December 31, 2007 2 Comments
December 27, 2007 Leave a comment
“Believing in God is neither here nor there,” Armstrong says. “You have to make that belief work for the world. Christianity is about looking at other people’s point of view. It’s ‘kenosis,’ or emptying of the self. It means you have to dethrone yourself from the center of your world and put others there.”
Here is another attempt by Armstrong to redefine terms. Where in the Bible are we told that the purpose of Christianity is to look at things from other people’s point of view? The answer is nowhere. We ARE told that the purpose of Christianity is to look at things from God’s point of view. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says: …..But we have the mind of Christ. Philippians 2:5 tells us: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. These are just a couple examples of how we are to have God’s perspective.
I agree with one point she makes….as Christians we are to remove ourselves from the thrown of our lives and we are to place someone else there. But we are not to place another person there. We are to place God there. He is the only person who deserves to be there. Anyone else we choose to put there is as flawed as we are and unworthy of that lofty position.
December 27, 2007 2 Comments
While discussing the “Left Behind” series, Armstrong said
“It’s a strange thing in this country that people have this view of the world. If these people went to a psychiatrist, they would be diagnosed with a psychological disorder. The fact that so many people subscribe to this shows a profound unease, fear, a feeling of impotence, rage and pent-up fury.”
I am not sure that I agree with all the theology in the Left Behind series but I do believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I guess that means in Armstrong’s world I suffer from a psychological disorder. I am curious…how many of you also suffer from a psychological disorder?
I think her conclusions about people who hold these end times beliefs are all wrong as well. These things give me a peace as I face the troubled world that we live in. As I consider the world that my kids will have after I am gone I am comforted that God is in control and that He has a plan. My feelings are far from those (unease, fear, impotence, rage, and fury) she tries to ascribe to me and those who believe like I do. It would seem more logical to me that those who have no hope after this life would be the people who have these feelings of unease and fear.
See the source here.
December 27, 2007 4 Comments
See the source here.
“Nirvana is something within you. It is not an external reality. No god thunders down from the mountaintop. Just as the great mystics in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths all discovered, God is within the self. God is virtually inseparable from ourselves.”
Don’t miss this….she is teaching that God is within the self and she cites the “great mystics” as discovering this. Where in the Bible does it teach that God is within the self? It does not. She is seeking to define God in the way she wants…not the way in which He defines Himself. Now, who has the right to define God? He does.
Another question that comes to mind is who are these “great mystics” of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths? I can’t speak to the Muslim faith but in Christianity mystics are considered false prophets. In Acts 13:6 a magician (mystic) is described as a Jewish false prophet. In 1 John 4:1 we are told to test every spirit to see if it is from God or not. We need to test the teachings of Karen Armstrong by the Bible to see if what she is teaching is from God or not. If the teachings are not from God, and they are not, then we must proclaim here as the false teacher that she is.
December 26, 2007 15 Comments
I have been reading a transcript of an interview of Karen Armstrong. The interview was conducted by Steve Paulson of Salon.com. You can read it for yourself here. Be prepared to be shocked if you are not familiar with Karen Armstrong. You will notice that she often refers to sages in here answers. Of them she says: “The Axial sages discovered the inner world. And religions became much more spiritualized because humanity had taken a leap forward.” In his introduction Paulson mentions how she is “especially drawn to the mystical traditions”. I did not catch the significance of that point until I had finished reading the interview. Here are a few quotes from the interview.
Armstrong was asked: What is religion?
Religion is a search for transcendence. But transcendence isn’t necessarily sited in an external god, which can be a very unspiritual, unreligious concept. The sages were all extremely concerned with transcendence, with going beyond the self and discovering a realm, a reality, that could not be defined in words. Buddhists talk about nirvana in very much the same terms as monotheists describe God.
Can you see the mysticism dripping off that answer? Being transcendent is defined by Merriam-Webster as “1 a: exceeding usual limits : surpassing b: extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience c: being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge 2: being beyond comprehension“. Is this really the purpose of religion?
She also says
And religion is like any other activity. It’s like cooking or sex or science. You have good art, sex and science, and bad art, sex and science. It’s not easy to do it well.
To some extent I actually agree with this statement but it is hard to do because of the way she words the comment. It is true that we can have good and bad religion but it seems to cheapen religion by comparing it to “any other activity”.
Paulson says: That’s when fundamentalism starts to appear.
Yes, because fundamentalism has developed in every single one of the major traditions as a response to secularism that has been dismissive or even cruel, and has attempted to wipe out religion. And if you try to repress it — as happened in the Soviet Union — there’s now a huge religious revival in the Soviet Union, and some of it’s not very healthy. It’s like the suppression of the sexual instinct. If you repress the sexual instinct and try to tamp it down, it’s likely to develop all kinds of perverse and twisted forms. And religion’s the same.
