Thursday, December 25, 2014

Why Do Cults Shun Christmas?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 10-23-2015

Most Christians (and many non-Christians) celebrate Christmas. There are some Christians who choose to avoid it. Unfortunately, there are also legalistic, judgmental Christians who scorn those of us who choose to celebrate, but this is based on a misunderstanding of Scripture and history (and maybe a prideful desire to feel "better" than others). Some of those people are influenced by atheistic dishonesty and cult propaganda. I've seen cults actually start with a foundation of blatant lies, and then build an "argument" against Christmas with "logic" that is cringe-worthy.


Most Christians and many non-Christians celebrate Christmas. Why do legalists and cultists strive to keep their people away from it?

Some legalistic Christians (as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses) proudly assert that everyone else is wrong and they are right in avoiding Christmas. They assert alleged pagan associations with the holiday, and even torture the text of Jeremiah 10:1-16 to get it to confess that Christmas trees are evil. Except that their use is amazingly out of biblical, historical, and cultural contexts. Consider that Jeremiah was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, and that Christmas trees in homes were not common until even later, so associating those verses with Christmas trees seems to be an act of desperation.

Sometimes people will say, "We were never commanded to celebrate the birth of Jesus!" So? We do many things that we were never commanded to do. Here's a gold nugged I panned up for you: Jesus celebrate Hanukkah. Or, as it was known in his day, the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22-23). Although it was not one of the feasts commanded by God, he went.

Before we ride further down the trail toward cult things, let's stop a moment. "Cult" is a common and useful term, but can bring up images of dancing among torches and waving snakes on a tropical island, or the atheist Jim Jones and Jonestown. Sure, those are cults. But generally, Christians mean that something is a cult when it denies the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, such as the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and so on. Some religious groups have doctrines that are heterodox (such as annihilationism, soul sleep, infant baptism, and others), but those views do not define the groups as cults. But when someone holds to heterodox views, be on the alert and check further for unorthodox or cult beliefs.

Although cults pretend to be the One True Church™, they deny the essentials of the Christian faith. Groups like the Sacred Name, Jehovah's Witnesses, the old Worldwide Church of God (and its splinter groups), and others will rabidly deny the celebrations of Christmas, Easter, birthdays, and many holidays. (It's interesting that the henotheistic Mormons do not seem to forbid celebrating Christmas, but their Jesus is not the real Jesus; their Jesus is a spirit brother of Lucifer.) Be careful — just because someone rejects Christmas does not guarantee that he or she is a cultist, nor is celebrating Christmas a guarantee that someone is not involved in a cult.

Some characteristics of cults include their claim to be the only ones who are right (like I just mentioned), a persecution complex (try to talk reason with some, and they want to draw down on you like it's the gunfight at the O.K. Corral on a spiritual level), and isolation. Isolation helps cult leaders control their people and keeps them from examining the Bible for themselves. (Atheists tend to do the same kind of thing, telling people what Christians and creationists believe and think instead of sending them to Christians and creationists for first-hand information.) No need to think when the Watchtower or the Yahuwshuwa stormtroopers will tell you what to think.

But again, why do cults shun Christmas?

If cults let their members freely mix with Christians, they would be more likely to read the Bible with an open mind and see that the cult's doctrines are not supported. In fact, people might see that their leaders have been lying to them about what Christians really believe and what the Bible actually teaches. Can you imagine a member of one of those outfits joining in and singing such terrible words, or hearing them on the radio?

  • Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate Deity!
  • Mary, did you know...you kissed the face of God?
  • Emmanuel...Wonderful Counselor...Mighty God, Holy One...
  • By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone 
  • Behold, the great Creator makes himself a house of clay
That last one gets the attention of this creationist. For that matter, in church last week we sang "Joy to the World", and did a verse that is often missed: "No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found...", referring back to Genesis 3:17-19 NIV, and forward to Revelation 22:3 NASB. Yes, the Creator became flesh (Phil. 2:6-7, John 1:3, John 1:18, Co. 1.16). That information could be bad for cult coffers when people learn the truth and leave for a Bible-believing church.

As for me, I'm going to celebrate Christmas (as I discussed in "Christmas and Creationists"). It's sure a great time to share the gospel of the Creator becoming a man, his crucifixion, and bodily resurrection from the dead so we can become children of the living God! Cults and God-deniers do not have this great hope, the promise of life!

 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cats, Computers, and God

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

What could the three subjects in the title possibly have in common? Not much, really. But there are two things from the Unusual Analogies Department that you may find interesting. 

Also, just for fun, this is scheduled to publish at 10:11 AM Eastern Time on December 13, 2014. Yup: 10:11, 12-13-14. It won't happen again.


Cats
What do cats, computers, and God have in common? You may be surprised at the answer.
"Going to check my mail now". Basement Cat "using" my wife's computer.
How we got our Basement Cat is a long story. But there was a time that we didn't get along, and I didn't want the beast in the apartment. Now we're quite close. I prefer the names that I put on her instead of her "real" name, but never mind about that now.

