have gotten born again through Benny’s ministry. Now there’s a thought that might make some blow their gasket! Again, that doesn’t mean God’s validating Benny. Salvation is a heart issue between each person and God – but I can easily believe someone in ignorance going to a crusade and hearing at least the basics of the Gospel (Benny does use many of the “right words”) and exercising faith and possibly getting born again. It’s not inconceivable to me at all.

    We need to realize that God can work through lots of things and lots of people. People make the same mistake when talking about TBN. They think that just because there might be some wrong teaching and showy nonsense, that it’s all terrible and God can’t possibly work through it. Not true. There’s plenty of good stuff too – and God can use it to meet people where they are at.

    And I’ll just throw this out to further stir the pot. I know many people have strong opinions on Joel Osteen. I myself have a number of misgivings. But you know what? More than once God has spoken to me through him. The man’s basically got one message IMHO – but there are times when at least part of that message can be really encouraging to hear – he’s not completely wrong in what he says, even if he may not be that “balanced” (as I said, in my experience, he’s basically got one message that he just preaches in various flavors). I have been really discouraged before and God has used Joel Osteen to really encourage me and flood me with hope. That gets some peoples’ religious panties in a twist, but I’ll take what God wants to speak to me through whatever messenger he wants.

    This whole notion where we just throw everything out and completely say that God can’t ever have possibly worked through person A or organization B or church C or whatever, is a mistake. As you mentioned and I agree, there is a fine line with all this stuff. And yes, I agree that pretty much every church/pastor/organization has other people (i.e. such as some ODM’s) that have various issues with them. That’s part of the problem. People get way too narrow and uptight about some of this stuff. I’m not afraid to call error out, but my default position is just to commit people to God and let the Holy Spirit be people’s teacher and correcter just as He is mine. In my early years as a Christian, I was much more gung-ho and opinionated about others and their supposed errors. My default position these days is Romans 14:4 / 14:10.

  53. Thanks Chris. I don’t doubt people have been saved through TBN or healed at a Benny Hinn crusade. I was simply curious if one of those healings were documented as Hinn is such an obvious fraud. I didn’t see you as defending him either. Thanks again.

  54. Or, folks could do the biblical thing and go to the elders of their own church, be prayed for and anointed with oil – I find Del Monte the oil of choice.

  55. I was medically diagnosed with severe hypoglycemia when I was a child and had it all the way until the summer of 1992. When I was at Melodyland I Anaheim Calif attending a Charismatic Conference. And on one of the days there was a guest speaker Benny Hinn who was an unknown back then. If you need a verifiable healing you got right here. And David Sloane posts on here can verify the healing with the before and after. But what was also astonishing to me. It was either that night or the next night. With my naked eye. When Hinn was on stage, during the peak of the service, when everyone sings and waits on the Lord during song. Out of nowhere a white cloud ring “appeared about 1.5′ in diameter hovering over him. It looked kind of like those halo’s when you look at those old paintings, but the ring part was whispy like cloud or smoke, so it wasn’t solid light or gold. Out of this ring or portal almost it seems. Came downward gusts of wind mixed with this smokey or cloudy like substance. It kind of shocked me for a sec as this was not ordinary or some parlor trick. I knew in my heart and mind, the Holy was moving in the room now. So I closed my eyes with hands outstretched and shortly after this amazing experience as I described earlier happened. Glory be to God. And its been over 23 years and my healing has been permanent.

  56. Erik,
    I do not doubt your experience for one moment. What I would ask is what made that a Christian experience? What made that a Jesus moment?

    Miss ODM brought it up yesterday – “The Beautiful Side of Evil” – the exact same experience under a ‘different’ spirit.

  57. Praising God with you Erik for His healing in your life! 🙂

    MLD, you are right on – that is what we’re to do. As someone who’s been in a bunch of churches and had various physical issues, can I just say though that many churches don’t have elders that do this or they even have pastors that seem uncomfortable with the whole notion. Or if they do pray, they don’t pray as the Scripture says “in faith”. It can actually be rather frustrating when you’re the sick one to find people to agree with you in faith for your healing. At least that’s been my experience.

