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Archive for the ‘Christian discernment’ Category

This is a guest post from Pastor Shaun Marksbury.  He blogs over at Gospel Living.

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-1

Sometimes, it’s easy to identify the wolves in our midst. Bells and buzzers everywhere should resound if someone next Sunday says, “The gospel message has been wrong for these past two millennia, but I have the real deal.” Thank you, but I think you want the Mormon ward down the street.

Even so, when Jude talks about wolves who have sneaked into the church, doctrine is not the only test he gives. In fact, it is possible for someone to espouse correct theology while being, in fact, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just as wolves may listen to Kenneth Copeland or Joyce Meyer, they also might have the MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series on their shelves. Those will be the harder cases to identify, and Jude helps us with these, as well.

So, here are seven markers of a wolf outside of poor theology. Obviously, we’ll have some overlap here.

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The Private Eye Cloudburst Edition by Brian K. Vaughan

Brian K. Vaughan. The Private Eye.  Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, December 17th, 2015. 300 pp.

Warning: Spoiler alert.  This is a clever story about the issue of freedom, privacy, the government, technology and the internet.  The story takes place in a futuristic Los Angeles after the electronic “cloudburst” in which everyone’s online activity such as internet searches has somehow become public for all to know and see.  The world after “cloudburst” has become hyper-vigilant about privacy, where internet has ceased to exist and people walk around in masks and disguises called “nyms” (etymologically related to “anonymous?”) and people use fake names and nicknames in public.  This alternative world also give rise to the “Private Eye,” which is now an illegal occupation but the black market for them continues to exist since people still want to find out information about others.  It’s in this world that we have our protagonist, a Private Eye who was asked by a client to search up dirt on herself but then was mysteriously murdered.  While reluctant to be involved with the investigation after the client’s death, he is pressured by the client’s sister and also by his paid getaway driver (whom later we find out is just a high school student) but also as the story unfolds because of the parallel to his own mother’s death.  They soon discover that the dead client was involved with something far more complex: a conspiracy to resurrect the internet with the leader being someone who is very powerful and affluent.

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Comics

Since the 2000s we have seen many superheroes move from the panels of comicbooks unto the big screen in Hollywood.  Some of them have become very popular and profitable for the movie industries.  Think of the X-Men, the Avengers and Batman.  With the release of movie trailers in the fall of 2015 Hollywood is promising that more is to come.  A list on IMDB reveals that among the top ten “Most Popular TV Series Released In 2015” at least three of the shows involve superheroes that first originated in the world of comics.  Superheroes are here to stay.

So why should Christians pay attention to this phenomenon?

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Worldview dilemmas blog series veritas domain

Have you ever heard people going back and forth about Comics and Graphic Novels?

One individual calls it a comic (usually the one who doesn’t read it).

The other person who is reading it says it’s not comics but a graphic novel (usually someone who is older than a kid reading it).

The debate moves forward concerning definitions.  Usually there is the comment that comics are for kids while graphic novels are not.

I won’t enter that debate but I mention this to make the observation that a Christian shouldn’t read comics/graphic novels without being aware of its content and practicing Godly discernment.

Just as I have been making the case in this series concerning Christian discernment with movies, much of what I said is applicable here with comics/graphic novels.  I would also say one should also consult a biblical theology of reading as well.

The following are four questions to ask about one’s reading of a Comic/Graphic Novel in light of a Christian worldview:

  1. What does the material says about human nature?  For example, is man all good, bad, etc.  How does the story’s view of man line up with the view of Scripture’s view of man?
  2. Are there any explicit reference to God, religion and theology, and if so what is it’s message?  Sometimes a book can come out direct in talking about spiritual matters.  How does it line up with Scripture?
  3. What does the story tells us about morality and ethics?  Is there relativism, moral confusion being espoused?  Who are the villains, who are the protaganists and what do they believe?
  4. Does the artists have an agenda in telling the story?  Sometimes you will be surprised to learn about the artists and writer’s background and what they believe and how that shapes the story.

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jaesonma

We have written in the past concerning the Charismatic preacher turned Music Artist Jaeson Ma.  Although Jaeson Ma is no longer actively pastoring, he still preaches though it seems that he has been focusing more on his career with entertainment in the Asian and Asian American market than pastoring.