Don’t miss this! She compares religious fundamentalists to sexually perverse people. Now I will admit that fundamentalists sometimes go too far but I think this analogy is completely out of bounds. There is no way someone can make this claim in a serious manner. It is design specifically to put the fundamentalist in a no win situation. If he tries to defend fundamentalism then he gives legitimacy to the analogy and if he protests the analogy then he is seen as attacking the messenger instead of addressing the issue. I think she should be more responsible in her analogies. She only does a disservice to her arguments with such tactics.
If you’d presented some of these literalistic readings of the Bible to people in the pre-modern age, they would have found it rather obtuse. They’d have found it incomprehensible that people really believe the first chapter of Genesis is an account of the origins of life.
We are not told on what she bases this on. What are her sources? I assume they are listed in her books but I have not yet reviewed her books. It would be interesting to see what they are. At any rate, I think she may be picking and choosing her sources based on her intended conclusions. People mentioned in the Bible itself, including Jesus, believed in a literal interpretation of Genesis.
Armstrong defines theology
Once my television career had folded, I was left on my own with these texts. There was nobody to exclaim derisively about the irrationality of a Greek Orthodox text or the stupidity of a certain Jewish mysticism. I began to read them like poetry, which is what theology is. It’s poetry. It’s an attempt to express the inexpressible. It needs quiet.
Theology is poetry! Wow. She has redefined the term. What does it really mean? Lets turn to Merriam-Webster again to find out. Theology is “ the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world”. So for everyone else in the world theology is the study of God but for Armstrong it is poetry. Redefining terms is a common practice of liberals and cults. It allows them to appear and sound to be similar and familiar to those they seek to mislead. As Christians, we need to be very precise with our definitions and with the definitions of those we debate.
Paulson asks: Does everything end once we die?
I don’t know. I prefer to be agnostic on that matter, as do most of the world’s religions. It’s really only Christianity and Islam that are obsessed with afterlife in this way……Religion is supposed to be about the loss of the ego, not about its eternal survival.
I believe that what we have is now. The religions say you can experience eternity in this life, here and now, by getting those moments of ecstasy where time ceases to be a constraint. And you do it by the exercise of the Golden Rule and by compassion. And just endless speculation about the next world is depriving you of a great experience in this one.
She is more concerned with here and now than with eternal life. She says religion is supposed to be about loss of ego….who says that again? Oh yeah, the sages we mentioned earlier. They “all insisted that you must give up and abandon your ego. The sages said the root cause of suffering lay in our desperate concern with self, which often needs to destroy others in order to preserve itself. And so they insisted that if we stepped outside the ego, then we would encounter what we call Brahman or God, nirvana or the Tao.” It is all about the self. It is new age mysticism. That is what Karen Armstrong appears to be all about. She calls herself a “freelance monotheist” but I call her a non-believer and a false teacher. She is leading people astray and will be made to answer for it on judgement day. The Bible gives a warning to those who wish to be teachers in James 3:1. It says “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.“ There are also many passages about false teachers.
I pray that God would do a work in Mrs. Armstrong’s life and that she could be brought to Him. I also pray that all those who have been misled by her (including the deacon at my church) will be shown the truth and will turn from her false teaching and seek the answers in God. Only then will He be truly glorified.
What is your take on Karen Armstrong and her teachings? Have you ever encountered anyone who has been influenced by her before? Share your thoughts here and we can all be more prepared to face this false teacher in the future.
December 16, 2007 Leave a comment
(Genesis 1:1) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
This is the very first verse in the Bible. It is the foundation that the rest of the Bible builds upon. I have had the opportunity to teach this verse twice recently…once to my adult Sunday School class (from the Explore the Bible Sunday School curriculum) and once to my junior youth discipleship class (I have been teaching them through the Baptist Faith and Message). There is a great deal that we can take from this verse. I will list five in this post. You may have others. If so, feel free to share them.
The beginning referred to in this verse is the beginning of our universe. Our universe had a beginning. That sounds like a no-brainer but there was a time when some people believed that our universe had existed eternally. Most scientists now understand that our universe had a definite beginning. For Christians, this has been a known fact for as long as we have had the Bible.
(Hebrews 1:10) And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
- (John 1:2-3) (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
At the beginning of our universe God already existed. In order for God to have created our universe then He would have had to have already existed. This is a simple logical argument.
(Revelation 22:13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
(Revelation 1:8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
- (John 1:1-2) (1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God.