    E, Absolutely – it would be interesting to see any documented Hinn healings. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were any, but even if their were, I think it’s not best to use such either way to either validate or invalidate him for the reasons specified. I will say this, I listen to some teachings from a guy named Andrew Wommack – he believes in some of the same stuff as Hinn but is a completely different type of guy – but he’s got several DVD’s full of fascinating testimonies that are actually really interesting & encouraging. He’s also got them all, along with all of his teaching avail online for free (he is definitely NOT out to fleece the flock). Many of them show the doctors reports, etc. I found many of them interesting anyway. They’re at http://www.awmi.net/extra/healing

  58. MLD, I’ll take the liberty and answer for Erik. For me, if we’re talking about someone being seriously sick or well, I’m going to say the devil wants them seriously sick and not well with a testimony that makes God look good as a healer…If your/Miss ODM’s argument is that the devil healed Erik to try to lead people astray, I find that an astounding position – a major stretch. It’s much easier for me to believe that God brought Erik healing. Although I do find Erik’s account interesting, I have been in environments where the Spirit has clearly corporately moved and the supernatural occurred, and I don’t have any problem believing such a thing, even if I personally might take issue with some of Hinn’s tactics, etc.

  59. “but he’s got several DVD’s full of fascinating testimonies that are actually really interesting & encouraging.”

    What would the testimonies be? .. “This guy Andrew Womack healed me, but you must be a schmuck if he did not heal you.”

  60. Chris – I have no problem seeing the devil wanting people following experiences. Later, when the experiences fail, so does someone’s faith.

    What happened in John 6 when the food supply dried up and all that was left was Jesus? How many who depended on experience stayed? No need to count, I will give the answer – zero.I would say that was a grand victory for the devil … he moved the puppet strings the entire time.

  61. Lets look at the fruit if it be good or evil. My faith, and love for the Father, Son, Holy Spirit soared to such heights that I never knew was possible. It gave me such a hunger for the living Christ. That I would pray 6-12 hours a day alone. Attend church 7days a week. Constantly in prayer, worshipping, sharing Christ, offering my body unto Christ as a holy sacrifice. Fastings beyond 2 weeks, which would have literally killed me, 2nd day alone of fasting would have sent me into a literal coma prior to the Lord healing me. That has been the fruit of my Christian experience.

  62. May I add. Read probably 30-40 chps a day of the new Testament daily. I wen

  63. My wife and I were pondering the question, why would God give real healing miracle power to false profits and teachers? Anyone who reads the scriptures will see it there. Is God in the business of deceiving people?

    The best answer we came to is this; God never deceives people to lead them to destruction, but He does test to demonstrate to each of us what we are truly made of. In the end those who want to be deceived will be deceived. We will choose a false teacher who provides a true miracle over a teacher telling the truth and yet can’t put a band-aid correctly on his children’s scrapes.

    I can’t help but visualize this:

    Abraham watched God destroy a city where his nephew and family were living and yet he still trusted God. Must of been a sad day in his life. Is real faith based on being healed or in trusting I the goodness of God?

  64. Erik

    I guess I don’t get your post about your “fruit?”

    Are those good things or bad things?

  65. Freudian slip:

    Prophets who probably profit.

    🙂

  66. Bob,

    I was doing an analysis of the fruit as a result of my healing at Hinns meeting. I guess I missed something (darn it) bring out the idea. That this kind of fruit was the result of my experience. And of course…it was good fruit, or very good Christian fruit to put it another way 🙂

  67. As I said in my earlier post. Bash Hinn all you want, but I was healed by Christ alone.

  68. Bob, From what i gather. Benny didn’t get into the prosperity gospel when he started out. I think things changed, is when he moved to Fl from Canada, and somewhere he picked up the prosperity message, and started mixing it with his regular messages.

  69. Hezekiah’s story shows us that healing is not always God’s best plan…His perfect will. Not to mention common sense because obviously everyone at some point is not going to be healed and will need a hearse….

    A frequent point I make at funerals is that death is just as unnatural at 45 as it is at 105 when we look at the total theological picture of Scripture. Yet somehow, the healings are usually focused on the pre-Medicare generation.

    Likewise, I have no doubt Satan can heal…lying signs and wonders. Just research Hinduism healings for example…

  70. Erik

    I am telling the truth when say this, I had dinner with Hinn in the early days of his ministry.

    It was 1980 or 81 when he came to our FGBM’s meeting to speak. Including my wife and I there were about 8 of us who enjoyed dinner with Hinn back in the day. At the time his topic was how he survived a small plane crash in FL and the miracle of God saving him.

    To be honest I enjoyed his stories but was hardly impressed with either his ” anointing” or teaching ability. Even over three decades ago his stuff was bazaar and just not biblical. My favorite thing was his telling us that women once had babies out of their sides, “it’s biblical, look it up,” he said.

    I did look it up and what he had done was take a very little knowledge of ancient Hebrew and without understanding made a mountain out of a seed.

