Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LIFE Matters

I don't need to say anything else but ZIANNA OLIPHANT...You should remember that name. I will!


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Saturday, September 10, 2016

"No culture of accountability"


What does sexual abuse and miscounduct by athletes of Baylor University have to do with sexual abuse and clergy sexual miscounduct in a church? Read on, I'll tell ya:

In an interview with ESPN Sports News, former Baylor University football coach Art Briles explains the legacy that will forever mark his tenure as Baylor head coach because of failure to deal with sexual assault and abuse in a manner that was intense and unyielding. 

To be clear Coach Briles could not possibly stop every choice and action of his players. However, the coach and others in the Baylor system could have done a much better job of responding to sexual abuse allegations and handling the issues that forever shape and change lives of real individuals.

COGIC Election

2016 is the election year in COGIC. For years, I have asked this church to get real and deal with some serious cultural issues as it pertains to how it responds to allegations of sexual abuse and clergy sins. To date, we have done little to make sure that a solid system of accountability is in place and That current offenders are not only reported to legal professionals but are removed from office and positions of responsibility within the church.

While we have candidates that feel that they can lead a church, NONE have said a word about this vitally important issue and the church's standing within the community and the world.

Can COGIC create a "culture of accountability"? Or will it allow the culture to come calling on it and demand better of it? 

Once thing is for sure, similar to Coach Briles, who is an upstanding gentleman by all accounts...if we don't deal with it, it will deal with us...COGIC will not be able to escape based in its name...and you better believe that!!!!

Blessed!

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

American Freedom & Football...A Kaepernick Story


In a recent Facebook posting, this is what I had to say regarding the Colin Kaepernick exercise of free speech and protest. 
"Now please allow me to say something...
The football QB known as Colin Kaeprrnick made and continues to make a stand for what he believes and has every right to voice his opinion and launch his protest by every peaceful means of a free society in which he lives. 
Many people have said that because he is a person that earns millions of dollars and is Black that he is somehow exempt from being able to protest....Others have said that his wallet proves that racism does not exist in America. What we hear when that is said is ample proof of the hypocrisy that we have accepted as Americans when it comes to fairness, equality, money and Black exceptionalism. 
When such sentiments are invoked it is clearly a throwback to the slave/master mentality. Should a Black man not protest because he has 40 acres and a mule? Should Black exceptionalism remove blocks of successful Black men and women from the struggle and liberation of them that are suffering? 
To believe that is to believe that money buys equality and further that money should buy silence. This is the root of slavery. This is the philosophical construct of the slave master. For the trade of money the person is purchased to sit silently and be who we tell him that he is...His name is TOBY...we have demanded his identity to be reconstructed to our liking...this is the American hypocrisy that he is protesting. Not the military or good police and what works in society. He protests what is wrong in society and given life and strength by our hypocrisy and failure to act upon what we know should be addressed. 
Most times the White wealthy are unopposed in dissent of any fashion and are understood to represent an "honorable" cause. So much so until a nation (America) that dishonored the flag of another (Great Britain) taking land that was not theirs (What we call America now), wealthy and poor working together were called PATRIOTS, pioneers and exemplary Americans. 
Yet today, they burn jerseys of an athlete that has paid for his place with bumps, bruises, and all sorts of other injuries and an insurmountable amount of time and pain that none of his critics care to mention. He has run every play, followed the rules for free while others earned millions off of his success. 
Remember the "owners"? They traded or what we call "contracted" to give him money but they too made insurmountable dollars off of the talents he honed and developed over the years. They only contributed after the fact. In any sense none of their contribution included taking away of his personal freedoms? Or do we now say that payments (ie: money & salaries) now strip individuals of their freedom? If so, that is the essence of slavery is it not? 
No, I have no regard for the BLM movement but I have every regard for a free man's right to dissent, not based on what he has done in the past, but what he has come to stand for and believe now. 
For those, all of those, to call him un-American is to affirm that the flag is nothing more than a sham. If the flag cannot guarantee his right of dissent then it certainly cannot provide his freedom. 
I say listen to the young man. He may be saying something that many of us if not all of us have known for generations...only something GOOD is worth fighting for!
I am Pastor Harvey Burnett, God gave me my freedom and I approved this message.
Blessed!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Has God Ordained Donald Trump , Hillary Clinton or any Presidential Candidate to be President?

During almost every election cycle, someone invariably insists that their candidate has been "sent by God" to either lead the nation or be appointed to position. The same can be said of the current election cycle. 

The Arguments or should we say Rationalizations?

Some, such as David Hodges of 'The Common Sense Show Blog',  contend that similar to Jehosaphat that Trump has somehow been "chosen by God" to lead the nation even if he is unaware of it or not. Although he doesn't mention it like this, Trump is similar to the Babylonians who ransacked Israel at the behest of God as a fulfillment of prophecy and is destined to be President. Hodges, like many, are not disillusioned that Trump is godly, but contend that God is doing "something" within the nation that he would not do otherwise. 

Then there is Michelle Bachmann who, in an interview with CBN invoked what she thought was contained in the book of Daniel:

Ps. 75:6-7 ~ 6-For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7-But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

I believe she was referring to Daniel 4:17, only that America is NOT a "Kingdom" as Daniel outlines. However, Bachmann indicated that out of the initial 17 Republican candidates and against all odds, Donald Trump was raised to the top  to be the Republican nominee, and by virtue of that his candidacy is surely of God and is something that she will support because she does not believe that "God sits things out" or is uncaring about the Presidency. Nevertheless, her interview can be found HERE

I am not saying that either person is wrong for their thinking and for examining the issue in light of truth and why we are here today doing what we are doing. But there are some problems with what I believe may be "linear thinking" on the issue, especially as it pertains to a God who does not necessarily think linearlly (sic) or for purposes that we can outline. 

The first problem I believe is a slippery slope problem.

Slippery Slope

Arguments like Hodges and Bachmann's could be froth full of problems for Christians to explain. In order to defeat contradiction, one should be able to apply the same or similar logic to many different things and even other leaders and leaderships and not exclusively "American" leaders or leadership, that is unless one thinks that God only cares about America and or Americans. 

Example, Adolph Hitler (1939-1945) was certainly "raised up" to lead the German people at a time in history. I am confident that there were some great things that happened under his leadership. However, we KNOW that some of the most horrific things in modern history also happened under his leadership as well. The murder of over 12 million primarily Jews and the ungodly racist hatred and anti-semitism that spewed from the nation as a result could hardly be said to be either "prophetic" or "ordained by God" under any circumstance. Yet it happened.

The leadership of Pol Pot(1975-1979) killed and destroyed over 1.7 million people, nearly a third of the Cambodia. Was he "raised up" by God or was he a part of "prophecy"? It cannot be argued that he led the people. 

There there is former Russian leader Jozef Stalin(1932-1939) who is said to have murdered over 7 million people or caused them to have been put to death.

How about Fidel Castro (1959-1999) of Cuba? Former leader of a nation that has gained new open relations with America. Fidel is said to have been responsible for killing over 30,000 Cubans for disagreeing with his leadership.   

