Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Facing the Giants

In a day when most movies and TV programs are products of a godless society, here is one movie that glorifies God.


Don't Give Up

Praying for revival

Part 7 of 12 (contains a good highlight)

Part 8 of 12 (contains another good highlight)

Part 9 of 12 (contains yet another good highlight)

Part 10 of 12

Part 11 of 12

The cast was made up of volunteers from a local church, and using real high school football teams. The church music minister wrote the film score.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Click to enlarge:

When I feel like I can’t face the day; or when I get tired of being criticized in a condescending manner by others (mainly bosses at work), or when I remember times in the past when others have acted more like an enemy than a friend (because people are sinners by nature and continuously demonstrate that fact, and conflict is a part of life in a fallen world), I find that the answer is surrender. Surrender it all to Christ, trust in Him, and die to self. This is part of how you become a Christian in the first place, and this is also how you maintain a strong, dependent relationship with Him. The world (i.e., society) tells us that the way to happiness is to pile up ‘toys’ (i.e., material things) and riches for yourself. But riches, wealth, material goods, and even fame, though they can bring pleasure for a time, cannot truly fulfill a person. In the end, they only lead to emptiness. The way to find peace, to find joy, is to surrender your life, your future, your circumstances, and yourself to Christ. Die to self. Consider yourself dead to this world, dead to sin, and alive to Christ Jesus. Follow Him as your Master.

You talk to God through prayer, and you can tell Him all your worries, all your cares, all your desires, when you pray. Reading the Bible is your food; it’s how you put healthy stuff into your mind, and how you input godly thoughts so you will have a healthy, moral, correct attitude. Witnessing (telling others about Jesus) is how you get your spiritual exercise; Besides the fact that people are dying and going to Hell every day, which in itself should drive every Christian to tell as many people as they can about Jesus; witnessing is also how you exercise your spiritual muscles. Fellowship with other Christians is how you maintain motivation and get encouraged, in a similar way that a person interested in astronomy might join an astronomy club; you learn from others, and you get encouraged and strengthened by others who share similar interests. In addition to all these, a vastly important but often misunderstood command from Scripture is to be filled with the Holy Spirit; every Christian is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit basically means that He fills your every thought and is completely controlling your attitude and your actions. You become filled with the Holy Spirit by spending time with Him. The moment a Christian sins, the Holy Spirit is quenched, and they are no longer filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, once they repent of that sin and confess it (I John 1:9), and then spend time with God again, they can once again become filled with the Holy Spirit. The more time you spend with Him (generally speaking), the more your “cup” is filled; and, the moment you sin, it’s sort of like turning that cup at an angle and pouring out most of that liquid. God is a God of relationships, and the more time you spend with Him, the more He fills you. But, when you sin, that relationship is broken, just like when you get into a fight with your best friend or your spouse, that relationship is damaged. However, once you “make up,” the relationship can be restored again.

Of course, for a person who is not a Christian, none of this can happen until and unless a relationship with Jesus Christ is initiated. A person must first acknowledge that they are a sinner and have offended a holy God, and then repent (turn away) from their sins, asking to be pardoned from all the wickedness they have committed in their life, and surrender their life and all that they are, to Jesus, and accept Him as their personal Savior and the Lord of their life. Only then will Jesus cleanse and forgive them, and only then will God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, come to dwell inside them, and make them into a brand new creature (II Cor. 5:17). When this occurs, the person receives eternal life, and is adopted into the family of God, becoming a child of God.

by Jeff Jenkins

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A New Dead Sea Scroll in Stone?

BAR Special News Report
Updated July 8, 2008

"Does a “Dead Sea Scroll in stone” cast new light on early Jewish and Christian views of the messiah? That is the question raised by an intriguing ancient text, a question now being debated in newspapers, web sites and blogs.

The text, called “Gabriel’s Vision” by Ada Yardeni, the Israeli scholar who first published it, is written in ink on stone and dates to about the late first century B.C. and early first century A.D. The text first came to wide attention when our print publication, Biblical Archaeology Review published Yardeni’s “A New Dead Sea Scroll in Stone?” in its January/February 2008 issue (Yardeni pointed out that had the text been written on leather, she would have thought of it as another Dead Sea Scroll fragment).