    The man has just never been reliable in anything he says or does, correction he has reliably drained many a poor person’s pocket to buy luxuries for himself.

    Yes Jesus heals, but men steal! The scriptures tell readers the highest men in the Temple were robbers and these men knew the text and the ancient Hebrew far better than men like Hinn.

    Bless God for your healing, BTW and thank you for sharing with us!
    But as I said he tells great stories over apple pie and ice cream.

  71. Steve

    Who gives Satan the ability to heal?

  72. Chris, scripture describes the men who lowered the sick man through the roof and Jesus healed him. He attributed the healing to those who brought the sick man. So I would think the faith of the one praying in some instances would be honored by God.

    Back in 1977 or 1978 we went to Melodyland with friends to see John Wesley Fletcher. What I experienced was all new to me. My wife had/has rheumatoid arthritis and went up for prayer. We actually thought she was healed but it turned out not to be. My father went the following month for his emphysema and the same thing happened. We thought he was healed but it turned out not to be real.

    Fletcher taught the same false healing message at those meetings but we didn’t realize it then.

    The most powerful moves of God’s spirit I’ve experienced were when we attended Oden Fong’s church. Oden, Pedro, and Bill led worship and all I can say is something special took place as God’s spirit moved among the people. I don’t know if any healings ever took place during those times but I wouldn’t be surprised if God moved in that manner at other times.

    Bill and Pedro have passed away despite their strong faith.

    These things are in God’s hands. I know too many believers that struggle mightily with their health and yet they still are a testimony to God. That inspires me.

    I have no issue with the reality of divine healing. I have issues with wolves who fleece the flock as they do their schtick leaving a lot of confused and unhealed people in their wake.

  73. MLD @ 59: The attitude you displayed in that post about Andrew is exactly the type of attitude Michael talked about in his post. Had you actually watched those videos, you would discover nothing of the sort. I have seen them – I’m pretty sure every one of them actually. And they are not the slightest bit about Andrew healing anybody. And if you really knew anything about Andrew’s teaching before raising such questions, you would know that he does not see himself as some specially anointed healer – and comes across NOTHING like Hinn. The testimonies are about Jesus healing people. Or do you not believe that Jesus can heal people MLD? And that there might be some testimonies of such healing? And that this can be a good thing that gives glory to God? I’ve always found it fascinating just how many Christians will fight against God being a good God that wants people well and will almost find any excuse they can for why healings must be of the devil, etc.

    I mean, Erik, who I don’t know from anybody, comes here and says he experienced a miraculous healing at a Hinn event and that there’s been tremendous good Christian fruit in his life, and many of you seem to be trying to fall over backwards to find a reason for why that can’t possibly be God – even going so far as to basically accuse Erik of having been subjected to a demon. In other words, attributing Good (healing) As Evil. Now making this attribution of something good really being evil, now THAT’S what really looks like the devil to me…

    To Steve, I would make this case: You are right about the devil being able to do lying signs, however the devil’s M.O. throughout the Bible is portrayed as the one out to steal, kill, destroy, not heal people and have them attribute it to Jesus. By contrast, we never see Jesus making people sick, but rather making them well. Jesus, as the express image of God, healed people. And he specifically made note, on several occasions, that it was the devil that afflicted people. I think anybody with any intellectual honesty looking at the Bible would have to conclude the devil is the one out to hurt us, and God’s the one out to help us and heal us. Personally I think it’s a rather insidious strategy of the devil to get us to question that…

  74. Bob,
    “Who gives Satan the ability to heal?”

    What are you suggesting – that God empowered Satan with a healing gift to deceive people?

    Satan by the nature of who he is can pull off healings or make people think they are healed, without God being the puppet master.

  75. E @ 72: You’ve hit the nail on the head. The reason why most people have an issue with divine healing and actually go out of their way to counter claims of divine healing is because most all of us have seen people and prayed for people that we thought would be healed, and weren’t. It tends to make us very wary of people making claims like that God really wants all people well, etc. It sounds too good to be true and many of us have experiences of people we know where things didn’t work as they seemed to be believing etc. It tends to jade a person a bit. I fully get that. And I’m not even going to attempt to try to really persuade anyone – I think the subject of healing is a large subject with a lot of variables and is a huge can of worms as mentioned that we could all go around on for hours and not really get anywhere.

    But I think we are basically in agreement – I absolutely have a major problem with the wolves doing their “show” – usually padding their bank accounts at the peoples’ expense – portraying themselves as the great one-man “healer show” etc. There’s a lot of nonsense – and like you – I have a big problem with it – that stuff angers me.

