Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A day in the life...

Saw this post on my friend's blog.. and thought I'd share it with everyone. Please continue in prayer for them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Sunday on Call
9:28amIt's Sunday morning, and the four of us were watching a kids DVD together. I heard the phone ringing (odd since we don't have a cell signal much at all in the house). It showed 11 missed calls and I was not able to catch that one either. I decided to call this unknown number and a man speaking Twi answered, I could understand that he was calling me using the word for Pastor in Twi, I understood the word boat and emergency, but I could not get the name of the village where they needed the boat to go.
Praise God they got through, what kind of emergency is it? Can we help? I got Sammy, our accountant, to call back in a minute and get the village name and tell them the boat is coming. Ju quickly said she must go along in case it needs to be referred to a different hospital due to our lack of supplies and equipment currently. Just at that point they yelled up to the porch where we were talking of the situation and said that a patient had just arrived in a tro-tro (van) and needed the doctor.
It's now 9:41am and I'm with Lucas and Luiza...where is Ju now - in the boat? in the clinic? taking the patient to Kumasi via taxi? We are without transport since the clinic is in need of a truck or ambulance, our Nissan Patrol is still out of commission from the accident 5 weeks ago and no news on when it will be back to us. A rental will be back tomorrow morning that a partner has given us for temporary use.
I do hope that the patients that are here will get what they need, that we can help, that Ju will have the strength and joy, the compassion and energy for this day of work that we hoped would be a family day together.
It was just a few days ago when I wrote the words of Jesus in a blog entry 'cure the sick that are there', but it rings in my ears again today, he continued after that telling them "say to them 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you'."
10:08am Luiza tells me the phone is ringing. I went to answer and it was a man from the earlier call. Where is the boat? I told him it's coming. Alarmed I left Lucas and Luiza alone, went down to clinic to find Ju with two ward assistants and the midwife. They were all sullen, a four year old child had just died of malaria. I checked the storage room and there was the fuel tank for the boat and the life vests. I grabbed them, gave them to a child, and Ju followed walking down the road to catch the boat now to see what the emergency was across the lake.
Ju came back home. I wish I could recount the experiences over the last three hours as she encountered them. We both stood in tears mourning the loss of the child, realizing how selfish we had been as we wanted a Sunday morning as 'family time' when the hope of quite a few patients and their families was that Ju could help them today. I'm glad we are here.
01:02 PM in Lake Bosumtwe Methodist Clinic Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hard Core Predestination and 5 Point Calvinism

I will begin this post by stating clearly and honestly that this overall issue has been alive and well much longer than any I have addressed in my earlier doctrinal posts and deserves much more careful study than I have given it. I primarily have endeavored to gain a basic understanding of the issues that are controversial and determine where I stand, but there is a lifetime of information to be learned about our Protestant heritage, as well as our overall church history. I am trying to continue to learn and be informed and led by the Spirit. It is in the area of study that I genuinely believe we could all learn a lot from our Calvinistic brothers.

The term 5 point Calvinism is a misleading one. It is my understanding that the history of that term comes from the debate that occurred about 5 key doctrines between Arminians and defenders of Calvin's doctrine in 1618.

"Early in the seventeenth century the Presbyterian Church of Holland, whose doctrinal confession is the same in substance with ours, was much troubled by a species of new-school minority, headed by one of its preachers and professors, James Harmensen, in Latin, Arminius (hence, ever since, Arminians). Church and state have always been united in Holland; hence the civil government took up the quarrel. Professor Harmensen (Arminius) and his party were required to appear before the States General (what we would call Federal Congress) and say what their objections were against the doctrines of their own church, which they had freely promised in their ordination vows to teach. Arminius handed in a writing in which he named five points of doctrine concerning which he and his friends either differed or doubted. These points were virtually: Original sin, unconditional predestination, invincible grace in conversion, particular redemption, and perseverance of saints."

