Take Up Your Cross !

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http://www.blogtalkradio.com/talkteachtestify/2014/10/23/why-are-watchmen-and-preachers-throwing-in-the-towel-and-leaving-their-post

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American Gospel?

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American Gospel?
By Russ McQueen, 11/2/11

Alan asked me to comment on how preachers of the “American gospel” handle Hebrews 11, and the “Hall of Faith.” I confess this question sparks my passion for the Gospel, but I am afraid the best I can do is a general response.

To start with, I am no preacher, and I don’t speak for preachers. I’m no expert on the American gospel, and I’m certainly no valid critic of how individuals should preach. Most of all, I am not the one who determines whether a person is a Christian or not. Neither do I sit in judgment of anyone else, nor dictate how anyone should pray or read scripture. I am only learning and growing myself, thank God.

However, none of that separates me (or anyone else) from responsibility to observe, study, understand and formulate knowledge and beliefs from which faith emerges. None of these limitations excuse me (or anyone else) from an obligation to learn the scriptures and study doctrines of the faith. So, I do have opinions, and while I am always subject to correction and teaching, I am not afraid to share what I have learned or am in the process of learning and observing. To me, it is a vital part of the learning process.

So, here goes…..What is “The American Gospel”?

In my view, the “American gospel” is “another gospel” which is no gospel at all. It is centered on “me, myself and I”, as opposed to the Biblical Christ, and it holds that the main reason for believing in Christ is that if we do our part, He solves our personal and social problems. The highest benefit of the American gospel is how good it makes me feel. The American gospel emphasizes what I/we supposedly do (and should do) for God, to the relative exclusion of what He has done (and does) for us – except, that is, for the minor things we say He does for us all the time.

The American gospel evangelistic idea is to share “what Christ has done for ME” (such as got me out of a financial jam, repaired my broken relationship, healed my illness, got my kid off drugs, etc.), and insinuate that if you join in, He will very likely pull you out of those same jams as well. Miracles which Jesus performed in the gospel accounts are assumed to be normative – that is, it is assumed that Jesus fed 5,000 and healed the sick to show that is why He came, and to hold those kinds of things out as the promised rewards He will bestow on American gospel believers for “accepting” Him.

The American gospel evangelistic idea is to share “what Christ has done for ME” (such as got me out of a financial jam, repaired my broken relationship, healed my illness, got my kid off drugs, etc.), and insinuate that if you join in, He will very likely pull you out of those same jams as well. Miracles which Jesus performed in the gospel accounts are assumed to be normative – that is, it is assumed that Jesus fed 5,000 and healed the sick to show that is why He came, and to hold those kinds of things out as the promised rewards He will bestow on American gospel believers for “accepting” Him.

In other words, the American gospel focuses on the miracles themselves, rather than on the Savior the miracles were intended to identify and authenticate. American gospel adherents often claim that all kinds of things that happen to them are “miracles,” and you can have YOUR miracle too, if you join up. After all, once one has “accepted” Christ into their hearts, they are entitled to miracles.

This American gospel is often ratcheted up to another level, with “name it and claim it,” “word of faith”, and similar ideas. Instead of Jesus promising to pull us out of jams, we step it up a notch, imagining He will enrich us, multiply our investments, etc. If He fed 5,000, surely that shows he wants to give us stuff. Some preachers use this line of thinking to argue (and manipulate others into believing) that if we invest our money in their “ministry,” then Jesus promises to pay us back many-fold on our “investment.”
When the American gospel has been proclaimed long and relentlessly enough, the real gospel of Christ gets lost in an ocean of self-indulgent, temporal entitlements. Prayer becomes a matter of wish lists, and begins to seem like sitting on the knee of Santa Claus. Worship begins to sound like self-inflation: “Lord I give you all of this”, and “Lord I am all of that…”, but when we stop and really consider many of these kinds of lyrics, they are untrue. We are not ‘all that,” and often our words of adoration and commitment are not what we crack them up to be. The so-called “gospel” begins to seem like a business deal, where we give certain things to God (or at least state our good intentions to do so), and He then, in return, is obligated to give certain things back to us. And we “wait for our miracle.”

