Saturday, February 23, 2008
Our Sovereign Lord's Impeccable Timing
Greetings from the frozen tundra of Eagan, Minnesota! I tell you, I cannot figure out how the native Americans ever survived up here. There aren't enough buffalo skins in the world to keep a person warm in this cold. I guess there was a heap of snuggling going on in the ol' tee pee, if you know what I mean!
I'm stealing a moment to share with you my joy and continued amazement at the boundless grace of our God. Yesterday (2/22) marked the promotion of my uncle, Andrew Stoney, from a world of sin and death to the beatific vision and eternal presence of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. I can say this both confidently and joyfully because God allowed me to witness "Bip"'s conversion.
For years now, it has been a constant part of my prayers that our LORD would save all of my family members. "Bip" (that's what we call him) was in the top three of that group. Let's just say that he was not a faithful churchgoer. Matter of fact, I can only recall being in church with him on one occasion: a Christmas Sunday back when I was about 14 years old (I'm 44 now)! The reason that that occasion stands out is because his reaction to receiving communion was so comical (o.k. it was really disrespectful, but when you're 14 it's funny!) that it has left an indelible mark on my memory. My grandmother's church in Augusta, GA wasn't exactly financially well off. I distinctly remember finding out that they had been using "Thunderbird" for the communion wine. For those of you who don't know what "Thunderbird" is; it's known for being one of the wine's of choice for winos along with "Mad Dog 20/20" and "Boone's Farm" because it's very cheap. Well after drinking his small cup of communion "wine", my uncle "Bip" smacked his lips and let out a deep and loud sigh signaling his satisfaction with the church's fine selection! My dad and I laughed hysterically (we were all "heathens" then)!
After years of pleading with God for "Bip"'s salvation the LORD made it clear to me that He was pleased with my persistence; but He chided me that I had not put any "feet" to my prayers. It was as if He had said, "Your prayers are all real nice and everything; but how about you get off your knees and go share the Gospel with your uncle". So, a couple days later I drove to Augusta and visited him. "Bip" was a bit surprised to see me as it was the middle of the week and I wasn't just seeing him as part of a larger visit to my grandmother. We sat down in his living room and I asked him, "Bip, have you come to the point in your spiritual life that you are certain that if you were to die today that you would go to heaven; or is that something you are still working on"? He kind of looked at me as though he was actually considering this for the first time. I went on, "If you were to die today and stand before God; and He were to ask you, 'Why should I allow you into my heaven' what would you say"?
Bip then listed several of his good qualities and good works that he had done. I explained to him that these were dreadfully insufficient to earn the approval of God and that the only way he would get into heaven was to receive it as a gift. I explained that we can't earn heaven and that we certainly don't deserve heaven. We are both sinners by birth and in deeds and that we are the just recipients of God's holy wrath should He not mercifully withhold that wrath. The problem is: God just can't arbitrarily withhold His wrath. "The wages of sin is death" and that sentence cannot be commuted. I explained that God is loving and merciful, but He is also Holy and just. He simply must punish sin. I told "Bip" that that's exactly where Jesus comes in. Jesus, the infinite God-man, provided the solution to "Bip"'s problem. Jesus, by living a sinless life and perfectly fulfilling God's Holy law, qualified as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of His people. Jesus took sinful man's place and endured the unabated wrath of God on the cross. And I told "Bip" that everyone who places their trust in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ, ALONE, has the promise of God that he will live forever in the bliss of God's presence.
I asked "Bip" if he thought this was good news. He said that it was. I asked him was there any reason that he would not accept this gift of eternal life that very day. For the first time in my life, I saw my uncle cry. He said to me, "I know that God sent you here to me today. I needed to hear this". I told him that I was glad he recognized God's moving in his life, "are you willing to place you trust in Jesus, alone, for salvation"? My uncle "Bip" said, "Yes".
I've only seen "Bip" one additional time since that December afternoon. He died yesterday. But due to our glorious God's impeccable timing, I can rejoice that my uncle "Bip" is reveling in His presence. Thank you, Father!
It was a difference of only two months or so before "Bip" would be facing his creator. He was just two months away from spending eternity in hell. Wrap youy mind around that. On the one hand, we can say that as long as we have breath there is time to come to Jesus. On the other hand, "TODAY is the day of salvation" don't presume upon His grace. My uncle was 65 years old, the bulk of those years were not spent glorifying God. But God is, without a doubt, most merciful. It may be a cliche', but tomorrow is not promised to you. Trust Jesus, alone . . . NOW!