Some people dislike cats because of their independent spirit, call them "sneaky", are annoyed because cats are cats and not dogs, or other reasons. When I was much younger, I complained to my mother about our cat and made a stupid accusation like "sneaky" or something. My mother looked at me in amazement and said, "She's an animal!" What neither of us realized then was that I was anthropomorphizing, and irrationally expecting the cat to act in a way that I preferred.


Having watched television shows and read material about animals, I learned that people have to learn about the traits of the animals (cats do show affection, but you have to learn to read their signs), especially when you learn some of the physiology (I like observing what I call the "feline machine"). They have their own stimuli, responses, instincts, and so on. "Domesticated"? I'm not so sure...

Also, I just have to go on about this side note. When you get a pet, you're doing more than just having something to poke at when you're bored. You're taking on a responsibility. Their lives are in our hands, sometimes literally. See that cat in the picture? She lays on her back in a sign of trust, or lets me pet under her chin. Very vulnerable and trusting; I actually get a bit emotional about that trust, which I never want to betray. In addition, God wants us to care for creatures (Proverbs 12:10).

What it comes down to is that if you want a relationship with a cat, you have to learn how to come to it on its own terms and not expect it to conform to your expectations. Same with any other beast.


Computers

Have you ever heard of GIGO? It's an axiom of computer programmers, and many users have learned it: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Computers are exceptionally literal things, and do only what they're told to do. Yes/no, on/off, one/zero. 

Did it stop you from going to a certain site? Check your browser settings, firewall, anti-virus, your typing, maybe someone's bad link, or something else — but that box of electric hardware didn't make a decision to stop you. When we get angry, we may (big word again) anthropomorphize and claim that "it's cheating me", or doing something "on purpose". (I'm suspicioning that some games have things built in to keep you from winning too much too soon, but I reckon I can't prove that.) Artificial intelligence isn't here yet, and there's no reason to pay attention to Stephen Hawking's predictions of doom.

We have to learn to use computers and the programs inside them. They not only do what they're told, but they do not think for themselves (though bad software may cause unexpected results that appear like the computer is making its own malicious choices). Sure, many of us will say things like, "It wants to run a program on its own" (probably something in the registry causing that activity), or, "It doesn't want to connect" (it doesn't want anything, really, so check the software, wires, and so on). We have to learn how to work with computers and, essentially, come to them on their terms. (See what I did there? Computers and cats don't have "terms" to come to them on, but you know what I mean.) Nor can you expect a computer to conform to your expectations.

God

Someone may be upset that I'm "comparing God to cats and computers", but read on, old son, because I'm only showing two things that all three have in common, and not "comparing" them.

I have an online creation science ministry called "The Question Evolution Project" on Facebook and on Google Plus. In these and other places on the Web, I'll have atheists make demands of God, saying things like, "I don't believe he exists. He needs to prove it by doing special signs, or speaking directly to me!" 

First of all, people like that usually find some kind of an excuse to reject every evidence presented, and try to replace God with evolution. In fact, some people had the best evidence in the world for seeing the resurrected Jesus: They saw him with their own eyes, and still doubted (Matthew 28:16-17). My other reaction is, "What makes you so special?" God has already shown that he exists (Romans 1:20-22, Psalm 53:1-4, Proverbs 1:7), Jesus has explained God (John 1.18), and has given us his written Word (2 Peter 1:19) — we can trust and believe the Bible

We cannot make demands of the Creator of the universe to come to us on our terms (Romans 9:20, 1 Peter 5: 5-6). He is the one who makes the rules, and we, the created, must come to him on his terms, not ours. What many people detest is that God does not care about what we call "wisdom". Our position, knowledge, philosophies, wealth — none of those matter (Philippians 3:7-11). We must come to God in humility because we are unable to save ourselves — all of it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), and we cannot require God to conform to our expectations. God requires humility and repentance. It's best to do it now, because you may not have tomorrow (2 Corinthians 6:2). Are you going to spend eternity with God and his people? Are you sure?

One other thing. Christians, especially those in various kinds of ministry, can get caught up in pride. Like the atheists described above, some Christians disregard the authority of Scripture. It's been rightly said that people headed for a fall often have an attitude, "God sure must be glad that he's got me on his side!" Better check yourselves, and quickly! We are to be obedient to God's will, and seeking it (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 3:4, Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 100:3). Personally, I recommend "checkpoints" where we get with mature Christians and leaders. Also, pray. Seek to glorify God, not to show off your good works or your intellectual prowess.


Conclusion


When dealing with cats and critters, we can't expect them to act in a way we want them to. We have to learn what makes them tick and come to them on their terms. 

Computers are literal machines, doing what they're told, and doing what we want them to through their own decision-making processes, which are nonexistent. To have good use out of them, we need to learn how to run the software; computers are not making decisions, so we come to them on their own terms. 

Most importantly, God is our maker. He makes the rules, and we cannot make demands on him. He has mercifully shown us how to come to him on his terms, not our own. We must humbly seek his salvation, forgiveness and will for our lives.


Unimportant Addendum: Right on time.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Charles Darwin is Still Haunting

Have you ever been haunted? I have. Charles Darwin haunts me. Don't get me wrong, I have never seen a ghost (or a flying saucer, for that matter), and reject the idea that they are the spirits of the departed who come a-calling. For information on those specific topics, I refer you to "Are Ghosts Real?", follow-up, "Ghosts, Experience, and the Bible" and "Aliens, Evolution and the Occult".