So it is a very difficult argument to make that either Hitler, Pot, Stalin, or Castro were fulfillment of prophecy, especially when, like Trump, neither of their names were called by God. It is furthermore difficult to say that either of these people came to power because they were "ordained" or sanctioned by God to do what they did by virtue of their exaltation or ability to reach the heights of leadership. 

In fact the latter thought would give rise to a warped conclusion that no matter how a person acts in "office" or after being "raised up" that they are somehow "special" to God or similar to the Blues Brothers "on a mission from God".  This is confusing for many especially in light of NT admonitions saying that we, as Christians, should be "subject" to the authorities that rule because their rule is because of God or their office is sanctioned of God. (Rom. 13:1, Titus 3:0, 11, 1 Peter 2:13-17)

I think out of hat conclusions along these lines, that leaders are "of God" and are to be obeyed and or reverenced simply because they are in position, are equally as flawed.  

The Conclusion Of The Skeptic & Atheist

In the blog, "500 Questions about God & Christianity" the blog author, who describes himself as a "mild mannered former Christian" examines the issue regarding the 2012 Presidential election in which commentary was similar to what it is now regarding "God's plan for the Presidency". This is what the "former Christian" concludes:  
"So does God appoint evil leaders? According to the Bible, yes. 
This fact highlights many contradictions that exist in God’s behavior: he’s benevolent, yet gives rise to evil leaders; he leads his followers to vote for one leader, yet he appoints another; he guides the motives of all leaders, yet they still disagree; he orders his followers to do good, and then orders them to obey evil leaders; he punishes nations and people who are helpless, and grants victory to evil tyrants; and he insists he establishes all authority, and then denies establishing all authority. 
If the Bible is truly inspired by God, one wonders why such contradictions exist."
In short, the situation of "leaders being ordained of God" as "former Christian" suggests calls into question the character of God. If these are the only alternatives, I would agree. Thank God however, that none of what I have outlined is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the rise and fall of evil men and women to either secular or spiritual office. Please allow me to explain.

Alternate View

In this, I must lay a few layers of ideas and truths to set the stage for my ultimate conclusion. Please be patient and read through each section to see if my mini-conclusions are sound. I'll be glad to respond to feedback and modifications in the commentary section, so please don't hesitate...

The Sovereignty & Nature Of God
First, we know that God is sovereign. Sovereignty meaning that God can act in any manner that he wishes in accord with his nature, without question or being subject to any authority. However, we also know that God is good. A good God does not operate his sovereignty outside of the realm of his goodness. 

Now if this is to be accepted, we must reconcile how God is good. Is he good by nature or are his acts good simply because he says that they are good? If it is because he says or calls his acts good, then his goodness could be arbitrary. In other words, God could call even the most vile evil, "good". However, if his good or goodness is because his nature is good, then his good acts cannot be separated from his nature.  In fact, I would like to go further and state that if goodness exists at all, it is because HE (ie: God) is good. Now, I already hear the critic. They say well in that case, if evil exists it is because God is evil and that I cannot have it one way without the other. Well, I simply say that I side with Norm Giessler on this one who stated that God made evil possible, but man made evil actual by and according to his choice of evil!!!

With the free will contingency in mind, one of the greatest goodnesses(sic) of God would be the extension of free will to free moral agents. Individuals who both have the will and right to make a choice of God and or of evil. One could argue that was not God's original intent, as God did not allow Adam or eve to eat of the "Tree of the knowledge of good and evil"(Gen 2:9, 17), however God being God, knowing all, made a built in contingency in that Jesus was a propitiation for sin from the beginning of all creation. 

Free will that is made to do one thing or another is not free will. Being given overwhelming reasons to do something is still not a violation of free will, because in the end one could make a choice either to do or not to do. Being forced to do something is compulsion and possibly determinism. Although many individuals argue this regularly (that God compels both the righteous and unrighteous to act and do what he wants them to do) I will not deal with it in detail here. One thing that God has preserved among humanity is the ability of men to make choices. I believe that it would be a violation of God's "goodness" to strip men of that choice to implement either good or evil, make a good decision or a bad decision out of man's own mind. However, that choice can be directed by God and ultimately does not at any time escape the knowledge or preparation of God in any way. 

The Knowledge Of God
With that said, and backtracking on what I have already stated, we know that if God is God at all, then he is omniscient. This means that he has all knowledge, both past, present and future. There is nothing that has got by him or nothing that can catch him unaware or unprepared. This is where it gets sticky, God, because of his knowledge, has made certain determinations. Those determinations are based and rooted in his goodness. Those determinations are not merely "responsive", or not merely in response or as a result of what men and mankind does. If they are in response to man, then it seems that life, living and purpose are man centered as opposed to God centered or sovereignty inspired. However, it could be that what we 'think" is man centered or inspired is ultimately inspired by God, as nothing has happened that has caught God by surprise as stated. 

At this point many simply say, "did God ordain it or did he not?" The only answer that can be given is that at times, he does and has "ordained"however at other times he has "permitted" something to be that he has not necessarily "ordained". 

For example, no one can hardly successfully argue that God "ordained" a husband to kill his wife and kids or for a mother to do the same. Or for a baby or a baby's mother to die in a drive by shooting or by a stray bullet. Or for a person to rape and or molest another. No one can say that Go has ordained these things, YET every man has a appointed time to live and to die, and every person on earth is subject to be touched as a result of crime or evil.  

Quickly. I use "ordain" here to mean something that God has "decreed" or declared that will happen without question or failure. 

The further question is "how does God ordain" or what is the "process" by which he has decreed something? ie: is the process open to change even if the purpose or ultimate aim is fixed? These are things that the bible is not clear on and where our faith in HIM his nature and HIS will for us is exercised. 

The King & His Heart
The bible constructs that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and that the Lord directs or turns that heart in a manner that pleases him. (Prov. 21:1) 

What this does not say is that God controls the King as a "puppet". Although at times a "puppet" could be made out of a person that follows the whims and dictates of their own minds and hearts. However, it does affirm that even the King can do no more or less than what the Lord has instructed, allows, or permits. So God setting the boundaries or parameters in no wise hampers free will.  

A Word On Pharaoh
Some conclude that Pharaoh was inexplicably tied to his own destruction because God "hardened his heart". (Ex. 7:3, 9:12, 10:20,27, 11:10, 14:4) I have often taught that this view, that God made Pharaoh obstinate as a result of his holding his heart in that position is incorrect. Pharaoh, who had control over his own heart, chose his obstinance against God of his own free will. However the language is similar to the language that a man uses when he has committed the crime of abusing his wife or children...in nearly every case the offender, in this case the man, will say that the wife or children "made" him do what he did. Of course we naturally know that no one took the hands of another and made them abuse them...however, the message is clear that the offender believes that the victims actions, however slight, caused the perpetrator of the crime to act. In any case, we all understand that the perpetrator is responsible for and had full control over their own actions unless they were working in self-defense.

