Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can Christians Have Demons? Pt. 2

Item 3: “The Devil Made Me Do It!”

The late Flip Wilson on his 1970’s ‘The Flip Wilson Show’ pretended to be a particular character named “Geraldine” who often uttered, “The devil made me do it!” That was comedy. Unfortunately, in real life many individuals continue the same theme.

We will have to acknowledge some individuals are controlled by demons and do what demons tell them to do, and even are possibly possessed of demons for real. Need I mention Jim Jones, who saw to it that he would kill hundreds in Guyana, and did so happily until the end. Then there’s David Koresh, who claimed to be Jesus leading the people of God to a new apocalypse and a bright new future. Then there are others such as Sherman Allen, and and Terry Hornbuckle who thought that the women of the congreagations were there for pastoral freak purposes instead of the salvation of their souls.

Then there are the more moderate individuals who, if they don’t have a demon, certainly spend their time listening to them such as Creflo Dollar who has recently said that Jesus was not God because Jesus “slept” and the scriptures says that God neither “slumbers nor sleeps”. Now, if that that doesn’t sound like a demon then I don’t know what does.

Many of us would all like to rationalize the actions of these individuals as the result of demonic infestations, because we really can’t fathom someone doing those acts or saying those things without being possessed by demons. We can agree that there is and was some demonic activity in all of what I just mentioned, but we must ask…Is all of that a result of a demon or just the defiled hearts of these individuals who love themselves more than they love God?

There is another class of demons such as Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy, killers that kill for fun or that cut off people’s heads, mutilate their bodies. Then there are individuals who perform certain sins such as drugs and sexual activities to the point where they damage themselves or others uncontrollably. Certainly demons are real and manifest themselves through people in many different ways.

Is There Any Personal Responsibility?

On the other hand human nature without Christ is just so atrocious that it has the ability to be demon like if lives are not yielded or rendered to God. It all begins in the heart of man:

Jer. 17:9-10 ~ “9-The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10-I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”

Partially because of how we were born into sin and its effects:

Ps. 51:5 ~ “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”

You see out of the “heart” flows the issues of life...Jesus stated that all these behaviors that are manifest are because of the wickedness of the heart, the "deliverance ministry" claims that it’s because of some external force of demons. Jesus claims it’s because of our dark hearts:

Mk. 7:20-23 ~ “20-And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21-For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22-Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23-All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

And due to our condition of what the Calvinists have coined as “total depravity”,we have no self ability to make our hearts clean or righteous.

Ephes. 2:1-5 ~ “1-And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2-Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3-Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4-But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5-Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

It is here that Paul in Ephesians says something interesting,(as always)He says in v.2:

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”

We were not only dead in our trespasses and sins but we walked according to the “prince of the power of the air” ie: the devil himself and the demonic realm. Some of us were nice, had outstanding moral values, were even assets to our communities but yet still walked according to demons. However, notice what Paul also says. He says:

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;”

What we did in times past, was according to OUR minds and OUR flesh. In other words the devil didn’t make me do it as much as I wanted to do it and had the capacity and ability to do it.

Herein is the problem, when the Christian shifts the responsibility of their actions to simply a “demon”; they also relinquish any personal responsibility for their actions, decisions and ultimate carrying out of their thoughts. This is the deceit of “Pigs In The Parlor” and deliverance ministry in general. The devil can’t make us do anything that we don’t already either want to do or have a predisposition to do.

James confirms this thought out when he says:

James 1:13-15 ~ “13-Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14-But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15-Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

The best effort of the world is to minimize what is called “original sin” In an interview with CNN discussing the recent demise of Michael Jackson, mystic and universal consciousness guru Deepak Chopra expressed that there was no one who was born bad or that was born a sinner. He explained that these things happen to people (they become bad) but that everyone is basically good. Now that could be a lie of a demon, certainly it’s deceitful and untrue, but his sentiments exemplify the desire of the sinful nature to feel that it has no problems, that it is perfectly fine without God and that bad influences only exist outside of it, not from within it. Deliverance ministry denies that our nature is sometimes messed up without the assistance of demons and ultimately, that we need a savior, not because of demons (which are already defeated) but because we’re messed up and are sinners!

Whatever we are “drawn away” with belongs to us in the end. As with anything there are exceptions but this is the norm. We are first reminded that we are culpable for our own actions. Even if we have predisposition’s for certain behaviors, this is why we must be born again (John, 3:3) in order to do away with the old nature and order of things. What does the scripture say:

2 Cor. 5:17-18 ~ “17-Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18-And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”

“All things” include and pertain to the spiritual wellbeing, welfare, life and godliness of the individual. Through Christ all things are accessible.

2 Peter 1:3-4 ~ “3-According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4-Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Christians that feel that they have demons are not walking in full biblical council or the freedom of Christ. If one persists with that idea, one should make sure that they are first IN CHRIST because Christ will not live with a demon. Leaders that teach that Christians have and can be possessed by demons, or that attempt to cast demons out of already saved individuals, are leading followers astray and into false doctrine, heretical teachings and “strange fire” for which there is a penalty. (Lev.10:1-2)

Item 4: The Power Of Demons Are Defeated In The Believers Life

One thing we know, Christ has come to destroy the works of demons in the believer’s life. Contrary doctrines flourish where there is a lack of exposition of God’s word or mere misinterpretations of what Jesus actually came to do. Yes, we are all in a growing pattern but it should be a primacy for the gospel minister to both communicate the understanding of the true gospel. Contrary to Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen who believe that salvation was completed in hell, the bible tells us that it was ON THE CROSS that our enemy and his mignons were defeated.

Col. 2:13-15 ~ “13-And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14-Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15-And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The enemy is already defeated because of the victory of the cross. The problem is that we have split service issues. Jesus said “no man can serve two masters” (Mt. 6:24, Lk.16:13) and the body cannot house both God and the devil simultaneously unless one is subdued and brought under control or cast out (Mt. 12:29, Mk. 3:27, Lk. 11:21). As stated the powers that were opposing the believer were defeated, broken and destroyed on the cross. This includes demons whether known or unknown. They have been “triumphed over” and this was done “openly” The “enemy” or evil one and his agents, both natural and spiritual, has been cut down when Jesus came in:

Ps. 44:7-8 ~ “7-But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. 8-In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.”

In addition we have experienced the freedom that has been “made” within us.

John 8:36 ~ “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

And given power over the powers of the enemy:

Lk. 10:18-19 ~ “18-And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19-Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

It is our ability as believers to continue to be made free from the enemy and not be entangled with his yoke and this especially includes his demonic infestations:

Gal. 1:1 ~ “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Item 5: Are There Demons In Music?

We know from both observation and current science that music has an ability to effect the innermost part of an individual. However there is yet not a “wicked” C or a “evil” A on the music scale. So why does music have an effect the way it does?

Remember that when God created man he created him a living soul. (Gen. 2:7) This is a physical or material (body) and spirit (breath or life) union, which God calls “living soul”. Man is a physical and spirit mixture with limitations and extensions in both physical and spiritual dimensions. God gave man certain attributes which extend from himself. These attributes are called God’s communicable attributes. This is partially how we are in “his likeness” and “his image”. One of those attributes is the ability to communicate with feeling or expression. The ability to communicate goes beyond the material world and includes the spiritual realm or world also.

In other words we live in an open continuum that includes both the material and immaterial realities. Prayer is spiritual communication with God, who is a Spirit, (Jn. 4:24) from a material being with spirit ability, called a “living soul”. If we were not spiritual beings with the ability to communicate spiritually we could not communicate with God at all. We would be stuck and confined to the materialistic and naturalistic realm. One should be encouraged to come to or develop this understanding otherwise prayer would make no sense.