I love you, uncle "Bip" . . . welcome to the family!
Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Off to the Frozen Tundra
Well, I have good news and I have bad news.
The good news is I am upgrading to Captain with my airline, Mesaba! I start this Monday (2/18) and will be training over the next few weeks to fly the Canadair 900 Regional Jet. I'm looking forward to flying to some new cities and at much greater speeds than the ol' Saab 340 I'm used to flying.
The bad news is twofold:(A) I have to go to Minneapolis, MN. for the first portion of my training. The high temperature up there this time of year is like 3 degrees!!! I guess I'll survive, Lord willing. (B) I won't be able to blog for a few weeks. That's the worst part. But I'm sure that after I'm all done there will be plenty fodder for my theological ranting. So please don't bail on me, I shall return. Who knows, if I get a free half-hour or something I may still drop you a line or two!
In the mean time, if you are so inclined, I would truly appreciate your prayers for me that I get through training successfully and pass all of my flight tests. I thank you in advance. Who knows, maybe one day one of you will be on one of my flights!
Take care all, God bless you!
Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
You Might Be in a Cult . . .
What immediately comes to your mind when you hear the word, "cult"? Do you think of people like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson or Rev. Sun Myung Moon? Do you think of things like: "killer kool-aid", "brain-washing", or hooded figures chanting around a pentagram? Do you think of Led Zepplin records played backwards revealing embedded satanic messages? Do you think of blue oysters?
These are just some of the things that come to mind when most people hear the word "cult" mentioned. But it would be a gross error to believe that these are the only flavors in which "cults" come. In my last post, "BooBoo's Daddy" declared that another gentleman was in a cult led by false teacher, Joyce Meyer. He made the key statement that people who are in cults don't realize that they are in cults. Certainly, cults don't use the word "cult" in their literature or on the sign at their front door. "World Changers International Cult", just wouldn't have the same ring to it! One reason why telling our friends and loved-ones that they are involved with a cult is ineffective; is that they only consider the extreme examples(like those listed above)to be actual "cults". In this, they make a huge mistake.
How should we define a "cult"? The Britannica Encyclopedia defines a "cult" in this way:
"Collective veneration or worship (e.g., the cult of the saints—meaning collective veneration of the saints—in Roman Catholicism).
In the West, the term has come to be used for groups that are perceived to have deviated from normative religions in belief and practice. They typically have a charismatic leader and attract followers who are in some way disenfranchised from the mainstream of society. Cults as thus defined are often viewed as foreign or dangerous".
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, in its three most typical uses, defines a "cult" as:
1: formal religious veneration : worship
2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
Dr. Walter Martin, in his classic work "The Kingdom of the Cults", defines a "cult" as "a group of people gathered about a specific person or person's misinterpretation of the Bible".
Throughout the history of this blog, I have endeavored to identify the various misinterpretations of Scripture by the purveyors of that atheology called Word of Faith/Prosperity/Triumphalism. I have also noted the fierce loyalty that these false teachers have engendered among their disciples. So do these facts lead one to the conclusion that the adherents of these teachings are members of a cult?
Let's see, what other clues do we have . . .
(1) they are sheepishly gathered around a charismatic personality.
(2) this charismatic personality's teachings are demonstrably unorthodox, abberant and spurious.
(3) to question or critique the charismatic personality's teachings is considered to be sedition and blasphemy.
(4) said charismatic personality is frequently found to be under(sometimes)armed guard.
(5) a great deal of ecclesiastical power concentrated in the hands of charismatic personality with little or no oversight or accountability.
(6) charismatic personality's image (rather than Jesus, the Bible, etc.)synonymous with the church/cult.
(7) charismatic personality's personal indiscretions, Biblical contradictions and/or arrests have no impact on his continuing leadership or hero status.
I think it was that great philosopher, Goofy, who once said, "if it walks like a duck, it talks like a duck and it looks like a duck; then, by gum, it must be a duck"!