Like so many other words that are bandied about, "ghost", "spirit" and "haunt" have different meanings based on the context. I am haunted by the ghost of Darwin, and also by versions of his worldview, evolutionism. Everywhere you go, you can't escape the spirit of evolutionism. (There, you have to rely on the context to get a handle on those words.)

I'll be watching at TV documentary about cats, and they drop in that "it evolved this feature", so the spirit of evolution appears. Some entertainment piece, and guess what? Those owlhoots must feel compelled to shove in some "fact" about evolution that has nothing to do with the story. (Naturally, there are science fiction stories that are dedicated entirely to the subject, but some of us can suspend disbelief and watch the show anyway.) Over and over, evolution is assumed to be true and presented as incontrovertible fact, whether on . Of course, evidence against it and disagreements among evolutionary scientists are omitted. The truth of the Creator is simply left out as well.



Evolutionism is a worldview, and treated like a religion with Darwin as a religious figure. Don't believe me? Post a joke about Darwin, or even a quote where he admits flaws in his hypothesis, and the Evo Sith come riding at you like an unholy cavalry charge to protect the object of their adoration. Look around at all of the Darwin and evolution pictures, anti-Christian images (like the Jesus fish symbol with legs, for one), public events (even government sanctioned, but the "separation of church and state does not apply because humanistic religions are favored), textbooks, artwork and so much more — but contrary evidence is censored; "science" must be "protected". Praise to Darwin and his wonderful theory! Darwin's spirit is haunting us everywhere. Bible-believing Christians and creation science ministries are working hard to negate that phantom, despite the further apostasy of Pope Francis.

Worst of all, Darwin's haunting the church, intimidating and deceiving people into compromise. Some of us hold to the authority of Scripture, not the ever-changing whims of man-made science philosophies. Here's an article that covers that church-haunting aspect quite well. It was written a while back, so a couple of references to events and things that are going to happen, have already happened. But that little thing doesn't ruin the rest of it.
On February 12, 1809, in the modest town of Shrewsbury, England, Susannah Darwin gave birth to her now-famous son Charles in their family home called The Mount.

Darwin’s Presence Where He Was Born
That was roughly 200 years ago, yet as you walk through the town of Shrewsbury, you sense Darwin’s influence (his “ghost”) all around. Darwin Street, Darwin Terrace, Darwin House, Darwin Gardens, and the Darwin Shopping Center are just a few of the landmarks that honor and immortalize this man.
To read the rest, go to one of my favorite haunts by clicking on "The Ghost of Darwin".

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Christian Liberty and Judgement

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen


This is going to be an unusual article. Instead of explaining in great detail the nature of Christian liberty, I'll just touch on it and then discuss some decision-making I did. It came about while considering artwork for the fifth annual Question Evolution Day in 2016.

If someone wants to go to church on Saturday, that's fine for them. For that matter, any day is fine. I go on Sunday, which is called the Lord's Day. None of us can look down on another for our choice (Romans 14.5-6, Colossians 2.16). Similarly, if you refuse to celebrate Christmas, Easter or whatever because of your convictions, let that be settled in your own mind, but don't judge those of us who do choose to celebrate certain holidays. 

One item commonly discussed regarding Christian liberty is whether or not we can consume alcohol. Romans 14 is commonly used in discussing that topic. People compare questions raised to Paul about eating meat sacrificed to idols with the consumption of alcohol. To eat that meat, to drink that alcohol — yes, it's fine, but you need to have consideration for the conscience of someone else.

We have Christian liberty...and I'll let you research that matter further yourselves (I'll start you out with this link). Just remember, you have no business judging someone who takes a drink, goes to church on Whateverday, or celebrates a holiday.

It seems that quite a few Christians have been cranking up the judgmental attitudes. This not only shows a great deal of pride on their parts, but ignorance of Scripture. I really don't like being on the receiving end of sanctimonious Christians, possibly because I'm aware of my own failings in that area.

"Is there a point to this, Cowboy Bob?"

Yup. I wanted the artwork for QED to be different and also humorous, even thought I'm over 16 months early for the event. I thought it would be cute to use a "fifth" booze bottle and make a label (I did not spend much time on the one pictured because it's only an illustration for this article). 

There were some logistics difficulties. Wow, was I uninformed! They don't make fifths (1/5 of a US gallon) anymore, that stopped in about 1980. So my humor was outdated. Then, finding a public domain picture of a fifth of alcohol was difficult, though I could get by with clip art like the one above.

More importantly, what about the reactions of Christians? I think my liberty would allow me to use the booze bottle image, but it would backfire; people would be put off, not encouraged. Although I believe I have the liberty, I also have the responsibility to be considerate. "Weaker" Christians? Well, I don't think so. People have lost loved ones because of drunk drivers, or been hurt by alcoholics, or are recovering alcoholics, and so on. Seems like I would be rubbing their noses in it with my Christian cuteness.

Yes, I can insist on my "right" to use a bottle of alcohol as the logo for the Question Evolution Day event. But I would be needlessly provoking and offending brothers and sisters in Christ by doing it. My call is: Drop it. Insisting on my right would just be selfish and possibly be harmful.