“Gabriel’s Vision” consists of 87 lines, divided into two columns. The text is written in the first person, apparently by someone named Gabriel, and contains numerous Biblical phrases. It is an apocalyptic text and seems to have been written by a supporter of the Davidic dynasty. You can read Yardeni’s BAR article by clicking on the link above and you can also see her transcription of the Hebrew text and her English translation.

But now the story has taken on a new twist. A major New York Times article (July 6, 2008) described research by Hebrew University textual scholar Israel Knohl, which claims that “Gabriel’s Vision” provides important new insights into the early Jewish and Christian concepts of the messiah. A more complete article tracking Knohl’s research—by the man himself—will be published in the September/October 2008 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Knohl looks at the history of Jewish and Christian messianism and explores their similarities and differences. The new stone Dead Sea Scroll opens up a new chapter in the history of this relationship, according to Knohl.

In this pre-Christian Jewish text, he finds references to two different concepts of the messiah—one, the Messiah son of David; and the other, the Messiah son of Joseph (Ephraim). The return of the messiah of David would involve a military victory. Indeed, the Davidic messiah will institute the messianic age with a “day of battle.” He will make his enemies “a footstool.” The Messiah son of David is a triumphal messiah. Ephraim, or the Messiah son of Joseph, is a very different kind of messiah and reflects a new kind of messianism. This kind of messianism involves suffering and death. In the new Dead Sea Scroll in stone, Knohl sees a messiah who suffered, died and rose.

Quoting the Gospels, Knohl finds that Jesus himself rejects the concept of the militant Messiah son of David.

Also in the stone Dead Sea Scroll, an archangel orders someone to arise from the dead in three days. Although the text is difficult, the setting clearly reflects death and bloodshed."

from: http://www.bib-arch.org/news/dss-in-stone-news.asp

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Messianic Jew Explains the Holy Trinity

Dr. Michael L. Brown, a Messianic Jew and founder of ICN Ministries, explains the Trinity.

Do you have questions about the Messianic credentials of Yeshua?
Dr. Michael L. Brown

Friday, July 25, 2008

A School Textbook --No Longer Allowed!

For two hundred years American public schools had a very interesting textbook. It was 'The New England Primer". Beginning readers following instructions in learning the alphabet used Bible verses as guides.

"The New England Primer was first published between 1688 and 1690 by English printer Benjamin Harris, who had come to Boston in Massachusetts in 1686 to escape the brief Catholic ascendancy under James II. Based largely upon his earlier The Protestant Tutor, The New-England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in colonial and the early days of United States history. While the selections in the New England Primer varied somewhat across time there was standard content for beginning reading instruction. Included were the alphabet, vowels, consonants, double letters and syllabariums of two letters to six letter syllables. The 90-page work contained religious maxims, woodcuts, alphabetical assistants, acronyms, catechisms, and moral lessons. Many of its selections were drawn from the King James Bible and others were original. It embodied the dominant Puritan attitude and worldview of the day. Among the topics discussed are respect to parental figures, sin, and salvation. Some versions contained the Westminster Shorter Catechism; others contained John Cotton's shorter catechism, known as Milk for Babes; and some contained both. The primer remained in print well into the 19th century and was even used until the 20th. A reported 2 million copies were sold in the 1700s. No copies of editions before 1727 are known to survive; earlier editions are known only from publishers' and booksellers' advertisements."

In ADAM'S Fall
We sinned all.

Heaven to find;
The Bible Mind.

Christ crucify'd
For sinners dy'd.

The Deluge drown'd
The Earth around.

By Ravens fed.

The judgment made
FELIX afraid.

As runs the Glass,
Our Life doth pass.

My Book and Heart
Must never part.

JOB feels the Rod,--
Yet blesses GOD.

Proud Korah's troop
Was swallowed up

LOT fled to Zoar,
Saw fiery Shower
On Sodom pour.

MOSES was he
Who Israel's Host
Led thro' the Sea

NOAH did view
The old world & new.

All were pious.

PETER deny'd
His Lord and cry'd.

Queen ESTHER sues
And saves the Jews.

Young pious RUTH,
Left all for Truth.

Young SAM'L dear,
The Lord did fear.

Learnt sin to fly.

VASHTI for Pride
Was set aside.

Whales in the Sea,
GOD's Voice obey.

XERXES did die,
And so must I.

While youth do chear
Death may be near.