The “soulish” part of us is where the nonmaterial aspects of our being comes. (I won’t deal with tripartism which is a questionable teaching anyway, I’ll save that for a later writing) The atheist supposes that this is the brain or some mere meta-natural process. The naturalist denies the “soulishness” of our being and assumes that science will one day provide the answer to immaterial parts of our beings such as love, dreams and the ability to hope etc. Please study our post Antisupernaturalism & Miracles Pt.1 and Pt.2 for more indepth information on this dichotomy.

I propose that music to a great extent, is developed from the immaterial part of man and because it originates from a spiritual part has an effect upon not only the physical body but also upon a person’s spirit or immaterial nature. Music, though containing natural notes which don’t change on the scale, is directed and effective by what it intends to do.

Biblical example: King Saul had an “evil spirit from the Lord” that could only be eased with skillful harp and music playing (1 Sam 16:16). David however played skillfully upon his instrument and it drove the “evil spirit” away (1 Sam. 16:23) However a second time the music didn’t stop Saul from remaining in that “evil spirit” and trying to kill David (1 Sam. 19:9-10) Music does not either possess or relieve one of demons, but music can be directed to accomplish a function and is an effective nonmaterial communication tool.

Music can incite inner emotions for the better. This is what we call “happy music”. Music can make us feel sexy. This is what we call “mood or love” music. Music can make us sad. This is what we call “blues”. Music can make us feel like dancing and be sad and sexy at the same time. This is what we call “rhythm and blues” music. Music can also present demons to us and influence negative behaviors. This is what we call “holy hip hop” and “gangsta rap”- LOL. )(OK holy hiphoppas, I’ll cut you some slack. Some of your messages are good, methods questionable and debateable but that’s why we’re here right?)

Remember, Saints are not the only ones who communicate spiritually or by immaterial means. Sinners do also. If what I’m saying is correct, there are many individuals that create music who are controlled and certainly influenced by the devil himself. (Remember Ehesians 2:1-5) If communication can occur through immaterial processes through immaterial means, then the stage is set. Demons can communicate, subdue and seduce using music as a medium.

The fact yet remains that the Christian cannot be possessed by the devil no matter what’s on the radio, but the challenge to those who haven’t yielded and surrendered their musical tastes and appetites fully to God is that there should be an awareness that one could be entertaining demons and allowing them to influence you spiritually whether you are possessed by them or not. One cannot take fire into your chest without being burned. (Prov. 6:27)

Steps Of Musical Freedom

Sometimes escaping influences of devils take steps of faith similar to taking a journey. At times tearing up a poster, relinquishing a CD may be what it takes to make a psychological escape from the influence of devils that await and exploit weakness. However, one must be careful because it’s not the outside of the cup that makes one clean, it’s the inside where the change takes place. (Mk. 7:20-23) One could very well burn up all their CD’s as promoted by a popular minister and yet not be free of the influence of that music in their souls. One who found that out was Kirk Franklin who claimed to be addicted to pornography on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He claimed to have thrown all his tapes and DVD’s away only to drive back hours later to the same dumpster, get in and retrieve all his material. What does this say? Deliverance doesn’t begin on the outside, it begins in the heart.

Of one thing we can be certain, there’s no way one can say that artists such as David Banner as referenced in Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 8 is not either led, plagued or guided by demons based on the content placed within his works. We must realize that he is at least entertaining demons as he performs and develops ideas. This is similar to many groups and individuals such as the found innocent but still "Horny" R. Kelley and others that we have examined in our Hip-Hop Idolatry & The Church series on this site. However, the dilemma still remains, that many of these individuals are not claiming to be saved and those that are certainly don’t produce the fruit of that salvation. So that should tell us something.

So music can be a demonic tool for a number of reasons not to minimize the fact that the devil because of how he was created, has always used music as a tool of expression even in heaven before his being cast down.

If a Christian rejects sound council in this area, he or she will usually display that they have a greater problem than just music. Music is similar to alcohol and tobacco. They are simply doorway drugs that lead to greater destruction if one is not careful. Music can be a doorway and a pathway to immorality and immoral behavior. A better question would be, does the devil use music? The obvious answer to that is yes.

What About What We Can’t Reasonably Explain?

As stated, the reality of demons in no way empowers individuals to shirk or relive themselves from any personal responsibility, however we are in a very spiritual warfare and there is a spiritual reality that we face whether we know of it or not. The scripture clearly says that there is a spiritual dimension to our fight and struggle:

Ephes. 6:12 ~ “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 high places.”

But what about experiences that are not found within the bible and that are sometimes difficult to reconcile? Some examples include:

  • The feeling of “presences” that enter a room and you feel or may even see it.
  • There are some who suffer from a sudden inability to move while they are asleep. Some have even been attacked in their sleep by beings that had extension in time and space. Many report that they feel that they were helpless to defend themselves and felt as if they were being pressed upon as they lay there and are unable to call a spouse or loved one for assistance.
  • Other instances include sudden, strange and unusual pressure and urges to engage in certain ungodly activities.
  • For some there are sudden blackouts and losses of time. Some associate these type of episodes with addictions, but could this also be because of a demon(s)?

Because we are in a dimension that is spiritually open, the unseen spiritual world can be revealed at any time. One thing is for sure. There is no safety in that world without Jesus. He has claimed to be the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6) and that no man can get to the father except it be by and through him. There are entries into the spiritual realm that open the world of demons to us. No TRUE Christian follows those paths as they would be led by the voices of “strangers”. God leads the Christian and directs us into better relationship, fellowship with him and into protection from spiritual enemies.

A Word Of Caution:

In providing a writing such as this, I hope not to give the impression that the Christian can behave themselves in such a manner that they can enter into ungodly situations and be exempt from the results of demonic activity. Example: Ouija Boards are ungodly doorways and pathways to the supernatural and that will expose individuals to demonic activity and possibly even demon possession. The same goes for WICCA, Witchcraft, tarot reading, palm readings, seances and Voodoo and tattoos. All of those are demonic in nature and are ungodly practices that Christians need not be involved with in any manner. One of the seeming more innocuous items is the horoscope…Though it seems innocent, the horoscope can be used as a tool of the devil to bind and direct individual’s lives exposing believers to the leading and character traits of the devil himself.

In all of these things it takes submitting to God and resisting the devil and self-discipline. You have the ability to win that battle because Jesus fought it on the cross and won on our behalf.

Conclusion & Summary

In heaven judgement for reward is made based on what a person has done.

Rev. 14:13 ~ “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Our works will follow us and judgement will not based on what a demon made or caused a person to do. All illnesses are not necessarily demonic, but we know that some illnesses cause persons to act abnormally. Some actions are chemical and even biological in nature and regardless of all that all actions can be made subject to the Cross of Christ.

1 Cor. 10:13 ~ “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

The saint has not been placed in a situation that they cannot bear. The Lord leads us besides still and peaceful waters. (Ps. 23) The Lord does not lead or expose the Saints to demons, neither is his power so ineffective that he cannot prevent a demon from taking over the physical body or spirit of the believer.