Total depravity (Original Sin)
Unconditional election (God's Election)
Limited atonement (Particular Redemption)
Irresistible grace (Effectual Calling)
Perseverance of the Saints

The word TULIP is often used to communicate these doctrinal issues that were controversial. I will make this short and sweet cause Lord knows my posts have been crazy long lately. (U) I do not believe God has a previously determined list of people that will be saved. (L) I do not believe that Jesus died to save this list of people only. (I) I do not believe that God's grace is something that overwhelms you to the point that you have no choice but to cooperate with it once living by it. (P)I do not believe there is a guarantee that if you choose to live by His grace that you MUST necessarily go on doing so indefinitely. (T)Finally, I saved the T for last because I think everything may hinge upon it. While I do believe that God certainly receives all glory for my or anyone else's salvation, I also believe that my PARTICIPATION is a key ingredient to actualizing God's grace in my life. No participation equals no grace. I will also acknowledge that how this works itself out in practice is a bit of a mystery, but how many other things about salvation can we say that about. Almost all of it in some way or another is mysterious. Participation is NOT works or merit, and to remove participation from salvation seems to me to be teaching something that the overall message of Scripture contradicts.

This is obviously another area in which I believe there are fundamental issues at stake. I'll leave bouncing large numbers of Scripture quotage to any one on one discussion that may arise from this post, but I'll throw a few out there for good measure. First, not A passage, but word usage from many different passages to make a point. "whoever believes..."-John 3:16, "not wanting anyone to perish..."-II Peter 3:9, " that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."-Hebrews 2:9 This is just a smattering of examples that seems to point to the nature of God's salvation being AVAILABLE to everyone, anyone, and whoever.

"Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:15
"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.'" Acts 2:37&38
Repentance is inherently a willful act. (participation)

Finally, a verse I found interesting that I will present without comment.
"All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John."--Luke 7:29&30

FINALLY...... the end of the doctrinal discussion has come. I'll be back to my normal mode of blathering next week. :)

If you strongly disagree with me about this or any other of my posts about doctrine, please take the time to read my “Why I am writing about doctrine” post from April 14 before you respond. Thank You.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Word of Faith Part 3--Quotes and Scriptures

Word of Faith Part 3-Quotes and Scriptures

“…if it be your will…”
"When I first got saved they didn't tell me I could do anything. What they told me to do was whenever I prayed I should always say the will of the Lord be done. Now doesn't that sound humble. It does. Sounds like humility. It's really stupidity. I mean you know you, really, we insult God...we do, we really insult Him. If you have to say if it be thy will or thy will be done....if you have to say that, then you're calling God a fool."-Frederick Price

Acts 18:20&21 “When they asked him(Paul) to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, ‘I will come back if it is God’s will.’”

James 4:13-17 “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”

Matthew 6:9&10 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

"Now hear this. Your words in the spirit create reality."- Benny Hinn

"What do you need? 'I need money.' Then start creating it. Start speaking about it. Start speaking it into being. Speak to your billfold. Say, 'you big, thick billfold full of money.' Speak to your checkbook. Say, 'checkbook, you've never been so prosperous since I owned you. You're just jammed full of money.' You've got pain and disease in your body? Speak to your body. God will create the fruit of your lips. Say to your body, 'you're whole body. Why you just function so beautifully and so well, why, body, you never have any problems. You're a strong, healthy body.' Or speak to your leg, or speak to your foot, or speak to your back, and once you have spoken, believe that you have received and DON'T GO BACK ON IT!"- Marilyn Hickey

I John 3:17&18 "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

II Timothy 2:14 “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words. It is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.”

I Corinthians 4:19&20 “But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”

"The new man doesn't look back. It has no past! It doesn't look ahead. It's got no future. It says I am as He is. That's what it says as He is so are we in this world. Jesus said, 'go in my name. Go in my stead.' Don't say I have. Say I am, I am, I AM! That's why you are never, ever, ever say I am sick. How can you be sick if you're the new creation."- Benny Hinn

"It will be 45 years in August, and I haven't had a headache in 45 years."--Kenneth Hagin (failed to mention four cardiovascular crises including a full scale heart stoppage)

Philippians 2:25-30
“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard that is was ill. Indeed, he was ill and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore, I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life for the help you could not give me.”