I think one cannot understand Jaeson Ma without understand the root that is driving his theology and specifically of his root with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

On the Elijah List, a website that collects Charistmatic and Third Wave types of “prophecies,” one find that Cindy Jacob’s claim of Jaeson Ma as a “son in the Lord”:

Cindy Jacobs: God Says: “I Want My People to Pray In a New Pentecost that will Sweep the Face of the Earth”
by Cindy Jacobs
Apr 15, 2010

On December 31, 2009, the Holy Spirit spoke through me and said, “I’m going to shake the earth. You will begin to see earthquakes—I am going to shake everything that can be shaken. Look where the earthquakes are hitting because God is going to release a wind of Pentecost in those places.”


Another place of shaking was Los Angeles, California. Jaeson Ma, my son in the Lord…

Accessed here: http://www.elijahlist.com/words/html/textonly-041510-Jacobs.html

Cindy Jacobs is herself a false prophet.  That has been documented by Sandy Simpson and another example of her failed predication can also be seen here.

So in dealing with Jaeson Ma’s theology, one must come to grasp and refute the New Apostolic Reformation.  Check out the following link with many helpful articles HERE.

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Note: This is part of my review of books for my lists of 2012 recommended Christian worldview and apologetics gift books recommendation.

Purchase: Amazon

Excellent book on a Christian worldview when it comes to viewing movies, and probably the best book of its kind. It stresses that Christians must bring the Word of God to bear concerning what they are seeing. The best question that a Christian can ask in evaluating any film is what does it say about the nature of man. Does the movie promote an anthropology that is contrary to that of Scripture or does it confirm it? The author makes the point that even if what it teaches about man is contrary to what our systematic theology tells us about man, yet it still speaks truth–that man would try to supress the truth of God in righteousness. I love how he brings Romans 1 to bear in the topic of evaluating culture, in which film is an artifact of culture. The point he makes about Romans 1 goes beyond just movie watching but an analysis of other aspects and creative outflow of society in general. After an opening chapter on discernment and how to interrogate a movie which lays the ground work for the rest of the book, the author Grant Horner launches into analysis of several kinds of genre of films. If you have ever had an English literature class in which the professor is able to open your eyes and see a book you are reading at a deeper level of things you never noticed previously, you would enjoy experiencing the same epiphanies with this part of the book (it does help that Horner is an English professor at The Master’s College). His chapter on comedy discusses about the Christian view of irony–and how irony is the result of a fallen world in which the world is not the way it ought to be. Prior to this book I never thought about irony in these terms before. Horner does the same kind of analysis with scary movies as well, with a great discussion of how scary movies in light of Romans 1 is our way of managing fear that we can control–and how that helps us cope with our suppression that God is frightening for sinners. Scary movies then is our way out in order to release the valve so to speak. The author also devote a chapter on romance and most interestingly film noir. The author does not take you down a path of smut but was able to point out illustrations of Christian principles as well, and movies with bad ideology that viewers might not readily pick up. His last chapter on man and meaning of life and memory is a fitting end, in which he argues that man is trying to suppress the knowledge of God by also suppressing the memory of that suppression. As I said earlier I believe this is the best book of it’s kind. It’s filled with many observations of movies and also biblical discernment. I thoroughly recommend this book to everyone.

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I’ve been digging through the archives of a Prophetic website.  There’s a guy name Kim Clement who is a “Prophet.”  He made a prophecy about 2005 which can be read here: http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/2969.  Besides bad doctrine, this guy claims to speak from the LORD but his prophecy reveals that he is a false prophet more than anything.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I’ve reproduced it here below:

January 30, 2005- Oklahoma City, OK: August, September, and October are going to be very wonderful in terms of the economy. There’s going to be a huge breakthrough God has planned and set aside.

And this is what the Lord said to me, “Because you have chosen the man that I wanted to be in the White House, and America had a choice, I will cause the next four years to be the greatest and to bring in the greatest harvest that the United States of America has ever seen in its centuries of history. In a four-year period there is going to be the greatest harvest. And I’m not talking about Asia. I’m not talking about Africa. I’m talking about this nation!”Schools, colleges, universities, the legal system, children . . . every one of them are going to be unbelievably revived. That is happening because there is a man in the Oval Office that God chose to watch over this nation. He is the watchman over the United States of America. “I’ve raised up a watchman. I’ve raised up a doorkeeper, a housekeeper. I’ve raised up somebody that’s going to watch over. He’s called the Gatekeeper of America. This man that you put in the White House, whether some of you agree with him or not, shall pray, and there will be four years of the greatest harvest that America has ever seen.”