Sisera & The Judges
One of the basic lessons of the Old Testament (OT) is that of the Judges and the "sin cycle" or the "cycle of restoration" that was displayed. We observe that like clockwork, when the people of God had a champion, they served the Lord, only to backslide when the Judge did not reign The people would indulge in sin, go through punishment for it, seek the Lord through calls for repentance and help, enjoy the blessings of restoration and renewal only to go back through the cycle again. 

During these times, it was clear that the Lord had allowed these things, even directing them clearly at times, for a purpose. In judges, it is clear that the purpose was to call men to prayer, fellowship and union with HIM. 

One such character that brought Israel to repentance and as such was a "servant" of God, was the character of Sisera. After judge Ehud died, the book of Judges records this:

Judges 4:1-3 ~ 1-And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. 2-And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.3-And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

Jabin had Sisera as a general and appointed him over Israel. Sisera "oppressed" Israel for 20 years. Notice the purpose of God was to call Israel BACK to himself after they had backslid, but at the same time everyone acted out of their own free will. Jabin's appointment was his. Sisera's oppression was his. The people's repentance to God was their own. However, it was orchestrated and directed by God for his purpose without missing a beat. The ultimate purpose, following the story and the book, was to bring the people of God to a deeper, new and better relationship with HIM. 

So it is with the precision of a weaver or someone making intricate details to the smallest of things that God sewed together the tapestry of Israel's past and our present. Do we understand the why all the time? Absolutely not. We are not God and neither are we required to be. That is where faith in HIS character takes over.      

Summary To The Point & Conclusion:
I've talked through many things, but here is a quick summary/snapshot of some of the things:

God is good
God is sovereign
God is omniscient
God acts in his sovereignty according to his nature
God has a plan according to his omniscience that will not be missed
God responds to man and mankind based on their response to HIM
God is active in the choices of man and not merely responsive
Man makes choices for which God cannot be blamed
God deals with man according to those free will responses
God ultimately uses whom he will to do his bidding. Those who do this do not necessarily always do honoring things, by their own freewill choices.
God's ultimate aim is to bring man into union and fellowship with HIM

The Question:
In light of these things, lets look back at the original or initial question:

Has God ordained Donald Trump , Hillary Clinton or any Presidential candidate to be President? 

I would contend that while God is certainly not indifferent, God's plan does not necessarily center around either the Trump or Clinton brand.  Neither candidate has a relationship with HIM to do "righteously" by the people of God. I contend that God's ultimate aim is to call  men and women of God to repentance, union and fellowship with HIM. Certainly a Trump presidency, similar to a Clinton presidency should call ALL men to repentance because we will be equally as jacked up, in my opinion and in many instances if not most, more jacked up with Clinton!

Just like when President Obama, Bush, Clinton and others were elected and throughout their Presidencies, God has placed America in a position in which it MUST pray and renew its relationship with God. Trump is not a man of "prophecy" in my opinion and I see no parallel to any biblical character with the exception of the admonitions of Solomon about the wealthy and boisterous. I certainly see no parallel of Clinton either and just because either of them has ascended to high political ranks, I see no special calling upon either of their lives other than that they, as well as all men, good or evil, are instruments in the hands of God.  

Trump is not a deliverer and certainly doesn't claim to be one. Clinton, is not a deliverer and does not make the claim either. So neither of them can be vessels in the sense that either of them have some ethereal call upon their lives to be President and to do righteously as in doing what the bible requires men and women to do.

Their policies and practices make it difficult for any bible believer to fully give themselves to support any. For example, Trump has no clue as to why men should not be allowed into women's bathrooms, and views gay rights as a matter of a business move, while Clinton thinks it is a benefit to continue to promote abortion as a choice greater than the life of the baby that is destroyed in the process.

So I will agree and disagree with both Hodges and Bachmann. If Trump is in prophecy he is in there by being a man that boasts and speaks great things, but as one who does not represent biblical values. Although neither of these candidates are Kings, although some may think they are, both are on the same footing. They are humans, seeking to lead a secular nation into secular ideals and values with a fascad that God is pleased. 

Personally, God could not possibly be pleased with either of the candidates. As stated, they both have serious issues. The lesser "issue" is not necessarily a "lesser evil". They are just different evils that should leave the true believer with the knowledge that God is at work by taking away any natural hope of our deliverance as a people, heed the call of God to prayer and seeking him diligently. If we were waiting for a natural deliverance we should be confident by now that such a deliverer is not coming through this or any new political or social process.

Jesus is Lord and remains Lord and is calling ALL of us to him for HIS leadership.This election cycle, I hope that people everywhere will be able to see that and know that no matter what, without God our nation is in trouble and will remain so. 

Blessed! 

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

NO EVIDENCE For "Born This Way" and Many Other Novel Speculations Regarding Sex and Sexuality

As I stated on a recent Facebook posting, our President has said for years that he is a "man of science". This phrase has been spoken by him regarding issues from stem cells to updating our beliefs on the bible and especially as it pertains to homosexuality in a modern, scientifically enlightened age. 

The Science. It's Not What They Said It Was!

Recently, a study entitled:"Sexuality and Gender Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and


Social Sciences" was authored and released by Dr's Lawrence S. Mayer, and Paul R. McHugh. Needless to say the study has rocked the world of the homosexual advocacy, debunking claims and calling other modern, supposedly scientific, novel speculations way too premature:
"While some people are under the impression that sexual orientation is an innate, fixed, and biological trait of human beings — that, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, we are “born that way” — there is insufficient scientific evidence to support that claim. In fact, the concept of sexual orientation itself is highly ambiguous; it can refer to a set of behaviors, to feelings of attraction, or to a sense of identity. Epidemiological studies show a rather modest association between genetic factors and sexual attractions or behaviors, but do not provide significant evidence pointing to particular genes."
The study, certainly not defending a Christian view of sex and sexuality, dispells many of the most common myths promoted by the liberal elite that human sex and sexuality is an innate property of human beings. Although the study does not affirm that sex is a choice, as I have held and will continue to hold on this blog, it can be said that at best, sex and sexuality is a product of environment and environmental pressures and is an outgrowth of certain experiences of human biological and psychological development rather than being an inborn part of ones human physiology.

Now, some would say, "well there is no evidence that one is born a heterosexual either"...To which we should all say that the evidence is abundant. If heterosexuality is a product of "evolution" then we can say that it, rather than homosexuality has preserved the species. There remains to be no homosexual procreation! Further, and more to the point, heterosexism follows the natural order of biological life and as sentient beings with a spirit in tact (not just flesh) the proscription of God to be "fruitful and multiply" satisfied both the longing of the flesh for relevance and the desire of the spirit to carry out the will of God on earth. 