  76. this isn’t an answer to Bob’s question to Steve, rather just a ponder on it…
    If Satan’s estimation of himself was that he was ready to duplicate/be like the most high God, he must have had some basis for it – exceptional powers?

    I read in Revelation that he will perform signs and wonders in order to get leaders of nations to follow him to war against God – not trying to get into time sequences – ages – here

    seems to me that Satan is the ultimate example of where pride leads… the ultimate misuse of God-given abilities… and there’s more to be said, of course… not by me, tho

  77. I’m with MLD on this one, Bob. Not sure I understand the idea behind your question but lying signs and wonders sure aren’t divine.

    We do agree Satan can afflict as per Job. And yet, not all physical afflictions are Satanic in this fallen world.

    Seems like Satan could heal if he can afflict….(though that is not the foundation of my argument). All the more if that healing gave something besides the True and Living God the credit and glory (i.e. my Hindu healings example)

  78. MLD

    Read you bible.

    Who sent whom to King Saul?

    Who created men with the ability to rebel against God?

    Who created Satan?

    According to your idea Satan somehow developed on his own the ability to do supernatural creative type of miracles?

    Was all this done or happens in spite of God?

    Is God subject to his creation?

    Why the text say this, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance”

    Why would God allow his creation, Satan, to deceive people?

  79. Steve

    The you agree that God is somehow strapped and bound by His creation? Think Dr. Boyd.

    If God is truly sovereign does not all, the good and the bad, the rain and the famine come as a result of His will and glory?

    To say only those thing we think are good come from God and Satan somehow developed his own supernatural ability to heal and prosper people outside of God is a bit strange.

    Why the does God allow evil to hurt his creation?

  80. The biblical truth is the biblical text is not some clean and neat doctrine, rules or dogma. It is about the faith of men like Abraham who, not knowing about the welfare of his nephew Lot, watch God destroy a city.

    I will bet his heart broke. The text never indicates he ever saw or heard from Lot again.

  81. Bob,
    since you say that evil is God’s will … “as a result of His will and glory?” Then you can bet the farm that tomorrow as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, I will be silent when we come to “… thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

    I will refuse to pray for evil to come from God’s will.

  82. Steve

    Ok just for grins, two men are given the ability to really supernaturally heal people. The first man says it came from God and the healing was a gift to that person who was healed from Him.

    The second equally healed people and yet said they were healed by the spiritual forces of creation channeled through him, the healer.

    Both of these people in reality received healing from whom?

    In whom do the people healed have faith in and why?

    What might those who were healed seek?

    It ain’t clean, because in both instances it was God who gave the supernatural Gift to each man.

  83. MLD the words are “deliver us from evil…”

    I say this, evil is neither a thing nor is it a creation, it is the result of people’s sin and the natural sin of our environment. Evil is an intangible but it’s results can be clearly seen, touched, tasted and smelled all of our senses can experience its results.

    But who gave Adam and Eve the ability to sin and therefore do evil and why?

    The text says it is both his will and glory which are demonstrated or shown. But you don’t get it.

  84. MLD

    BTW it is you who says evil is God’s will. The text states God’s will is for people to not do evil. Paul taught one group God’s will was not to live immoral and another it was to live in justice.

    I said God gave His creation the ability to sin which is or can be evil and it is God’s will that creation has that ability to do either.

    Big difference, but you don’t care in your clean doctrinal world.

    Oh and the prayer also says, “lead us not into temptation…”

    Wow He taught people to pray that!

  85. MLD

    Where does temptation lead us to?

    Why would we pray for God to not lead us to temptation?

    Jesus was led to temptation by the Spirit of God, was he not!

    It was proven and recorded he would not sin. What happens when the rest of us are tempted? Could it be evil happens!

  86. Why would God then given supernatural abilities to Satan and what does it prove or achieve in God’s big picture?

    Someone is truly healed by the power given by God through a false teacher, what does it accomplish for God’s glory? What does it prove about the one healed?

  87. Bob,
    “BTW it is you who says evil is God’s will.”

    Nope, you said it above in your #79 – “If God is truly sovereign does not all, the good and the bad, the rain and the famine come as a result of His will and glory?”

    You can blame God for all of Satan’s evil actions all you want. I don’t buy it. And i am still inclined to believe that all arena type healing services it is the devil at work and NOT Jesus – and that was what we were discussing..