There is a solid case and evidence that demons, at times, possess individuals, but at no instance within scripture do we see believers either possessed or being possessed with devils or engaged in casting demons out of other believers. I believe that these articles have demonstrated the following facts:

  1. The parallel between the “Temple” and the “body” is ineffectual and out of context, and therefore found to be unscripturally based.
  2. Moneychangers were a part of the temple processes by need and were not why Jesus cast them out.
  3. The animals that were being sold in the temple were there by necessity and the instruction of God and did not defile the temple.
  4. The temple was defiled only because of the usurious practices of men. (Special Note: Be careful of individuals who condemn others in the gospel for their website, DVD and promotional item sales while they themselves simultaneously and selfishly promote the sale of their OWN DVD's and promotional items as if they are somehow doing something different than those they condemn ~ Those type of things are defiling to the body of Christ in general. If it's not demonic, it's certainly ungodly.)
  5. What Christ has done on the Cross has broken the power of the devil and demons in the life of the believer who accepts Christ’s atonement by faith. In the life of the believer demonic power is broken at the time that saving faith is exercised and received.
  6. The power of demons are destroyed by the work of Christ whether one denounces specific activities or not.
  7. Spirits are not necessarily responsible for many personal behaviors. When demons are in the process it will be revealed plainly.
  8. Man is a living soul with an immaterial spiritual dimension that must be subject to Jesus for personal safety and wellbeing.
  9. Music can be a spiritual tool in the physical realm and can be used by demons to incite behaviors in humanity.
  10. Games such as Ouija, and activities such as horoscope, tarot, seances, palm reading, tattooing etc. should be avoided at all costs by believers as those games and activities assist in opening spiritual dimensions without the protection of Christ.
  11. A Christian or Saint CANNOT be possessed by a demon and therefore does not need to have one cast out.

This has been submitted for the edification of the Saints. I hope that it was as much of a blessing to you as it was to me going over these concepts once again. I’d love to hear your feedback on both articles.

Blessed!


Read more!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Can Christians Have Demons? Pt. 1

Matthew 12:43-45 ~ “43- When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44-Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45-Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

In 1973 Frank and Ida M. Hammond released a book called “Pigs In The Parlor: A Practical Guide to Deliverance” which has become a staple of what is called modern day “deliverance ministry”. Many Christian leaders have used this book as a “how to” guide in “delivering” other Christians from satan and demon possession in particular. The book affirms that a Christian can be demon possessed, oppressed, and demon cursed and that certain mental illnesses are actually cases of demon possession and infestation.

Unfortunately many of my fellow pentecostals ate up the Hammonds book (almost like pigs) and began to use it in their ministries, laying hands on fellow Saints, casting out demons and calling the ensuing bolus of mucus and sometimes vomit that came up, demons that were departing from the body. After all, the book said that mucus and vomit were signs of departing demons. Not only that, but the list of demons was so long that almost any behavior that one could think of was listed as a demon or as demonic activity. The Hammonds knew how to make the money and they tapped into a lucrative market in doing so.
Item 1: A False Biblical Premise

The whole premise of the book is based on the parallel between Herod’s Temple found in the New Testament and the “temple of the body” or physical abode wherein God (the Holy Ghost) dwells. The scripture records this:
1 Cor. 6:19-20 ~ “19-What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20-For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

The Hammond’s make the assertion that just as the Temple of Herod was unclean and needed to be purged by Jesus, that our physical bodies, wherein dwells the Holy Ghost, can become unclean and in need of purging also. Here’s an excerpt from the book explaining their foundational principle:
  • “All four gospels record the event of Jesus cleansing the temple. This is an unusual picture of our Lord. He was filled with righteous indignation at what he found in the temple. It was no time for mere words; it was time for action. He began personally and determinedly to purge the temple of every defiling thing. This is an illustration of the cleansing of our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, from all that is unclean. Demon spirits provide nothing good. They only defile. They have no more place in us than cattle, birds and money changers had in the earthly temple. We can act in the same authority with which Jesus cleansed the temple and rid ourselves of defiling evil spirits. Jesus did not make any pretty little speeches or debate with those who defiled the temple-he drove them out!” Frank & Ida Hammond “Pigs In The Parlor” 1973 Pg. 3
There are some pretty disturbing notions set forth in just that one paragraph. The premise of this book is not only questionable but also based on a false interpretation of scripture which I will demonstrate in this writing. If the Hammond's book had been read more critically, much of what we see from so called "deliverance ministries" wouldn't exist today. Some of the initial questions that should be asked are as follows:
  • Is the Temple an apt parallel or type for the temple of our bodies?
  • Were the sacrifices and the exchange of money the defilement of the temple?
  • What relationship does the moneychangers have to our physical bodies?
  • What relationship does any of those things have to our spirit or souls?
  • Can a Christian be demon possessed?
Biblical Understanding:

In all 4 gospels it is recorded that Jesus overturned the moneychanger’s tables and scourged them for making mockery out of he house of God. In three gospels, known as the synoptic gospels, this event is recorded shortly before the passion of Jesus crucifixion. (Mt. 21:12, Mk. 11:15-17, Lk. 19:45) In one gospel (Jn. 2:13-17) the temple cleansing occurs at the beginning of Jesus ministry long before his passion indicating that Jesus cleansed the temple more than once and may have done this annually during his ministry.
Special Note: Moneychangers were essential in ascertaining the value of imageless silver coins “drachma’s” which were used to pay the necessary temple tax that was required at the Passover. This type of transaction was instructed by God for the upkeep of the temple:
Exodus 30:11-16 ~ “11-And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12-When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13-This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 14-Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 15-The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 16-And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.”

The tax was the same for every individual no matter their personal wealth or status. Jesus himself honored this temple tax by paying it for he and Peter when they were confronted with it. The interesting part about that is that as a part of the royal family, Jesus was actually exempt from paying the tax but humbled himself to do so:
Matthew 17:24-27~ “24-And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25-He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26-Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27-Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee”

The problem was not the tax or those that were selling sacrifice as many individuals would come and purchase a sacrifice as prescribed by law. The problem was exorbitant fees that were being charged. Fees ranged anywhere from 20% to 300%. This was extortion and profit making at its worst. Administration of the sacrifice was the problem and why Jesus purged the temple area. Not the sacrifices or exchange of money itself.
Additionally, scholarly consensus is that Jesus actions may have been in accord with Messianic expectation as found within Malachi 3:1 that says, “And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,”. Although there is healthy debate over whether Jews actually expected the Messiah to be divine, according to this Midrash interpretation of the passage, Jesus could have been acting in accord with Jewish expectation of what the Messiah would do. As revealed by the recording of this event by each gospel writer, there was an expectation that Jesus would reclaim the temple of God reminding the nation to turn to God in repentance.

Please note that these events had nothing to do with demons in the temple or temple courts as much as it had to do with wicked and evil men in the temple and the temple court.
“Unclean Spirit & Spirits”

The phrase “unclean spirit” is mentioned in 10 verses of scripture. (Mt. 12:43, Mk. 1:23 & 26, 3:30, 5:2 & 8, 7:25, Lk. 8:29, 9:42 & 11:24) at no point is “unclean spirit” mentioned as being the temple or a part of the temple. The term that indicates more than one unclean spirit, “unclean spirits”, is referenced another 10 times within scripture. These spirits would, at times, cry out for Jesus not to cast them out, or to identify who Jesus was (Mk. 3:11, 5:11-18, Lk. 6:18)

In fact the times that “unclean spirit” or “unclean spirits” are mentioned within scripture in no way is indicative of a problem with the temple itself. In Mk. 1:23-26 there is a man in the “synagogue” who has a demon that is cast out by Jesus. Please keep in mind even as reading this scripture that the “synagogue” was not the Temple. The synagogue was equivalent to the local meeting place to listen to scripture and offer prayers, but there was no sacrifice or expiation of sin done there, and there was certainly no buying and selling of sacrifices or sacrificial offerings. The only expiation of sin was done at the Temple itself.

Item 2: What Do We Find In Scripture?