Children, A Motivating Factor


One of the reasons that these professionals undertook the study was the astounding and even ridiculous propositions hoisted that children even as young as 2 years old felt that they were sometimes "trapped" in the wrong body and had "feelings" of being an opposite sex.  
"Yet despite the scientific uncertainty, drastic interventions are prescribed and delivered to patients identifying, or identified, as transgender. This is especially troubling when the patients receiving these interventions are children. We read popular reports about plans for medical and surgical interventions for many prepubescent children, some as young as six, and other therapeutic approaches undertaken for children as young as two. We suggest that no one can determine the gender identity of a two-year-old."
While this study was far from a biblical or Christian or even theological treatment of the subject and subject matter, the study confirms much of what we know and teach as Christians, 

1- That there is no biological evidence supporting the notion that human beings are born gay
2- That children should be taught the difference between feelings, and identity.

The scripture is clear:


Prov. 22:6 ~ Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.


While the bible does not guarantee that a child will do the things that a parent trains or teaches them to do, it does solidify the fact that a moral foundation is an essential element of life and living and that moral foundation continues to be the foundation of the child as he or she grown into adulthood. 

The culture is fighting for the minds of the children because satan knows that if he can turn the minds of a generation until it does not realize that we are created spiritual beings and not merely material beings, that he has a stronghold to feed humanity nearly any and everything in the name of "acceptableness"...

Look at it...even some of the church has fallen to the belief, rooted in rank naturalism, that humans are no more than glorified primates and animals only acting out on an evolved desire to thrive as a species. If that is true, if any sort of sexual activity is permissible, if all actions are unquantifiablely without restriction and ultimately without moral value. If that is the case then all of life is utter confusion and there is no reason to do good outside of some selfish means and desire for survival,

Conclusion

While this study certainly won't be the last word on the subject, it does finally clear the air of what we have been saying. That homosexuality has no basis in empirical science and that being "born this way" is more of a self declaration than a declaration based on evidence or fact.

Believe it or not, God has not made any mistakes or errors. Even the "inter-sexed" are not mistakes. When God made man, he made a man. When he made a woman, he made a woman, without excuse or a thought that she or he should be the opposite sex or gender.

To the homosexual, this argument is NOT about your worth or value, neither is it about your contribution to society. You are worth a great price and your contributions help make all of us what we are. However, it is about SIN. Sin is a heavy burden to carry, this is why Jesus asks that you cast your burden upon him. (Matt. 11:28-30, 1 Pet. 5:7) My sin may be different than yours but it is ALL sin and unworthy of a holy God and cannot be legislated into normalcy. No matter how many people accept it, it is still sin and unworthy of God.

Though men try, we cannot change God and or his nature to suit or accommodate our sin. Neither should we seek to do so. In that we will be judged with a greater judgement for changing the truth of God into a lie. (Rom. 1:25)  The lie of men. We should however, use every moment of our lives to pursue him and conform to HIS standards rather than our own. To preach against sin is to preach what will save and change lives, and that is the truth..

As I see these internet preachers and ministries, and watch what is supposed to be Gospel on TV, one thing is clear, the GOSPEL is not being preached. What we are hearing is spiritual psychology being passed off as gospel. We are hearing health, wealth and prosperity being passed off as gospel. We are hearing a social message of confusion, immorality and contradiction being passed of as gospel. We are hearing a message of EXCUSES being passed off as gospel. However, the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ is transformative. It can change a sinner's heart and desires and clean the hands of the defiled. 

The GOSPEL is the POWER of God unto salvation. Homosexuality or any other sin need not control you when you have received the GOSPEL. I would that all churches would realize that it is not the next great program or musical that will change hearts...it is not the next great choir that will turn minds...neither is it the next great and most flamboyant preacher that will turn the tide of sin, it is the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ that has transformed men and women...transformed. adulterers, homosexuals and even those caught in sin's stronghold for generations of time...

Rom. 1:16 ~ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek 

Blessed!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Signs Of A Cult Pt. 2: COGIC, Who Do We SERVE?

First I need to clarify for the sensationalists, that I am not contending that COGIC is a cult. I am a District Supt. in the church and would not dare such a thing about what I know  as a well spring of holiness. However, I am speaking of specific practices of some of those within the organizational church and comparing those actions to what we know about cult activity.

In my post, "Signs Of A Cult" I listed 9 things that cults and cult leaders do in general to gain control over their subjects and people they target. Remember sign # 7:
VII- Redefinition Of What Is True & How Truth Is Assessed:
One of the greatest seductions perpetrated by the cult leader is the elimination of any objective standards for truth and right. The bible or biblical operation is minimized. There is no "high view" of the word. There is a redefinition to "what I say" as opposed to what the word says. This sort of seduction does not begin overtly, it begins minimally. Little by little the standard of right and what is true is changed from an objective, biblical standard, to a subjective personal standard that cannot be readily corrected.

Interestingly enough I received some information from a Women's Department "Leader" that made me stand on my head. In what was titled "Protocol Guidelines for Effectively Serving Your Leader" 23 protocols were given as a directive to all those Missionary women who seek to be "armor bearers" in a certain COGIC Jurisdiction in Chicago. 

Although this is only the skin of the surface of problems in that Jurisdiction, which will go unnamed at the moment, I thought it interesting that time had been taken to set in "order" the behavior of the women who seek to serve in this particular Jurisdictional setting.
Rule 2a ~ "Know the proper code of ethics and behavior toward the leader" 
Now, somebody help me here? Since when did GOD issue an alternate set of rules to teach us how to follow leaders "ethically"? In fact, do TRUE believes act unethically towards leadership? Is there some HANDBOOK somewhere that teaches us these "extra biblical ethics" towards leaders? Then who wrote it? Paul or Peter?


Rule 9 ~ "Get to know your leader's likes and dislikes and govern your behavior accordingly"
So we are to "know" what our leader "likes" and "dislikes"??? For WHAT purpose? So we can be their SLAVE?...What about this verse:

Mark 10:44 ~ and whoever would be first among you must be slave (Gk: doulos or bond servant)of all.

The Jurisdictional instructions read more like a "How To Serve Royalty" than how to serve GOD and honor those in the church or those who partner in service for the glory of the Kingdom. As stated these instructions were delivered to the Missionary Dept. in effort to seemingly let the ladies know that they better get  in order, be in order, pay up and sit down!



Another of the rules of a cult is to make "subjects" of of adherents or followers, and never view them as equals. Guess what, Rule 12 says just that below:
"Do not get involved with the leader's conversation(s) with the leaders colleagues. Step away and allow your leader the necessary privacy to conduct business."
The "leader's colleagues"? Don't worry Sister Missionary being so gracious as to try to assist and help this Mother, or those who have "arrived", you're just pitly and beneath these leaders and they are out of your league...you have no colleague in the game....