Does this make me noble or extra spiritual? Not for a minute. But I'm "at peace" with the decision. Besides, I don't like being hollered at. A "win-win situation", as they say. Hey, I told you this was going to be an unusual article.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Godly Prophesy or Sinister Forces?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article is from a conversation I had with a friend. Unfortunately for me, she asked a question for which I could not give a simple answer. I was disappointed in myself for being unable to give a good response at the time until I realized that it was not really an easy question. It needs some background in several areas, including my own belief system. So, I gave it some thought and did some research, and am going to give what I hope is useful material for her, and for others. I am expanding on what was supposed to be a reply to her question. Which is quite a trick with Basement Cat snoring behind me.

From what I can reconstruct in my memory, she told me that a man she did not know very well began telling her some things about her life that were true, and saying what would happen in her future. In addition, he claimed to be a Christian and that this was a gift of God. (I believe she told me he said he was not a psychic.) So, was this a prophecy?


"The Winged Man (The Fallen Angel)" by Odilon Redon, Public Domain
Being a skeptic at heart, my first impulse was that this guy was being manipulative. Some people are skilled at reading others, and can steer people's emotions so they accept what they are told. There are times when the person on the receiving end is caught up in the moment and does not really notice things that are incorrect or very general, and there are times when people seem to have a keen insight that is difficult to explain. My first impulse when someone seeks to gain from what they are saying is that it should sound an inner alarm bell. Have you ever watched the TV show "The Mentalist"? I used to. The hero is a former "psychic" who could read people and use other tricks, but renounced his ways and even claimed that there are no such things as real psychics. Whether you agree with the character's claim or not, the show did convey ways that people are emotionally manipulated.

"So what about prophets, Cowboy Bob?"

In the Old Testament, prophets were people who were moved by God to speak for him. Pagan religions and cultures had prophets all over the place who claimed to speak for their gods. 1 Samuel 6.1-3 shows that the Philistine prophets spoke accurately (I assume that God worked through them at that time). However, a prophet of Yahweh had to be correct. It was a very serious undertaking to speak for the Creator of the universe who brought the Israelites out of captivity! A prophet's main duty was to speak for God, but there were times when he was led to foretell the future. If he did this and what he said did not come to pass, that was all. Game over (Deuteronomy 18.20-22).

John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament-style prophets, as implied in Matthew 11.13. The Old Covenant was fulfilled, and the New Covenant was instituted through Jesus. When he left, he sent all Christians the Holy Spirit (John 14.17, 2 Timothy 1.14, Ephesians 3.16), so there was no need for those kinds of prophets.

"So what about prophets in the New Testament?"

In the New Testament, God would give utterance to people and they would prophesy (Acts 21.9, 1 Cor. 13.9-10). There are two kinds of prophecy. First, there are occasional prophecies caused when someone is filled with the Spirit. The second kind is more complicated, this involves the "gift of prophecy". Astrologer and "prophet" Jeanne Dixon supposedly had a "gift of prophecy". She also had quite a few things that were wrong. There are others like her. Although we're not under the Old Testament, God would not reduce his standards to have someone claim to be a prophet and have "iffy" accuracy.

Here is where I have to stop and explain a position I have: The "charismatic gifts" of speaking in tongues, healing, prophesy and so on described in the New Testament have ceased because the church has been established. I could be labeled as a "cessationist". (To take this tangent on a tangent, there are some people who will say that if someone is prophesying or speaking in tongues, they are under Satan's influence. Who am I to restrict God? If he wants me to speak in a language that I do not know, or gives me a prophetic utterance, hey, great! But that will not necessarily mean that I have been given that particular gift.) Dr. John MacArthur wrote on the spiritual gifts here, and has a sermon series here. There are others who insist that these gifts have continued through the present time.

I am not interested in having a debate here about whether or not the "sign gifts" have continued to this day. This was to show where I am coming from, but I will refer you to this short article about prophecy in the church today.

God has given us many good things, and Satan counterfeits many of them. To say that someone "speaking in tongues" as a guarantee of God's approval is ridiculous. Cults and occult practices have mimicked this and other things of the spirit (2 Corinthians 11.13-15, 1 Timothy 4.1). A simple way to tell if someone is interested in the truth is to test him and determine what testimony he brings (1 John 4.1-4). This requires good knowledge of the Bible. Does he glorify God (1 Peter 4.12-16)? Is he bringing the truth of the gospel (Galatians 1.8-9)?

Yes, someone may have a special message for you. But it must be measured against the written Word of God (Acts 17.11). Is it harmless? Perhaps. Or it could be an opening into a darker deception. Pray, search the Scriptures, get good counsel and be discerning.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Theistic Evolution: Old Heresy Rebooted

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Evolution is an ancient pagan religion that was plagiarized, tweaked, dressed up and popularized by Charles Darwin. People like to call it "science", but it is the pseudoscience of an anti-God religion. It seems that some religious people wish to appear intelligent in the eyes of the world, so they accept evolutionary thinking, but they need to have some sort of veneer of religion, perhaps a "fire escape". So they tack God's name onto it so they can have the best of both worlds.

