Monthly Archives: February 2006

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If I found out that Socrates had not lived faithfully to his own teaching, would it have an affect on how I viewed his teaching? I don’t think so. True teaching is true teaching and false teaching is false teaching no matter who the teacher is.

Moses was a murderer, yet God used him to deliver the Law to Israel: “Do not commit murder.”

Paul, as a servant of Christ, had a temper, he was outspoken (today we would say too much so), he wrote in frustration that he wished that the teachers of the Law would castrate themselves and he saw conflict as a normal part of life. Yet much of our Christian doctrine is based on Paul’s writing.

David was an adulterer, a murderer and disobeyed the Lord on a number of recorded occasions. Yet, he was a "man after God's own heart" - for all of his faults, David yearned to follow God.

The beauty is in the message, not in the messenger.

May my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.

May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.

May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.

May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.

May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.

I long for your salvation,
O LORD, and your law is my delight.

Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.

I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

Psalms 119

(note, this is also getting turned in as a "reflection question" for my philosophy class tonight)


I'm going to try to tie my last three posts together in an attempt to show you all where I am right now. (In this post, they're not in the order I posted them, the school paper makes it out of order)

"Bad Doctrine Has Consequences" - a recurring theme around our home. Last night my daughter and I talked (like we always do) on our way home from church after her small group met. This didn't happen in the small group, but with a group of members of the small group and other at a restaurant. She was not breaking confidentiality by talking about it. She said, "I think I might have to look for a different small group." She has a very small group - just Manda and one other young woman. Manda told me that this other girl has "lots of opinions that she will never think are wrong, but are very loose" and that this other girl won't listen to anybody else. Manda has been talking about the whole "Firehouse Family Ministries" thing (I'm a proud mom) and this other girl won't even talk about it.

"I'm just really looking forward to worshiping with another demonination!" (Manda pointed out that anti-Trinitarians go beyond "denomination" into a whole different religion - that point got lost in the emptiness)

"But denominations are just wrong" (Manda pointed out that we have denominations for a reason - and some are right and some are not.)

"Manda, you just have to learn how to worship with other denominations!" (Manda pointed out that she is Reformed, her grandparents go to a non-denom in FL, a United Missionary Church in MI, her aunt is Baptist, her uncle is a Free Methodist minister and everybody else goes to the Missionary church. We have the "other denomination" thing down.)

"Well, I just thought those people were neat!" (Manda used my phrase - "bad doctrine has consequences")

"Manda, you just have to lighten up!"
(note, these are not the exact words, but pretty close to the conversation)

"Rome/Arminius/Reformers - 'The TULIP'" was a good and necessary reminder of where we come from and why we are in a CRC. As I look for a different church, one of the possibilities is a non-denom. It is very large, and may have Reformed underpinnings, but would underpinnings be enough?

Part of the problem at Sunshine is that the farther they get from Reformers, the more doctrinal problems I see. (Not just TULIP oriented, but the increasing emphasis on gifts, the growing role of the pastor that appears more "charismatic", the role of Neil Anderson's "Freedom" - when I went in a couple of years ago to advocate for a single ministry, a couple of women's leaders pushed me to go through Anderson's series "to see where this is coming from". Excuse me: being single does not mean "in bondage")

This 3-way study of TULIP helped solidify in my mind why the Reformation was needed and why I need to be in a "Reformed" church. Solidly Reformed - not Arminian.

Finally, "Plato's Allegory of the Cave" (which is actually an assignment for my philosophy class) reminded me that four years ago I would have laughed at the idea of me looking for a solidly Reformed church.

After a lifetime of living in an Arminian family, the break to Reformation Christianity was like being unchained and seeing the flame.

The realization of how much this effects my decision-making is like stepping into the sunlight.

Wrapping it up: I'm not ready to claim "cessationism" (as full-bore TR's define it), but I am ready to take a really good look at it and I'm ready to let that issue play a part in my decision making process.

On the cessation thing. I'm not going to be looking for any burning bushes. But for forty-some years God has been able to figure out ways to communicate what He wants me to know. I don't imagine that's going to change.

God hasn't changed. My understanding of the way that He may (or may not) communicate with us has changed.

But God hasn't changed. And as long as God doesn't change, I'll be ok.



A friend and I have discussed a few times about some of the heresies that we see today - most of them are coming out of Arminian churches. Mormons (Elena made the point that Joseph Smith began life as a Methodist) and "Oneness Pentecostals are the two I have been studying most recently.

It would appear evident that when the Reformers moved away from Rome, there were those who tried to return (in doctrines, if not in name).

I've looked at "TULIP" from the Roman standpoint, as well as Reformed and Arminian. In all but the "T", Arminius made moves back toward Rome.

Today, every step away from the Reformers is a step toward Rome. And as Arminians churches get further away from the Reformers (and closer to Rome) the more heresy we see.

See the complete post here.