  88. Bob, I am not tracking you (my delay due to a 2 hour blackout here)

    I have not gone done the road of God’s allowance in giving Satan what he can do…in fact I referenced Job earlier which is our clearest reference.

    Maybe our biggest division is you seem to express healing as an absolute good. Since we all die anyway, I don’t see that as true since any healing is just temporary. And God is glorified far more in faithful endurance than removal of the burden in my opinion.

    Was it in Paul’s absolute best good to be healed from his messenger of Satan, the thorn in the flesh. No, in reality not getting healed (and I do join with the majority as seeing Paul expressing some sort of physical ailment) was the absolute best thing that could happen to Paul in that case.

    Without bogging down in eschatology, what could lying signs and wonders include that are directly attributed to Satan? Is the claim that he is just good at parlor tricks…a sleight of hand magician? Or is something truly supernatural taking place? And if the latter, why must (emphasis on must) healings be removed from the possibilities (if not as I said above, you see them as an absolute good at all times for all people no matter who gets the glory)

  89. Bob,

    Going off thread a little:

    ‘”It was proven and recorded he would not sin. What happens when the rest of us are tempted? Could it be evil happens!”

    If it is not in our heart to do, the temptation will fall to nothing.
    God uses temptations to test, to try, and to show us where we need to examine our hearts, then call it what it is, rid ourselves of it — no excuses, then our character is strengthen to be able to stand in a world that is constantly pulling at those strings in our hearts that are not of Him. In essence, temptation is a reality check on what’s in our hearts and what God wants us do in order to clean house—James 1:

    12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

    20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

    21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

    22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

  90. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where he could be tempted by the devil.

    The Holy Spirit didn’t tempt Jesus–for a house divided cannot stand. Nor when the Pharisees accused Jesus of being of the devil when he healed the blind man. Jesus made this quite clear that he could not possible be who they accused Him of being.

    God allows or permit us to be tempted but does not do the tempting. It is the issues of and in our hearts that causes us to give in to temptation. We have no one else to fault except that which we protect, nurture, and falsely justify to partake of so that the inner part of ourselves are vainly, stubbornly, anxiously, pride fully, egotistically or fearfully strive to have in lieu of that which brings us into a pure and honest relationship with Him and others.

    As was already stated, God gave us free will to choose. And Jesus was the example.

  91. Correction: “which brings us into a pure and honest, god-fearing relationship with Him and towards others.”

  92. Good first day of week

    MLD. read it again you missed what I wrote.

    Steve

    I did not say hearings were ultimately good, I write God is the only one who can give the ability to heal to His creation.

    Linda

    I wrote the Holy Spirit led Jesus to temptation.
    The prayer He taught said, “lead us not into temptation …”

    It seems to me many of you think this Satan is the ying to God’s yang. What happened to God’s absolutes?

    We don’t live in some cosmic drama and battle that somehow slipped out of the control of its creator.

    Have a blessed day, it’s the only He has given us.

  93. Steve sorry,

    Healings not hearings. I wrote note I write.

    And where were you and I when the great creatures were created?

    If anyone ever missed it God never really explains to Job why he was put through the ringer.

    Jesus taught whom should be feared and why?

    Basically if one wants perfect peace and faith in God like Abraham somehow it has to sink I that He, and He alone, is the Name above all names! He is the creator and King of All!

  94. Bob

    ‘”I wrote the Holy Spirit led Jesus to temptation.
    The prayer He taught said, “lead us not into temptation …”

    It seems to me many of you think this Satan is the ying to God’s yang. What happened to God’s absolutes?

    We don’t live in some cosmic drama and battle that somehow slipped out of the control of its creator. ”

    Please be so kind to expound upon this as what you shared comes across as though this is what you think I have stated, which is not the case if I understand you correctly. This world currently is under Satan’s dominion and being so, there is much temptation that plays into the mind of hearts of those things that needs to be rebuked and overcome by the Christian. Having the Holy Spirit (God) within us enables us to call the temptation for what it is to be victorious in our lives in doing this. Above and within all of this, God is in control, but He will not force anyone to live a victorious life—we must choose in concert with Him to do this. Regardless, He uses everything, good, bad, and ugly to work our His purpose and perfect plan for that which He wills and that pleases Him.

    Nevertheless, evil does exist and he does go about like a roaring lion———he, along with that which is in the heart of human that drives them to do, due to their own self-will and stiff-necked rebellious and distorted thinking which is set apart from God. Free to obey and free to rebel = Free Will. The Holy Spirit helps us to choose well if we do not buy into or excuse that which is not of Him.

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