Old earth compromisers will add to God's written Word, finding excuses to insert millions or billions of years where it is unjustified (Prov. 30.6, 1 Cor. 4.6). Theistic evolutionists take this even further, but both have a low view of Scripture.

A great deal of modern theology is man-centered, not God-centered. Read the popular religion books, watch the television broadcasts, listen to radio sermons and religious music, and you'll hear about how God wants you to be happy and successful. Let's face it, a great deal of the Reverend Doctor Feelgood's messages are borderline or even outright heresy. Much modern theology accommodates evolution and long-age compromises.


Theistic evolution is form of Pelagianism, a "church" in Portland, OR teaches theistic evolution

Various old earth compromises are rampant, but theistic evolution (TE) goes much further. Like Darwin did for evolution, theistic evolution takes the old Pelagian heresy and makes it presentable to modern audiences. It is man-centered and actually negates the need for the cross of Christ! TE organizations like Biologos strive to remove Adam and original sin, and replace them with evolutionism. Indeed, there are some TE bloggers that are so vicious, they claim to be Christian but actively misrepresent and ridicule biblical creationists, and join in with atheists in their mockery. I guess verses like Ephesians 4.12-15, 1 John 3.10-12, John 13.35 are not in their Bibles. In fact, I have doubts that they are actually Christians (Matthew 7.15-20). Christians are to seek to glorify God, not give precedence to their own pet doctrines or seek their own pleasures .

Note that some people take an old earth or TE view simply because they have not thought the issues through, and are unaware that they are not only ignorant of science against evolution and an old earth, but unaware that they are doing violence to Scripture.

Theistic evolution goes beyond the Pelagian heresy and actually supports atheism.
The secular philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”1 King Solomon, the wisest person in all history said, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’?” (Ecclesiastes 1: 9–10).

This is especially applicable to Church history. There is no new heresy under the sun, and those who aren’t familiar with the battle for truth throughout the past 2000 years are doomed to repeat the same errors that have plagued the church since it began.

Today we Christians find ourselves at an interesting place in Church history. Although Scripture has been with us for 2,000 years (and is sufficient for determining how and when God created), we now have decades of research that supports what the Bible has always said. Today we are blessed with mountains of scientific evidence supporting the biblical record of a recent creation followed by a global flood and all humans originating with Adam and Eve. Despite all of this, aspects of an old heresy relating to the creation account are increasingly infiltrating the Church. This is the falsehood known as Pelagianism.
Please read the rest of this article by clicking on "BioLogos, theistic evolution and the Pelagian heresy: Debating an historical Adam and the destruction of the Gospel". 
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Video — "Evolutionism: The Greatest Deception of All Time"


This is a frustrating video. No, not for me, I think Dr. G. Thomas Sharp has some extremely important things to say that Christians need to heed; it is one of the best "relevance talks" on Genesis that I have ever heard. What is frustrating is that too many Christians want to be mediocre and have nice fuzzy warm feelings with their unbiblical wimpy Jesus picture on their dressers. For people who have the courage to watch this video, they will learn several things: Genesis is foundational to the gospel, Christians have compromised and consider the Bible itself to be insignificant, there is no regard for the authority of Scripture, the battle of origins has never been about science but has always been religious in nature, and more.

I implore you to spend the forty-eight minutes and give serious consideration to what Dr. Sharp says. My guess is that people who do get something out of this talk will not only want to hear it again, but will want to share it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bad Pairings and Sharing the Gospel

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said:
I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.
2 Cor. 6.14-18, HCSB
1 Cor. 6.14 KJV is often used as a warning by Christian parents to their dating-age children. "Unequally yoked" yields quite a few illustrations, especially for people who are familiar with working the land (Deut. 22.10). The version at the top says "mismatched", another version says, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers". Most translations that I have found use "yoked". The caution against dating an unbeliever is very important because the idea of "missionary dating" is a violation of this admonition, and many Christians who married unbelievers have had serious long-term regrets, even to the point of living like unbelievers themselves.

Wikimedia Commons / Bullock yokes / Cgoodwin
However, this passage is not only about marriage. It is about how Christians should be relating to unbelievers in general, and how closely involved we should become. We are not of this world (John 15.19-20, John 17.14), but that does not mean we have to isolate ourselves from unbelievers; I cannot insist that the utility companies are run by Bible-believing Christians, for example. Christians are to be careful with their associations with unbelievers, especially if we may be indicating that we condone their practices. You can do some research on this passage (John Gill's exposition should prove helpful as a starting point), but I need to apply the "mismatched" principle in a bit of a different direction.

Should Christians work with unbelievers toward a common goal? There are many views on this, since it can be a gray area. I believe the main concern is if the common goal is spiritual in nature. Please note that this is not about doctrinal differences regarding nonessentials. I do not even know the views of other Admins at The Question Evolution Project regarding the continuation or cessation of the sign gifts of the Spirit, baptism by sprinkling or immersion, Calvinist or Arminian (I know of one Calvinist, and he does not harass me for not choosing either Calvinism or Arminianism), and so on. Also, I do not think any Admins espouse the baptismal regeneration heresy, which adds a ceremony to grace through faith (I actually pulled several articles from an apologetics group because they had a cultic mentality on this subject). Working toward a common goal of refuting evolution and upholding the authority of Scripture is our most important goal at TQEP.