(In order to discuss this intelligently, I'm going to ask that all who comment here have a working knowledge of the differences in doctrine between Arminianism and Calvinism - thank you!)

In the “Allegory of the Cave”, we see an example of people seeing “through the glass dimly.” Plato describes a group of people in a cave since their childhood, chained so that they cannot move their heads. I could not picture this until I saw the illustration, but imagine a fire behind the people, casting shadows on the wall in front of them. There is also a walkway and animals, people and things are carried along between the fire and the wall in front of the prisoners.

All these people know of the world are the shadows on the wall in front of them. In fact, they may not even know that there is a world outside of those shadows. All they can see – all they can know – are the flickering shadows on the wall in front of them.

Imagine that one of these prisoners is set free. He stands up and turns around, seeing the fire for the first time. This is the first time he sees the direct flame and he is blinded. At first, before his eyes grow accustomed to the light, the objects that cast the shadows seem unreal – less real than the shadows. He rebels – this is not what he is used to!

(continue reading)


Very few people care about defending the doctrine of God against those who teach heresy. Adn those that point out the heresy are not welcome.

I've never believed that a person can lose his or her salvation - there are too many passages that indicate that Christ cannot lose one of His own. So the last straw in leaving my Arminian church was when my kids and I were talking about their childhood and I asked if they remembered the moment that they "got saved". My son could tell me where he was, what he had been doing, who was there.

My daughter said, "What do you mean? Do you mean the first time, or all the other times?" The surety of her salvation (to her mind) depended on how many times she had "gone to the alter" - this was the consequence of this bad doctrine.

What are the consequence of having "relationships" with those who deny the Trinity?

James White says (In "The Forgotten Trinity):

True worship must worship God as he exists, not as we wish Him to be. The essence of idoloatry is the making of images of God. An image is a shadow, a false representation. We may not bow beforea statue or figure, but if we make an image of God in our mind that is not in accord with God's revelation of Himself, then we are not worshiping in truth. Since sin and rebellion are always pushing us toward false gods and away from the true God, we must seek every day to conform our thinking and our worship to God's straight-edge standard of truth, revealed so wonderfully in Scripture.

(page 195) Look at the "gospel" message of every single group that denies the doctrine of the Trinity. You will find error and perversion in every group. Why? Because the true Gospel must be based upon the work of the one true and triune God. Without that basis, the Gospel cannot stand. Look at Mormonism, which denies the pillar of monotheism: the Gospel becomes the means of becoming a god. Look at the Witnesses: the Gospel is a mere appendage, a message of how we can live forever in a paradise earth. Such is what happens when the Redeemer becomes Michael the Archangel, and the Spirit becomes an impersonal active force. And in the Oneness groups the Gospel becomes legalism, replete with "necessary" things one must "experience" to be truly saved.

Bad doctrine has consequences - twisting the Gospel to fit our own desire about how it should look - has consequences.


I had thought (my bad) that Elena had a passing knowledge of the religion of the adherants that she was defending.

Elena said (in her post on Discernment), "...a Christian is faced with lots of opinions and situations that may seem like they are "good" on the surface, but the truth is they are really not "Christian" values. One has to be able to discern what is true and what is not.

This evening, Elena spent some time here on this blog

I offered the "Friendship with the World" award (after Elena offered me "Mountain out of a Molehill" She agreed that the award ..."would be fine Ellen."

Among her comments:

I know how to discern between what is true and what is false. (8:47)

After a week of vigorously defending the ability and willingness of all women in the blogospere to discern and recognize false teaching, Elena said:

The amount of what I could tell you about what mormons believe wouldn't even take half a minute! I honestly don't know much about them at all.


I simply don't care. I also don't care what it means to be "Reformed" vs. "truly Reformed." Just not interested.


I don't have to know Mormon doctrine to know Christian doctrine. One only needs to know the truth to be able to discern a lie.

Prior to this exchange, just after Elena graciously accepted my "Friend of the World" award, I followed up with this:

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Here is my point: If you don't know the Bible well enough to know that "Friend of the World" is not a good thing - how are you going to know it well enough to see when false doctrine from other religions is slipped in?

Or, if you don't know (or care) what other religions teach, are you going to know (or care) when you are exposed to their teaching?

Do you know (or care) that when you stand shoulder to shoulder (or keyboard to keyboard) with a Mormon and praise Jesus...Do you know (or care) that one of you is praising the spirit-brother of Lucifer?

When you stand in prayer together with a Mormon, do you know (or care) that one of you is praying to a being that once was as human as you are today?

With that, I'm done. I will answer comments to this blog, but only if the commenter demonstrates an interest in knowing the doctrine of the adherants that are being defended.

If you don't know what Mormons believe, don't come here asking me to give them a pass.

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself." Ez 33:7-9

...We cannot blink at the fact that gentle Jesus meek and mild was so stiff in his opinions and so inflammatory in his language that he was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger. Whatever his peace was, it was not the peace of an amiable indifference."