In Lk. 13:11 there is a woman with a “spirit of infirmity” that is bowed down and cannot straighten herself up. Jesus “loosed” her from her infirmity with no reference to casting out a demon. Although Luke had previously used the word (daimonion) to indicate demon 2 times prior to this event. (Lk. 9:42 & Lk. 11:14). It is important to know that the gospel writer of both Luke and Acts wrote what many scholars believe to be one volume. Luke spoke, at times, in the greater context of the actions that the demon or evil spirit actually caused its host to perform. Acts 6:16 is an example where Luke says that there was a damsel that had a “spirit of divination” instead of a just simply saying that she had a demon.

Other references of demonic possession in the New Testament deal with individuals who were:
1- In the graveyard cutting themselves at Gadara (Mt. 8:28-34, Mk. 5:2-8, Lk. 8:29)
2- In the ‘dumb’ or speechless man (Mt. 9:32-33, Lk. 11:14-15)
3- In he ‘blind’ and ‘dumb’ man (Mt. 12:22)
4- At Simon’s mother-in-law’s home many “possessed with devils” were set free (Mk. 1:32-34)
5- Many individuals healed at the seaside that had “unclean spirits” (Mk. 3:11)
6- The daughter of the syrophonecian woman (Mk. 7:25)
7- In the child whom Jesus disciples couldn’t cast out (Lk. 9:42)
Peter “healed” those that had “unclean spirits”(Acts 5:16). Deacon Philip changed Samaria with his preaching and service causing “unclean spirits” to cry out causing the lame and those with palsies to be healed (Acts 8:7). Apostle Paul was confronted with a lady who had a “spirit of divination” which he cast out. (Acts 16:16-18) There were seven Sons of Sceva who tried to cast the demon out a man who had what the scripture described as an “evil spirit”. Because the Sons Of Sceva had no relationship with God through Jesus, they had absolutely NO success. (Acts 19:16) In fact the demon was able to overcome them quite embarrassingly.

The word “possessed” is used 15 times in the New Testament. With the exception of Acts 4:32 and 1 Cor. 7:30, “possessed” is usually connected with either a “devil” or as in the case of Acts 16:16-18 a “spirit of divination”. (Which effectively would be a “devil” also). Once again, at no time does the scripture suggest or intimate that the “Temple” was possessed or needed to have demons exorcised or that there was demons exorcised from within the temple.

There is no credible, biblical evidence that can be rendered to make the case that demonic activity was associated with the temple in any way, or that Jesus viewed the temple as a parallel or type of the body of the believer. As noted, cases can be made that there were persons who had an association with the temple (synagogue) and the Jews in general that had demons. In every case the demons were cast out and they were not in or associated with the temple in any unusual or abnormal way.

Are Demons Real?

Of course. There are a multitude of references as noted that demons do exist. Aside from the vast amount of scriptural references to the fact as listed above, I have my own personal experiences with actual demons and know that they are real entities. The question is how do they exist and what purpose or function do they have and most importantly can they possess a believer?

Limitations, Excesses & Restrictions

Remember, the premise of the book and the current hermeneutic of the “deliverance minister” is the discovery of the parallel between the Temple (place of sacrifice) and the body 9of the individual believer) as to indicate that at times the temple can be defiled and in need of purging just like a believers body is in need of purging from demons. According to the book, demons are similar to pieces of lint that may stick to you when you’re not looking or possess you when you are unaware. Further, according to the book and the belief of many “deliverance” ministers today, demons are not restricted to nonbelievers; they also have the ability to infest anyone including believers. According to the Hammonds and many modern day deliverance ministers demons can only be cast out when they are renounced:
  • Trespassers (demons) can continue their unlawful practices (possession) until they are confronted and challenged on the basis of one’s legal rights. Jesus has purchased the believer with HIS own blood and has made him a steward over his own life. The devil has no legal right to him; it is up to him to defend his rights. No demon can remain when the Christian seriously desires him to go! “Resist the devil and he will flee from you”(James 4:7b) Frank & Ida Hammond “Pigs In The Parlor” 1973 Pg. 2-3 (emphasis added)
These infestations may appear in the form of habits, such as smoking, eating, drinking, an all sexual sins such as homosexuality, (which was featured by GCMWatch HERE and most recently by CNN) adultery, fornication. According to deliverance ministry adherants, demons can be the cause of excessive sleeping habits such as laziness, oversleeping, medically diagnosed sleeping disorders and even daydreaming. Demons could be in operation through excessive social interactions. They could be called things like “talking” demons, “walking” demons, “attitude” demons, “partying” demons etc. They even could exist in cartoons such as the Smurfs and other kids shows especially.

According to the Hammonds, demons even show up in the form of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, paranoia, and phobias of all kinds…There is the dreaded “stay at home demon” for those of you who miss church regularly, the “TV demon" for those who like to watch television along with the sub demons of football, basketball and baseball…all the dreaded “sports” demons that would need to be cast out before one could live successfully…There are music demons and spirits that arise from certain things like music to entrap even the BELIEVER’S souls.(we’ll touch on this in part 2). Then there are demons for eating disorders and drug abuse etc.

In fact, just about anything that you can do that is either enjoyable or not strictly focused on Christ or HIS word can be caused by a demon and could need to be cast out. There is an additional problem also; You, even after you’ve come to Christ, may have an “unknown” demon or a demon you may have forgotten about. That’s the one that needs to be cast out but won’t reveal himself until he’s confronted in a counciling session or church deliverance service and specifically asked his name.
I'll conclude Pt 1 here but stay tuned we're just gettin' started up on this one. 

Blessed!

Read: Can Christians Have Demons Pt. 2

Update 7/22/2011:

See Primetime: "Battle With The Devil"

Read more!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 8

What Happens When Gospel Pays Tribute To The World? (Con’t)

In Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Part 7 we left off with the story of Hezekiah and Sennacherib (705-681 BC) as found in 2 Kings 18:13-16. During that seige Hezekiah, (approximately 39 years old) unfortunately delivered everything in God’s house, that was of value, all the gold and silver, all the instruments used in sacrifice, and sent them as tribute to Sennacherib hoping to appease him. After doing all of that, Sennacherib (through his messengers and generals Tartan, Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh) challenged the belief system of the Jews by telling them that the God they believed and the leaders that they trusted were lieing to them, and that it was impossible to be delivered from the Assryian King. (2 Kings 18:28-36). A second time Sennacherib sent word from Libnah saying that no god could keep Judah safe and out of his hands. (2 Kings 19:10-14) Even after receiving this tribute Sennacherib was more angry, upset and determined than ever before to destroy Judah and claiming victory over God.

We noted that $288,000,000 (which was the equivalent value of the gold and silver taken from Israel and given to Assryiah ) couldn’t convince or appease Sennacherib and his Assryian army to leave Israel alone. What Hezekiah didn’t understand was that Sennacherib, like his predecessor Shalamaneesar didn’t want the money. What he wanted was the glory. The glory of God and the total rule and authority over God’s people. From this position Sennacherib sought to claim sole authority over the destiny of God’s people.

The archaeological discovery of the Tell el Amarna letters confirm the Assryian king’s recounting of the events. The following phrase was written regarding the seige of Jerusalem:

"He himself (Hezekiah) I have shut up like a caged bird within Jerusalem, his royal city."
Yes, the people of God actually gave what belonged to God to the devil himself. Hezekiah made several mistakes to get into this situation. Not the least of which was his failure to listen to and follow the advice of the prophet (Isaiah 39:5-8) who was sent from God to instruct Judah on what it needed to do to be free from tyranny.

What Happens When The Ungodly Are Given Riches That Belong To God?

I believe that understanding the story of Sennacherib’s demand is an essential part to examining the condition of the modern gospel music industry in general. In this segment, I wish to look at what has become one of the industry’s most popular artists and discover how the church is still being asked to give what belongs to God to the devil.

