Archive for the Category » discernment «

May 24th, 2010 | Author:

Given all the talk around here about the End of the Age, this post by Pastor Anton Bosch, whom I’ve long respected, just jumped out at me.  See what you think.

Many Christians have been deceived into believing that they can somehow “convert” the kingdoms of this world to become the Kingdom of God. In the process they have put their energy and hopes into bringing about the Kingdom of God by working towards getting more influence with government in order to transform government. Some even believe that Jesus will return once we have transformed the world and created the millennial Kingdom.

Read the rest at Herescope.

Share
March 17th, 2010 | Author:

When Christians talk about the return of Jesus Christ, they often make reference to hard-to-understand prophecies, usually in Daniel and Revelation.  The problem is that they rarely come to the same conclusions.

Take the rapture, when all God’s people will be taken from the earth in the twinkling of an eye. [1 Cor 15:52]  The “pre-trib” crowd says Christians will be raptured before the Great Tribulation and not have to suffer through that time.  The “mid-trib” crowd says Christians will suffer through part of the Tribulation, and the “post-trib” crowd says we’ll suffer through it all.

All of these positions can be supported biblically – but they can’t all be right.  [There's even a crowd that says there won't be a rapture, but we won't go there today.]

So when I was a new Christian and trying to understand all this, I made a decision.  While I would read the whole Bible and try to understand it all, until that understanding arrived, I would base my beliefs on the words of Jesus Himself.

Regarding the end times, the best place to do that is on the Mount of Olives. Known as the Olivet Discourse, it was here that Jesus explained privately to His disciples what would happen at the end of the age.

As I’m convinced that these days are fast approaching, I’ve decided to do a review of Matthew 24 – 25, in the hope that God’s people will be better prepared to face whatever comes their way.

The Olivet Discourse

(Matthew 24:1-5) Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus started with a warning about deception.  As one who was deceived shortly after I was saved, it’s a subject that’s held my interest ever since.  One thing that I’ve noted is that Jesus is not talking about being deceived by the world, although that can certainly happen.  He’s talking about spiritual deception in the church – your church and my church.

Did you know that the New Testament contains over 25 warnings against false or deceitful workers?  Do a search yourself and see what you come up with, because I honestly don’t know of one church that is truly holding to biblical Christianity.  I know, I know.  Your church is just fine.  Your pastor would never tell you something that wasn’t true.  But I have to ask – how do you know?  Is your pastor infallible?  Does your church have the perfect doctrine?  If you are relying on your church or your pastor instead of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, then you’re already deceived.

If deception is a hallmark of the end of the age, as Jesus warned us, then there’s no doubt that we are living in it, and I would encourage every Christian to heed Paul’s words: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

If you’d like some more food for thought on deception and discernment, I addressed this in a sermon a a couple years ago.

[to be continued]

Share
January 23rd, 2010 | Author:

Do you feel powerless to stop the encroachment of our civil rights?  Are you outraged at laws that get rammed through to criminalize anything that doesn’t support big government power?  Do you want to take back your life and our Bill of Rights, but just don’t know what to do?  Well, here’s an idea.

Jury duty? Yes, jury duty. If you are called, don’t complain or try to get out of it. Use that opportunity to effect change where it matters most – right in your own community.

I learned with amazement about jury nullification a few years ago. They sure don’t teach it in public schools, and you won’t hear about it from a judge when he’s charging the jury. You won’t even see it on TV. But it’s the truth about our jury system, and I encourage you to learn just what it means.

The following quiz is taken directly from the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) website.  See if you’ve believed any government lies.

THE JURY QUIZ

TRUE OR FALSE?

1. The primary purpose of the jury is to prevent oppression by the government.

2. The jury is an independent arm of government.

3. The defendant is innocent of any criminal charge until proven guilty by the government.

4. The judge can require the jury to find the defendant guilty.

5. The jury can find the defendant not guilty, even if the defendant broke the law.

6. If the jury finds a defendant not guilty when he is clearly guilty, the judge can punish the jurors.

7. The judge decides all questions of law.

8. The jury is not required to reach a verdict.

9. The jurors can vote according to their consciences.

10. The jury must take the law as the Court gives it, whether they believe the law is right or wrong.

11. The jury can find the defendant not guilty, because they believe the law is unjust.

12. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

ANSWERS & EXPLANATIONS

1. TRUE: The criminal trial jury was created by the constitutions of the Federal and State governments to be a guardian of the individual’s rights.