A bit of a side note, we have "Likes" and commenters who have views that are quite a bit different than mine. Should I run them off? Of course not (unless they blaspheme, mock and so forth).

The following example is supposed to be true. I cannot document what I was told about it, but the illustration applies. Imagine an organization that is set up to show the truth about atheism, that it is an intellectually bankrupt worldview, and how atheist organizations are detrimental to religious freedoms. Sounds good so far. But what if the atheism-refuting organization is populated by liberal Christians, a Moslem and agnostics? They give information that touches on biblical things as well as logical and philosophical refutations of atheism. Personally, I think I would be supporting an organization that promotes views that are unbiblical. Would you support them?

Here is another. A biblical creationist who has a high view of Scripture shares apologetics information from a site that may be good for individual articles, but the organization itself supports the magisterial view of science (that is, giving science supreme authority, and interpreting Scripture according to current science beliefs). In a similar circumstance, biblical "apologists" share material by arch-compromiser Hugh Ross, who actively ridicules creation science, or William Lane Craig, who also ridicules creationists and holds to the dubious theology of Molinism. Should a biblical creationist share such materials from people who are opposed to their views and have a lower regard for Scripture?

A third possibility is when a supposedly biblical creationist Page on Facebook shares information from doubtful sources (such as Moslems, old earthers or Jehovah's Witnesses). When this is pointed out, the response is, "Yes, but they gave a good refutation of evolution". Should they be doing this?

There are sites run by people who claim to be Christian, yet spend their time attacking biblical creationists. Atheists spend their time making comments on those sites, and the supposed Christian agrees with the way the atheists attack the Bible believers. Further, one site owner goes to atheist Pages on Facebook and further denigrates biblical creationists. Would you have doubts that this guy is even a Christian?

For a final example, after I exposed a cult posing as a creationist Page, then another creationist Page came to their defense to attack both me and The Question Evolution Project. That Page has several Admins, but they were united in attacking us (so much for John 13.35). "We are just defending our buds page who is getting ruthlessly attacked for a stupid reason. Secondly, i have nothing to do with this as not all the admins of EFT are involved in this", whoever "i" happens to be (apparently not bothering to read the articles exposing the cultist and legalistic views). Their response is based on emotion, not on a rational defense or support of scriptural principles. Should a biblical creationist Admin continue with a Page that not only supports a cultist, but attacks people who honor Scripture?

This comes down to discernment. Yes, I've been writing a great deal about that lately. Christians need to grow in the Word (2 Peter 3.18, 2 Tim. 2.15), knowing what and why we believe so we can contend for the faith (Jude 1.3, 2 Cor. 10.4-6) in submission to Christ. I personally cannot, and recommend against, using sources that are at odds with your own position, especially since there is a wealth of information from reliable sources. Also, I feel that I would be not only tacitly endorsing compromisers and false religions, but also confusing people by sharing that material.

However, being too rigid in all of this becomes legalistic. Although I do not endorse the Intelligent Design movement because they generally reject biblical creationist principles, some creationists will use their materials to show irreducible complexity and refute naturalistic evolution. My feeling is that such things can be kept to a minimum, and with a caveat along the lines of, "This article contains good information, but we do not endorse the Suchand Soforth organization". In addition, if you share something from a news site with numerous authors, hopefully the people you pass it on to will have the good sense to realize that such a thing is usually self-contained; you're not endorsing the organization.

Do not just take my word for things. Check what I say with the Word of God, think for yourselves (use that brain God gave you), pray — and be discerning. Do all to the glory of God, not for pride's sake or based on emotion.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Cult on Facebook Claiming to be Creationist

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 


This article will be rather heavy on graphics, so I shall use lower resolution images as much as possible. Screenshots are under Fair Use for information and educational purposes. Screenshots are necessary, since the cultist under discussion has been known to change or delete items when caught.

These things are difficult to write. Not only do they take a great deal of time to compile links, Bible verses, screenshots and so forth, but I have to be certain that I am being accurate, doing the right thing and, above all, seeking glory to God, not glory to Bob. Such articles are not fun to write. When it comes to disagreeing on matters of doctrine, a Christian must be very careful and write about the teaching themselves rather than rail against a brother or sister in Christ — especially regarding nonessentials. This is different. I have others, including the pastor, praying about this endeavor. Yes, I'm taking it very seriously.

Exposing false teachings is necessary, even though it can be unpleasant. When someone pretends to be a follower of Christ but is proclaiming outright heresy, hindering the gospel and attacking God's people, they should be named and their works condemned (Gal. 1.9, 1 Tim. 1.20, 2 Tim. 2.17, 2 Tim. 4.14, 1 John 2.19, Eph. 5.11, 2 Cor. 10.4-5).

Elsewhere, I wrote an article calling for discernment among Christians, and not to simply accept the word of someone who claims to be a biblical creationist. Cults will pretend to be creationists and use the matter of origins to snare people into their organization. I urge you to read "Danger for Christians and Creationists" to get background on the cultist Page that I am going to discuss; the main point is to compare what someone says with Scripture (Paul himself was not believed outright, the Bereans checked what he said against the Word of God as mentioned in Acts 17.11).