Gospel Apostasy

The group called Mary Mary took the "gospel" stage by storm with their debut album "Thankful" in 2000. Currently Mary Mary has produced a CD called ‘The Sound’, and after reviewing it and being chilled to my spiritual core, I can honestly say that it is one of the most theologically challenged and imbalanced CD’s that I’ve heard in recent times that proports to be gospel.

The problem is that Mary Mary (sisters Tina ‘I can’t see you singin’ outside the church’ Atkins-Campbell & Erica Atkins-Campbell) have decided, with the help of Erica’s husband, Warryn ‘Baby Dub’ Campbell, to introduce a style of music targeted particularly to youth and the hip-hop generation. Their music is popular in both secular and gospel music circles. Secular folk have long played Mary Mary songs at parties, clubs, skating rinks and all. The music is set to BUMP and PUMP the ride right along side of its secular competitors.

To show their mixture with the world, on this new CD, a rift on the song ‘Get Up’ is simply a take off of the late Michael Jackson’s "Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough". Borrowing from the world is not uncommon in the modern gospel music circles. It was their last CD entitled "Mary Mary" which presented the song "Want Ads" with reworked lyrics retitling it as "Heaven". Although there is no acknowledgement of borrowing on this CD, it’s obvious with a quick listen that you’ve heard this somewhere before. What is confusing is that every now and then you’ll find a melodically worshipful song such as "I Worship You" (also "Yesterday" off of their previous CD).

The group has obtained 1 Platinum (over 1 million copies sold) and 2 Gold albums (over 500,000 units sold). They are the winner of 6 Stellar Awards, 1 NAACP Image Award, 2 MOBO Awards, 2 Lady Of Soul Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, 7 Dove Awards, and 1 American Music Award. Their crossover appeal is orchestrated by it’s producer Warryn ‘Baby Dub’ Campbell. This is ‘Baby Dub’s’ mission:

"Right now I know God has placed a calling on my life, through my music to touch people. Right now I'm not a preacher but I realize there's a message, especially when doing Gospel. There's a certain standard that He's set. Right now my ministry is to make hits. That's my ministry! To make as many hits as possible, so that in the future people will respect me that when I'm ready to put my own record company together, I'll have people's respect to let me do what I do."


Mary Mary Producer Warryn ‘Baby Dub’ Campbell (who’s ministry is to make hits) husband of Erica Campbell, received his big break was from John Platt at EMI records who offered him a unique publishing deal that afforded him no production deadlines or quotas. ‘Baby Dub’ is in no wise exclusive to gospel or gospel music. He has produced music for hardcore gangsta rappers Tupac and DJ. Quick early on in his career. Other of his clients include Brandy, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Xzibit, Mos Def, Missy "I Am A Lesbian" Elliott, (The same one who has sung an appeared with Kiki Sheard)Mario, Shanice, Dru Hill, Musiq Soulchild. Some of his secular hits include "When I See You Smile" ~ Shanice and "Angel" ~ Dru Hill.

‘Baby Dub" was raised a preachers son. One would rightly ask the question, how did he come to write and produce secular music? Well, this is his story of how this came to be:
  • "At first I was one of those cats that said 'I'm never going to play a secular music.' [Because] my dad's a preacher, I grew up thinking it was bad until he sat me down one day and explained to me. I guess he heard me saying this, and he said 'Look you're gifted and God has given you this skill. You use what He's given you as a living. You like to do music. You can do secular music. Just don't get your occupation mixed up with your salvation.' " Warryn "Baby Dub" Campbell, by Melanie Clark Gospel Flava Online 2000
"do secular music, just don’t get your occupation mixed up with your salvation" Is that even possible???Is that the word from a gospel minister? Moreover, is it a WORD from the Lord???

Moral Neutrality

One is right to claim that Christians are needed in almost every occupation in order to bring change and proliferate the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, it should be noted that there are certain industries that are not morally neutral and that require certain values and beliefs to be relinquished before work can be done. For instance, prostitution is an age old profession. In some places it is even a legal profession. However, in order to be a prostitute one has to relinquish and rid themselves of values against adultery and fornication. Therefore prostitution IS NOT morally neutral. Similar to most occupations within the "sex industry" whether legal or not, there is usually a redefinition of moral values and those values are not usually based on the bible and the absolute truth of God’s word. There are other occupations that present the same dichotomy of circumstances and one must evaluate the moral neutrality of each occupation before one engages.

This can be a complicated issue for many, and the entertainment industry certainly doesn't have a lock on moral neutrality and exclusivity, but we should remember Paul’s teachings along these lines…"all things are lawful, but not expedient" (1 Cor. 10:23). There are secular occupations and relationships that do not offer the "expediency" of Christ or deliver benefits to the Kingdom of God.

Secular music is one of those industries as it is NOT morally neutral. What makes it worse is that modern gospel music has followed the same path by allowing the secular industry to control it. Wendell Mosley at Charismatic Tunes has defined and laid out a compelling case as to why one should not be involved within the gospel music "industry" as we know it in America. (We will discuss this in greater detail in a future post)

One should ask, why one of the most popular "gospel’ music groups consistently features secular artists? As previously stated, the current Mary Mary project is no different than their first in that respect. Their first project featured a crossover rapper named BB Jay. Well, who is it this time?

Giving The Gold & Silver To The World

This time it’s David "Let Me See Ya Panties On The Floor" Banner. Known in the secular world as one of the most profane of profane rappers, David Banner’s material could only possibly be apropos for adult secular XXX entertainment. He is so profane that the lyrics of his song ‘A Girl’ from his 2008 release "Greatest Story Ever Told" can’t even be reproduced on this site. (Or any other that has any sense of values)

I had many questions as I reviewed this release (as you can tell). When I came across the song called Superfriend (feat. David Banner) (# 4 on the CD), and after a little research and talks with some of my unsaved family members who knew more about this rapper, I wondered how in the world did a Christian EVER come across David Banner and his music in any form, and how would that Christian, DARE think to include and present such a profane individual to the church. Further, how could a Christian feel that this man, who is arguably the nastiest rapper on earth, would render anything that would be honorific to God or edifying to his people?

In short, as we will see, to introduce this rapper to the church intertwined within gospel music is the equivalent of serving vomit to your mother, your pastor and the entire church for Sunday afternoon dinner. That is an APT description.

What ‘Gospel Music’ Has Been Reduced To:

Aside from the fact that David Banner has no respect for God, and an utter disrespect for God’s church and ministers, he also displays a total objectification and degradation of women in his songs. Here are a few lyrics to one of his most popular secular pieces from his 2008 CD ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ the song is called 9MM/Speaker:

I Got A 9 Mm
Ready To Go Off Any Minute
So You Feel It
Because Of A Law I Had To Conseal It
If You (Explicative) Around You Gon Make Me Reveal It
If I Got 9 Slugs, 9 Bullets Gon Fly
If I Got A Red Beam, 9 People Gon Die
9 Momma's Gon Cry, 9 Spirits In The Sky
9 Preachers Preachin, 9 Sermons Tellin 9 Lies
Cause Each And Every One Of Yall 9 (Explicative) Wasn't (Explicative)
I Would Of Rather Kept The 9 Lugers In The Ruger Clips
The Index Finga Slip I Let The 9 Spit
I Lick Em All Like 18 (Descriptive Explicative) On 9 Chicks
Im A Suicide Risk, 9 Slits On Each Wrist
If I Died 9 Times, The Next Go Arounds A (Explicative)
And If I Come Back I Throw 99 Souls
(~~~Last Complete Line Deleted Due To Profanity~~~)

Now, thankfully that's not a gospel song but that’s what David Banner does and that’s who he consistently is. Death and destruction (especially of others) is something that he brags about. Notice, that his intent is to kill even if it’s himself and he knows the preacher’s message at the funeral of his slain is nothing but lies. As you can see from these lyrics (which he wrote) The BOY GOT ISSUES!!!