Its purpose is to prevent oppression by the Government.. A right to jury trial is granted to criminal defendants in order to prevent oppression by the Government. – Justice Byron White, U.S. Supreme Court Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 155 (1968)

The purpose of a jury is to guard against the exercise of arbitrary power….– Justice Byron White, U.S. Supreme Court Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 US 522, 530 (1975)

2. TRUE: The Constitution divided the government into three branches –the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – in order to prevent an unhealthy concentration of government’s powers. And it created the Jury – the Fourth Branch of Government – in order to hold the first three branches in check. In order to fulfill its purpose, the Jury must be independent of the other branches of government.

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Paine, 1789

3. TRUE: Under our system of government, it is a sacred principle of criminal law that the government has the burden of proving every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt and that the defendant has no burden to prove his innocence. The government makes the criminal accusation and must prove its accusation to the satisfaction of the jury.

4. FALSE: Not legally! The judge has no authority at all to compel the jury to find a defendant guilty. The jury is absolutely independent in this function.

If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence…If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision. – 4th Circuit Court of Appeals United States v. Moylan 417 F.2d 1006 (1969)

5. TRUE: The jury can find the defendant not guilty, regardless of what the law says, and regardless of the facts. The jury has the power to find the defendant not guilty for any reason which appeals to them. This is usually called “jury nullification” of the law. In short, the jury has a veto power over bad law and bad judges.

The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact. – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Horning v. Dist. of Columbia 249 U.S. 596 (1920)

In criminal cases, a jury is entitled to acquit the defendant because it has no sympathy for the government’s position. – U.S. v. Wilson 629 F.2d 439, 443 (1980)

6. FALSE: No one has any authority to punish a juror because of his vote. Period. This issue was resolved in 1670 in London in the case of Edward Bushell – one of the jurors in William Penn’s trial.

But juries are not bound by what seems inescapable logic to judges. – Justice Robert H. Jackson Morisette v. United States, 342 U.S. 246

7. FALSE: The judge has the authority to declare to the jury what he believes the law to be. But the jury has the authority to ignore that advice, to determine for them what the law says, and to judge for themselves the justice of the law.

It is universally conceded that a verdict of acquittal, although rendered against the instructions of the judge, is final, and cannot be set aside; and consequently that the jury have the legal power to decide for themselves the law involved in the general issue of guilty or not guilty. – Justice Gray, U.S. Supreme Court, Dissenting Sparf v. U.S., 156 U.S. 51, 172 (1894)

8. TRUE: A verdict is the guilty or not guilty decision of a jury. All jurors must agree to the verdict. Otherwise, they must report a “hung jury.” That means that the jury was unable to agree upon a verdict. Each juror is free to vote in accordance with his or her conscience and cannot be forced to vote for conviction or acquittal just to reach a verdict. In the event of a hung jury, the government may bring the defendant to trial again in front of another jury.

9. TRUE: The jurors have not only the right, but the obligation to vote according to conscience. If the jurors believe that the law itself is unjust – for any reason – they have the power to do justice by simply voting not guilty. Every juror has a right to leave court with a clear conscience.

…it is the conscience of the jury that must pronounce the prisoner guilty or not guilty. – Lord Chief Justice Mathew Hale 2 Hale PC 312 (1665)

10. FALSE: The court has no authority to dictate the law to the jury. However, many courts will force jurors to swear an oath to accept the law as the Court dictates. Such an oath violates the Constitution. But anyone refusing to take the oath will be excluded from the jury, thereby depriving the defendant of an independent jury. Such an oath is taken under duress. And nothing agreed to or sworn to under duress is binding. It is ironic that the same judge who demands that jurors take such an oath is violating his own oath to uphold the Constitution.

The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy. – Chief Justice John Jay State of Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 DALL. 1,4

The right to trial by jury shall remain inviolate…. In criminal cases, the defendant shall have a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury; and the jury shall be the judges of the law and the facts. – Georgia Constitution Art. I, § I, Par. XI (a)

11. TRUE: To be faithful to their duty, the jurors must vote not guilty, if they think the law is unjust.

It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court. – John Adams (1771) Yale Law J. 74 (1964): 173

12. FALSE: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” may have made sense centuries ago when the law confined itself to real crimes with real victims. Everyone knew that murder, rape, robbery, arson, and other such crimes were crimes. Today, with government passing thousands of new laws each year, no one can understand all his obligations under the law. If the jury does not believe that the defendant knew of his obligations under the law, it has the power to find the defendant not guilty. Ignorance of the law is an excuse if the jury says it is.

This preposterous doctrine, that “ignorance of the law excuses no one,” is asserted by courts because it is an indispensable one to the maintenance of absolute power in the government. –Lysander Spooner Massachusetts Attorney An Essay on the Trial by Jury, 1852

* * *

So, did you learn anything?  If you did, and you know other people who are ignorant of jury nullification, the FIJA website is a gold mine of information, including:

Help spread the word and maybe justice can prevail … at least in your neck of the woods.