Atheism Destroyed

Between August, September, and October there is a window open for families in America for atheism to be destroyed, for legalism to be destroyed, and for religion to be destroyed.

Life Span of Man

The age of man — the normal death age — will be 100 years of age, Bob Hope being the example of this.Twins

This will be a generation to bring forth more twins than any other because of the abortions that have taken place. God is putting double in the womb, so we have double trouble for the powers of hell!

Double Portion in 2005

“The earth is Mine. In 2004, the enemy came in and illegally stole in a year that I had purposed for great breakthrough. Now, because he did that to you, your families, your businesses, your homes, your finances, and your ministries, now I am in the position to pay you back with a double portion of what you were supposed to receive that year! So, not only do you have double trouble, but you have a double anointing, a double prosperity. You have a double power. You have double authority. You have a double of everything that was stolen from you — it’s yours this year. “And,” God says, “there is an abundance coming upon this house and upon this people. Rejoice as the prophet prophesies. It’s yours!”

CLAIM 1: Economic Breakthrough in August-October 2011

Kim Clement claims:

August, September, and October are going to be very wonderful in terms of the economy. There’s going to be a huge breakthrough God has planned and set aside.”

There is nothing of a huge breakthrough in terms of the economy in August-October 2005.

Note the GDP growth chart:

(Source; cf. this other source as well)

Would you say there is anything different in the last quarter of 2005 (which September and October fall under)?

If one expect some major economic breakthrough in August, September and October 2005 why do we find that economic reports stating problems in these areas:

* Short-Term Credit Measures (August 2005 SGS);
* Income Variance/Dispersion (September 2005 SGS);
* Consumer Price Index (an original background article and October 2005 SGS); (SOURCE)

CLAIM 2: Greatest harvest in 2005-2009

Kim Clement claims:

And this is what the Lord said to me, “Because you have chosen the man that I wanted to be in the White House, and America had a choice, I will cause the next four years to be the greatest and to bring in the greatest harvest that the United States of America has ever seen in its centuries of history. In a four-year period there is going to be the greatest harvest. And I’m not talking about Asia. I’m not talking about Africa. I’m talking about this nation!”

And,

and there will be four years of the greatest harvest that America has ever seen.

It does not seem that the four period of 2005-2009 would go down in church history as the largest harvests of souls coming to Jesus in light of centuries of Christian history nor of American Christian history.

CLAIM 3: Unbelievable Social institutional Revival

Kim Clement claims:

Schools, colleges, universities, the legal system, children . . . every one of them are going to be unbelievably revived. That is happening because there is a man in the Oval Office that God chose to watch over this nation.

Whatever revival there is with the institution of schools, colleges and the legal system…it was not at an “unbelievable” level.  There is so much that is not true of these institution, they are just as worldly and humanistic today as it was before 2005.

CLAIM 4: Life Span will be at 100

Kim Clement claims:

The age of man — the normal death age — will be 100 years of age, Bob Hope being the example of this. In the past I’ve always thought some people have been too hard on Charistmatics and Pentecostals.  But I’m realizing that in terms of apologetics as Christians we also need to “clean” our own backyard if we are going to give a full defense of the faith and also separate Biblical truth from plain old silliness.  There’s false prophecies being made again and again.  It’s time that these guys get exposed because they do not speak for God.

Did this come true in 2005?  According to the National Census study, the average life expectancy in 2005 was 77.4 years.  In 2004, it was 77.5.  Rather than going up to 100 years, there was instead a decrease in life expectancy!  See the Census data for yourself by clicking HERE.

CONCLUSION

This guy is a false prophet.  If you follow him, now is the time to stop and stick to the Bible and His revelation in the Word of God about Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  Don’t look for subjective feelings and excitement about “prophecies” instead of the truth that has already been revealed from God’s Word.  Study the doctrines of God and it’s implication for living in loving obedience to Him instead of one prophetic hype to the next.

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