Remember I said this in my previous article:

 IX - Personal Attachment Or Over Commitment To Cult Leaders Or Position
The cult leaders desires that their subjects tap into their personality and emotions. They will often do this by dispensing and distributing "positions" and "titles" to their subject to create a sense of importance and loyalty. In the minds of adherents, the emotion of the cult leader is what either motivates or discourages personal actions and attitudes. There is no independence of pursuit, without the enthusiastic approval of the cult leader. In addition, when one is seduced, to even tell them that they are seduced and not behaving rationally is like threatening or challenging one to a fight. The reason is that cult leaders spend an inordinate amount of time grooming their subjects into their way of thinking and rationalization of the world. Finally, the faults, and even sins of the cult leader are often overlooked and in many cases minimized or redefined to be "right" in spite of what is obviously wrong. When this is pointed out, the world created by the cult leader is threatened and the standards of the cult followers are overturned. In short, this is idolatry. Those that follow these cult leaders are idolaters.
Remember, cults teach "don't get so close" all the while they are all up in your business...however there is no reciprocity. This is amply seen in Rule 14...
 "Do not attempt to initiate jokes with your leader or engage in personal/common conversation"

Although you can't talk to or even joke with the leader, you can give them money at any time. In fact your are boarderline required to consider the leader "worthy" simply because they are the "leader". Here you go with Rule 23:
"Provide the necessary financial support as required in rendering tribute and honor to whom honor is due"
So you can only come "close" when it comes to giving MONEY...That is the standard whereby one can joke all day long and have as many conversations as one likes I suppose...

The I'll just have to repent I suppose because I am guilty of Rule 16:
"Do not disclose organizational information on social media without leadership authorization"

OOPS!!!! Now tell me, when will ANYONE doing wrong EVER authorize the public to know about it? In fact, if something is RIGHT and TRUE it can certainly stand the light of day can't it? This is a CLUE that you are being GROOMED to accept that what is being done and what is being done is wrong and needs your SILENT participation... 


One rule I LOVE...it is Rule 11. it simply says this:
"Do not take it upon yourself to orchestrate a surprise for your leader"
Ooh, how I love that one...I WON'T take it upon myself to orchestrate the SURPRISE of an OFFERING....I'll consider Rule 23 NOT in effect by the evidence of a list of 23 directives, most of which are designed to create a subservient relationship to get "subjects" in order...I AIN'T the one and THANK YOU for allowing me to keep my money!!!!

Who's to blame? Not the woman who released this...It's the BISHOP that backs it by allowing it to be distributed...you know the same set of rules go for the men as well??? That's really a no-brainer...

Sorry, I REFUSE to be USED!!!!

Blessed! 

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Can The Black Community Handle The Truth?


It seems that our community/my community/ the community I have served in ministry for nearly 30 years, can't handle the TRUTH about us!

While we are trying to disband the police (try that for a day and call me if you survive) we are THE MOST suffering people in a free nation than ever before...Face it...the PLANTATION ERA mentality has not helped us one bit...Seeking for someone to pay us back for what our ancestors suffered is not working...Seeking to be treated fairly, while we kill ourselves off slowly (CHICAGO, CHICAGO, CHICAGO) does NOTHING but makes us look crazy...

Ooh yes...Black exceptionalism exists...it always will...a few of us will make and do better for ourselves THANK GOD...but too many of us suffer, and our so called 'leaders" tell us to blame it on "the White man" for holding us down...Well YES he (the White man) has done his part...but THEY are not to blame for our blatant disrespect towards one another and for the ridiculous things that we do in our community...

Recently, when out with the family, we were on a rather peaceful drive, until we turned down one street to one particular gas station...at that point the neighborhood looked like a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY...Folk hanging out on cars, in a parking lot, liquor out, 40 Oz's all over the place, cans thrown around and folk loud as they can be...It was GHETTO-FANTABULOUS,  As a Black man, I wasn't afraid, but there was not one White person around and I thought how scared one would be to be there at that time...Why, the CULTURE was totally different, different enough that me as a Black community activist, known by most Blacks where I live, had reservations because this was new!!!

What did I see, people acting out POVERTY! Poverty has a distinct look and fell...I was in one of the worst and most poverty stricken zones in America by the US Census data...

As one that has served the poor gladly for over 20 years in pastoral ministry, and will happily do so as long as I live, I can say that WE NEED CHANGE, yes, spiritually, but in our natural choices and things that we do and entertain us...Poverty is ripe grounds for addiction, dysfunction, and hatred on all levels...

For Donald Trump to ask us, what do we have to lose if we change is the right question even if the wrong person is asking (and that is arguable)...once thing is for sure, the liberal politician, as much as he claims a "bleeding heart" only wants more of the same, because it's big business for him....

So don't tell me a THANG!!!! Until you've stood in the streets with over 50 families who loved ones have died of senseless violence in the streets...and sought to comfort them and call criminals into account and at the same time, take food and money off your own table to help folk...SHUT UP!!!!

Leave Donald alone on this one. The question is VALID!!!!

Blessed

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Star Parker: A Lawless Society

In her recent article in the Catalyst Magazine, a publication of the CURE (Center For Urban Renewal and Education) conservative activist Star Parker outlines the correlation between FBI Director Jim Comey’s rationalization regarding the violations of Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in her apparent email scandal and the seeming lawlessness and violent civil unrest that has sometimes occurred at recent Black Lives Matter events and rallies around the country. In the article Star says:
“What we are witnessing is the chaotic result of a society that is becoming each day more lawless. The basis of civilized, decent and just society is law. But law, if it’s going to be respected, must be rooted in core values and eternal truths. In the words of our second President, John Adams, we need a “government of laws, not of men”. 
Star goes on to say:
“In our zeal to purge our nation of Judeo-Christian values, driven by the false notion that religion hampers rather than enhances our freedom, we bear the consequences of this effort. We wind up with a government of men, not laws.”
Star also affirms that when law is not applied or taken seriously at the highest levels of society that those “struggling in life” will conclude that the country itself is unfair, and that there is no legislation that will calm people who do not feel respected or taken seriously. 

The Anarchy Of Black Lives Matter

Although I am certainly no fan of the Black Lives Matter movement, as I have expressed HERE, it should be noted that the unfairness of practices and policies within society is exactly what the Black Lives Matter(BLM) movement is attempting to address under its social justice agenda. However, the efforts have been perceived as unfriendly to public safety by many who have witnessed the outgrowth of anger and the veracity in which arguments are raised It is exactly the correlation between lawlessness, liberalism, injustice, and the attempt to correct injustice without embracing theologically inspired moral value paradigms that has allowed the movement to proliferate and find a place in the hearts and minds of a new generation of activists and those who see themselves as having been treated unjustly and unfairly by the system that currently exists. 

As stated, the methods embraced by the BLM movement has led to a host of social upheaval efforts
as outlined in their literature and multiple interviews. Founder of the movement and lesbian activist, Alicia Garza, states that in her opinion, the police, as we know of the institution within our society, should be done away with or disbanded. Ms. Garza, a bona-fide socialist and near communist in her views and application of what a society should embrace and operate, appears to believe that most of the primary institutions within society are driven not only by race, but by male dominance and heterosexism, which, from studying her commentary, have all combined to hurt the Black community and take advantage of all of them that are struggling in life. 