II Timothy 4:20 “Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.”

Galatians 4:13&14 “As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus Himself.”

"Well, the force of faith is, in the spiritual realm, a great deal like certain forces in the natural realm. It's a spiritual force like gravity is a natural force. Electricity is a natural force of is a spiritual force. It's perceptible. It is a tangible force. It's an invisible force. So's gravity but it's there." KC
"Does God use faith?"--PC
"Surely."- KC
"Now see here's a sore spot. There are those who say...God is God. He doesn't exercise faith. He doesn't use faith. He's God. He's the object of faith." PC
"Wait a minute...what's that mean object of faith?"-KC
Conversation between Kenneth Copeland and Paul Crouch(owner of TBN)

Mark 11:22 "Have faith in God, Jesus answered."

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Sad and disturbing
"... it was an incorrect statement when Job said, 'the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away'... How many times have you heard a preacher say that at a you gonna bless God and He just took your wife? Now that's the dumbest thing in the world."- Frederick Price

"The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, 'Son, realize this,' now follow me in this. Don't let your tradition trip you up. He said, 'think this way, a twice born man whooped Satan in his own domain,' and I threw my Bible and I said, 'What!' He said, 'a born again man defeated Satan. The firstborn of many brethren defeated him.' He said, 'you are the very image and the very copy of that one.' I said, 'goodness, gracious alive!' And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, 'you don't mean, you couldn't DARE mean that I could have done the same thing.' He said, 'OH yeah, if you'd known and had the knowledge of the word of God that He did you could have done the same thing cause you're a reborn man too.'"- Kenneth Copeland

A couple of final thoughts.... I know that there are many, many who attend Word of Faith type churches or who are influenced by these previously mentioned people, and they do NOT ascribe to any of these statements. My only point is to point out these quotes(they are from audio clips I possess) so that these people more than any others might know about them. It is one thing to place a great deal of trust in a flawed pastor. We all do that perhaps a bit too much, but I think these statements and teachings make it clear that the founders and prime movers within this movement are guilty of FOUNDATIONAL flaws. What to do with this information I leave in your capable hands. For anyone who actually read this entire series on WOF.... Good Lord! Get some sleep! :)


If you strongly disagree with me about this or any other of my posts about doctrine, please take the time to read my “Why I am writing about doctrine” post from April 14 before you respond. Thank You.

Next week.....last and least(one post this time)....Hard Core Predestination or 5 Point Calvinism

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Quote of the week...

"But if suffering is good, ought it not to be pursued rather than avoided? I answer that suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the suffferer, his submission to the will of God, and, for the spectators, the compassion aroused and the acts of mercy to which it leads."
C.S. Lewis- The Problem of Pain

Word of Faith Part Two

First, allow me to differentiate between what my understanding of the WOF(Word of Faith) view of faith is and what I believe Scriptures say about it. According to WOF, faith is viewed as a spiritual force in the universe that can be understood and used to accomplish our visions and goals. This is in contrast to viewing faith as the two-sided coin of passively resting in God and actively depending and trusting in Him that is reflected in Scripture. In short, one is centered entirely around our relationship with Him, and one is not.

Another issue with WOF is their unhealthy focus on how things are expressed and what specific words one chooses to use when speaking.

Allow me to be clear before proceeding. Words ARE important in many ways. They can spread a bitter, fearful, proud, vulgar, or otherwise negative attitude to others. They can hurt. They can mislead. They are a representation of what is truly in someone's heart and mind. Controlling our tongues is something that James teaches is a sign of great maturity. However, seeking to be an edifying influence on others and being aware of our own internal state are not the direction that WOF's emphasis on words leads. Rather, it is as if words interact with their understanding of faith in a way that is similar to magical incantations that can determine their destiny. This actually leads people to focus on the surface of words(making sure you say some things and not others and being careful HOW you express certain thoughts) rather than the roots of words(bitterness, fearfulness, pride, lust, and any host of other internal inner workings).

Do the Scriptures teach tht we have a divine RIGHT to walk in perfect health if we simply walk in "faith"?