The Crossover That Will Break Your Ankles

If that was David Banner of secularism, I’d simply say he’s sick, and needs to get saved, get some psychological counciling and get with someone who can guide him to and through the TRUTH of God’s word. I’d also assume that he certainly would have no influence in gospel music, and no presentation before young people that we are delivering the council of the Lord to.

But to my surprise, not only did I find him on a gospel CD, but I also found the SAME concept and disdain for God, women and the church within his rap on Mary Mary’s "gospel song" Superfriend. Here are a few of the lyrics:

Mary Mary ~ Superfriend
A superfriend, a superfriend
Yes sir, I got me one of them
A superfriend, a superfriend
I got me a superfriend

Stop there for a minute. Is this honoriffic of God or somebody you know around the way? "I got me one of them" Obviously this CAN’T be a song about the Lord. How can you "get you one of them?" Who is this Superfriend??? Maybe David will reveal the nature of that Superfriend to us. Here we go:

David Banner’s Superfreind rap:

What have I done to deserve a life like this?
The devil's scared to fight us in the light
He hides in the midst of religion
But I know that my God is listening there for me
There's a greater mission

OK, let me interrupt for a minute. The devil hides in the midst of religion? But God is listening to him because he has a "greater mission"??? What mission could Mr. Banner have? We know that Baby Dub’s mission is to "make hits" so he can be respected…What is David Banner’s mission??? Let’s look further:

You're no girl, you're no man, but a plan for greater peace
I'll fight for the light until my flesh falls deceased
I'm fighting the devil, fighting police
And in the church, Lord I'm looked at as Satan
'Cause in my music I curse

Now, David affirms "unisexuality" by declaring a unigender as simply a "plan for greater peace". This is a secret encouragement for the homosexual agenda and same sex union. Yep! Right in the middle of a gospel song. Before you criticize me for seeing it, and speaking about it, tell me what you think he means…I wanna hear that. Don’t give me that he was indicating that there is neither male nor female in Christ…remember this song only sparingly mentions Christ and certainly doesn’t mention scripture in almost any sense.

Further, David admits his fight with the devil (white man) and the police (authority) and acknowledges that "his mission" currently encourages him to be as profane as possible. In fact the church doesn’t really understand him. Next verse:

But I'm trying to do better and that's the thing that really hurts
All this sex and the drugs in my life mean nothing
When my superfriend hugs me at night tears come rushing
There's no kryptonite, no dealing no lie that could be told

OK, here we go once again…"all the sex and drugs" in his life (in a GOSPEL SONG) mean nothing. It doesn’t??? Sex and drugs means nothing according to David Banner. This is a new gospel according to David Banner perpetuated through the music to this generation. This is a total and absolute shift from biblical morality to secular morality and norms. To affirm his position, he simply is comforted by his "Superfriend" that hugs him at night until he cries…What in the world is this??? As long as we have this "Superfriend" that affirms us we need not worry about changing anything. Just continue in sin??? What about 1 Cor. 6? Let’s finish this:

That can separate the power that you have over my soul
So stunting is a habit when I'm gripping this mic
Ya'll thinking I'm a pimp but I'm trying to be like Christ
In real life, yeah

OK, here we have confusion over who David is trying to be like. He tells us that we think he’s a pimp because of his profession, what he says and what he displays to the audience. The reality is (in his world) that he is simply TRYING TO BE LIKE CHRIST??? So if we are confused, we can simply be confused because we can’t identify the difference between David ‘Pimp’ Banner and Jesus Christ??? As we should be able to see…the SUPERFRIEND of Mary Mary is not and has nothing to do with Christ. Christ is a deliverer FROM sin not INTO sin.

Aside from rappers songs, Mary Mary also render another song called ‘Dirt’. This song tries to contrast trials and tribulations with "dirt" in a garden as an essential part of the growth of the believer. The problem is that we should ask, is "dirt" as described by Mary Mary in this song, a parallel to daily life’s trials or is it descriptive of unchecked sin in the life of the believer?

The Saint should ask, is what we go through in daily living "dirt"? Mary Mary answers the question by further explaining that the "dirt" they are referencing is personal failure and not mere daily trials. In other words the "Dirt" is SIN. Here it is:

"Dirt" ~ Mary Mary
Ooh sometimes you may sing for yourself
You struggle hard just to prevail
It’s the lesson you need to learn
It’s the way you’ve got to earn
Champions never accept defeat
They fall and get back on their feet
‘Cause they know (they know)
Just like I know (I know)
That if you want to grow we…
We all need a little bit
(I) need a little bit
Need a little bit of dirt to grow

OK, We "fall down" but that’s OK because we all NEED to fall INTO SIN in order to grow. WOW!Back to the scripture:

Hezekiah’s Solution

Hezekiah prayed 2 Kings 19:14-19 and placed himself and the nation on the complete mercy of God. Without the use of one soldier or any loss of an Israelite life, God turned the captivity around and gave Hezekiah and Judah the victory.

How Did This Happen?

Hezekiah did something miraculous before these trials began. 1- He maintained his heart before God as one who was sincere in doing right even when he made bad judgements and 2- he fortified the water system of Jerusalem. (2 Chron. 32:1) You see, it was because there was a free flow of water that Jerusalem was able to thrive while they were shut up. This water system did not exist in Lachish and Libnah which had fallen and been taken and 3- he listened to the promise of God, when God said he would send a "blast" (Is. 19:6-7)(a ruwach) and turn the enemy away and kill him in his own land.

Suddenly, after receiving the promise of God, over night (2 Kings 19:35-37), God kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Naturalistic speculation is that this was due to either a plague of flesh eating rats or some mysterious deadly illness that invaded the camp. This could have been a reflection of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt when the death angel exacted judgement according to the direction of God. The result was that Sennacherib after receiving the word that his army was trached and had suffered defeat without even engaging in combat, left Libnah and after a silent 22 year absence from the area, died in his capital city of Nineveh, at the hands of 2 of his sons, while worshipping his false god.

What Was The Message?
  • The threat of the enemy against the Lord’s church is actually against the God himself
  • Compromise and rendering to the devil what belongs to god is not according to the scripture, God’s word or HIS ultimate plan for us.
  • What is dedicated to the Lord is to remain dedicated to the Lord no matter the culture or the desire to do otherwise.
There are plenty of natural reasons to give up, but none of those reasons are valid. In fact because God is God we have every reason to believe that HE will provide for us as we render sincere service to him.So far as music is concerned, too many of our artists feel that they cannot and won't be successful unless they give tribute to the enemy, with little or no regard to who they actually belong to. We should be aware that God’s people don’t have to give the enemy anything and especially that which belongs to God. The praise of the saints belongs to God so much so until he inhabits it. This is the type of Glory that the devil has desired to steal from the beginning, and it is in the church’s power to deny and refuse the enemy what he desires.

Should the venue called the "gospel music industry" exist for any of this to take place at all??? Coming up in our next post.

Blessed!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 7

When God's People Pay Tribute

If I were to say that gospel award winning producers and artists such as Donald Lawrence, The Clark Sisters, Kiki Sheard, J. Moss and other modern gospel industry artists were gathering themselves together to give a special tribute to someone, many of us would ask which gospel personality, minister, singer or otherwise would they be coming together to commemorate? That would be a good question.