Did climb the Tree
Our Lord to see.


A WISE son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

BETTER is a little, with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith.

COME unto Christ, all ye who labor and are heavy hiden, and he will give you rest.

Do not the abominable thing which I hate, saith the Lord.

EXCEPT a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

FOOLISHNESS is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it from him.

GRIEVE not the Holy Spirit, lest it depart from thee.

IT is good for me to draw near unto God.

KEEP thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.

LIARS will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brinistone

MANY are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all.

NOW is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.

OUT of the abundance of the heart thy mouth speaketh.

PRAY to thy Father who is in secret, and, thy Father who sees in secret will reward thee openly.

QUIT you like men; be strong; stand fast in the faith.

REMEMBER thy Creator in the days of thy youth.

SALVATION belongeth unto the Lord.

TRUST in God at all times, ye people; pour out your hearts before him.

UPON the wicked God will rain a horrible tempest.

WOE to the wicked; it will be ill with him, for the reward of his hand will be given

EXHORT one another daily while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

YOUNG men, you have overcome the wicked one.

ZEAL hath consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten the word of God.

Also please see:
1. The New England Primer
2. Pages of 1805 New England Primer
3. The New England Primer 1843
4. The New England Primer 1777 Edition

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The French and Indian War: Account of a British Officer
July 9, 1755

"The American Indian chief looked scornfully at the soldiers on the field before him. How foolish it was to fight as they did, forming their perfect battle lines out in the open, standing shoulder to shoulder in their bright red uniforms. The British soldiers—trained for European war—did not break rank, even when braves fired at them from under the safe cover of the forest. The slaughter continued for two hours. By then 1,000 of 1,459 British soldiers were killed or wounded, while only 30 of the French and Indian warriors firing at them were injured.

Not only were the soldiers foolish, but their officers were just as bad. Riding on horseback, fully exposed above the men on the ground, they made perfect targets. One by one, the chief’s marksmen shot the mounted British officers until only one remained.

"Quick, let your aim be certain and he dies," the chief commanded. The warriors leveled their rifles at the last officer on horseback. Round after round was aimed at this one man. Twice the officer’s horse was shot out from under him. Twice he grabbed a horse left idle when a fellow officer had been shot down. Ten, twelve, thirteen rounds were fired by the sharpshooters. Still, the officer remained unhurt.

The native warriors stared at him in disbelief. Their rifles seldom missed their mark. The chief suddenly realized that a mighty power must be shielding this man. "Stop firing!" he commanded. "This one is under the special protection of the Great Spirit." A brave standing nearby added, "I had seventeen clear shots at him…and after all could not bring him to the ground. This man was not born to be killed by a bullet."

As the firing slowed, the lieutenant colonel gathered the remaining troops and led the retreat to safety. That evening, as the last of the wounded were being cared for, the officer noticed an odd tear in his coat. It was a bullet hole! He rolled up his sleeve and looked at his arm directly under the hole. There was no mark on his skin. Amazed, he took off his coat and found three more holes where bullets had passed through his coat but stopped before they reached his body.

Nine days after the battle, having heard a rumor of his own death, the young lieutenant colonel wrote his brother to confirm that he was still very much alive.

"As I have heard since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first and of assuring you that I have not as yet composed the latter. But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!"

This battle, part of the French and Indian War, was fought on July 9, 1755, near Fort Duquesne, now the city of Pittsburgh. The twenty-three-year-old officer went on to become the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first president of the United States. In all the years that followed in his long career, this man, George Washington, was never once wounded in battle.

Fifteen years later, in 1770, George Washington returned to the same Pennsylvania woods. A respected Indian chief, having heard that Washington was in the area, traveled a long way to meet with him.

He sat down with Washington, and face-to-face over a council fire, the chief told Washington the following:

"I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forests that I first beheld this chief [Washington].

I called to my young men and said, "Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom and his warriors fight as we do—himself alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies."

Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss—’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we shielded you.

Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you. I am old and shall soon be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of the shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy:

Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man [pointing at Washington], and guides his destinies—he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle."

This story of God’s divine protection and of Washington’s open gratitude could be found in virtually all school textbooks until 1934. Now few Americans have read it. Washington often recalled this dramatic event that helped shape his character and confirm God’s call on his life.

Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Psalm 91:7

from: http://tinyurl.com/6nlaqs

Also see:
The Bulletproof George Washington
The Life of George Washington
Under God

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


By Barbara Aho

Modern Prophets have received "new revelations" of the end-time which, until now, have not been understood by the Church. Truly, a "New Breed" of Apostles and Prophets is being raised up who will assume their end-time role of leading the Church to take dominion and to execute God’s judgments in the world. Vineyard Ministries Apostle, Jack Deere, believes that the two witnesses in Revelation 11 may very well be Kansas City Prophets, Paul Cain and Bob Jones.(1) Says Paul Cain:

"God is raising up a new standard, a new banner if you will, that’s going to radically change the expression, the understanding of Christianity in our generation…God has invited us to have a role in establishing this NEW ORDER of Christianity…God is offering to this generation something He has never offered to any other generation… Beware lest OLD ORDER brethren rob you and steal this hope from you!(2)

Bob Jones has received special revelation about this new hope:

"I have called the best of every blood line in earth unto this generation…I have elected to bring them forth in this generation…THE ELECT GENERATION…even the bloodline of Paul…of David…of Peter, James and John…They will even be superior to them in heart, stature and love for me’…Your children will possess the spirit without measure…They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before…coming into the DIVINE NATURE of Jesus Christ…a Church that has reached the full maturity of the GODMAN! This generation…is going to see the beginning of this WORLD WIDE NEW ORDER."(3)

Are you having difficulty discerning or receiving this "new revelation"? Then perhaps you have been interpreting your Bible in the "old way" -- comparing Scripture with Scripture, studying diligently to account for every jot and tittle and being careful to rightly divide the Word of truth. If this describes you, then you belong to the "Old Generation" which will not enter in to "possess the land" in the Latter Rain Revival. You may even be a member of a denominational church with its dogmatic confession of faith and statement of doctrine. These legalistic forms will be relics of the past in the up and coming "Postdenominational Church." Paul Cain advises that you "dump all that carnal stuff" (doctrine) and listen to what the "spirit" is saying to the churches through the Latter Rain Prophets and Apostles, who are dispensing many "new, sacred truths."

Now, back to your Bible study. In your Bible you will want to change the book of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" to "The Manifestation of the Sons of God." That’s right, we are not to be looking for the "coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering unto Him." Nope. That would be an "escapist mentality" to be repented of at once if we would be Overcomers. Instead, we should be looking forward to the glorification of the Corporate Church, which will become perfect and immortal here on earth before the Second Coming. In fact, as Jesus comes "spiritually and invisibly" to His Church, He will actually "incarnate" the Corporate Body and reveal Himself to the world through miraculous signs and wonders performed by the "Manifest Sons of God."

This great end-time Company is really the "Manchild" of Revelation 12 which will rule the nations with a rod of iron. (You will need to replace Israel with the Church in this passage.) Yes, this end-time Church is also the prophetic fulfillment of the dreadful army in Joel 2, which is God’s agent of judgment to cleanse the earth of evil during the "times of restitution." (You will find this army also in Revelation 9!) Since the Manifest Sons of God are "the Christ," they will be putting all things under their (oops!) His feet, including the "old order" brethren.

Are you wondering by what authority the modern Prophets and Apostles presume to confer this Divine Right upon themselves and their followers? Not to worry! Paul Crouch, President of Trinity Broadcasting Network, has provided the following exegesis of Jesus’ parable:

"Read the parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matthew 13:24-30 and you will see that at the end of this age the "ANGELS" are sent forth to remove evil from the earth. That word "ANGELS" also means messengers. So God may use some of us to finish up the work of this age."(4)

Those who would be chosen as the elect Manifest Sons of God by the modern Apostles and Prophets, must first repent of their old divisive attitude of separation from error. Christ cannot incarnate a divided church and for this reason we will need to be delivered from our narrow doctrinal point of view and join the ecumenical crowd on the Broad Way. It matters not that the blood of the martyrs was shed contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Those who persist in being contentious about doctrine may join them when the great "revival" arrives circa A.D. 2000.

Over 50 years ago, William Branham, George Warnock, Paul Cain and others attempted to introduce Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God teachings into the Pentecostal movement. In 1949, however, the Assemblies of God officially rejected the Latter Rain/ Manifest Sons of God doctrine as "heresy." The cult went underground but surfaced again in the 1960’s as the Manchild Company. Disregarding the Assemblies of God decision, Paul Cain, the Kansas City Prophets and Vineyard Ministries have subsequently reintroduced and successfully established this false doctrine in the Pentecostal churches.

The Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God doctrine "involved a man-child elite group of Overcomers taking dominion over all nations and reigning in the heavenlies while overseeing drastic judgment on all who remained in the 'old generation' -- i.e., the denominational churches! The Latter-Rain teachings promised a Second Pentecost outpouring to empower this elite group, and to incarnate the Christ within them to the degree that they will become perfect and invincible, even to the overthrow of heavenly powers."(5)

Today, few recall the controversy surrounding Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God doctrines fifty years ago and their repudiation by the Church. Of necessity, they are now camouflaged and Christians must have an accurate understanding of Scripture to discern these counterfeit winds of doctrine. Charismatic churches are well-established in Latter Rain doctrine and Evangelical churches are currently being indoctrinated via numerous parachurch organizations and movements. Latter Rain teachings include: Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology, Progressive Revelation, Revival/Harvest, Joel’s Army, Replacement Theology, Post-Millennial Eschatology, Signs and Wonders, Territorial Warfare, Ecumenism, Restoration of Apostles and Prophets, Jubilee/Feast of Tabernacles, and the Post-denominational Church.


Latter Rain doctrine is a modern version of the classic heresy of Gnosticism, which taught that a spiritual elite possessed "hidden knowledge" of the divine realm which placed their personal revelations, spiritual experiences, and private interpretation of Scripture above the ordinary revelation of God’s Word. In Latter Rain doctrine, Pentecost was the "former rain" or outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Church must yet receive a second Holy Spirit visitation. At this time, the Sons of God will be glorified and manifested to all as they establish the Kingdom on earth before Jesus Christ returns bodily. Latter Rain prophets are now preparing multitudes for this transformation. In a 1991 program entitled "Manifested Sons of God," Morris Cerullo flattered his audience with the following blasphemy,

"You represent all that God is and all that God has...Jesus was the visible expression of God. Jesus was the Son of the Living God. Now, who are you? Sons of God…everyone say it. What is working inside of us is the manifestation. When you look at me, you are looking at Jesus…To see Jesus was to see God. To see me is to see Jesus. Jesus knew who He was. Don’t you think it is about time we know who we are?"(6)

Benny Hinn fills convention centers worldwide preaching a similar message, which exalts the creature rather than the Creator, and induces spiritual pride:

"This spirit-man within me is a God-man. Say after me, he’s born of heaven, he’s a super-being…Say I’m born of heaven - God-man. I’m a God-man. I’m a sample of Jesus. I’m a super being. Say it! Say it! Who’s a super being? I walk in the realm of the supernatural. Get the spirit-man renewed…when he’s strong, he’ll hold off sickness…you want to prosper? Money will be falling on you from left, right and center. God will begin to prosper you, for money always follows righteousness…Say after me, I hold my destiny."(7)

Thus, whole congregations are bewitched with the prospect of unleashing their potential as ‘Godmen’ in the approaching "Latter Rain Revival." This predicted restoration is an outgrowth of Replacement Theology which appropriates to the Church the promises of restoration which God gave to Israel, specifically Joel 2:23 and Hosea 6:3. James 5:7 simply states that the Church must patiently wait for the coming of the Lord as the husbandman waits for the "latter rain" to receive the full harvest. The saints will then reign with Christ, as seen in Revelation 19. Neither Daniel, Matthew 24, Thessalonians nor Revelation mention a great Christian revival, but characterize the period before the Second Coming as a perilous time of great deception, paganism, apostasy from the faith and persecution of the saints.