If this is what you are referring to, Alan, by the “American gospel,” then I am tracking with you, and I can see why you would ask about Hebrews 13, which highlights Old Testament saints who lived and died without ever seeing the promises of God come to pass in their lifetimes. In fact, these giants of faith were commended by the writer of Hebrews for the fact that they persevered in faith (which, in retrospect turns out to have been faith in Christ) despite receiving NONE of the promises they were holding to. Many of those the writer referred to directly and indirectly libed only long enough to face torture and hideous death at the hands of persecutors.

American Gospel Environment

When we consider how widespread the American gospel has become and how engrained in American evangelicalism it seems to be, we can surmise how it is preached. Some serious razzle dazzle is necessary – one cannot very well preach the American gospel without entertaining the troops and setting the right tone for God to come through with cool blessings. It has to be universal in its appeal – that is, one can’t preach anything that might offend someone and make them feel as though they are not welcome. Above all, there can be no serious preaching of (gulp) doctrines.

We must not challenge anyone’s thinking very much – after all, if people think too much they might begin to ask some basic questions about this American Gospel and start unwinding it. Best not to get TOO serious about the Bible – better to pick out isolated proof texts that seem to support the American gospel without causing very much real study coming into it. Doctrines of the historical, reformed Church? Creeds? Catechisms? Biblical, historical, cultural context? Forget all that – American gospel adherents don’t need that sort of stuff. Besides, deeds before creeds! …that is one of the main battle cries of American gospel proponents.

In fact, it’s best to discourage study and “academics” and that which seems “intellectual” altogether. And it’s important to define study of scripture and church history and doctrines and creeds all as “academic” and “intellectual.” The American gospel works best at a very elementary level. Don’t ask questions like, “Why is the Bible so hard for us to understand if it was easily understood by its original readers?” Or, “Why are printed copies of sermons given in the 19th and early 20th centuries, both heard and understood in their original congregations, almost impossible for today’s Christians to understand?” Instead of these dangerous questions, it’s better to keep Jesus tucked away in “hearts” – in those perfectly “God-shaped holes” where He is safe and won’t cause trouble.

Furthermore, if the American gospel is to be preached, it is extremely important to latch parasitically onto as much of the surrounding culture as possible. Take music, for instance – no way people are going to hang in there for the American gospel if we play organs, or sing from hymnals with a piano, or sing (gasp!) without any instruments, or anything like that. Go easy on the choir thing too – it’s way too old fashioned.

Speaking styles should emulate stand-up comedians or talk show commentators; keep things short, sweet and light. Hit ‘em with sound bites, nothing more. The people want nice lighting, good hand-slapping, up-beat messages, a couple good jokes, a quick exit, music that is not only “good” but better than they can get down the street, and a feeling of well being for just being who they are – so give it to them for goodness sake! If you don’t, they are going to simply go somewhere else, where the American gospel is more fun. The highest value of the American gospel is, after all, fun.
The Real Gospel

The real Gospel of Christ is radically different, and it calls for a radically different approach. Instead of razzle and dazzle, personal stroking and “social transformation,” the Christ of the Biblical Gospel grants pardon for sins and righteousness by imputation, whereby the hopeless sinner stands upright before a mighty and holy God, despite his or her personal depravity and solely on the basis of the undeserved and unearned mercy and election of God. The real Gospel promises ultimate, future completion of the final redemption and restoration of all things, and the return of a triumphant Christ in glory and honor, to save the world and all who belong to Him, changing them from perishable to imperishable and granting them eternal life in His glorious Kingdom. These are the realities and promises that take a distinct back seat where the American gospel is preferred.

Prayer under the real Gospel is quite a bit different than under the American gospel, as a bit of logical thought will easily reveal. So is worship. Preaching, it would seem, has to be different also. For one thing, nothing in the preceding paragraph needs to be repeated when the American gospel is on the menu – in fact, such heavy statements would be a real downer, and would very likely chase visitors away, down the street somewhere, where the American gospel is served up with a perpetual smile. But when the real Gospel is preached, there will very likely be persecution and rejection. The rejection which the real Gospel has always brought about, and the personal charisma and competition that is the earmark of the American gospel, are incompatible.