God has always existed. Again, we will make a logical argument for this. The fact that something (anything) exists today means that something has always existed. Let me explain. If ever in all eternity past there was nothing, a complete void, then there would be nothing for eternity future. It is a basic natural law that something cannot come from nothing. Therefore, something must have existed (and will continue to exist) for all eternity. That something must have had the power to create other things. We, as Christians, believe that the something that has always existed is God.
God is the Creator of all things. We are told in plain language that God created the Heavens and the Earth. This means everything.
(John 1:3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- (Psalms 102:25) Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
- God is Sovereign over all His creation. To be sovereign means that God has the ability to define purpose and use for His creation. In other words, the Creator is always greater than the creation. God is creator and we are part of His creation. God’s sovereignty comes from His position of Creator
December 11, 2007 6 Comments
The title to the article (found here) got my attention. How about you?
You might be curious to know what we are evolving into but they are not talking about Darwinian Evolution. The article is discussing the changing characteristics within the human species….this is know as micro evolution.
The genetic changes have related to numerous different human characteristics, the researchers said.
Let me be clear, I do not discount micro evolution (if we must call it that). Changing characteristics can be observed in almost every living thing as they adapt to their environment. There are numerous causes for the changing characteristics. The article lists a few:
Many of the recent genetic changes reflect differences in the human diet brought on by agriculture, as well as resistance to epidemic diseases that became mass killers following the growth of human civilizations, the researchers said.
The changes have been driven by the colossal growth in the human population — from a few million to 6.5 billion in the past 10,000 years — with people moving into new environments to which they needed to adapt, added Henry Harpending, a University of Utah anthropologist.
The article then moves on to discuss the favorable gene mutations. By definition, a mutation is a loss of information and is always bad. There can not be a beneficial mutation. So how do we explain the changes that are taking place? First, we have to look at what the Bible says. For that we must look at the creation account as in Genesis. We see there that God created…everything and it was GOOD. Once He finished, on the sixth day and after He had created man He said it was VERY GOOD (Genesis 1).
So what happened? Sin! Sin entered the world (Genesis 3) and things have been deteriorating ever since. We (Adam and Eve) were created perfect. Once sin entered the world our bodies (and all creation) became corrupt and the corruption is slowing destroying what God created. I would suggest that the mutations (which are always a loss of information) are the result of the deterioration.
Having said that I also want to point out that we have a hope. That hope is in Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and restored our ability to have a relationship with God. Jesus will return one day for the purpose of completing that restoration. Trust in Him. Call upon Him. If you do, you will be welcomed into the family of God and be restored into that relationship with Him. Don’t rely on man’s explanations…on man’s failed theories. Turn to the one who was there and is the source of all hope and truth.
December 7, 2007 Leave a comment
Source: The PatriotPost
“December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan… Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory… With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounded determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat far removed from today’s crop of defeatists
Would we have the will to fight to “absolute victory” today? I would like to think that we would but I am not so sure sometimes. I don’t like being so pessimistic but my confidence in the resolve of our people as a whole is a bit shaken.
December 4, 2007 28 Comments
I was faced with this question at a Deacons meeting last night at my church. As part of the devotional time at the beginning of the meeting one of the Deacons made a comment and gave a short presentation that basically said that the God of Christianity is the same god the Muslims worship. I don’t think anyone was aware of the content of the devotion before he gave it.
To say that I was stunned would be a great understatement. I even asked for clarification from him to make sure I understood what he meant. Unfortunately, I heard him correctly. I attend a small, very traditional Southern Baptist Church in a small town in East Tennessee. Our disagreements are not usually over something this…..substantive. Since I was unaware of the need to be prepared for something of this importance I was forced to object to his presentation from memory. As is normally the case, I thought of much more I could have said after I got home that night and was thinking about it. I also consulted a pastor friend who was able to give me a few questions to bring to this brother.
I was able to mention 3 or 4 things that made it very clear that the God of Christianity is not the god of Islam. The things I mentioned were: 1)Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God but that He was only a mortal prophet, like any other prophet and second to Mohammad, 2)Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified…they believe that someone else was crucified on the cross for Him, 3)Muslims believe in a works based salvation…not by grace through faith. None of these are Biblical.
If you truly believe that we worship the same God you have to ask yourself a couple very important questions. Why would the same God give different revelations about Himself to different people groups? And next, If He did give different revelations about Himself does that mean that the different paths to salvation in these different revelations are both equally valid since they lead to the same God?
I have not done any extensive research about the differences between Christianity and Islam but I have done some basic study on the topic. I will be starting to do some more research now as I need to prepare myself to be able to discuss this issue with my brother in Christ and so that maybe God can use me in some way to bring him back from this error and crisis he is going through.
If you have any suggestions on good material (books, websites, etc.) that might help me I would appreciate it. Just post a comment with the reference.