But what if I said that they were not coming together to celebrate anyone or anything that had to do with the gospel in any manner. What if I said that gospel artists were going to render their gospel talents in celebration of a person and group who has never preached one gospel word, saved one soul for Jesus Christ, and in fact have consistently contributed to the kingdom of darkness spanding for over 32 years???


Well, here it is. In another of the more strange developments within the gospel community, Frankie Beverly, founder of the secular group Maze, (who has never won a secular industry music award) has chosen Donald Lawrence as a member of his production team to place together an all star cast of individuals to pay special tribute to Frankie Beverly and the works of the group called Maze, called the "Silky Soul Music...An All Star Tribute to Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly". As part of this homage, top gospel music producer, Donald Lawrence, has also agreed to rewrite and release a Maze song, "I Want To Thank You".

Now, there is some confusion over when the song (I Want To Thank You) was originally presented to the world and I think I know why. The song that Donald Lawrence is rewriting, wrapped up as a gospel song, was originally released with another song called "Southern Girl" in 1980 on a 12" 33.5 RPm Promo through Capitol Records. The song was re-released in 1983 on the album 'We Are One' by Capitol Records and later by EMI Music (Netherlands) Although my accounting of release dates and times are listed on their website, the following is stated in the Press release:
  • Beverly has also secured an “all-star” production team to join him in the studio with this collection of great artists, including Grammy nominated producer Rex Rideout and Grammy and Stellar Award winning producer Donald Lawrence. Lawrence is producing a gospel rendition of the Frankie Beverly classic, “I Wanna Thank You,” originally released on Maze’s 1983 “We Are One” LP.
Whether Beverly knows it or not, there is a message being sent through this song and it's rewrite and the association of the rewrite with the 1983 date. This song and this event will effectively make many of the top gospel artists ONE with the world for and during this event. That has happened on occasion and many of the gospel artists themselves promote such currently. Kirk Franklin produced a project based off of the same standard of 1970's and 1980's rewrites, so this is nothing new. The problem here is that Maze has an unusual intoxicating appeal partially because of the subject matter that the group enjoins and also because of the spirit of seduction and mysticism that he (the group) promotes.

(Update 3/30/2010: Thanks to Paul, you can see the gospel singers pay tribute to this idol for themselves: HERE is the video. All I can say is what a SHAME!)

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is This "The Mark Of The Beast"? What Say Ye?

Revelation 13:16-18 ~ "16-And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17-And that no man might buy or sell, save that he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18-Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man: and his number is six hundred threescore and six."

I received this from one of our regular readers and posters. Thank you sister Surokoda for the heads up on this one. Now I pose this to the readers. Is this or could this be the Mark Of The Beast? What do you think?



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Monday, June 8, 2009

Late Term Abortion, Is The ELCA Responsible For Dr. Tiller's Death?

"This is an area that we just don't know much about,"..."The information just isn't available." Stanley K. Henshaw, a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that has the best available data.

Since the death of Dr. George Tiller and his relationship with the church, one thing is clear, the church is conflicted over this issue as great as anyone. Why? I suppose it's because of the nature of abortion and especially late term abortion itself, and the seemingly inconsistent way that Dr. Tiller approached his profession over the course of his lifetime.

As recorded in This Doesn't Fulfill The Mission Of Christ, We decry abortion in all of it's forms. We believe that the unborn have a right to life. We also don't believe that Christians or otherwise should take the law in their hands and kill medical professionals who provide such services. However, and this is where it gets sticky, We believe that the already born have a right to life also.

In this article I intend to look at some of the facts that we should know regarding these procedures and the the thoughts of some of the medical professionals who perform such procedures? Are they whimsically recommending procedures based on their own thoughts and libertarian attitudes towards life? Are the women wantonly using late trimester abortions as another means of delayed birth control with the endorsement of the state? Most importantly, is the church, in particularly the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America (ELCA) responsible for Dr. Tiller's death in a vicariously strange manner? It's worth taking a look at and discussing so that those of us who oppose abortion will better understand the processes behind these types of actions and attitudes, and filter out some of the noise regarding the issues.

What We Do Know?

According to a 6/5/09 article by Rob Stein at The Washington Post, more than 88 percent of abortions are done in the first trimester, and most doctors will not perform them beyond 22 or 24 weeks because of moral qualms, social stigma, legal concerns, inadequate training or lack of experience. Barely 1 percent of procedures are done after 21 weeks. At 37 weeks, a baby is generally considered full-term. 2001 data from 15 states and New York City indicate that perhaps as many as 2,400 abortions were performed after 24 weeks in the United States that year, most of them probably in the 25th or 26th week. Late term abortions represent roughly about 1% of all types of abortions performed. It is estimated that 400 procedures per year beyond 24 weeks were performed at Tiller's clinic. Those figures would place Dr. Tiller's clinic at about 7.7 late term abortion procedures per week over the course of a year. The figures at his clinic represent about 16% of all annual late term abortions performed in the country.

Since proper records are not gathered as to the necessity of abortions, abortion rights advocates often contend that the only necessity for late term abortions are when the fetus is maldeveloped, in danger of suffering from a painful death itself or when the life of the mother is in danger or she is at risk from suffering a devastating health condition or problem. Under Kansas law, an abortion can be performed after a fetus is viable only IF the doctor performing the procedure and an independent physician agree that the woman's life is at risk or that continuing the pregnancy would cause "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Preachers, What Will You Do For A Soul?

Saints, Ive decided to do this post on me and some experiences that I've had. I've also recommitted this blog to refocusing in depth into exactly what we're doing in our churches and how hungry for sensationalism that we've actually become. Our imbalances have effected the power and flow of the Spirit of the Lord in our midst and subsequently the hearts of the individuals that we serve.
First, besides being a spouse, father and pastor, I have many duties that I perform daily. Three of those duties include being a defender of the Christian faith through apologetics ministries, being an edifier of the community through community service, and at all times, a servant of God and a servant of the people by just telling and living the truth as best as I possibly can with the help of the Lord.


This week has been one of those weeks that has involved actions in all three categories. I would in particularly like to focus on the last category of servant of God and servant of the people.


During the course of an unfortunately long and drawn out transaction I receive an email from a former friend of the ministry questioning my financial positioning of the ministry and his past arrangements to speak at our church. In fact, here is an excerpt from the rather derogatory email itself:


  • "When you dishonored our contract and booked those flights that cost me to upgrade and even carry my product, I knew then that I should cancel. But you begged and talked about how it would let the people down. But had I known that there would be 15 people there and you would stiff me for the money initially, I would have stayed home."

This email would not have come if it were not for a check that I WROTE, for $1,500. Unfortunately the check initially bounced but was recovered and PAID IN FULL within 7 days from discovery of the problem. Yes, I know, you say "he need some of that Prosperity gospel now"...No Thank you, we're good.

Thank God that, my obligation was fulfilled, but not in the manner I would have liked from the beginning. In the interim, however, before the check was replaced with a guaranteed instrument of payment, the aforementioned comment was made by the MINISTER that thought he had suffered a financial loss. Let me restate, I'm the first to say, BOUNCING A CHECK IS WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE...That without question is a truth that I must tell even if on myself. We must pay closer attention to details and numbers of our checkbooks. I stand in line FIRST for that.

The part that I question however, was the minister's motivations as revealed in this slither of his diatribe to me. First, there are 4 elements in this statement. 1- He (the minister) lost an opportunity to SELL ministry material because of the flight which wasn't up to his standards. (ie: if he wanted to transport more "stuff" HE would have had to pay for it-which he obviously refused to do) 2- He had no feeling for the people (Saints) who were expecting his appearance 3- He didn't expect the crowd was going to be large enough for his satisfaction (actually only about 75-110 people showed not the 15 he exaggeratedly stated) but took a gamble, I suppose, and showed up anyway, and 4-He knew he wasn't going to make as much money as he wanted to make and possibly not even get his $1,500 appearance fee.

