Joseph Herrin (11-09-08)
II Corinthians 11:3-4
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
In this present series of writings we have been looking at the evidence that the church today is receiving a message of “another Jesus” and are embracing “a different gospel”from that which was preached by the apostles and revealed in the pages of Scripture. Satan’s methods have not changed substantially since he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. He is the father of lies and the great deceiver.
Satan has led frontal assaults upon the people of God before, seeking by force and intimidation to get them to deny the God who has chosen them. Such overt coercion and persecution tends to strengthen the church. Those who have no root fall away in a time of persecution, but those whose roots are established in Christ draw more life from the One who is their source. The end result is that spiritual life flourishes in times of persecution.
Satan comes only to kill, steal and destroy. In his wrath, Satan sought to destroy the church while it was still in its infancy. He enraged religious and political leaders to imprison, rob, and even murder the people of God. The result was much like a man who seeks to put out a fire by stomping on the blaze. The result of Satan’s fury was that the burning embers that comprised the body of Christ were scattered, and everywhere they fell they ignited new blazes. In a time of great persecution Christianity spread throughout the entire Roman Empire.
Severe persecution has tended to strengthen the body of Christ. Those who were not pure in their devotion to Christ would fall away leaving behind a core of believers who had counted the cost of following the Son of God, and were willing to pay the cost. These ones who loved Christ more than their own lives burned brightly in their devotion to Yahshua. They made an impact upon people everywhere they went. They appeared as lights in a dark world. They were as salt that retained all of its flavor and potency.
When a particular approach does not bear the desired results, Satan will change his tactics. Our adversary knows the power of deception. He knows that a people who are confused, or unsure of the true doctrines of the gospel of Christ, will be more likely to compromise and even to fall away from the faith in a time of persecution, than those who have been firmly grounded in truth.
Satan has accomplished much through the use of subtlety. He has been adding the leaven of falsehood to the doctrines of the church. Bit by bit he has been eroding the foundation that Christians stand upon. Satan has sought to distort, skew, twist, manipulate, and obscure the knowledge of Christ. He has done the same with the gospel of salvation.
God is viewed by millions of professing Christians today in a distorted manner. He is all love, tolerance, and compassion. His wrath, justice, holiness, and consuming nature are ignored, and even denied. The remolded image of God and His Christ have emboldened multitudes of professing Christians to continue in sin, having no fear of the consequences of doing so. The gospel has been altered to appear as some sales pitch of prosperity on earth and a promise of heaven later. There is little mentioned about Christ having come to destroy the works of the devil, or to set men free from sin.
The new God and His Christ are not feared today. Christians commit far greater trespasses against the Spirit of Christ than Ananias and Sapphira who forfeited their lives for their transgression.
And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.
The church does not fear God today, for He has been recast into an image which provokes no fear. He is no longer seen as a holy judge who requires integrity and righteousness from His children. I am appalled at the absence of the fear of God manifested in the lives of Christians today. I regularly witness Christians speaking and doing things that I would tremble at the thought of doing. My fear of God leads me to seek to be constrained in word and deed knowing that I will have to give an account. Many act and speak with little evidence of any concern that they will also be called to account. I am persuaded that this is due to having embraced an image of a God who does not punish His children; an image of a God who winks at sin and does not discipline His sons and daughters.
There is a purpose behind the deceit of Satan. He is removing all fear of God from the minds of Christians so that when he begins to rage against God and to speak blasphemous things against His Son, multitudes of believers will be cowed before his fierce anger. Having no fear of God they will embrace every lie. Having no fear of God they will suppose it is okay to deny that Christ is the only way to the Father. They will tolerate the suggestion that Yahshua is merely one manifestation of God, and that Allah, Buddha, Confucius, Shiva, etc., also are holy and their worshipers are “people of faith” as much as those who espouse faith in Yahshua the Messiah.
Having gotten the majority of Christians to compromise on the foundational truths and doctrines of the kingdom of God, Satan will then proceed to the next step, which is to set himself up as the only god to be worshiped. He will perform many lying signs and wonders, and will deceive many. He will speak blasphemous things against the God of heaven, and he will persecute the remnant who remain faithful.
And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
People of God, if you would stand firm in that hour, you need to guard against all encroaching deception and error now. A flood of words is being poured out in the earth to reshape opinion and to lead many away from truth. Most Christians do not study the word of God, and they fail to test the things they are hearing every day.
I Thessalonians 5:21-22
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Satan’s plans are much further advanced than most Christians have discerned. The fact that books like The Shack are widely embraced by evangelical Christians today is evidence of a falling away from truth. Yesterday, a sister in Christ sent me a link to an article that details a joint mission between the Roman Catholic Church and leaders of the Muslim religion. I will include it in its entirety as it is very revelatory of the forces at work to bring about a denial of the uniqueness of Christ in His role as the Son of God and the ONLY way to reconciliation with God the Father.
Catholics, Muslims Affirm Shared Mission
Say Religion a Source of Harmony, Not Conflict
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Catholics and Muslims agree that youth must be formed in their own religious traditions and correctly educated about other religions, to give witness to transcendent values in a secular society.
The recently established Catholic-Muslim Forum affirmed this in a joint declaration released today, the result of their first seminar, which began Tuesday. The forum is comprised of 29 members of each religion and was formed by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who sent an open letter to Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders in October 2007.
The theme of the three-day seminar was "Love of God, Love of Neighbor," with a specific focus on two areas: "Theological and Spiritual Foundations" and "Human Dignity and Mutual Respect."
The final statement of the forum reflected many points of similarity between the two creeds as well as resolutions for positive action to build solidarity and peace between the two.