In I John 4:1-3, Christians are enjoined to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." However, there is a common theme in many of the new revelations that those who resist the "new move of God" as unscriptural are lukewarm, immature or even divisive members of the Body. The following prophecy by Gwen Shaw, President of End-Time Handmaidens, is typical of this attitude:

"If you can’t think in a new way, if you can’t accept what I am going to do, you will burst. You will not be able to accept the expansion of this new wine. This new wine shall cause many to expand in their understanding of the ways of God. Because some are not equipped, and some are not prepared, and because of their indifference and their critical spirit, their wineskins shall burst."(8)

Those in authority who indiscriminately censure believers for questioning new revelations are interfering with an important step in the biblical process of testing prophecy. Yet throughout the Latter Rain move, leaders have scarcely, if at all, encouraged the church to be like the noble Bereans in Acts 17 who "searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Rather, they commonly protest that any objection to the new revelations is of a judgmental spirit or a personal attack on the prophets. These rash assumptions prevent all honest discussion concerning the doctrinal bases for assumed "new" revelations. Paul Cain even advised his audience to wait until they get to heaven to examine his exposition of the ‘Manchild Company,’ which would never stand the test of Scripture:

"…I know some of you are going to disagree with this. Don’t you even stop to disagree. Revelation 12:5. If you disagree, just file it in ‘miscellaneous’ and check it out. And don’t bother with it; when we get to heaven we’ll check it out and you’ll find out I’m right…"(9)


However inconsistent it may be with the Word of God, Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God eschatology agrees on every point with the New Age Movement’s anticipation of the exaltation of mankind to godhood and the establishment of a New World Order. The following appraisal of Latter Rain theology by New Age Unity pastor, Rev. Earnest Ramsey was cited in Constance Cumbey’s book, A Planned Deception, The Staging of a New Age Messiah,

"Rev. Ernest Ramsey, an associate pastor at Unity's Kansas City's Founder's Church, Unity on the Plaza, is an enthusiastic follower of the Alice Bailey and Benjamin Creme teachings. In his Research Report #2, he tells of something he was led to by a spirit guide - what he terms 'Neo-Pentecostalism.' An aberrant branch of Pentecostalism, this is more commonly known as the 'Manifest Sons of God.' That movement is also referred to as 'Sonship' or 'Overcomers.' Ramsey concludes based on even less evidence than I have personally collected that this is part of the New Age Movement.

"Ramsey's work for his organization, 'Synthesis Fellowship,' first came to my attention in early 1983. His major report, entitled "An Evolutionary Basis For The Reappearance of the Christ and his Executives, the Masters of Wisdom" was inspired by Benjamin Creme's appearance and speech at Unity on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. . . The most interesting section of Ramsey's report dealt with 'Neo-Pentecostalism.' Ramsey spent a semester at one of the Neo-Pentecostal or Manifest Sons of God seminaries (in upstate New York). . . Already familiar with the Alice Bailey writings, he was amazed to see that there was a branch of Pentecostalism that embraced the same teachings -- albeit using sometimes different terminology.

"Like those seeking the 'Age of Aquarius' these people too were seeking a 'New Age.' Like the other New Agers, these people taught that 'The Christ' was an anointing - not necessarily one man. They taught that Jesus was a pattern son who was to be a sign of something even greater to come - the 'Manifestation of the Sons of God.' They too believed the earth was to be cleansed of evil. And chillingly like the other New Agers, they believed they were to be 'God's' instruments to do such cleansing. The New Agers believed they were gods. The Manifest Sons of God likewise taught that if one accepted their 'new revelation' that they themselves would actually become Christ at the time of the unveiling or manifestation of the Sons of God."(10)

Other prominent New Age leaders have openly expressed the intention of their movement to infiltrate the Christian Church in order to introduce their esoteric teachings and to "draw away disciples after themselves." In The Unfinished Animal: The Aquarian Frontier and the Evolution of Consciousness, Theodore Rosak revealed that, "Charismatic congregations in main-line churches are entry points into the Aquarian frontier."(11) Alice Bailey, Theosophist and mother of the modern New Age Movement, revealed an ingenious plan in her 1957 volume, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. Cabalist agents would infiltrate the Christian Church to modify its message, while adapting it as a vehicle for the Universal Religion of the 21st Century.

"…The church movement, like all else, is but a temporary expedient and serves but a transient resting place for the evolving life. Eventually, there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this century… This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle, the TRUE second Coming has been accomplished… the Christian church in its many branches can serve as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished… the church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated."(12) (Italics added)


In Latter Rain doctrine, paramount emphasis is placed on the proposed Year of Jubilee A.D. 2000, when all nations and a "united" Church will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. The prophetic fulfillment of this Feast is said to occur prior to the return of Christ. Latter Rain prophets claim that this will also be a "Second Pentecost," since the first was ‘incomplete.’ Christ will then appear in the midst of His people and be incarnated in his Body, filling the Corporate "Christ" with His glory, which will then be poured out on all flesh.