Small note of explanation: I capitalize "Page" because Facebook does it, and it helps distinguish between one of theirs and, say, a page on the Web.

Although this is primarily about a certain Page on Facebook, the principles involved apply to other circumstances the reader may encounter. The Page is called "Evolution is a Religion of Origins". (Evolution is a religion of origins.) Previously, I was never comfortable with the way they were extremely caustic to evolutionists and even to Christians who did not like their approach, although he does reject evolution. Also, they have a fondness for using the word "Yahuwshuwa" instead of Jesus. I just thought it was an affectation for an alternate version of the name of Jesus, and "Yahuwah" was another name for Yahweh. And he did post occasional good articles from reputable creation science ministries — but that is part of the lure.

Some people have become legalistic about the celebration of Easter and Christmas. Their enthusiasm for telling other Christians not to celebrate was based not only on false information, but a disregard for the Scriptures. On April 19, 2014, I posted "Is Easter a Pagan Holiday, and Should Christians Celebrate It?" I hope you will read it, as it provided links to well-researched, accurate information that Christians needed to know about the history of that holiday, as well as some biblical perspectives on legalism, pride and judgmental attitudes.

Evolution is a Religion of Origins (herein referred to as ERO) made some vicious comments on the Page I administer, The Question Evolution Project (TQEP). They were so rude, I banned that Page from commenting further. The anonymous owner of that Page decided that TQEP, and me personally, were heretics promoting Roman Catholicism, paganism and other heresies, and we should repent and do things their way. On April 20, he posted his reaction:


Click for larger. This is edited, the original screenshot is huge.
Again, Fair Use for education and information.

I have to admit that this caused me some consternation. Several people looked at the post as well as the Page, and realized that I was dealing with a cultist. He kept referring to a site called "World's Last Chance", which is (yet another) cultist claiming to be the only one using God's true name. This one is in the Sacred Name cult. The various strange names that the cult uses have no bearing in reality. Also, he says that I am more interested in "the words of men over the WORD of YAHUWAH". Well, this Yahuwah character is an idol that a cult has created, and he is doing what he decries, taking the words of men in that cult over the real Word of God!

One documented deception was that ERO listed his Website as Eric Hovind's "Creation Today":


Click for larger. Again, Fair Use for education and information.

When confronted, ERO changed it to something very interesting (annotated screenshot, sorry it's a bit difficult to read, I won't use that particular "drop shadow" any longer):


Click for larger. I edited in a screenshot for the location for his URL, which has since been changed.
Again, Fair Use for education and information.

At this point, I decided to write the article about cults deceiving Christians and hoped that people would think for themselves and check bad teachings with Scripture. But no, the truth about them came out. On August 2, 2014, ERO showed conclusive proof of blasphemy and linked to a video:


Click for larger. Again, Fair Use for education and information.

"Do your RESEARCH and seek the TRUTH!" That's what I keep trying to get people to do, as well as search the Scriptures and think for themselves. Some of us challenged him on this post, and he answered with a huge amount of propaganda and abuse. Apparently ERO was unaware of my warning article from April (even though it had been widely circulated on Facebook), because when I posted my link as a comment on the above post, he reacted on August 9 (which I did not see until August 12) and posted a libelous diatribe, where he even used a "meme" that I made, giving credit this time:


Click for larger. This is edited, the original screenshot is too large, again.The emotion-driven rant is similar to atheists that I have seen going haywire.
Again, Fair Use for education and information.

Atheists, compromising Christians, cultists and others have this in common, that they have disdain for the Word of God. They also tend to get abusive when confronted with the truth (though Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses tend to be far more civil). Some may claim that they believe the Bible, but they elevate the opinions of others (including philosophy, science, cult publications &c.) above the authority of the Bible, which is the Christian's foundation. 

Some people say, "Yes, but we get good information about evolution from them!" Is it worth giving them approval and possibly having others deceived?

We can and should pray for their salvation in the true Jesus Christ, show them their errors, and warn others of false teachings and deceptions. This is not the only pretend-Christian cult, but hopefully, you will examine claims and teachings from groups you encounter so you can decide to avoid them or not. I cannot (and will not) tell people that they cannot go to Pages such as "Evolution is a Religion of Origins". I can warn you and urge you to spend your time elsewhere. In the end, it's up to God and you. I pray for the readers of this article, that you will have wisdom and discernment.

Addendum: ERO became hysterical. He reposted the same libelous rant several times with different pictures: First, second, third, fourth.  
LOL this guy is spreading his own word and telling his sheeple to stay clear of this page. I doubt many of them will come here and confront me on this page with any credible evidence by reputable scholars. He has sucked them in with creationism and then his own biased brainwashed ignorant opinion/interpretation becomes their gospel.
There were refutations given, including a link to Dr. Brown (also used in this article). He replied with more of his cult propaganda and ignored them. The remark about "all reputable scholars" is ridiculous, hence no substantiation was offered. A problem we have with atheists, evolutionists, liberal "Christians" and cultists (such as ERO's "Sacred Name") is that they are demonically influenced, as is demonstrated by this guy. But that is an article for another time.