The cults of Jones, Koresh and Manson were undoubtedly the most extreme and immediately dangerous; however, the cults of Dollar, Meyer and Osteen cause no less spiritual damage than the bloodiest cult you can imagine. The sway that these cult-leaders hold over their minions is no less powerful. No, they will probably never lead their people to mass suicide; but why would they when those people keep them in power and rolling in cold, hard, tax-free cash. Martyrdom looks good in the history books; but it won't buy you the latest Bentley! They'd be fools to cut of their own gravy train. Jones, Koresh and Manson were/are stark raving mad (which in a minute way might explain their actions); but for the current charismatic personalities it's just business.
I agree with "BooBoo's Daddy" that there is nothing we can say to convince a "Meyerite" or a "Osteenian" that they have been brainwashed. That is the province of the Holy Spirit alone. Let those of us who have been deprogrammed by the Word of God continue to pray and shout "wolf" from the rooftops!
Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!
You might be in a cult . . . if you believe that the U.S Congress' investigation of your preacher is persecution for righteousness sake!
You might be in a cult . . . if you believe that anyone who questions your preacher's teaching is an agent of satan!
You might be in a cult . . . if your pastor's picture upstages the name of Jesus on church advertisements!
You might be in a cult . . .
Have more? Send them in!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Get Out Before They Suck You Dry
This next post was originally posted over at my friend Melvin Jones' blog,
"Pulpit Pimps". It was so poignant that I simply had to share it with my readers . . .
"Get Out Before They Suck You Dry!!!
Posted by Melvin Jones on February 5th, 2008
( On several occasions readers have written comments [in this case it was to another reader by the name of Bill] that are so on the money [and too long be presented as simply a comment] that I see the necessity of promoting those comments to full-fledged postings.
BooBoo’s Daddy made such a comment. His experience is one of the reasons I maintain the site. Telling you about it, marking the wolves, and making sure you understand that they are out there will perhaps equip you to a) avoid getting sucked into the same thing yourself and b) give you information to use in rescuing those who are trapped inside the WoF/Pimp organizations or c) help you understand that you CAN walk away from these pimps.
These types of postings also help all of you to understand what the effects on the individual can be and thereby encourage you to be more willing to be very patient with individuals as they work through the damage done by the pimps and pimpettes. From my point of view, this spiritual pimping is very much like sexual abuse perpetrated by the predators. It’s very difficult to get over and hey, the abuser blames the victim for the abusive behavior. )
BooBoo’s Dad’s Response to Bill
Bill, you say that Joyce Meyer doesn’t run a cult, otherwise you wouldn’t be in it. Let me say that the people who are in cults think the same way! Nobody likes to think that they have been deceived,. They want to think they are smart enough to know better. I assure you that if Joyce Meyer teaches the prosperity gospel or that Jesus went to hell so you wouldn’t have to (and she does!), then she IS running a cult, and if you are supporting her, then YOU ARE in a cult and you don’t even know it!
What’s more, there is probably nothing anyone here can say to you that will convince you otherwise, and I for one will not attempt to do so. All anyone here can do for you is speak the truth. It’s up to God and you from there. If God can’t take some of what we say here and get it through to you, then you cannot be reached sir.
A few years ago, I supported Joyce Meyer with everything I had. I regarded her as a true, down to earth, sincere, and prosperous role model. I hung on every word that came out of her mouth as if they were the words of God straight to me. I never missed a show, and if I did, I watched her internet broadcasts. When she held her conferences in my area, I went to see her in person. I would do as she said to prove my commitment to God and take vacation days and drive 3 hours to Tulsa to see her preach at the ORU campus and drive 3 hours back home, justifying myself to God by reminding Him of these sacrifices.
Talking about sacrifice, not only did I give up a day’s pay to see her, but it was nothing for me to sacrifice $100 or more into the white buckets they’d pass around as offering plates, knowing all along that I’d have to sacrifice again when I didn’t have that money to pay a bill with! That, in addition to the hundreds of dollars I’d send her through the mail every month! In the typical Word of Faith fashion, I would then go to God in “prayer” and tell Him what He had to do (you [God] MUST keep your word; you MUST provide ‘pressed down, shaken-together’ etc; if I delight myself in you, you MUST give me the desire of my heart, ad nausea!).
Bill, that’s NOT praying! When a WoF preacher “prays” by saying “we bind you Satan, we come against all the powers of darkness, we rebuke all poverty and lack” etc, they are NOT praying to God! They are talking to the devil and speaking as if they were God Himself. It is NOT prayer. But I digress.
