This Week

Haunted Souls

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemplative Spirituality, Mysticism

From Meditation into Hallucinations

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Emphasis Added, 1 Peter 5:8, NASB

As borrowed from the eastern mystical religions, meditative or contemplative spirituality—the operation of which involves engaging in ascetic practices and retreating into solitude (getting alone with God) and silence (remaining quiet before God)—has emerged among evangelical Christians as a popular way to experience God’s love and receive revelations from Him, for intimacy breeds communication. [1] Interestingly, this discovery among evangelicals about how to find “spirituality” now parallels the “mindfulness” revolution taking place in secular society.

By shucking their ever-present cell phones, tabloids, I-pods and other distractions, increasing numbers of people from all walks of life—athletes, educators, corporate execs and workers, politicians, government workers and members of the military—attempt to “de-stress” their lives by attending “mindfulness” retreats where under the direction of spiritual tutors, they learn to meditate with the hope that will discover “a new consciousness” to help them cope with life. [2] To promote “mindfully” working, playing, parenting, test taking, and even going to war, the practice of meditation is rising in America. Based on the increase of its popularity over the last decade, it’s estimated that in the near future more than 27 million American adults will engage in meditation. [3] To cope, they contemplate.

But amidst the rising popularity of this mindfulness revolution, a dark secret lurks in the background. One advocate of “Christian” contemplation, the Quaker Richard Foster, recommends meditation as a means for developing a deeper spirituality. But as to its practice, he also issues a disclaimer (Mark this quotation!):

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance . . . there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! [4]

Though a significant majority of non-Christian meditators report benefits derived from the activity, some indicate that the exercise does not invariably promote psychological wellness. [5]

So it would be well for any would-be meditators, Christian or otherwise, to consider what could happen to their minds if they engage the practice. Meditation can go mad. Examples where this has happened, both modern and ancient, are known. We begin with reports from a rehab center which focuses on helping people restore the soundness of mind they possessed before they began to meditate.
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Jesus, Paul and Midrash

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

God’s Truth versus Men’s Traditions [1, 2]

“Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men . . .”  Emphasis added, Jesus, quoting Isaiah 29:13 in Mark 7:6-8, KJV

The Jews and “the Oracles of God”
Amidst all the spiritual chaos in the world, ancient and modern, arising from mystics claiming that God has revealed “this or that” to them, the Lord committed His “oracles” to the Jews. After indicting the Jews for having lived hypocritically under the Law, the Apostle Paul rhetorically asked, “What advantage has the Jew?” He then answered, “Great in every respect” because “they were entrusted with the oracles [Greek, ta logia] of God” (Romans 3:1-2, NASB). The Lord chose to speak to the world through the Jews. Moses noted the incomparable nature of God’s revelation to the Israelites when he asked them before entering the Promised Land, “What great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:8, NASB). In his book The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill says that, “The Bible is the record par excellence of the Jewish religious experience, an experience that remains fresh and even shocking when it is read against the myths of other ancient literatures.” [3]

God’s supernatural endowment of Israel with the Torah (the Law of Moses) and the Tanakh (the rest of the Old Testament) distinguishes the Jews from all the other peoples and nations of civilization, whether ancient or modern. Though the Lord gave the Law, the Prophets and the Writings (i.e., the constitutive parts of the Hebrew Bible Jesus recognized, Luke 24:44) for the benefit of the Gentiles, He did not originally give it to them. Torah was and is a part of Israel’s peculiar national identity. But from the time of Moses to the Babylonian Exile (for about ten centuries) Israel neither appreciated nor obeyed the Law.
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The New Science and the New Spirituality

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

Quantum Physics and the New Age/New Spirituality

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Emphasis added, Colossians 2:8, KJV)

In explaining the universe’s origin, the theory of evolution neither wants nor needs God. Assuming matter’s temporality, evolution proposes that by chance something derived and organized itself from nothing; or assuming matter’s eternality, the theory asserts that something evolved from something. So what matters is matter. Thus, the study of it—is it a wave or a particle?—becomes primary in explaining “the system” in which we live, where matter came from and why “It” continues.

By observing the interaction of particles and/or powers at the subatomic level, the science (Latin scientia for “knowing”) of theoretical, particle or Quantum physics attempts to understand why “the system” keeps working. But in light of a possible obliteration of the universe (if gravity should suddenly give up), evolution-based physics offers no comfort to the human soul. Hearts cry out, “How can meaning be found in this immense and threatening universe which many scientists assume commenced and continues by chance?”