Can Anyone Tell Me What's Wrong With That Picture?

If you said, "Where is God?" or "Where is the consideration for the people of God?" I say the same thing. There is no mention of God, his people, delivery of HIS council or salvation of souls. There's no mention of service and true servitude to the people of God or the Kingdom of God. It's all been reduced to MONEY, CROWDS, and SALES.

Yes, what you are reading is real. Bottom line is that this minister was paid. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that modern ministry has miserably failed. People seemingly have become a commodity, a resource, another book or tape sale and their money another offering to be received. Now, don't get it twisted, we know that "it costs money to buy land" and finances are necessary to carry on the work of the Lord, but what about when venues are chosen for profitability, churches are viewed for sellability and areas of the country are looked at as "markets" and potential "distribution outlets"?

This was the first part of my answer to this character:

  • "You only do large churches? Are you like Paula and TD? You only want to be around them that are profitable or have cash? Now they have criticized you saying that you are only out for cash...I have chosen to not believe such up until now, but phrases like this make me question, what does the size of the church or money flow have to do with the ministry?...I see, you're not SENT...you just WENT! You go for the MONEY huh??? See that's another fundamental difference between me and you, I'll go for a handfull of people that need the word...I've done it before and I'll do it again...You want a guarantee...what is it, you forgot how to trust God and do the real work of the ministry??? Did you ever know it? Have you ever done a hospital visit on a evangelical trip? Have you ever shown compassion for God's people, other than them offering you money??? WOW! This is revealing."

Yes this is revealing. It is revealing when individuals who "we think" are about souls prove that souls are a minimal consideration of what they do. You see some ministries graduate to a certain level that they no longer preach at certain size churches. Some get so popular that they only go places where they can make a certain return on their ministry investment dollar. This is sad but true. This is a total devaluation of souls and needs of the people. When souls are valued however, that is the true peace of the Real Christian minister.

Personal Example 1

For instance, I could personally share how a certain pastor asked me to come to their church on an occasion and didn't have money, but needed some help. They took an offering but I asked that they defer and send me something later. The most important part was that the people were blessed. They sent me a sizable offering about a month later. We thanked God and kept blessing one another. Thank God that church grew and built a brand new edifice about 5 years ago.Guess who has an open door anytime to speak to the people of God and deliver HIS council?

What Ever Happened To Real Ministry?

What happened to true Kingdom building? I know, we've stopped doing that because our money could get funny...In Kingdom building we could possibly suffer loss. Yet it is only kingdom building that blesses the people of God and stands between them and the fires of hell. Kingdom building isn't comfortable at times, profitable at times, and is yet essential and necessary to the ongoing work of Christ

As stated and To BE SURE this minister was paid all that he was due financially. Thank god that the door was open to speak beyond that to the real issues at heart. I also added the following comments in response to his assertions:

  • "...This displays no feeling or concern for god's people. The church is not your bank account."...

  • "...I've traveled for over 20 years and NEVER have I ran into anyone quite like you. You have totally lost sight of the people...You only have insight into YOU...That's tragic..."

There is much more that this gentleman said that was very shocking and revealing, but that is aside from the point, and I won't deal with that at this time. But my heart was stirred to question:

What is a REAL minister willing to do to serve God and HIS people?

Mt. 20:25-28 ~ "25- But Jesus called unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26-But it shall not be so amongst you: but whomsoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27-And whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant; 28- Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Abraham In Sodom

We are all aware of Abraham attempting to rescue his nephew Lot and Lot's family from Sodom. In Genesis 18:22-33 we see the story of Abraham bartering with God for the salvation of the city. Abraham simply could have advised Lot to move from the beginning, but there was more to the story because Abraham wanted his environment and the people of God to be blessed. Abraham also knew that God valued souls. In verse 22 Abraham starts by asking God to spare the city for 50 righteous. Out of humility and servitude Abraham goes on an unusual mission to save the city by further bartering with God and decreasing the numbers incrementally. He goes from 50 righteous (v.22) to 45 (v.28) to 40 (v.29) to 30 (v.30) to 20 (v.31) and finally to 10 (v.32). God responds in the latter part of v.32 saying that "...I will not destroy it for ten's sake."

Even though 10 couldn't be found, God agreed to deliver the city with and for a small amount of righteous individuals. the point is that Abraham (being a type of Jesus) placed himself in the way of God's wrath for just 10 people. This story is evidence that god loves souls. Yet in spite of God's love for souls, these 21st century ministers refuse to serve because of the potential is that there will only be "15" persons at the event, and that they will not make enough money or sell enough product...WHAT IS THAT?

Personal Example 2

Last winter, there was a particular sub zero degree Sunday. We were preparing for morning service as usual. Thank God mostly our entire church was able to attend and we were blessed. One of the members, who has a mother that attends another church, told me that her mother had called her and said that their pastor had told them that there wasn't going to be any services for their church that Sunday because the Pastor didn't feel that there were enough members to warrant the inconvenience of turning on the heat.

What Happens When Souls Are Valued?

When souls are valued, love and reaching them rules the day and the love of God is displayed and people will change not out of fear, but out of appreciation. That's the goal.

Personal Experience 3

On the other side of these tragic stories and experiences I've shared, a few years ago, we had a man of God that came to our church. He paid his own way to get there, and what he received from the Saints at that time he probably just did break even. This man however was blessed and blessed the people of God in a great way.

I don't know about you, but that's what I look for in a minister...one who may not be flashy, or have all the "bells" and "whistles" that attract crowds, but one that has quality of spirit, a biblical message, is sent by God and SERVES the people of God with and through humility. That's MINISTRY. Selling a tape or book IS NOT ministry. Swaying a crowd to heights of emotion IS NOT ministry. Demanding money is certainly NOT ministry.



TV/ Media Age, Personalities & Expectations

We seemingly have become so duped by television and media and what it brings into our homes that many of us have forgotten that every ministry that has media ability is not necessarily ordained by God. Every ministry will not be a TV ministry and neither does every ministry deserve to be on TV or media.

The prosperity message, that has been the greatest disappointment of the current recessionary period, has taken on even the best media ministries claiming to be church restorationists. As I noted in 2 of my initial blogs Saints vs Celebrities Pt. 1 and Saints vs Celebrities Pt. 2 "Stars" and "Celebrities" do what they do and the bottom line is that getting paid is top priority. To those type of ministries, it really doesn't matter where Jesus is because they can't perceive him and they second guess his leading because they are unfamiliar with the leading of the Lord.

Celebrities have appeal and sell plenty of "snake oil" to attract the masses, but where is the authentication of the spirit? I'll tell you where, it's in humility and serving the people of God. The REAL POWER has never left TRUE SERVICE and Love for the People of God and his church.

I guess the temptation is to look at how easily profits can be gained with a "gimmick" But the church is being called back to REAL ministry. Real Ministry is done in the trenches, in the hospitals, in the ghettos, in the gutter with them that are hurting. Real ministry feeds, clothes, shelters, and assists their communities...Real ministry, suffers loss, spends gas, runs up miles on the car...but NOT without reward:



Heb. 6:10 ~ "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister."

I know what I will do for a soul and to bless a soul. I have done it before and will do it again. Maybe that's why, the people of god that serve this ministry in return are at such peace spiritually. Maybe that's why The Saints look forward to good, biblically centered messages and apply those things to their lives. One thing is for sure, I can't take the credit for it...All I can do is continue to serve faithfully.

Blessed!


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