Christ or Allah

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
—Jesus, John 17:3, NASB

For demonstrating solidarity with Muslims by wearing a head scarf and stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, a Wheaton College professor was recently placed on administrative leave by that evangelical Christian institution. This incident again raises issues about the compatibility of Christianity and Islam. With Pope Francis, Christians are stating both religions worship the same God, and that between the deities the Bible and Koran reveal there’s no essential difference (Or for that matter, with the God of Judaism either.). The reasoning promoting sameness might go something like this:

Judaism is monotheistic;
Christianity is monotheistic;
Islam is monotheistic;
Therefore, all three religions worship the same God.

But before dealing with the question as to whether Muslims and Christians worship the “same” God, some preliminary points need to be made regarding the issue.

Love
Both Jesus and Paul ordered that Christians are to love, pray for and do good to all people, neighbors and enemies (Luke 10:27). Counteracting the established attitude of His day—“You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”—Jesus said, “But I say unto you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). The Apostle Paul added that Christian believers are to “do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10; Compare Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14.). So the Christian faith gives no warrant for its believers to hate and do violence toward those people whose religions do not agree with theirs.
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“Demons, Daughters and DNA”: A Sequel and Response

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment, False Teaching

A Grammatical Analysis of Genesis 6:4 over the Question,
Were the Daughters of Adam Impregnated with Nephilim by the  Sons of God?

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when [or because] the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Emphasis added, Genesis 6:4, NASB

The Scenario
Before presenting a grammatical study of Genesis 6 verse 4, allow the explanation of some background as to why this study is being presented now. As readers of the Herescope blog may be aware, those espousing a new prophetic paradigm assert that at present, the human gene pool is being corrupted for reason of the invasion of extraterrestrial beings that are cohabitating with human women, resulting in the birthing of a mutant species of creature, part human and part supernatural. Espousers of this scenario argue that what happened in Noah’s day before the Flood is again happening now as, according to Jesus’ prophecy, the end of the world approaches (Genesis 6:4; 6:5-7:24; Matthew 24:3, 37). The birth of a genetically altered species of Nephilim before the Deluge helps explain why God destroyed the world then. So fast forward millennia. It is assumed that the same kind of invasion-mating scenario is happening now as earth ripens for God’s judgment again (2 Peter 3:3-10). After all, Jesus said that the times prefatory to His Second Coming would be “just like the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). As there were genetically altered creatures (Nephilim) before God’s judgment of the world then, so there will be, given the nearness of the end, such mutants now. These new Nephilim are rapidly spreading, and they owe their origin to the mating of extraterrestrial sons with terrestrial daughters. This is the scenario proponents of the new prophetic paradigm are promoting in their books, lectures and conferences.

A Challenge
Back in June of 2011, I wrote a paper presenting the results of my study regarding the antediluvian Nephilim titled “Demons, Daughters and DNA.” [1] Admittedly, the study was written in part to defend Gaylene Goodroad who had been a member of the church I pastored before retirement, and whose expose of the new prophetic paradigm was being questioned and discredited. At that time, details of the controversy were not on my radar. Only recently did I become aware that a website promoting the new prophetic paradigm challenged the credibility of my study (“Demons, Daughters and DNA”), especially regarding knowledge of the Hebrew language. [2] Specifically, the challenge regarded a quote I employed to buttress my belief that Nephilim already existed on earth at the time “when” the sons of God mated with the daughters of men.

My response is that if the Nephilim existed before or “when” the sons of God took wives from the daughters of Adam, it becomes difficult to see how such unions could account for the-coming-into-being of a race of giants if they already existed. In short, when the sons of God cohabited with the daughters of men, the reading of the text indicated that Nephilim were already “on the earth in those days” (Genesis 6:4).
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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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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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The Harbinger

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment, Dominionism

A Review and Commentary

Jonathan Cahn, The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future (Lake Mary, FL: Front Line—Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Club, 2011). 254 pages + Notes. In the Front Matter, it is stated: “What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real.” (Emphasis added)

By applying words of judgment spoken and written to ancient Judah (circa 732 BC) by the prophet Isaiah (i.e., Isaiah 9:10-11), Jonathan Cahn creates a prophetic picture in The Harbinger—one the author admits to be part fiction and part fact—of God’s looming judgment over the United States of America (i.e., harbingers being signals of what is to come). As Jehovah judged His chosen nation in the ancient world for their iniquitous ways (Israel and Judah), so God has begun to pour out His wrath upon His chosen nation in the modern world (the United States). As such, The Harbinger delivers a spiritual wake-up call to the church and citizens of our nation.
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Concerned to Discern

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

Does anybody care?