Esotericism, or the mysterious spirituality of secrets, proposes to salve the angst. By combining the mystical religion of the East with the science of the West, the New Age/New Spirituality imagines to bring meaning to disturbed human hearts. In American culture, this blending of science and spirituality has become popular and as such, can enamor Christian hearts “after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” So believers need to understand how the spiritualization of science can “capture” their souls.
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The Holy Spirit and Holy Scripture

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Charismania, False Teaching

Did Jesus promise “revelations” would continue?

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” Jesus to His Disciple/Apostles, John 16:12-13, KJV, Emphasis added.

The New Apostolic Reformation (i.e., NAR), a charismatic movement within evangelicalism’s “big tent,” believes that just as the Holy Spirit guides Christians into “all truth,” He also reveals new truths—i.e., “things to come.” In their belief, not only does the Spirit bear witness to the Bible He inspired (which He does, 1 Corinthians 2:6-15), but He also anoints contemporary apostle/prophets and apostlette/prophetesses to receive and reveal authoritative new revelations. These latter-day and latter-rain seers argue that Jesus’ promise to His disciples authorizes their reception of new revelations. (See above citation.)

Continuing Revelation
For instance, Sandi Freed tells her followers she believes “in anointed times and seasons.” Then after citing John 16:12, she comments that for “King’s Kids” engaging in spiritual warfare, “This is an amazing passage—it explains why we receive revelation at specific times.” [1] Again, another advocate of latter-day-latter-rain revelations tells readers,

Throughout the world millions recognize this present day as the consummation of the ages and God’s grand finale with latter rain truth. The Scriptures tell us that [John 16:13] the Spirit of Truth is promised as our heritage to guide us into all truth and to show us things to come. [2]

He then explains: “The Lord is standing at the door knocking with a personal invitation for profound fellowship and the unveiling of latter rain revelation.” [3] He tells followers that they must “soar with” the Holy Spirit so that He will give them revelations like the one the Spirit gave him; which revelation was, “Go deep in order to go high!” [4] But using John 16:12 to endorse reception of “new revelations” is not restricted to Charismatic Christians. Cults and other religions have hitchhiked on Jesus’ words to validate their extra-biblical revelations.
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God and Greed: A Contemporary Case Study

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment, Worldliness

Pastor Steven Furtick’s “House from Heaven”

“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . he is conceited and understands nothing . . . [and] has a morbid interest in controversial questions . . . out of which arise . . . constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” Paul to Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:3-5, NASB, Emphasis added. [1]

Introduction—A Contrast
Early the morning of February 10, 2014, 12:00 am, Fox News aired The Fox Files which contained a segment reporting on Samaritan’s Purse’s relief work in various parts of the world, focusing especially on helping the tens of thousands of refugees who have fled war torn Syria to seek safety in northern Iraq. In interviewing Samaritan’s Purse’s President Franklin Graham and its chief operating officer in Boone, N.C., and in traveling to Iraq to observe and report first-hand on the relief organization’s efforts there, Greta Van Susteren brought the heart of the ministry up-close and personal to viewers.

Syrian refugees were shown walking across a make-shift pontoon bridge over the river dividing Syria from Iraq, their only possession being the clothes they were wearing. The scene then shifted to Boone, N.C., where big semi-trucks and cargo planes were shown being loaded with food, water, medical and relief supplies (tents, heaters, water, shoes and clothing, etc.) to be flown to northern Iraq. Little children were shown as they were given their Christmas shoe boxes, the reception of which changed their countenances from the sadness of despair to smiles of delight. Fox Files reported that in most instances Samaritan’s Purse is the first to respond to disaster and refugee crises around the world. At times, it is the only responder. The news program authenticated the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, the importance of which is crucial in light of recent attempts on the part of the U.S.’s Internal Revenue Service to make life uncomfortable for 501C(3) tax-exempt charities and organizations.

Anyway, my heart was moved to tears as I observed the squalid living conditions of the refugees and the ways in which Samaritan’s Purse was trying to help them, giving something to those who possessed nothing. I point to this legitimate ministry to contrast it with reports that have surfaced over the last months about another ministry in North Carolina located about a hundred miles to the south.