Ms. Garza’s sentiments were born out of her observations of activities and police interactions in the San Francisco Bay area, in which she describes that the police and policing activities were and are basically a tool for gentrification in which unfair and obtuse laws are unfairly applied to target Black people in particular, oppressing them so much and ultimately forcing them to clear out of entire areas and neighborhoods so that the White establishment can do a “land grab” and ultimately community redevelopment without having to pay the people from whom they initially took the land.

Ms. Garza's Interview by The Nation Blog and her comments regarding abolishing the police acan be found HERE

It seems that examination of practices such as these, which includes the systematic murder of persons of color by police activities, and other issues all around the country appear to be a combination of primary reasons that the BLM movement gained so much appeal among many Blacks and others who have witnessed similar in their neighborhoods and communities, and who have felt taken advantage of and belittled by what others, primarily the White establishment, believe are societal norms.

Moral Values, Society & The Law Of God 

If what Star has set forth is true, that we are in turmoil as a country because of the lack of respect for law even at the highest ranks of society, and also from the disdain of a transcendent source of objective moral values and law, and I believe that she is correct, then there is no natural solution to our plight as a nation and as a people. If she is correct, then we can expect to see more and more unjust laws continue to come forth based on what men think is true as opposed to what God says is true. 

Under the system of subjective morality, standards are only as good as the group that is in power says that they are. Everything, right and wrong, moral good and bad, is relegated to what men “think” is true and what men ‘feel” is right or good. 

If men can contour truth to be whatever they want it to be, or make truth include whatever constructs that they think are correct, then we are relegated to a disparity that will always be based on the strength and moral right of men and mankind. In other words there will always be injustice. The interpretation and application of law will always be applied as it facilitates politics and classism. Ultimately, someone, left out of those damaged by the process will invariably feel that they must fight, by whatever means, to make their cause heard. 

The socialism/communism that the BLM movement promotes will not correct or fix the problem. In fact, the socialism espoused by the BLM movement will only exacerbate the problem by taking from a class of people what they believe is theirs, by disregarding the law or at least making exceptions within the law based on personal appeal and exceptions to it. 

As Star suggests, there is no legal proceeding or ruling from the Supreme Court that will correct the problem. If guns are totally banned from America, that will not solve the problem or issues. No legislative action can fix a problem that stems from the heart and the hearts of men and mankind. The only thing that will fix and or correct the problem is a reversion back to sound moral truths and values based on what is true. Not based on what someone accepts or perceives to be true. There is a vast difference.

Acceptance Of Truth

Pilate stood before Jesus and asked, “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38) What he did not know, but soon found out afterward, was the Jesus was different than anyone he had met up until that point in his life. To know Jesus, was to know truth! To know him and to have met his is what made him want to wash his hands clean of any misconception or negative association with him. To know the word of the Lord IS to know truth: 

John 6:63 ~ It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 

We live in a society that feels that truth, moral right and the assessment of moral wrong are negotiable and that concepts of absolute truth are hindrances to freedom. Mistakenly, many contend that truth and freedom comes from an unlimited abundance of objects from which to choose. However, in reality truth only comes from the unfettered ability to make a choice and once a choice is made, the individual is bound by the choice that he makes.

God has stated what is good, right and moral for mankind to live by. Within his statements are LIFE and pure freedom. If God has said that premarital abstinence is what we should experience and we follow his mandate and proscriptions, how many unwanted pregnancies would be avoided? How many STD’s would not be transmitted? How many sleepless nights would be avoided simply because someone followed and obeyed the truth? I don’t want to paint the picture that following truth is easy by any means, but what I do want to say is that following truth and right, makes living and life much more fulfilling. 


John 15:11 ~ These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.


The law of God has come through Jesus to fulfill our joy, not to hamper or hinder it. We are hampered by our redefinition of truth and moral right. When that happens society feels and knows there is an injustice and there will always be opposing ends of the spectrum of truth, right and wrong. 

Man’s redefinition of marriage has hampered us as a society, not freed us. Man’s redefinition of life and when that life has rights, has hampered us, not freed us. Man’s moral landscape of pluralism and subjectivism has hampered us, not freed us. Man’s desire to rid himself of God, and standards of objective moral values and truth has hampered us, not freed us.

The best that we can do is realize that as a society, if wrong can be identified, then right can certainly be known. Since we have been created by God, then within every one of us is the ability to know that which is right and distinguish it from that which is wrong. Even at that truth and right does not need our agreement. What is right is right by itself and what is wrong is wrong everyday of the week and cannot be amended to be right. 

One thing I know, to know Jesus is to know the truth and to know the truth is to know his word, because HIS word is right! In a word where there is so much unrest, we should want to know the rest of Jesus above all other things and we will only find that rest when we yield to him, his word and his law, because his law delivers LIFE to all men who hear and do it. 


Blessed! 


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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Russian Christians Under Attack...Told To Not Share Their Faith In Public


For the first time in our history, the people of Russia are the most abundant readers in any month of the Dunamis Word Blog. This, of course, is quite a surprise to the founder of the blog in that the Dunamis Word centers and focuses on the American church and social issues within the American community more than any other topic.

FIRST, we WELCOME the fine Russian people and their readership! I personally appreciate the fact that this message and insights are traveling across the globe, whether one agrees with the opinions and concerns expressed or not, it just may be that there is something being said and or examined here that is hopefully assisting individuals with this thing called LIFE!!!!


That leads to another point however...The complete American political fiasco...It could be that the Russian people are looking for the outside story on the political happenings in America and I don't blame them for searching...The media is certainly bias, no matter how much they claim to be independently owned and operated...Anytime corporate America owns anything and money is involved, one can rest assured that the allegiance will be to those "greasing the pan" as opposed to those of us who make the grease!


America is still not communist, at least officially, however large segments of our population have accepted socialism as acceptable within society. Look at the Democratic Party's finalist...a self avowed socialist named Bernie Sanders, who has never even claimed to be a Democrat. In fact the love for Sander's Socialism and the views he expressed that were rooted in socialist values and even borderline Communism, threatened and still yet threatens to tear away at the core of American politics and social values both now and for years to come.


Religious Freedoms Under Attack


Then, maybe, it is the spiritual awakening that is taking place in Russia due to the spiritual attack that has been levied on the Russian religious population by its government. Recently, President Putin enacted legislation banning evangelization by any and all religious groups outside of their places of worship. In other words, it is now law that one cannot share their faith outside of a religious building, or a building designated for religious use. According to the law, one cannot even share one's faith even in their own home!


Yes, this is disturbing and it is problematic for Western Christians to see the stage set for persecution and further abuse of Christians around the world.  

The good news is that for years we have heard from organizations that have missionaries within Russia, that there is a revival taking place and that the Russian people are renewing faith in Christ like never before. I believe that is GOOD!!!! The bad news is that because of the threat of terrorism, the Christian faith, as well as all faiths, have been thrown into the potpourri of confusion and the seething cauldron of restrictions designed to stop the practice and acceptance of faith and ultimately the gospel of Jesus itself. 

