Does God Still Speak? – Part 1

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Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

One of the major differences between Cessationists and Continuationists concerns the issue of God speaking to His children. Cessationists believe that the only way that God speaks to His children today is from the pages of the written word of God, the Bible. Therefore Cessationists believe that when anyone declares that “the Lord spoke to them,” they are in error, or deception.

Cessationists believe that dreams, visions, prophetic utterances all ended by the end of the first century church age. As stated in an earlier post, Cessationists believe that these manifestations were only for the purpose of establishing the gospel and ministry of the apostles, but have since passed away.

Because of this, they believe that anyone who professes to give a prophetic word from the Lord, or to have seen a vision, or had a dream from the Lord as being deceived. They believe that all such declarations are purely extra-biblical, and that they have no place in today’s church. For this reason, many Cessationists label many Charismatics as false prophets, or false brethren. On numerous occasions I have heard one particular radio host boldly proclaim various Charismatic ministers to be false teachers, false prophets, or even of the occult.

The Authority of Scripture Alone: It is of the utmost importance to realize that everyone that professes to speak for God today does not. Many Christians are ignorant of the clear teachings of the Bible and as such they tend to imagine that anyone who professes to speak for the Lord is legitimate, no matter how wacky or contrary to Scripture what they say may be.

The Church at Corinth had this same problem and the apostle Paul wrote to them so that they would not be ignorant of the workings and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (NKJV) Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know thatyou were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

Paul told these believers that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God is going to declare something that is clearly contrary to the teachings of Scripture. Therefore, as a Christian you must establish in your understanding that the Bible is your absolute final authority. Anyone who declares that their words are to be received with equal authority of Scripture is in absolute error, and as such, what they claim should be rejected.

No prophetic utterance since the early church is on equal authority with the written word of God. Jesus confronted this during his earthly ministry. The Jewish leaders had come to believe that their authority was to be received on equal footing with God’s written word. They had exalted their oral traditions to equal authority with God’s word and as such were bringing people into bondage to requirements that were not biblical.

Mark 7:13 (NLT) And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

This is one of numerous differences that I have with the teachings of the Catholic and Mormon Churches. The Catholic church teaches that church traditions are on equal authority with the written word of God, and the Mormon church teaches that the words of their prophets are equal to God’s written word. Nothing could be further from the truth in either case.

If God Still Speaks Today, How Does He Do So? We will examine this subject in part two of this post.

Is Your Life a Contradiction?

QUestion

http://www.livingfaithchurchwi.org

There must be a change of behavior in the lives of those who profess to know Christ.

We are clearly living in a postmodern society, where many see truth as purely relative. In the postmodern world truth is subjective to one’s own personal tastes and preferences. In other words, truth is not seen as something that transcends time, or aligns with reality. Truth to the postmodern culture is seen as legitimate if someone simply believes it to be so. In other words, if I believe that something is true that makes it so, and everyone around me should be expected to accept my version of reality.

This should create a sharp conflict between the Christian and the world around them. Unfortunately this is becoming less of the norm than one might expect among many professing Christians in the West. Due to the growing inroads of liberal theology, along with the influence of pop culture, many professing Christians have grown up with a distorted understanding biblical Christianity. What we are witnessing is a mixture of Christianity with popular notions that actually are completely opposed to each other. Yet many who call themselves Christians often see absolutely no contradiction between the teachings of Scripture and their postmodern belief system.

One example of this is the growing number of Christians who now fully embrace the theory of evolution as a legitimate means of the origin of the species. Even many ministers unashamedly proclaim that they see absolutely no conflict between the teachings of Scripture and the theory of evolution. Yet one would clearly have to superimpose evolution upon the teachings of Genesis and other parts of the Bible to come to this conclusion.  This is just one example of the constant attempts by many to bend the truths of Scripture to the whims of the postmodern culture. In more than 25 years in ministry, I have never once witnessed a person who became a stronger follower of Jesus Christ due to the theory of evolution, but I have witnessed numerous individuals who have completely turned their back on God thanks to the teachings of evolution.

A Life of Contradiction: While what I am declaring is certainly not a new problem within the church by any means, it should be something that alarms those who proclaim the name of Christ and declare themselves to be His disciples.

2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV) But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,”and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil (sin).

There must be a distinction between the believer’s lifestyle and that of the world around them. If we profess to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, then His teachings must be our standard for living. Sadly this is not the case with a great deal of people who call themselves Christians. This is because they are Christians in name only. There simply is absolutely no such thing as salvation apart from repentance, yet untold numbers of those who call themselves Christians live a life that has no outward evidence of a transformed heart. This is hypocrisy in its truest form.

1 John 2:4-6 (NLT) And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

There must be a change behavior in the lives of those who profess to know Christ. While God is certainly slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, He will hold people accountable for their sin. This statement flies directly in the face of the postmodern culture that constantly and repeatedly proclaims through music, movies, and numerous other mediums that nearly anything a person does is perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God, and as such should be not only tolerated by society, but actually embraced and applauded. The following passage sums this up.

