Civil Disobedience and the Believer

(March 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 5)  In an increasingly secularized world it should surprise no one that the values, standards, and the very laws of God are regularly violated. Many things that are “legal” are nevertheless unbiblical — even sinful. In an effort to deal with such issues numerous organizations and movements (e.g. Operation Rescue; American Family Association; Eagle Forum; the Christian Coalition; and the now defunct Moral Majority) have been founded — most attempting to change our society into a more moral place to live. The issue that believers must address is our response to the legalized sins of society, and the demands of a secular government which often contradict Scripture. This study will attempt to provide a Biblical base in order for us to make wise and godly choices in this regard. WHEN IS THE CHRISTIAN OBLIGATED TO BREAK MAN’S LAW? We must first deal with the...

Biblical Guidance in Practice

(January 2007 – Volume 13, Issue 1)  A few months ago I wrote a series of papers on the will of God dealing with issues such as finding His will and whether or not He speaks to us today apart from the Scriptures. The position I have taken is one that I would call a full sola Scriptura understanding of the Christian life. This means that God speaks today exclusively through the authoritative, inspired Word which needs no supplementation from any other source. This is not to deny “general revelation” from God’s creation which tells us something of the power and glory of the Creator (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20). But when it comes to “specific revelation” we do not expect our Lord to speak to us apart from the Scriptures. His guidance is not to be sought in visions, dreams, angels or other supernatural manifestations. Nor are we to look...

Anger

(May 2000 – Volume 6, Issue 5)  In his autobiography, Number One, Billy Martin tells about hunting in Texas with Mickey Mantle. Mickey had a friend who would let them hunt on his ranch. When they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he checked in with his friend. Mantle’s friend quickly gave them permission to hunt, but he asked Mickey a favor. He had a pet mule in the barn who was going blind, and he didn’t have the heart to put him out of his misery. He asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him. When Mickey came back to the car, he pretended to be angry. He scowled and slammed the door. Billy asked him what was wrong, and Mickey said his friend wouldn’t let them hunt. “I’m so mad at that guy,” Mantle said, “I’m going out to his barn and...

The Word of Faith Movement

(April 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 4)  Word of Faith The fastest growing segment of Christianity today is the Word of Faith Movement, also known as the Positive Confession or simply “Faith” movement. It’s growth is at least partially due to the massive amounts of money the leaders are able to extract from the faithful. This influx of cash allows for huge buildings and extensive ministries, and more importantly, wide exposure on television, which translates into numerical growth. Not only do many Word of Faith preachers broadcast their services and campaigns, but the largest Christian-based television network in the world is owned by Faith adherents, Paul and Jan Crouch. The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), founded by the Crouches, with an estimated net worth of one-half a billion dollars, is capable of televising the Faith message (as well as many other errant messages) all over the world. Well-known personalities within the...

The Vineyard Movement – Part 2

(November 1995 – Volume 2, Issue 1)  Last time we dealt with the background and leadership of the Vineyard Movement (VM). In this newsletter we would like to detail the VM’s actual teachings. It would appear that the VM is orthodox in much of its theology. The Trinity, deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith alone, the inspiration of Scripture, and most other essential doctrines are taught. Therefore many within the Vineyard are not our enemies, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In addition, we are in agreement with them in most of what they espouse. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned about some of their teachings that we believe are leading many astray. VINEYARD THEOLOGY Below we will discuss briefly some of the Vineyard teachings that trouble us in the light of Scripture: 1) The VM is noncessationist. As we saw in our last newsletter, one of...

The Vineyard Movement – Part 1

(October 1995 – Volume 1, Issue 12)  Almost everyone has heard of the Vineyard Movement (referred to as VM from this point on) by now, but it seems that few know much about it. It is our intent in this newsletter to get a firm handle on the VM by describing its beginnings, identifying its leaders, and examining its teachings. BACKGROUND The VM is a recent development within Christianity, having been founded in 1982 by John Wimber. The movement has experienced rapid growth with a reported 250 churches and 50,000 members by 1990. Two years later Wimber claimed that those numbers had already doubled (Power Evangelism p92). Its leadership has set a goal of 10,000 churches by the year 2000, and it would appear that they are on target. However, the VM’s influence is even wider than that. For example, on the academic level, professors at several evangelical seminaries have...

The Toronto Blessing and the Laughing Revival

(October 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 10)  Something happened on January 10, 1994, at a Vineyard Church near the Pearson International Airport in Toronto, that was unique in the history of Christianity. While some point back to somewhat similar phenomena during the Welsh Revivals, Cane Ridge Revivals (1800-1801), Charles Finney (1800s), and even the Great Awakening (1734-47), all of these pale in comparison to the claims of the “Laughing Revival” that received its energy, if not origin, on that cold day in Canada. Supporters say that on this occasion the Holy Spirit was poured out on that small congregation, resulting in spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter. Thus began a “revival” that continues to this day and has impacted churches throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, including thousands of pastors, have attended the services at the Toronto Airport Vineyard (now called the Airport Christian Fellowship) in hopes of catching and transporting...

The Holiness Movement

(December 2004 – Volume 10, Issue 12)  Pentecostalism was born in the cradle of the Holiness Movement of the nineteenth-century. The Holiness Movement actually traces its roots to John Wesley in the eighteenth-century, who taught sort of a two-tiered salvation. The first tier was conversion or justification, in which one is forgiven and freed from past sins. The second tier was “entire sanctification” which liberated one from their fallen nature, or at least the tendency toward sin. Revivalists, in the early 1800s, such as Asa Mahan (president of Oberlin College) and evangelist Charles Finney advanced Wesley’s theology. They taught “that sinners had the natural ability to believe, and that evangelistic methods could overcome their ‘moral’ inability through the persuasive power of the Gospel.” “Finney and Mahan applied this same understanding to the Christian’s growth toward spiritual maturity…. To be sanctified, they insisted, required only the same kind of simple,...

The History of the Charismatics

(March 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 3)  What began in a corner at the turn of the twentieth century is now barreling down main street, with flying colors, at the close of that same century. What was once known as the Pentecostal movement has now splintered into numerous diverse, yet overlapping movements: Pentecostal, Charismatics, Vineyard, Word of Faith, Holy Laughter. The goal of our papers on this subject will be to inform, clarify, document and warn concerning some of the teachings and practices of those claiming to be charismatic (the term we will use, rightly or wrongly, as a generic handle for all the above-mentioned splinter groups). The salvation of the charismatics is not at issue here. We believe many to be born again. Indeed over half of all “evangelicals” plant their spiritual feet in some wing of this movement. On the other hand, we do not assume their salvation...

Pentecostalism

(December 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 12)  Pentecostalism has become the fastest growing segment of Christianity. “It is growing at a rate of 13 million a year, or 35,000 a day. With nearly a half billion adherents, it is, after Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian tradition” (Christian History, “The Rise of Pentecostalism,” issue no. 58, vol. XVII no. 2, p.3). In addition, the largest church in the world (the Yoi Do Full Gospel Church) is a Pentecostal church in Korea, pastored by David Yongii Cho, with a weekly worship attendance of 240,000. Two Pentecostal Churches in Buenos Aires attract together 150,000 each week (ibid.). Just who are the Pentecostals, how did they originate and what do they believe? The intent of this paper is to answer these questions. Pentecostal History Most consider the father of Pentecostalism to be Charles Parham, a young college student from Kansas with roots in the...