True to the “prosperity-gospel” tenet that God wants his children rich—they are after all, the King’s Kids—a young mega-church pastor (he’s 33 years old) is building a 1.7 million dollar mansion, with reportedly five bedrooms and seven and one/half baths, in an exclusive neighborhood on multiple acres of land. Steven Furtick is the hip, flamboyant and youthful communicator who leads Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., a growing 14,000 member congregation with several campuses, even one in Toronto, Canada. Amongst his followers, who claim to be evangelical, he’s not just a rising star, but a risen one. And befitting his stardom, the stylish Furtick is no pauper. His self-indulgence has caused many, mostly outside the realm realm of his followers, to question his ministerial motives in building the extravagant house. Jesus may have promised us a “mansion” in His Father’s house (really the sense is more of an “apartment”), but for the prosperous young pastor that day can’t wait (John 14:2, KJV). He wants the mansion now. So he’s building it with the money received from other of the King’s Kids.

He claims the capital for building the house is coming from “gains” derived from the royalties of book sales and from the honorariums of speaking engagements. In a classic case of conflict of interest, from his influential platform the young pastor promotes his books to thousands of followers. Yet there’s no way of knowing if these royalty/honorarium sources of money are covering the 1.7 million cost of the house because no outsiders are privy Furtick’s compensation package from the church.

Though Elevation Church has a governing body, it does not consist of elders, but rather of a “hand picked” Board of Overseers of other mega-church pastors (Wonder who does the “picking”?). Thus, as Furtick, the church’s CFO James “Chunks” Corbett, other of the church’s administration team and “the Board of Overseers” (“overseer” can mean “bishop”) remain secreted regarding the church’s finances, neither the financial integrity nor accountability of the organization can be verified. Furtick promised Elevation “would always be a ministry of integrity.” [2] Yet the message being left amidst all the hazy financial reporting is, “Trust us!” So when the controversy initially surfaced regarding Furtick’s almost 2 million dollar building project, the young pastor apologized the next Sunday to his 14,000 plus followers that he was sorry for any “uncomfortable conversations” they had to have over “his mansion” under construction. [3] Some evangelical celebrities, and there’s more than just Furtick, seem to be imitating lives of the rich, the famous and sometimes, even the naughty.
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From First to Last

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Spiritual Life

A Spiritual Life-Lesson from the Back of the Line

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19, NASB

Perhaps most of us, at one time or another, when leaving a store, have experienced being first in waiting at an unattended checkout lane and counter only to see another lane open up and the attendant then serve people who should have been served after after you. Well, it happened to me the other evening. Allow me to share with you a lesson I learned from it.

After meeting my wife to eat at our favorite place the other evening (Steak ‘n Shake for any who might be curious), I told her that I needed to shop for a few groceries and run a couple of errands after our meal. So I drove to the grocery store, procured a few items, and then decided as I drove by it, to stop in at one of the local “city garage-sale stores”—you know what I’m talking about, could be Goodwill, Salvation Army, DAV or a local mission store. These stores take in people’s discards and sell them. One person’s trash becomes another’s treasure. Frankly, I like going into those stores to look around, even to buy something now and then. I’ve found coffee cups and sturdy drinking glasses that our family both likes and uses. But usually when I go to a store like that, my first stop is at the book shelves labeled  “religious and inspirational.” And so it was that evening. I looked and found a book titled The Presence Driven Church (Not the real title, but close. As you may or not be aware of, I just wrote an article on “God’s Present of His Presence” that appears on this website and others.). [1] So having written about the subject of His presence, my curiosity was piqued; I grabbed the book and proceeded to the front of the store to check out. But there was nobody at the check out counter. So I waited . . . and waited . . . the only one standing in front of four unattended checkout counters. “Isn’t there anyone working here tonight?” I thought. Impatience began to arise within. I just wanted to purchase the book and get on with my evening.

Then I noticed a lady move to the farthest checkout counter from where I was waiting to open it up. “Oh, she’ll call me over” I thought. After all, I had waited. I was first in line. She saw me standing. But guess what? She didn’t signal me to come over and get in line first. No, she motioned for two other women to take their place at her counter. “Very inconsiderate,” I thought. So I moved to get in line after the two ladies who were receiving “preferential treatment.” They had many items in their carts . . . mostly clothing. The first lady had article after article. Her checking out was tediously slow. I was getting irritated. “Is this book worth my waiting?” I asked myself. Maybe I should just put it down and walk out of the store. No. Don’t be impatient, I told myself. So I waited . . . my annoyance growing despite my pep talk to myself. “You know what?” I thought, I’m just going to wait and when I check out, I’m going to tell the checker how rude she had been to me and how she ought to put first customers first. That’s what I’m going to do. But while you’re waiting, I told myself, why don’t you start to read the book on God’s presence? Hypocritical, I know. Reading about God’s presence amidst growing impatience. Somehow, the two do not seem to “line-up” together. But I started to read the book anyway . . . make the time go faster. Finally, the first lady finished checking out. I thought, now the checker will invite me to the counter because I only have one thing to check out, and the next young customer had, you guessed it, a whole cart load of stuff! But the checker seemed indifferent to my waiting there . . . and inside my annoyance increased. She started checking the girl out. Then she noticed me standing there and somehow the error of ignoring me dawned upon her. She realized she’d made a mistake. She said to me—now are you ready for this—“I am sorry sir. I should have checked you out first.” She didn’t say it once. With a humble voice, she said it once and mumbled it a couple of more times. She was distraught and contrite.