I absolutely LOVED Joyce Meyer! But God had other plans for me. I was DEEP into the Word of Faith . It was all I had ever known all my life. My grandmother latched onto the seed faith teachings of Oral Roberts back when it first came out. She taught my mother in the ways of the WoF, and my mother in turn taught us the same way!
I grew up thanking God for being numbered among those who knew the “truth!” Needless to say, I naturally equated the WoF to be the one and only WILL OF GOD, and anyone who believed otherwise was deceived and damned to hell! That being the case, I grew up feeling at one with all the T.V. ministers. I loved them ALL! As a young boy, I read Copeland’s “The Laws of Prosperity” and I was determined to make those laws work … after all they are LAWS and even God must abide by them!
But taking an honest look back over the past 30 years, I had to admit that they never worked for me. I grew up into my 40’s all along thinking there was something wrong with me. I would actually look at a mustard seed in the spice rack and wonder why my faith was so much smaller that that and didn’t work. Then I would get depressed because my faith was so much tinier than that mustard seed that God wouldn’t honor it.
I felt rejected by God. Sometimes that feeling of rejection made me angry at Him and there were times I actually told Him that he was a liar! That He WAS a respecter of persons; that He showed favoritism, and that He didn’t love me, even though I was doing everything I knew to do to keep with “His” teachings as I was taught them!
All that being said, let me say this: there was nothing wrong with my faith, so don’t even try to tell me “oh ye of little faith!” I’ve heard that all my life and now I know better. My faith was fine, but the problem was that my faith was in a LIE! The “god” I was mad at was NOT the God of the Bible! The “god” of the Word of Faith is a demon straight from HELL! I know that now, but therein lies the danger in Word of Faith teachings. The people in that CULT don’t even know who the TRUE God really is, and are damned as a result!
Back to Joyce Meyer. I supported her “ministry” with ALL of my substance, and I thought she was truly God speaking straight to me. But the more I gave to her, the poorer I got (the story of my life)! It wasn’t until I got down to where I was about to LOSE MY HOUSE the Lord began to act on the anguish inside me. I remember back in 2005, watching Joyce on T.V. One day she was talking about how she had brought her parents to St Louis and bought them a house close to her. She said “I was just in the mood to buy houses!” I almost screamed at her “why don’t you buy MINE for me?”
I pleaded with God to speak to her heart to send me a check and prevent the impending disaster facing me. Then I would know that God really heard me and loved me enough to finally do something after 30 years of giving!
But of course Joyce never did do that, and since I thought she was close to God and had his attentive ear, that it must be that God wanted me to suffer all the more! I couldn’t understand it. I had donated to her (God’s?) ministry, I helped her build her headquarters building and all the furnishings in it. According to her plea for funds back then, I was promised that I would “own” one square foot for each $100 I gave towards it (I gave $300, so I “owned” 3 square feet).
Had God forgotten that ????? Now I was in desperate need, had NOBODY to beg from like she did, and I felt God didn’t care. I told Him He was cruel and mean! But I still loved Him because even then, if I had given up on my ONLY hope, then I REALLY had no hope at all. Even then, I felt that my breakthrough might still come, so I’d pick myself up and apologize to God for my ill will towards Him.
Then one day, as I was watching Joyce on T.V. it seemed like literally “scales” fell from my eyes! Near the end of the show, as she was begging for donations, and her announcer came on talking about all her books that we could have for a “gift” of X-dollars, and then talked about “seeing Joyce in person” and hearing “Joyce preach the word as only she can do.�? God Himself spoke to my spirit in that still small voice and told me “this isn’t about God, this is about JOYCE!” “Joyce” this, and “Joyce” that! And all the dollar signs on the T.V. screen seemed to “stick-out” like sore thumbs, and the whole thing smacked of one big long INFOMERCIAL about Joyce Meyer!!
That, my friend, was the beginning of my exodus from the Word of Faith! Each time I saw her show, it got even more disgusting to me … and I stopped giving to her. S L O W L Y, by putting a stop to the hemorrhage of money flowing out of my bank account to these people, I was able to recover somewhat, and I never did lose my house. But it was close. That, my friend was GOD showing me that He really did care about my financial well-being. He didn’t want my money!!!!! And not only did He NOT want my money, I was NOT cursed with a curse if I KEPT it !!!! That is freedom!
About the same time, I just happened to stumble upon this website, Pulpit-Pimps.org, and God has used this site TREMENDOUSLY to teach me the truth about where I had been all my life and that the Lord loved me enough to lead me out of it into the truth!