Titus 1:15-16 (NLT) Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Lenin Russian Communist politician & revolutionary (1870 – 1924)

Who or what determines the truth? This is the fundamental question that a Christian must ask themselves. How do I determine what is the truth? This question actually goes to the very heart of this issue. As a Christian, the teachings of the Bible must be our final answer, with Christ as the foundation. Yet far too many who consider themselves to be Christians do not adhere to the teachings of Scripture as their final authority. They see the Bible as one among many truths, or do not consider it the actual word of God. They proclaim to be Christians yet hold to any number of beliefs and practices that cannot be supported by the teaching of Christ. This is actually no more than a blatant form of idolatry in its most deceptive form. These people have created a god made in their image, who agrees with whatever they want him to agree with. Their god is purely man made, and just as real as any pagan idol that they might readily view as ridiculous superstition.

Bringing it home: I would like to spell out just a few of the most common contradictions that I witness by many who profess to be Christians, yet whose actions completely contradict their profession of faith. I only do this due to the fact that some reading this post might imagine that this applies to someone other than themselves.

Music: While there are many authentic Christians in the music industry, I have often witnessed a musician accept an award and boldly proclaim something along these lines. “I want to thank Jesus for this award, and God Almighty.” Yet by listening to their music, or looking at their performance, there is a complete contradiction in what they are professing and how they are living. Their music is filled with blatant sexual immorality and their performances often resemble a strip club show. Yet society just cheers and sees no problem with this behavior.

Consider the pop singer Beyonce as just one of many prime examples this blatant contradiction. If you have ever seen even a few seconds of her performances (like the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show), you will clearly see that there is blatant inconsistency in her profession of faith and her lifestyle. Just consider the following excerpt from an interview.

“For me it is about the way I carry myself and the way I treat other people. My relationship and how I feel about God and what he does for me is something deeply personal. It’s where I came from. I was brought up in a religious household and that’s very important to me.'”

The article continued, “While her sexy dance routines have been criticized by some, Beyonce is confident God isn’t offended by her ‘shaking her booty’. After meeting Prince Charles in a charity concert in London she denied any contradiction between her raunchy approach and personal faith. She said, ‘I honestly believe he wants people to celebrate their bodies so long as you don’t compromise your Christianity in the process.'”” http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/news/BootyShaking_Believer/27493/p1/

Like many professing Christians, Beyonce sees absolutely no contradiction between her behavior and her faith in Christ.

Over the years I have challenged teens during youth gatherings about the t-shirts they are wearing. Kids from Christian homes who were wearing A/C D/C shirts or of other bands who openly and repeatedly blaspheme the very God that they profess to follow. Can you see the contradiction in this?

Hollywood, Homosexuality & the Heterosexual: Thanks to Hollywood’s constant and insatiable promotion of gay marriage, many professing Christians are now convinced that people are born as homosexuals. While this flies against any number of obvious teachings of the Bible, there are numerous churches that ordain gay clergy members, marry gay couples, and openly celebrate homosexuality as perfectly acceptable in the sight of God.

Along with this consider the untold number of heterosexual professing Christians who are living together outside of marriage, without any guilt or remorse for this openly sinful behavior. Nowhere in Scripture is either of these practices endorsed, yet these folks are taking their cue from society and not from the teachings of the Bible.

Politics: When I consider the voting practices of numerous professing Christians, I am constantly stunned. While it is not always easy to determine the true integrity of various candidates concerning moral issues, we should not excuse the absolute lack of biblical discernment that many proclaimed Christians display when it comes to voting.

I know of numerous Christians who vote for politicians whose political ideologies completely oppose nearly every moral standard that Jesus or any other teaching of Scripture clearly declare. Just take President Barak Obama as a prime example of this obvious contradiction. Here is a man who is by far the most clearly pro-abortion candidate in the history of our nation. A man whose administration has constantly attacked Christians in the military. Who has repeatedly displayed hostility to Christianity as a whole, and while as President has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the biblical definition of marriage by pushing for gay marriage. Yet many professing Christians have voted for him in both terms, and continue to adamantly support him while ignorantly professing that he is a Christian.

I am not attempting to justify the behavior of Republican or other politicians who may also be equally as dishonest or blatantly anti-biblical in their practices. I am simply pointing to the obvious contradiction between what these folks profess to believe and their actions.

In this world of anything goes it is my desire to open your eyes and call for you to wake up from this absolutely deceptive and delusional world we are living in. If you proclaim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ then your life should reflect His teachings. The clear teachings of the Bible should be your final authority, not the whims of a society that is lost in the darkness of sin.

Matthew 12:33 (NLT) “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.   

Obama Moves to Weaponize IRS

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By Matt Barber

In 2010 millions of American tea-party constitutionalists, to include the GOP’s Christian base, united in a remarkable grass-roots effort to rein in our unbridled federal government and return it to its expressly limited constitutional confines. As a result, an unprecedented number of counter-constitutionalist lawmakers (read: liberal Democrats) were swept from office.