Let me begin by making a few clarifications....again. I do believe the Bible teaches that God can and will work miraculously in the lives of individuals, especially believers. I do not believe any miracles, including healing, were somehow limited to the first generation church. I do, however, see a fundamental problem that weaves itself through every aspect of wrong teaching within the WOF movement. This problem is found in their teachings about sickness, prosperity, words, and faith. Essentially, they view scriptures that promise or warn about these things as spiritual coupons that can be redeemed. They are viewed as guarantees that God must occasionally be reminded of. "Hold up, Lord, you said I would be prosperous, remember?" or "It says right here that I am able to be healed, God." It is as if God is looking to give a gold star of health and wealth to those who memorize the most promises.

This is not the attitude or perspective I see in the Scripture. The disciples' entire reason for being was seen through how well they accomplished His will. Wealth and even health were less important to them than this pursuit of Him and His will. Divine healing and any other miracle or regularly given blessing must be seen first and foremost as one way God uses to cause people to believe in Him and, therefore, humble themselves in a repentant, saving faith. This takes priority over whether we receive supernatural blessings or protection from Him. His power at work in us is a testimony to unbelievers. This power can be seen in divine healing, AND it can be seen when a Christian in the midst of suffering shines with inner strength and peace of a transformed child of God. For many this second example ultimately provides greater hope of a powerful AND loving God than the first.

This post has been lacking in two important things that I am aware of, specific quotes from WOF leaders and specific scriptures backing up my points. I will provide both of these on my third and final post dealing with Word of Faith. I strongly urge you to read especially each scripture reference I provide since I do not wish anyone to base any decisions about their own views on my opinions but on prayerful consideration of Scripture.


If you strongly disagree with me about this or any other of my posts about doctrine, please take the time to read my “Why I am writing about doctrine” post from April 14 before you respond. Thank You.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Word of Faith Part One

I'm not sure if I can write all I have to write about this in two parts or if I'll need three, but I'll try to keep it as succinct as possible cause noone likes a blabber mouth. :)

I suppose I'll start with some introductory stuff. Unlike some of my past doctrinal posts, I cannot really tie most of these doctrines I will associate with Word of Faith with a particular organized denomination. This movement spread early on in primarily charismatic circles, but it can now be found in varying shades within most, if not all, denominations. There are many churches that are called "Word of Faith" and/or "Word of Life" and these are often most directly tied in with the Word of Faith movement, but, as far as I know, there is no official Word of Faith General Assembly with bylaws and superintendants and such. This is also the reason I will call out specific people a little more in these posts than in some others because I have to trace these teachings to the individuals most responsible for their emergence and proliferation. There ARE definite individuals that Word of Faith teachings emanate from and these men and women are the fathers and chief proponents now. Some of these include: Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Frederick Price, Marilyn Hickey, John Evanzini, and many, many more. They often run together putting on conferences together, and this can be a useful way to discover who is among this group.

Let's begin with one of the more common doctrines taught within Word of Faith teachings--the prosperity movement. First, it is clear that the Scriptures DO NOT teach that it is a sin to be wealthy. It is also clear that it is NOT virtuous to be poor. These are two things prosperity preachers claim that their critics profess. I do not.

However, with that having been said, it is also clear that the attitudes about prosperity found within the WOF movement are contrary to many things that the Scriptures do say. In all honesty, it is probably one of the areas we could all benefit from comparing and contrasting our views of gaining riches with the stout warnings about riches found in God's Word.

Proverbs 30:8&9 will start us off, "...give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."

Think this is only an Old Testament view? Let's look at Luke 12.
"Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.' And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 'This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.'"

Finally, a passage in I Timothy 6 seems to be geared almost exactly toward prosperity preachers such as Gloria Copeland and Evanzini and their "hundred fold prayer" for monies mailed to them by a certain date.
"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But it we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

If you strongly disagree with me about this or any other of my posts about doctrine, please take the time to read my “Why I am writing about doctrine” post from April 14 before you respond. Thank You.

Next week I'll discuss issues such as sickness, words, and faith with the context of the Word of Faith movement.