Well, America is not too far away from that in some form. Those calling themselves "freethinkers"  and believing that "freedom from religion" are American values, have long said that religion does not belong in "public life" (even though many of them don't want religion in private life either). The fact is that this attack on religion, though inspired by Muslim extremists such as ISIS, is focused on Christianity now more than ever before and real Christians, who are not called to live in a corner or abject obscurity, will suffer the brunt of the effort. 

Who Is To Blame?

With all of that said, the blame for this attack upon Christianity and Christian values, cannot be laid at the feet of Russian communism, Islam, terrorism or any other "ism". It can be laid at the feet of a BACKSLIDDEN CHURCH who has failed to keep itself pure in this world and who have become just like any and all other men!

Believe me...I personally don't fear communism and although I firmly believe in the values of freedom and a capitalistic society and what we have come to call American values, I embrace all my communist friends and even those seeking freedom from communism and communist baggage. I embrace all those Christians who live in a communist country, but who want better for their children and families, just like I do. My fear is not communism but that of a DRUNK, backslidden church, enamored with its own self appellation and pursuing its own self aggrandizement rather than seeking its God. My fear is that of a church who will accept any ungodly and unbiblical behavior, even shaming those who speak out against it, as if being quiet against sin is the highest calling of God to this world. 

These are the things to be fearful of if anything at all...not communism or even socialism...However, I pray for the peace and safety of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Russia who have the same burning desire as I do to share their faith and to be what God has called them to be. I appreciate your circumstance and stand with you during this time of the great falling away from the faith. I would that Christians around the world would join along with you and your families and communities of faith in prayer to the great God that we serve that shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing. 


Be STRONG my Russian friends and fellow Christians and may the Lord continue to be with you! That is my prayer, in JESUS name!!!!


Ephes 6:10-1210-Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11-Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12-For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplaces. 

Blessed!  

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Monday, August 1, 2016

We DENOUNCE The Vaules Of The Black Lives Matter Organization

Saints and friends, I have not written in a long time on the blog, but believe me, I have been thoroughly engaged in the current political and, religious and social fiascos (too many to name) taking place all around the country...

From the Pope and his refusal to denounce the hatred and uniqueness of Islamic extremism by declaring that the "fundamentalists" are the problem with every religion, to the absurd attack of the Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump on a Muslim American for exercising his LIBERTY and freedom of speech by calling Donald into account, asking "WHAT have you SACRIFICED for your country?"...BTW: Don, building a business is a PERSONAL sacrifice, not a sacrifice for the country!!!!


Anyway, I have also had the time to study the controversy over the Black Lives Matter movement and with all diligence I must, emphatically and solicitously give a thorough and strong denouncement of the movement and what it stands for in its current form. This is what I recently posted on facebook regarding this organization and their intents:
"BLACK LIVES MATTER: 
Someone asked me if I supported BLM some time ago. Please read this statement from their website: 
"We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable." 
We UNEQUIVOCALLY DO NOT support the BLM organization, neither do we agree with any core values that seek the demise or "disruption" of the nuclear family structure.
Further, the BLM movement as they have chosen to set themselves forth is a gay and transgender affirming organization. In our view recognition of gays or transgender individuals is not an issue, however the imposition and subversion of sound moral values and religion in the process is a damnable act and position which the BLM movement would not only seem to support but also proliferate. 
From a social and political vantage point the BLM movement appears to be an extension of a communistic political theory considering all people to be a single community which the government must serve and act towards. 
For these reasons and others, neither New Bethel, NB Ministries, its director and Pastor Harvey Burnett nor any of our ministry constituents endorse, affirm or uphold or encourage the work or efforts of the BLM movement as it pertains to efforts outlined on their official website as found attached to this message."
Yes. we are fully aware that religious liberalism is at an all time high...in fact we have clergy declaring that their "faith" drives them towards a Democratic party who REMOVED God from their party platform, endorses homosexuality as a behavior and endorses and even wants to force the public to pay for abortion and abortion services based on the bad science and horrible decision of Roe v Wade. I mean it is all simply unbelievable!!!! 

However, as it pertains to BLM, there are a couple of issues...1- their values are based on socialism, even communism to some degree and are not biblically centered and or based...example, noone has an issue standing for and or fighting for the human dignity of all individuals, including homosexuals, however, we have great issue with exalting a homosexual lifestyle not only from a scriptural standpoint but also form a morally humanistic standpoint.

All people deserve respect, but we should not be made to regard the SINS of men and mankind as if it is admirable...so PLEASE take that "I Can't change, even if I wanted to" commercial back to the GARBAGE Ad Council...because it AIN'T true!!!! People change every day and many come out of homosexuality as well. If someone can go into the sin, then anyone can change!

2- The BLM movement is shrouded in suspicious intent and anarchist values...Look, anyone and anything wanting the demise of the traditional family and hetero-sexism is CRAZY and does not deserve the attention that I am even setting forth here...

Being BLACK does not hinge on accepting sins and even encouraging the breakdown of the family and community...As a Black man and a NATIVE AMERICAN, it looks as if the BLM movement is simply an opportunist organization looking to take advantage of negative feelings, while dumping in all the ungodliness they can in the same bank of dissatisfaction and malcontent. This is unacceptable and I deplore the strategy.

I refuse to even go down the rabbit hole of the homosexuals (lesbians I am told) who founded this organization and delivered their Guiding Principles. I can simply read the principles that they are governed by and reject them whole cloth...AWAY with the fight over whether "Christians" should accept this movement and what it represents...It is CLEAR to me that there is no Christian that should allow this secular movement and humanistic values venture invade their spirits and minds.

This is what guides us:

1 Tim 5:22 ~ Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

Believe me, I understand the controversy. There are simply many more Black liberal elites in our pulpits than we ever thought that there were. They are COGIC, Apostolic, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, COG, Assembly, 7th Day, Nazarines, and certainly independent and non-denominational...In my opinion, their call to secularism and a sort of secular, non word based lifestyle is the symptom of the hindrance that we are witnessing in the country today.

Black endorsed by far the most liberal sort of political leader in President Barack Obama and are affirmed in their liberalism by many of the policies that he endorsed and set in place. I will be the FIRST to say that I appreciate the President's representation of a moral lifestyle in his personal interractions with his wife and children and have never been more proud of that as a Black man, however, live BLM, I am SAD that the moral values espoused by this President and this movement is far beneath what Blacks have stood for traditionally....FAMILY!!!!

No, I certainly don;t endorse Hillary...how can a woman who supposedly fights for "children's rights" stand so strongly for abortion???? CONFUSION!!!! Can't endorse that nor the proliferation of homosexual rights, and to the article I will not endorse, any group who wants to break down American society...Yes, we need reform in social justice, but we do NOT need to do that at the expense of the family!

Sorry, I will not sing your praises BLM...I ONLY sing the praises of JESUS!!!!