Addendum 2: Another creationist Page that lacks credibility, veracity and discernment actually came to the aid of the cultist

Addendum 3 (should be the last one): I followed a "conversation" with this cultist and someone who wanted a simple answer to whether or not the Page owner believes in the Trinity. After obfuscation and abuse by ERO, the conversation was deleted. But not before I got a screenshot of it. Here is a very pertinent point:

Click for larger. The name of the questioner is blurred. The original screenshot is too large, again.
As before, Fair Use for education and information.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Who Do You Follow, and Why?

— Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

This is a partial rant, and may seem disjointed at first. But stay with me, things will fall into place.

I've been having a rough time lately (cue sad song on world's smallest violin). Although my previous two articles here met with mostly favorable responses ("Hell, Creation and Side Issues" and "Side Issues Part 2 — Information and Discernment"), some antagonistic responses bothered me. Two annihilationists were going after me regarding what I said, dismissing the main points of the articles and inadvertently proving me right: People elevate a pet side issue to primary importance, and will act in a very unchristian manner (including fallacious thinking and ad hominem attacks) to promote it. I took exception to this treatment, and one of the people said:
"...Play the ball and not the man. From my website - I encourage you to check out the video message on the fundamentals of mental and emotional health because you're doing sick-thinking by taking offense here rather than correction (or accepting the possibility that you could be wrong on the traditional view of hell)."
He promptly went to an ad hominem attack, all the way to judging me further and thinking he was qualified to diagnose my mental health — based on how I did not like his actions and attitude. (Oh, and a self-serving plug for his site, which I assume that he considers a repository of wisdom.) Yet he "threw me a bone" with a condescending remark that my creation work is good, but...

People like this misuse Scripture (such as Romans 16.17-18, which is about heresies and heterodox ideas being brought into the church). For that matter, one went as far as to imply that we cannot trust our Bible translations because they do not support the annihilationist view! That is cultic thinking, such as when Mormons say that we can trust the Bible as far as it is translate correctly, or other cults who say that the Trinity is unbiblical and was added to the Bible. It is rather frustrating that I was castigated by prideful Christians, and I was emphasizing that we should examine teachings in light of the Word of God. Who are they following?

Another bothersome thing was that someone I have admired turns out to have some heretical views about important things and acted in a very childish manner after losing a debate. I am undecided about whether or not I can continue to associate with him. He has followers. The guy that won the debate? I have disagreements with some points of his theology, but have a high degree of respect for him and my disagreements are on nonessentials. No, I'm not naming names. Yet.

Don't go yet, I'm still laying things out.


Pixabay / Hans
Now a bit of a repeat something regarding what I have called "bandwagon convictions". Too many people "think" with their emotions and believe something because it is growing in popularity. Sometimes they will accept the utterances of celebrities, whether they are in the entertainment industry, Christian teachers and debaters or something else. I believe that many atheists do this as well, being bedazzled by atheist celebrities and accept their alleged wisdom without serious thought. Movie stars pontificate about politics, and sheeple will follow them, influenced by their utterances.

In a similar way, people are influenced by Christian rock stars (literal as well as figurative). Many years ago, I was partially taken in by Kenneth Copeland. He has a good personality, tells interesting stories, makes funny remarks, and there are some things he says that are true. Fortunately, the deception was slowed by the Spirit of God and my skeptical attitude of "Where does it say that in the Bible?". Others are taken in by Joel Osteen's big smile and Rev. Feelgood message, and fall for his heresies. People will follow Joyce Meyer, Matthew Vines, T.D. Jakes, Mark Cahill, Edward Fudge, Beth Moore and others. It may be your local pastor. Or your friends. They may have winsome personalities, give persuasive presentations, use persistence and have other things going for them — until you slow down and examine what they say with good hermeneutics, and then their teachings often fall apart. If you're following them — why?

Many Christians who are interested in philosophy and apologetics like the work of William Lane Craig. He shreds atheist arguments quite handily and has influenced many people. Unfortunately, he holds to an odd belief called Molinism, and his celebrity status may influence people to accept that position. Worse, he disparages biblical creationists. Craig accepts some of the anti-creationist positions of Hugh Ross and has made some reasonable-sounding arguments against a literal reading of the creation account in Genesis. In so doing, he also has made statements that are biblically unsound but seem good to people who follow what he says without further investigation. In fact, some more serious exegesis and argument is in order. I strongly recommend that you read "William Lane Craig vs Creation" for a good understanding of the bad eisegesis that he presents.

Let's make sense of these things. I was pommeled by proud Christians for not accepting their heterodox views. Someone I admire turns out to have heretical beliefs. People are influenced into accepting bad teachings because of who does the presenting and the way they give their sales pitches. There are Christians who will go so far that they will act like angry atheists and attack Christians who uphold the Bible.

All of this comes down to something that I keep saying, that we need to think critically and examine what we are taught in accordance with the Scriptures. It is good to be corrected with sound doctrine. But to be judged by people who call themselves Christians for standing on God's Word can be disheartening. Christians are to be about the business of proclaiming the gospel and presenting reasons for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3.15), not tearing each other down over nonessentials and pride. God is the one I want to please, not them. How about you?