Share
December 23rd, 2009 | Author:


My prayer for this Christmas is that all who view this blog will come to know, not only the babe in the manger, but the amazing sacrifice of Him who hung on the cross that all of us could be forgiven for our sins; that all will repent and receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts, to guide us and comfort us; that all will be reconciled to our holy God and live, henceforth, for Him.

That would make a “Merry Christmas” indeed.

About the Manhattan Declaration

It’s been endorsed by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox leaders, united in defending life and the family. With the White House in the crosshairs. Sandro Magister

It is essentially an expression of what Christians believe put together and signed by over 60 religious leaders from all backgrounds. Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians agreed that the Church has to stand up and declare what it holds to be the truth. The Manhattan Declaration expresses the Biblical viewpoint on the sanctity of life, marrriage, and religious liberty. It is very well written and calls out many of the liberal policies our current administration is pushing on us. Ryan A. Brown

The unprecedented pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-religious freedom Manhattan Declaration, unveiled in a press conference last Friday, has already been signed by over 150,000 individuals in less than a week, and the numbers are continuing to rise by the second. John Jalsevac

Most Christians have by now heard of the Manhattan Declaration, maybe even are among the 307,000+ who have signed it to date.  After all, who could be opposed to a “pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-religious freedom” document?  Well, I am, for one, and here are a few reasons.

Dominionism

While I will not question the motives of it’s human authors, spiritually this document has been designed to deceive Christians into believing that changing the laws of our land to reflect “Christian” values will advance the kingdom of Christ.  This is not true, as church history has amply demonstrated.  This belief comes from the heresy of dominionism, which Al Dager defined in Vengeance is Ours:

1) Satan usurped man’s dominion over the earth through the temptation of Adam and Eve;

2) The Church is God’s instrument to take dominion back from Satan;

3) Jesus cannot or will not return until the Church has taken dominion by gaining control of the earth’s governmental and social institutions.

This is in no way backed up by scripture, but has been accepted as gospel in many circles.  This false doctrine leads to many other errors, and I’d encourage you to take the time to read this overview of the three main dominionist movements in the church.

Perhaps we are witnessing the dawning of Christian Atheism. What term better describes self-proclaimed Christians whose world view is primarily political and self-serving, and exists independent of scripture and Christ? Bruce Gourley

In truth, Jesus never told us to take control of governments and social institutions.  He told us to preach the gospel.

“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (John 18:36)

Oaths

Another problem is that signing this or any such document is contrary to scripture.  Jesus told us to make no oath at all, but to “let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matt 5:37) Be wary when someone wants you to sign something, as this is a classical form of manipulating your support.

Separation

In addition, this document presumes a very broad definition of “Christian” which can only further satan’s kingdom.

Can any civic gains that this document achieves for the issues of abortion or marriage offset the spiritual damage it causes in blurring the line between a true, Biblical, saving Gospel, and a false, un-Biblical, damning distortion? Dan Phillips

It assumes from the start that all signatories are fellow Christians whose only differences have to do with the fact that they represent distinct “communities.” Points of disagreement are tacitly acknowledged but are described as “historic lines of ecclesial differences” rather than fundamental conflicts of doctrine and conviction with regard to the gospel and the question of which teachings are essential to authentic Christianity.

That seriously muddles the lines of demarcation between authentic biblical Christianity and various apostate traditions. John MacArthur

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:17)

Share
July 09th, 2009 | Author:

Welcome to the Word for Wednesday meme. Okay, I know it’s Thursday and I’ve missed it again, but nonetheless I wanted to share. Be sure to check out the other posts for this week: Rebecca’s, Jim’s, and Lisa’s.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

… But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 3-4; 10-13)

As American Christians, we’re quite fond of pointing out the evil and immorality of our world, smugly gathering on Sunday morning with others who do the same. But in these last days, we would do well to look a little closer to home.

Speaking of the ‘clouds without water’ that have crept into the church as Jude referenced above, James Jacob Prasch had this to say:

We read in Hebrews 12:1 that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. In scripture water speaks of the Holy Spirit. These people are clouds. In some sense they are witnesses, but the Holy Spirit is not in their witness. The Holy Spirit’s presence and power is not in their testimony; living water does not flow from them. They may be witnesses, in the sense that they believe that Jesus died. They may even have experienced His salvation at some point, or at least professed faith in Him, but they are clouds without water. They are carried along by different winds. (Grain for the Famine, p. 18)

In scripture, the Holy Spirit is called among other things, our Teacher, the Spirit of Truth, and the Comforter. Who among us, whether in the church or out, is arrogant enough to think we can do anything without His indwelling presence?

Share