Foundation of love
The forum recognized the specific focus of Christian love: "The source and example of love of God and neighbor is the love of Christ for his Father, for humanity and for each person. God is Love and God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God's love is placed in the human heart through the Holy Spirit. It is God who first loves us thereby enabling us to love him in return."
They continued with a summary of how love for one's neighbor in word and deed follows necessarily from the Christian's love for God. This love imitates Christ's sacrificial love, and includes every human person, even enemies.
Turning to the Muslim perspective on love, the declaration affirmed: "Love is a timeless transcendent power which guides and transforms human mutual regard. This love, as indicated by the holy and beloved Prophet Muhammad, is prior to the human love for the one true God. […] God's loving compassion for humanity is even greater than that of a mother for her child; it therefore exists before and independently of the human response to the One who is 'The Loving,'"
In regard to love of neighbor, the statement added some Muslim beliefs similar to those of Christians: "Those that believe, and do good works, the Merciful shall engender love among them. […] Not one of you has faith until he loves for his neighbor what he loves for himself."
Given these common foundations of love for God and neighbor, participants in the seminar recognized the gift of human life and the need to protect it. They asserted the belief that human dignity is based on each person's creation "by a loving God out of love." Thus every person deserves recognition of "his or her identity and freedom by individuals, communities and governments, supported by civil legislation that assures equal rights and full citizenship."
The declaration acknowledged God's creation of human personas as male and female, and noted the commitment of the forum to ensure "that human dignity and respect are extended on an equal basis to both men and women."
Members of the forum wrote that love of neighbor includes respect for each person's choices regarding religion. They affirmed that religious minorities are to be respected and that sacred figures, symbols and places should not be ridiculed.
They acknowledged: "As Catholic and Muslim believers, we are aware of the summons and imperative to bear witness to the transcendent dimension of life, through a spirituality nourished by prayer, in a world which is becoming more and more secularized and materialistic. […]
"We are convinced that Catholics and Muslims have the duty to provide a sound education in human, civic, religious and moral values for their respective members and to promote accurate information about each other's religions."
A source of peace
Seminar participants recognized that plurality in God's creation is a richness and should not be a source of conflict. They professed the belief that "Catholics and Muslims are called to be instruments of love and harmony among believers, and for humanity as a whole, renouncing any oppression, aggressive violence and terrorism, especially that committed in the name of religion, and upholding the principle of justice for all."
They challenged individuals from any religion to come together to help the needy, and to work toward upstanding financial systems that will consider the needs of the poor and relieve individual or national suffering.
The joint declaration recorded the conviction that young people are the future of the religious communities as well as societies. It asserted the necessity of forming youth, in their own religions as well as in the understanding of other cultures and religions.
The statement closed with a plan to hold a second seminar in two years, in a Muslim-majority country. Benedict XVI received the members of the forum in an audience, and participants ended the seminar by expressing gratitude to God for the fruitful dialogue among them.
[Full text: www.zenit.org/article-24175?l=english]
People of God, what it being done by the Roman Catholic Church is also coming to the protestant churches. Indeed, a similar mentality is already far advanced. Note that one of the core understandings is that youths should be formed “in their own religions.” This will soon lead to an open condemnation of proselytizing, and evangelism of people of other faiths. Already at present there are many “evangelical Christians” who say that people of other faiths, such as Jews, should not be singled out for Christian evangelism. The list of those making such statements is too large to enumerate.
It is evident where things are heading. In this article we see that “a spirituality nourished by prayer” has become the acceptable standard by which to judge a person’s righteousness. There is no mention of there being salvation and forgiveness of sins only through Christ. There is no mention of the need to be born again of the Spirit of Christ. One must simply be a person of faith, any faith, and a person who prays. If one also does kind and charitable works, then so much the better.
This Catholic endorsed mission declares that Mohammed is both “holy and beloved” and that Muslims and Catholics both worship and love “the one true God.” That such a mindset is being widely embraced was evidenced when President George W. Bush told a reporter in England that he believed that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. There was no evangelical outcry over his statement. He has made further heretical statements at the annual Iftaar dinner he has hosted annually for Muslims in the White House. In his speeches given at these dinners he has repeatedly asserted that Christian, Jew and Muslim all share the faith of Abraham and all worship the God of Abraham.
I have declared in writings found at the above links, that the stage is being set for persecution of those who do not show honor for false religions. Any who suggest that their religious beliefs are alone the truth, and there is no other way to God, will be labeled as religious extremists. Their language will be labeled as “the language of hate” and they will be condemned as divisive and placed in the same category as terrorists who kill and maim. Laws will soon be written and adopted world wide which will forbid any to speak negatively of another person’s religious beliefs, or to proselytize members of another religion. Already, many countries have made it a criminal act to speak out against homosexuality. Even reading publicly certain passages of Scripture that condemn homosexuality is a punishable act. Canada and Sweden are among nations that had adopted such laws limiting what people are allowed to say, and these laws will become commonplace soon.
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next...”
Satan is doing a profound work in the lives of Christians today so that when laws making it criminal to proclaim the gospel of Christ are enacted, many believers will judge that it is not worth the trouble to do so. Indeed, the force of public opinion will be enough to silence many from speaking the truth. Many will fear being labeled as haters and religious extremists, and will compromise the truth. They will embrace the things we are seeing at this very hour being espoused by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Many will deem it acceptable to merely be a “spiritual” person who prays. They need not pray to the God of the Bible. Any god will do.
Lift up your head and open your eyes. These things are at the door. What will you do when all the world despises those who declare that Jesus Christ, Yahshua the Messiah, alone is the way to reconciliation with God?
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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