This t-shirt is part of their message:


How bright does your light shine? Are you the "City on a Hill? (read these lyrics, they say something important - given the last week, this is a new song, not yet recorded).

I went to a concert with my kids (and a spare) last night.

The first band was really bad. The second wasn't good. The third band was "interesting". They list their style as "tribal" and they sound sort of like "middle eastern- punk" with an accordian.

The fourth band is the band we went to see.

This band is brothers, their dad is manager (but the blonde is not related, he just plays bagpipes and mandolin).

They have a message. Their "Amazing Grace" is quite something. It was also something to hear a room full of teenagers singing. I could tell those who sang the meaning. Half the kids rolled their eyes and moved to the back of the room. The other half got up on the stage with the band and stood shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm.

Before their last number, the leade singer (all 6 feet, 9 inches of him) talked for a few minutes about Jesus and following Him. Those who know Him: walk it. Those who don't: accept Him.

But here is what he ended with: Do the right thing. Don't back down.

Here are some of their lyrics:

My favorite (been there, done that have the t-shirt):

An eye for an eye, and everything in between,
an eye for an eye, and we’ll pay the price.
An eye for an eye, you defied your maker,
an eye for an eye and we’ll all be blind.

And I like this one, too:

We’re the scallywags of Archer Street, we don’t know when to quit
We go to shows, we sing out loud, we scuttle every pit.
But when it comes to praisingGod we always bow our knees,
We go to Him, we sing out loud, it’s him that made us free.

From the depths of Sheol to the heart of shalom,
we will stand strong together, we will never be alone.
Fill our cups full of courage, may our face hit the floor,
when we are at our lowest point, we stand at heaven’s door.

They are pro-life


It’s not a kid, it’s just a thing, selfishness is the song you sing
It’s your body, it’s your choice but the life inside you have a voice
The news has pulled your pride wall down
Now you’re not the stud in town
You gave him life don’t kill the child
just because your pride’s defiled
Fight to live fight to save a life
The life you gave this child within her
He’s a gift not a curse

So be a man don’t be a quitter
Protecting life is so much better
be a man don’t be a quitter,
fight, be a man don’t be a quitter
just because this child’s within her
be a man don’t be a quitter


There are a lot of parallels...

These people came to my church.

The latest flap around the "girl blogs" erupted.

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.


I named names - along with the problems with doctrine.

So did a Godly woman on line.

2 Timothy 2:15-18 Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth..."


I went public

She went public

Acts 20:31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.


I said, "We should not be having a "relationship" with these people. They are false teachers and we shouldn't be having them in our pulpit."

She said, "We should have discernment and wisdom when visiting their blogs"

Matthew 7:15
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.


I was told "We just don't see what the big deal is."

She was told "We just don't see what the big deal is."

2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,


Accusations were thrown around. There is a lot of heat.

My daughter is standing up (I'm a proud mom) for right doctrine. And we take a lot of heat for that.

Some of the heat is on line.

My daughter and I are taking heat in real life. A couple of women have lectured me about being "Spirit-filled."

Manda is having fingers pointed at her: "they're the ones that are trying to ruin the spring break trip."

For us, standing for truth and discernment has been very real-life and has cost us.

We've got a whole lot of Christians...

standing shoulder to shoulder with the "ones who call themselves Christian but who believe in another Jesus" accusing their spiritual siblings of "legalism".

We have Christians attempting to silence those to call them to discernment

There are three characteristics here (I'm speaking only on this issue, we all know that we have different characteristics at different times)

1) Stand up for truth - even if it's hard. Name names, just like Paul did.
2) Tell those that stand up to shut up.
3) Be silent, say nothing, be safe.


2 Timothy 4:1-2: "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction."

Here is the problem: Mormons are attempting to pass themselves off as Christian.

Here is the BIGGER problem: Christian women are helping them. (Where is the Godly leadership of husbands?)

Matthew 12:30 "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

Gordon. B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said: "We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."

Marla said: And if we are so concerned with love, let us love by being truthful rather than muddling the distinctions between blogs of Christians and those of sects that have broken away from Christianity, so that seekers and newer Christians aren't taken captive into deceptive philosophies (sound familiar?).

And her readers said:

I think your discernment award is pathetic and you can delete this if you want.

You give Christians a bad name.

you are the most UN-Christian person I have ever met.

the words you post on your blog reflect negativity and a bitterness of soul that I do not care to read

I (Ellen) say that persecution strengthens a person. It's just really sad when it comes from other Christians.

Elena's readers said:

IMHO- the only people who are afraid of outside ideas are those who are
insecure with their own place in the universe.

Thanks for keeping us all thinking and on the path to enlightenment. (this was written by a Mormon woman)

Elena asks: 3. Who died and left Marla Swoffer the queen of the blogosphere?

I (Ellen) say that those who are "prepared in season and out of season to
correct, rebuke and encourage
" do not consider themselves "queens" — they consider themselves faithful to God.