The Obama administration wasn’t going to take this lying down. Whether it was by tacit approval or via direct order remains largely immaterial. The president quickly and unlawfully politicized the Internal Revenue Service, using it as a weapon against his political enemies. In an explosive scandal that continues to grow, the Obama IRS was caught – smoking gun in hand – intentionally targeting conservative and Christian organizations and individuals for harassment, intimidation and, ultimately, for political destruction.

Not only has Obama faced zero accountability for these arguably impeachable offenses, he has since doubled down. With jaw-dropping gall, his administration has now moved to officially weaponize the IRS against conservatives once and for all.

Despite the furor over the IRS assault on conservative groups leading up to the 2012 elections, this man – a despotic radical who’s turned our constitutional republic into one of the banana variety – has quietly released a proposed set of new IRS regulations that, if implemented, will immediately, unlawfully and permanently muzzle conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations and their individual employees. (The 501(c)(4) designation refers to the IRS code section under which social welfare organizations are regulated).

The new regulations would unconstitutionally compel a 90-day blackout period during election years in which conservative 501(c)(4) organizations – such as tea-party, pro-life and pro-family groups – would be banned from mentioning the name of any candidate for office, or even the name of any political party.

Here’s the kicker: As you may have guessed, liberal lobbying groups like labor unions and trade associations are deliberately exempted. And based on its partisan track record, don’t expect this president’s IRS to lift a finger to scrutinize liberal 501(c)(4)s. Over at a Obama’s “Organizing for America,” the left-wing political propaganda will, no doubt, flow unabated.

These Orwellian regulations will prohibit conservative 501(c)(4) organizations from using words like “oppose,” “vote,” or “defeat.” Their timing, prior to a pivotal election, is no coincidence and provides yet another example of Obama’s using the IRS for “progressive” political gain.

Although these restrictions only apply to 501(c)(4) organizations for now, under a straightforward reading, they will also clearly apply to 501(c)(3) organizations in the near future.

Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel Action – one of the many conservative organizations to be silenced – commented on the breaking scandal: “One of the core liberties in our constitutional republic is the right to dissent,” he said. “But desperate to force his radical agenda on the American people, Barack Obama and his chosen political tool, the IRS, are now trying to selectively abridge this right, effectively silencing their political adversaries.”

Specifically, here’s what the proposed regulations would do to conservative groups and their leaders:

  • Prohibit using words like “oppose,” “vote,” “support,” “defeat,” and “reject.”
  • Prohibit mentioning, on its website or on any communication (email, letter, etc.) that would reach 500 people or more, the name of a candidate for office, 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election.
  • Prohibit mentioning the name of a political party, 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election, if that party has a candidate running for office.
  • Prohibit voter registration drives or conducting a non-partisan “get-out-the-vote drive.”
  • Prohibit creating or distributing voter guides outlining how incumbents voted on particular bills.
  • Prohibit hosting candidates for office at any event, including debates and charitable fundraisers, 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before the general election, if the candidate is part of the event’s program.
  • Restrict employees of such organizations from volunteering for campaigns.
  • Prohibit distributing any materials prepared on behalf a candidate for office.
  • Restrict the ability of officers and leaders of such organizations to publicly speak about incumbents, legislation, and/or voting records.
  • Restrict the ability of officers and leaders of such organizations to make public statements regarding the nomination of judges.Create a 90-day blackout period, on an election year, that restricts the speech of 501(c)(4) organizations.
  • Declare political activity as contrary to the promotion of social welfare.Protect labor unions and trade associations by exempting them from the proposed regulations.

Continued Mat Staver: “We would be restricted in promoting conservative values, such as protecting our constitutional rights against these very kind of Executive Branch infringements.

“We would even be prohibited from criticizing the federal bureaucracy. If this new set of regulations goes into effect, Liberty Counsel Action – all conservative 501(c)(4)s for that matter – will be forbidden to ‘oppose’ or ‘support’ anything in the political arena and we’ll be prohibited from conducting our ‘get-out-the vote’ campaigns or issuing our popular voter guides.

“Further,” continue Staver, “individual employees of conservative groups will be banned from speaking or messaging on incumbents, legislation, and/or voting records – or speaking on the nominations of judges or political nominees being considered by the Senate. This also includes taking on state and local politicians.”

“These are the same tactics used by the Obama administration to illegally target conservative 501(c)(4) organizations during the last two election cycles, only now the strategy has been greatly intensified and formalized.

“You may recall that former President Richard Nixon was famously forced to resign for improperly using Executive Branch assets for political purposes.

“Rather than preparing a solid defense to confront these serious allegations, a brazen Barack Obama has chosen instead to reconfigure his illegal tactics into a set of ‘regulations’ on nonprofits, opening the door for an IRS crackdown on select organizations,” Staver concluded.

Indeed, once caught abusing his executive authority to target the very U.S. citizens he’s sworn to serve, even a nominally honorable man would immediately reverse course, resign and accept the consequences of his illegal actions.

But we’re not talking about an honorable man.

We’re talking about Barack Hussein Obama.

Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war.

 

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