My heart melted. The checkout lady’s apology rebuked me. I thought to myself about myself . . . Here you were impatiently thinking thinking of railing and going off on her for her tactless inconsiderateness, and now spontaneously she apologizes to you. Within the confines of my heart, I felt embarrassed. “Oh,” I said trying to make light of the uncomfortable situation, “it’s just given me time to start reading the book.” Further, I told the checker and the ladies in front of me, who had heard the checker’s apology, “Well, we’ll just call it, ‘Ladies first!’ You do still believe in that, don’t you?” The young African-American high school girl in front of me said she believed in chivalry. Imagine . . . a young girl still believing in chivalry! My having been snubbed from getting my place in line suddenly became a non-issue. My heart was relieved. Though it took me much longer than I had anticipated, with a healed attitude I finally checked out, and by the way, having perused most and read some of the book!

In the aftermath of reflecting upon this incident, I thought to myself, “How I felt after the checker’s apology to me must somewhat mirror how God feels about us when we apologize to Him for not giving Him first place in the line of our lives. Now I know, my experience that evening was not exactly analogous to the Lord’s feelings about us. For example, He doesn’t offend or get impatient with us. He’s longsuffering. But how often do we serve ourselves and others before before Him in the business of life? Then there comes that clarifying moment when suddenly we realize the error that we’ve ignored serving Him first. So we tell Him we’re sorry. Does His heart melt toward us as mine did toward the checkout person that evening? I believe so, for that is God’s character. All He’s looking for from us is an acknowledgement on our part that we have offended Him, and when the repentance comes, that’s it! It’s over. His heart delights in our response of admitting we erred by ignoring Him, but now desire to serve Him first and others second (Matthew 22:37-40). Toward such repentant hearts, Micah tells us that the Lord does not retain “his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18b, KJV).
____________________
ENDNOTE
[1] Larry DeBruyn, “God’s Present of His Presence,” Guarding His Flock Ministries, January 1, 2014 (http://guardinghisflock.com/2014/01/01/the-present-of-his-presence/).

 

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Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church, Entertainment, Worldliness

By Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(1834-1892) [1]

An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’ That is clear enough and so it would have been if He had added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’ No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry.” Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they refused? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world“, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance “Let the dead bury the dead.” He was in awful earnestness.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!‘ No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them . . . Don’t touch their filthy things . . .” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.’ No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church. Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the careless and the scoffers, who testify the church met them half way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is for Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

“Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!” [2]

____________________
ENDNOTES
[1] Taken from The Sovereign Grace Messenger: A Publication of the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship, Issue 37, Winter 2014, Pastor Ron Staley, Editor, Mechanicsville, VA.
[2] I thank my good friend Bob Gifford, pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Dale City, VA, for drawing my attention to this article. It serves as a confirming witness of much of what I have written about and is contained elsewhere on the website, Guarding His Flock Ministries.

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God’s Present of “His Presence”

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Spiritual Life

“Emmanuel”—God is with us!

The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations . . . has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26-27, NASB)

Among evangelicals there’s a lot of chatter and publicity about “getting intimate” with or “seeking the manifest Presence” of God. Often spelled with an upper case “P,” the new Christian spiritualists hope to experience God’s “Presence” by means other than just praying to and reading about Him in the Bible. One means employed to invoke the “manifest presence” is called Soaking Prayer. Preparatory measures to bring down this prayer “presence”—though soaking prayer’s practitioners deny there is a precise formula for it—involves steps such as getting alone with God (solitude and silence; contra Matthew 18:20), repenting of sin(s), speaking in tongues, presenting one’s self to God, remembering God’s past workings, telling the Lord, “I want more of your presence,” and then waiting in silence for His manifest presence to come. When is arrives, the presence manifests itself with miracles—in spectacular supernatural revelations, dreams, visions, trances, out-of-the-body experiences and angelic visitations; or in more subdued impressions, quiet whispers and nudges. Sometimes “the manifesting” doesn’t happen, but advocates of soaking prayer say the effect can be cumulative, that during times of solitude and silence “deposits” of the presence are being made in the lives of those who soak, and eventually “the savings” will burst forth in what soakers call a life of miracles. [1]

Then there are worship leaders, musicians and singers who boldly advertise that their music can escort listeners “through the door of worship, right into the heart and presence of God.” [2] Christian worshippers are classified as “inner court, outer court, or holy of holies Christians, each one needing a certain period of time to come into the manifest presence of God.” [3] So it becomes incumbent upon the worship team to lead congregants into the divine dimension. In this regard, there are even congregations who name themselves Church of the Presence.