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jeremiah 5:30-31, KJV

As could be agreed upon by most believers, Christians have the right, even the duty, to evaluate and hold accountable to Holy Scripture those who profess the evangelical faith but who, for reason of their manifest beliefs and behaviors, appear to be departing from the faith.[1] Jude told his readers to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). To shirk this responsibility means that believers are being disobedient to the faith once for all delivered. To all Christians, the Spirit gives His anointing which places upon them the responsibility to discern the “spirit of truth” from the “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6; 2:20-21, 27). To the congregation at Rome Paul wrote:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18 (Compare Philippians 3:17-19.)

This same apostle also warned the elders at Ephesus:

I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. Acts 20:29-31

In one context, Paul even named the false teachers! (2 Timothy 2:17; Compare 1 Timothy 1:18-20.)
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The Anointing

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

God’s Gift of Discernment to Every Believer.

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.” (1 John 2:19-20, NASB)

The impression left by some televangelists is that they possess an exceptional anointing above and beyond that commonly possessed by the Christian masses. They give the impression that an anointing is available from God through them. In a sense, these well-known ministers have appointed themselves as distributors of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. Either by the contact of their hand with an individual’s forehead, or by a forceful exhaling of air from their lungs (thereby simulating Spirit and wind), these anointed ones slay individuals or entire audiences in the Spirit. On stage and in crowded auditoriums, these “anointed” evangelists also heal persons by a touch as they command demons to take flight. They are “the anointed,” God’s power brokers, channels by whom and through whom the power of the Holy Spirit is released and distributed into the lives of thousands. Of course, all of this raises the question, What is this anointing is all about?
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Holy Hemp?

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

God’s gift, every “seed,” and Marijuana.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Emphasis Added, Genesis 1:29, KJV

Advocates of marijuana have long cited a passage in Genesis that seemingly, if stretched beyond the bounds of sound interpretation, gives God’s endorsement to the recreational use of this drug. God announced in the creation narrative, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you” (Genesis 1:29). Alluding to this Genesis verse, Timothy Leary (1920-1996), psychologist and psychedelic, reportedly remarked, “They’ve outlawed the number one vegetable on the planet.”[1] So in light of the way and purpose for which drug advocates employ this biblical reference, it becomes necessary to investigate to see whether this passage endorses marijuana use or, for that matter, the use of other consciousness altering drugs derived from plants on this planet (i.e., peyote, grain alcohol, heroin, tobacco, etc.).


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Strange Encounters

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

Do people really see Jesus today?

Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’.” John 20:29

Now and then, people claim to have physical sightings of, close encounters with, and mystical visions of Jesus. Once upon a time, evangelist Oral Roberts saw Him.

I felt an overwhelming holy presence all around me. When I opened my eyes, there he stood-some 900 feet tall, looking at me. . . . He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600-foot-tall City of Faith. There I was face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. [1]

Once upon a time, Jesus visited a Texas man in an Oklahoma motel room. “He looked like his picture,” said George Wood, “but when you’re talking to the man for three hours, you forget the details.” [2]

Another person reports her visionary experience.

Hello, My name is __________. I have had encounters with Jesus Christ . . . My first vision was when I woke one day. I looked over at my alarm clock and saw that I still had a minute left before the alarm was set to go off, so I closed my eyes and thought “great, I’ll get one more wink.” Then I felt sort of paralyzed and saw Jesus Christ’s eyes looking at me! They were his eyes only. They were green with a hint of yellow and twice the size of a human’s eyes. . . . I cannot say how long it lasted because it seemed that time had stopped. The next thing I know I opened my eyes and saw that my clock still had one minute left! [3]

These “close encounters” with Jesus Christ raise issues about the present nature and appearance of His body, its current location, and the meaning of His second coming.
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