One major challenge of the real Gospel, of course, is that it is very hard to sell. The American gospel is easy to sell – who wouldn’t want their problems solved? Who wouldn’t want society transformed? Who wouldn’t want a social boost? And the American gospel deal is a bargain! All one has to do is raise a hand when no one is looking, and then attend church once in awhile. Two hours on Sunday morning, once or twice a month, learn a little lingo, make a couple new friends, and bang! It is then possible to say one is “born again” or “saved” or a “Christian.” And perhaps best of all, the American gospel can be dropped with ease, whenever it becomes boring or the crisis of life it seemed to address is past.

But that “real” Gospel – man, it’s hard to sell, and it’s even harder to drop. If someone really wants eternal life, pardon from sins, a new way of life by faith in the Son of God, the Deity who came to save the world, lived a perfectly righteous life as the God-man, died an atoning death for our sins, then rose literally from the dead, ascended bodily to Heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father – these are things that cost more than a couple hours a month and a few bucks once in awhile. They cost everything. To be more precise, they cost JESUS everything! For us, the cost is negligible, even were we to be crucified – for after all, that is what we deserve in the first place.

No, the real Gospel cannot be passed off as easily as the American gospel. No one wants to hear the real one, although the baby in a manger story works ok once a year. The Easter story can work if it is dumbed down enough and the focus placed on, say “new beginnings” (for us, that is) and off of things like a bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If you tell most people the whole story, the real one, you will 99% for sure be branded a religious nut. They may even say you are a danger to the world. Someday, and in some places today, they will torture and/or kill you, like they did to innumerable Christians in the first several centuries of the Church, if you proclaim the real Gospel and the whole story.

American Language vs. Real Gospel Language

So, many hold to the American gospel, because it feels a lot safer and more acceptable than the real Gospel, and because its promises are more immediate. They learn a language that identifies them as American gospel believers, but won’t get them in a lot of trouble. It’s relatively safe for them to say things like, “I go to such-and-such church, where the music is sooo wonderful, and Pastor So-and-so is sooo cool…” or “I used to go to the such-and-such church, but we moved because the pastor had some problems (or we lost our lead guitar player) and well, we couldn’t stay THERE any more…”

At least, that’s a lot easier than saying something like, “I am a disciple and believer in Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the second member of the Holy Trinity, and my eternal Savior.” American gospel adherents probably shouldn’t even teach that kind of testimony, because it could be dangerous if anyone actually started talking like that in public.

Besides, it is impossible to major in radical stuff like that and expect to grow the churches. They would probably be drained instead. It’s far better to stick to “personal testimonies” about what American gospel adherents did to “find” God and what happened to them as a result, not what God did and how He saved them from hell when in their depravity they had no chance whatever of rescuing themselves. Rather than how God intervened in fallen, sinful lives and elected His own for salvation, it is far safer to speak of finding Him by exercising that wonderful “free will” we all supposedly have, by which each depraved and sinful individual supposedly has absolute freedom of goodness to “choose” (“make a decision for”) Christ. In the end, the American gospel is all about us and what we did, far more so than God and what He did.

When it comes to language, the American gospel crowd will – if nobody’s looking – use certain words on themselves that sound just like real Gospel words. For example, if George Barna or someone else does a poll survey, millions of American gospel adherents will quite readily say they are “born again.” Of course, this is a phrase that comes from teachings of Jesus in the Bible, which doesn’t have much to say about, or to do with, an American gospel.
American Pelagianism

The American gospel normally assumes that “salvation” is a combination of a little help from God and a whole lot of work and commitment on our parts. In days in which the real Gospel was prevalent and Biblical doctrine mattered, this was known as the “Pelagian heresy,” and it was soundly condemned. “Lip service legalism” is a common result of this heresy. Under “lip service legalism,” laws and rules are taught as though they must be obeyed; and if they are not obeyed, then the good stuff will stop coming from Jesus. How can we expect Him, after all, to relieve our financial pressures or pay off our credit card debts, or heal a relationship, or protect our kids from drugs, if we don’t obey?