Other evangelicals are passionate about “practicing the presence,” perhaps like Soaking Prayer, cultivating solitude and silence, employing mood music or practicing other spiritual disciplines to facilitate experiencing the Presence. In his newly published book, “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer, [4] Warren Smith points out that, in her best-selling evangelical book Jesus Calling (Thomas Nelson, 2004 ), [5] Sarah Young uses “The word ‘Presence’ . . . more than 365 times . . .” He notes further that, “the term [presence] is also commonly used in New Age/New Spirituality.” [6]

In light of all the talk going on about contemplating or experiencing a divine presence, biblical Christians ought to know something of what Scripture teaches about God’s presence so that His Word can inform us whether experiences of it ought to be embraced or shunned, whether they are authentic or synthetic, or worse, demonic.
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Can a Wife and/or Mother Work Outside the Home?

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Family Life

“Teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Paul, Titus 2:5, KJV 

7 December 2013 

Dear _________________:

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!  I trust that all is well with your family. I want to thank you for holding me accountable to the Word of God during these last weeks. We are accountable to each other, to the church, and ultimately, to the Lord Jesus Christ before whom “each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). 

In view of our mutual need for accountability, you have personally expressed concern about my wife’s teaching ministry at a Christian school. Your concern needs to be addressed because it challenges my integrity before and submission to the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. At times Paul had to defend himself, and now I feel compelled to assume a similar posture. I have given much thought to the exegesis and theology concerning the issue you have raised, and have come to some relevant and practical conclusions. 

Specifically, you question, because of Paul’s counsel in Titus 2:5—that older women are to teach younger women to be “keepers at home” (KJV)—whether my wife has the scriptural right to teach at the school where my children attend because, according to your thinking about and your personal application of the verse in question, she does not exhibit the Christian virtue of being a “worker at home.” Allow me please, to state first my understanding of the truth this scripture communicates, and then its application to our Christian family. In this letter consider with me the exegetical, theological, practical and personal reservations I have with regard to the position you hold.
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The Supreme Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Spiritual Discernment

Christ before Cosmos

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Emphasis added, Colossians 2:8, KJV

Introduction
From time immemorial, paranormal phenomena have manifested themselves in the cosmos. And as America has become more secular, there’s been a resurgence of it in our society and culture. Via the digital dimension of movies and video games, the paranormal has become quite “normal” in Western culture over the last generation. In fact, for many persons it’s become their new “reality.” [1] To hitchhike on the title of Peter Jones’ book, the Gnostic empire has struck back. [2]

The phenomenon has especially manifested itself in movies that highlight invading UFOs, aliens and powerful hybrid-transformer-like creatures which threaten to destroy or control civilization as we know it. Consider but several out of hundreds of movies that have been produced around this theme: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Invasion (1997), The Colony (1998), The Invasion (2007), Alien Siege (2007), Alien Species (2008), The Darkest Hour (2011), Lethal Target (2013), Battle Earth (2013), Alien Invasion (2013), etc. Literally, American culture is being mesmerized by digital imagery depicting how life “out there” threatens life “down here.” And in an attempt to keep the Christian faith in step with the paranormal culture of modernity, some Christians are now teaching and writing about “UFOs,” “watchers,” “aliens,” “invading Nephilim,” and so forth, employing a few biblical passages to construct contemporary and futuristic scenarios and then embellishing them with apocryphal, pseudepigraphal and ancient mythological sources.

All of this and more constitute the spiritual collage that makes up the neo-pagan worldview of our New Age, the Age of Aquarius. [3] In our post-Christian culture it’s not that masses of souls believe in nothing, but rather that they believe in anything, and everything! The Gnosis has returned and has become an influential part of western culture’s mindset. And to one degree or another, such Gnostic thinking about the cosmos influences how Christians understand the universe in which they live, which in turn affects what they believe. But the Gnostic influence upon Christianity is not new. In fact, the Apostle Paul warned about the spiritual danger posed by the Gnosticism that surrounded the Christians at Colossae.
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