Unbeknownst to me, my mother, who had raised me in the WoF, had been led out of their heresy about a year before I had! She never told me though. I asked her why, and she said that I would have thought she was backslidden and lost in heresy forever. And she was right. Some other members of my extended family are not convinced, and there is a definite divide - but even that is mentioned in the Bible. That’s why I say that nothing any of us say will EVER convince you of the truth. You will just think that we are deceived and damned to hell. If God doesn’t get through to you, then YOU are not reachable. It’s as simple as that!
I know this is a LONG post, but before I stop there is some more I want to say about the Word of Faith.
The salvation of Jesus Christ is NOT about all the things that the Lord gives to His people! And people who seek the Lord for what He can give them are seeking Him for all the WRONG reasons! A person cannot receive the salvation of Christ unless first he realizes that he is a wretched sinner who deserves HELL, not all of the worldly stuff you WoF people clamor after! It’s not about getting all the STUFF. It’s about giving up their lives for HIM and becoming His slaves. Somehow you Word of Faith people have gotten that all backwards. You think salvation is about getting, and getting more It’s just STUFF, material worldly stuff, it’s CARNAL and ungodly! You think that all your STUFF is proof that you are blessed. There is one thing that is promised for sure to all true followers of Christ and that is PERSECUTION!
You Word of Faithers only think of earthly “blessings”. But God does not promise us the things of this world. Think about it What would it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your own SOUL? Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, all of those hellish creatures on TBN - I can’t even name all of the pulpit pimps on TV (and maybe even your pastor too by the way) all of them have their reward. They have their “Best Life Now” But they can’t take any of it with them where they go
What about later on? The Bible speaks of the rich man and Lazarus. That kind of reminds me of the relationship between all these RICH pastors and their pimped followers. I believe they will suffer the same fate!
God does promise us SPIRITUAL prosperity, but you Word of Faith people only think on things of this world. When people like you give expecting your 100-fold return, you are giving to GET !!!! But the true Jesus tells us to give, expecting NOTHING in return. Do any of you honestly do that? Neither are we supposed to give out of NECESSITY or of COMPULSION … tell THAT to all of the pimp preachers on TV who incessantly compel us to give to their ministries ad nausea! It’s WRONG! If any of them really believed what they “preach” then all they really have to do is give and expect their 100-fold return and leave their audiences ALONE! But they won’t ever do that, because they really don’t believe what they preach either. Otherwise they would practice what they preach. YOU are profitable to them, and they fear that if they don’t ask YOU for it, YOU won’t give it to them. YOU are their cash cow, not GOD.
I am not attacking you, so don’t even go there. I am speaking from a life of experience. As I said, I was all bound up and hog-tied in all that Word of Faith crap for almost 30 YEARS!!! I gave, and I gave. I did all of the right things according to our famous PIMPS! It was nothing for me to fork over almost everything I had … tithes and offerings above and beyond what was expected, because I BELIEVED what the pimps said. I thought that I was doing what GOD wanted, and I suffered the consequences of that for far too long.
Like Joyce Meyer always says “give until it hurts!” — “give SACRIFICIALLY!” My intentions were good. And I had faith. But my faith was in a LIE! I was sincere and honest, but I was sincerely and honestly WRONG. I think that the Lord really knew that, and finally got through to me to just STOP IT! Like, HELL-OOOOO! If this thing still doesn’t work after nearly 30 years, guess what - IT DOESN’T WORK!!
I see myself all over all of you defenders of these people. I was just like ALL of you. And a couple of years ago, I would have been standing right there by your side. That’s why I say that ONLY THE LORD will ever get through to you. Nobody could have EVER gotten through to me so I know that.
I guess you can tell I am just a little bit angry about this lie that is continuously propagated by the deluge of televangelists spewing this prosperity vomit into living rooms across this country and bringing millions to hell with them. But maybe somehow the Lord can use my experience to help lead someone else out of this DELUSION you call faith. It is another gospel, and the “Jesus” you think you worship will someday be crystal clear to you. I just hope that you find out who it really is before it’s too late. REALLY! The Bible is the truth, and it contains the way to the real Jesus. This Word of Faith gospel is pure MADNESS !!!!!"
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God Bless BooBoo's Dad!
Be Like the Bereans Baby!!!