For all those that think they can mix the values of the BLM movement and a real Christian and biblically based faith...remember this:

1 Cor. 15:33 ~ Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Pastor Harvey Burnett

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Islam, Submission With No Peace Pt. 14 ~ The Crisis With ISIS


We stand WITH the victims, citizens and families of Orlando, FL. and America herself, suffering from the reach of domestic terrorism. While there are pundits attempting to make this event an issue of gun control, and an issue of homosexual civil rights, the fact is that the ideology that took the lives of some 50 persons and injured, and maimed some 53 others, is an age old philosophy based and rooted in a particular interpretation of the Quran that has been the generally accepted interpretation within the Muslim world. 

Although the murderer in this case, claimed his allegiance to ISIS with no mention of simply wanting to kill "gay people" what he did was a sick act of hatred, thoroughly condemned as an act of pure religion or service to God in any way. Christians should CONTINUE to preach against the sin of homosexuality, but should also be mindful that God has not called a single Christian to KILL ANYONE in the name of Christ because of the sin they embrace. 


So liberal pundit, we, as Christians, DO NOT take the blame for what is done in the name of Allah or the god of the Quran. As we will discover in the video-series below, Allah is NOT the God of the bible and the teaching of the Quran, whether liberal, moderate or extreme, cannot be harmonized or reconciled with the teaching of Christianity or the command of Christ. 

It is my prayer that you leave the webpage tuned to The Dunamis Word for the duration of these programs brought to you by the John Ankerberg Show, and that you will listen to the content, because this just may be the information you need to make a difference in your community. Also feel free to visit and join our Facebook web page "In Defense Of The Faith" where we present information regarding this and other matters of Christian faith, lifestyle and values. 


Blessed! 








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Monday, June 6, 2016

A COGIC Apology & Revised Operations Re: Young Men Of Valor Training Manual


Read Pt. 1 Of This Issue HERE


In a recent posting at COGIC.org, the Church Of God In Christ came forth to correct and "repudiate" the information set forth in the "Sexual Health" section of its 2015 "Young Men Of Valor Training Manual". In addition, an official letter of apology was sent from International Youth Department President, Pastor Ben Stephens, "distancing himself" from the teaching of the manual. The office of the Presiding Bishop seems to have delivered a general order reaffirming our church's position on the issue of celibacy, sex and sexuality and setting forth guidelines of how the church will insure that such erroneous information will not be delivered to any COGIC member under a COGIC platform in the future.

As a reminder, this is what I asked in my previous article:
"How did this material get by screening? Was the material even screened at all? Were our leaders so enamored with their job duties, recognition, fame, conferences and the "department program" that what they were actually teaching our youth was of no consideration? Is there commonly no vetting of material by the Presiding Bishop's office? What of General Board officials? Have they no duty to review church programs and materials to make sure there is harmony with church and biblical values in materials distributed? With all of this surrounding material given to our young men, what in the world may be in the Young Women Of Excellence material? Does it also contain challenging and ungodly suggestions? The church and the leaders of the church have a greater duty to the members of this church than what they are showing and have shown in this matter? A statement of apology from these department leaders is in order as well.
Although the who and how, of this question was not addressed, I remain positive, and am EXCITED to see that dissent such as mine and the dissent of others was taken seriously enough to act upon and to implement measures that assure the fidelity of teaching and consistency of doctrine to ALL COGIC youth and members going forward.   

First: A Letter Of Apology:


Pastor Ben Stephens, the President of the International Youth Department, in a letter to Presiding Bishop Blake dated May 29th, stated the following:
"It was under my watch that the Young Men of Valor (2015 Edition) was published that omitted the Church of God in Christ's well-established theological, biblical, and doctrinal information surrounding "sanctified" sexuality. In its stead was clinical information acquired from various (non-Church of God in Christ) professional sources. The 2015 edition clearly represents a lapse in judgement and failure in supervision, and I take full responsibility for it."
Pastor Stephens further affirmed that the Young Men Of Valor program should be consistent with church values by stating the following 5 things:
"1. Sex is not to be engaged in outside the context of marriage; therefore, encouraging young men to maintain their virginity until marriage, by practicing celibacy.
2. We support the concept and commitment to sexual abstinence prior to marriage.
3. We encourage and support holy matrimony only between a man and woman.
4. We find it vital to address sexual temptations but from a holy and biblical perspective.
5. Single Young Men of Valor are encouraged to live chaste and sexually pure according to the Bible and the Doctrine of the Church of God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian (Young Man of Valor) is enabled to live a holy and separated life in this present world."
Pastor Stephens letter was encouraging, to the point and well appreciated. The entire letter can be viewed HERE.

Secondly: New Guidelines To Govern The Review & Release Of Distributed Information:


I and others asked about the vetting process for publications and information that is delivered to our children and all COGIC members. The General Order from the Bishops office, in no uncertain terms, addresses the issue as follows:
"1. Pastor Ben Stephens has given a strong reprimand and his actions will be subject to oversight for an undetermined period of time;

2. Oversight and management of the Young Men of Valor program has been reassigned;

3. Bishop James L. Whitehead, Jr. has been appointed to lead a standing commission that will be responsible for reviewing all printed departmental materials as well as all materials promoted or sold through the Publishing House to ensure they are in line with COGIC doctrine;


4. Representatives of the Publishing Board will appear before the General Board semi‐annually to provide information on content being offered; and,


5. All department leaders have been tasked with conducting an audit within their respective departments to determine if any documents now exist that are in need of revision to ensure alignment with COGIC doctrine."
In my opinion, these guidelines, if followed faithfully, will assure that information delivered to our youth is consistent to COGIC doctrine and more importantly biblical positions on the issues. The General Board should know and be fully aware of what is being taught to not only our youth, but throughout our church.

I believe that it is the first duty of the minister and ministry everywhere to deliver information that is faithful to the word of God. The conferences and all the operations, books and everything else is secondary to truth and the wholesome, biblically based information that we are charged to deliver to our members and the world. It is my desire that this church would slow itself down, reorganize priorities and set its face towards the substance that makes holiness different and unique from the doctrines of men and live out its first call, to love God and do righteously in this world. 

Secondary Issues:

Even with what I consider to be positive steps taken by our church in addressing the issues favorably and responsibly, there is yet further speculation that this fiasco was a calculated move to move us off center as it pertains to fidelity and sexual integrity and purity within the church, and that Ben Stephens is wholly responsible for this manual and its subsequent content, but does not suffer because of his relationship to Presiding Bishop Blake. 

The fact is that even "if" Pastor Ben Stephens was totally responsible for the teachings in this manual, and even 'if" such material was planted as a part of a conspiracy to subjugate our youth to ungodliness, ALL parties, involved (or not), have had to publicly repudiate the manual and its contents under the "Sexual Health" section, to the fullest degree. This is a written record which has been captured both by myself and others and is not so easily overcome by equivocating on the issue. 

I do not believe that addressing the response with high levels of criticism is productive. While each individual is entitled to believe what they wish, it is the position of this blog that this matter has been and is being addressed adequately by COGIC leadership, there are new procedures in place to address other potential issues,  and The Dunamis Word is glad to serve and facilitate positive change and better procedures in whatever way we can.

Blessed!

COGIC General Order & Repudiation Of The Sexual Health section of the Young Men Of Valor Training Manual: 


     


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