However, none of us actually does obey the law, and in fact, all of us sin daily if not minute by minute. Here is the magic of lip service legalism: If American gospel adherents complain enough about OTHER people’s sins, especially those who are gay, or politically liberal, or who (gasp) don’t believe in God, they give the illusion of being righteous themselves by their own efforts, goodness and piety.

The real Gospel is not like this. It causes those who struggle with their sin to thank God every minute for the gift of His grace, whereby in Christ, their sins are not counted against them. They know their sins stink, and they hate that they keep on sinning, but they have come to understand that the greatest gift of God is His mercy and His grace towards them. Moreover, the eternal and enduring grace of God is the great motivator to better living, and is all the encouragement needed for believers in the real gospel to persevere in God’s amazing grace, always trusting Him completely to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. Real believers in the real Gospel tend to grow in Christ and also to experience progressive victory over sin.

Preachers Can Be Trapped

As for preachers, I fear that many of them – having been caught up in the great frenzy to build “successful” churches – awaken one day to find they are leading the First Church of the American Gospel. Some of them know, excruciatingly, that what is needed is the real Gospel. Talk about a rock and a hard place! If they suddenly begin preaching the real Gospel and giving it top priority and coverage, what is going to happen? Very probably, a mass exodus from their churches will happen. How will they stay afloat? How will they grow enough to “plant” another church? How will they explain their shift in focus to denominational leadership? How will they face their church boards, who really like the American gospel?

Sorely Needed Message

If anyone thinks this has been an unfair or cynical description, I say with confidence that it is neither. My opinion is that this is the most crucial and threatening challenge facing the Church today – far more threatening than sin in the culture, or even sin in the camp. The message we need to carry is the message of the real Gospel, and that message should in no way be restricted to people outside of the Church. Our churches are sorely, severely in need of the real Gospel.

The American gospel is a false idol, whereas the real Gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).

Facts are Facts. (Even If They are Ignored)

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Centers for Disease Control. The CDC, with no religious overlay, attributes 95% of HIV/AIDS cases in adolescent boys and young adult males exclusively to male homosexual sex. Adolescents are defined as “persons in the process of developing from a child into an adult.”

It just seems logical that any person who want children to be healthy and emotionally whole would NOT endorse and encourage any behavior which has been irrevocably proven to cause a great deal of harm to children. But then again we may not be dealing with people who think logically, rationally or have the best interests of children at heart.

For more info check out the link below.

http://www.gcmwatch.com/10502/nalt-christians

Gospel for Sale!!

What did Paul charge for preaching the gospel? NOTHING!

“What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:18

“Have I committed an offense in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?” 2 Corinthians

http://pimppreacher.com/post/86455806645/want-bishop-t-d-jakes-for-your-next-revival-got

FALSE DOCTRINE ALERT!

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“Conform ourselves” ? The Bible says we are conformed to the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit and the word of God (Bible). Catholic doctrine is work based and a false gospel.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says that “we are being transformed into [Christ’s] likeness” and Romans 8:29 states that God “predestined [all believers] to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”

Romans 8:29 – For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Galatians 3:27 – For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 3:18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

John 8:31
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

Philippians 1:6
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

EXPOSING THE MOTHER TERESA MYTH

“The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa.”

A Canadian study conducted by Serge Larivée, Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Carole Sénéchal, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, and Geneviève Chénard, Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/uom-mta022813.php

“Star of David” is an Occult Sign

The so called “star of David” is an occult sign and not a sign of the Jewish people. That star is really the star of Solomon who was involved with idolatry. There is no Biblical or Jewish evidence that traces this ancient occult symbol with king David. There is evidence that the star was used by king Solomon, after he turned to pagan gods and the occult. Jewish Kabbalists who are occultists use the star and they are responsible for its institution as the flag of Israel. That star is not in the bible as a Jewish symbol. It represents anti Christ who will set up his throne in the new temple built by the Jews which is a slap in the face to Jesus the true Messiah and the true sacrifice for sins.

Christians who support this star are supporting anti christ.