"There is another realm of spiritual experience typified in scripture by the Feast of Tabernacles. Until we understand and partake of this feast, as we have both Passover and Pentecost, we will never fulfill our destiny and calling. We must discover the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles and ‘celebrate’ it along with Passover and Pentecost…What God did among Jews in Jerusalem, He is going to do among humanity and worldwide. Pentecost will come to maturity in the feast of Tabernacles."(13)

This Latter Rain "Second Pentecost" during Tabernacles is suggestive of the "Planetary Pentecost" preached by Barbara Marx Hubbard as the peaceful "alternative to Armageddon." At this time, a "quantum leap" in the evolution of mankind will occur as revealed to her by "the Christ": "At the moment of cosmic contact, I will appear to you both through inner experience and through external communication on your mass media." Says Ms. Hubbard, it will be a time when "the divisions of the religions would be over…We would each know that God is within us…If all who feel we are connected to each other, to nature and to God join in a planetary Pentecost, we shall be transformed in this lifetime. I believe in the peaceful second Coming."(14) Earnest Ramsey perceived virtually no difference at all between the New Age Tabernacles/Year of Jubilee and the Latter Rain interpretation of these celebrations.

"Ernest Ramsey excitedly pointed out in his report that [the Manifest Sons] had a teaching which indeed did parallel the Aquarian teaching of the Age of Aquarius -- the Old Testament 'Year of Jubilee' as well as the 'Feast of Tabernacles.' The Year of Jubilee paralleled the redistribution of the world's wealth. The Feast of Tabernacles was the equivalent of the coming together of the World's peoples and varied religions under one tent or tabernacle -- the equivalent of the New Agers' long-awaited 'New World Religion.'"(15)

Coincidental with the Latter Rain/New Age agenda to celebrate Tabernacles in the proposed Year of Jubilee, the Vatican Central Committee is coordinating with other Catholic Rites and church conferences, such as Episcopal, Anglican Communion, World Lutheran Federation, World Reformed Alliance, Methodist World Council, the World Council of Churches for a celebration of the Great Jubilee "which will take place simultaneously in the Holy Land, in Rome and in the local Churches throughout the world."(16) In ancient Israel, the 50 year Jubilee celebration freed all slaves, canceled all debts, and restored properties to the original owners. Pope John Paul II, New Age/New World Order planners and Pat Robertson (17) of the Christian Broadcasting Network have all called for the worldwide redistribution of wealth and cancellation of debt in 2000 A.D.--severe measures that would precipitate the collapse of secular economies which have not planned for this adjustment.

Concurrent with Rome’s initiative, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is promoting "Taste of Tabernacles" celebrations in Christian churches and parachurch ministries worldwide. Johann Luckhoff, Director of ICEJ, was invited by New Age advocate, Jay Gary, to speak at the ecumenical A.D. 2000 Global Conference on World Evangelism in Seoul, South Korea in 1989. Says Luckoff, "One of the reasons I was invited to Korea was because the organizers of the GCOWE hope to have the next gathering in Jerusalem at the end of the millennium. That should be quite an event." George Warnock would agree. In 1951, Warnock forged a definitive doctrine for the Latter Rain Movement in his book, The Feast of Tabernacles, and specifically noted that the "Christ should visit the saints…and minister his life ‘in secret’ before He is openly manifest."(18)

Zechariah 14:16 states that the nations will go to Jerusalem annually to worship the King and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, after the return of Jesus Christ. Which "Christ" will the Latter Rain prophets worship?

"We must not miss this point: the replacement theology of the Manifest Sons of the Latter Rain, which New Ager Ramsey called ‘Neo-Pentecostalism,’ has brought the Age of Aquarius into the Church under the guise of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Year of Jubilee."(19)


To defend their unbiblical exposition of many doctrines, Latter Rain prophets and apostles claim that "new" teachings, prophecies and interpretations of Scripture are progressively being unveiled which have heretofore not been revealed to the Church. Even though such visions, prophecies and revelations are unsupported by the Word of God, they are nonetheless canonized as doctrine because they were accompanied by spiritual experiences. However, Hebrews 1:1,2 states, "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." Since Jesus Christ is the Word of God, I Corinthians 14:29 contains the provision that all prophecy in the church be tested and judged by its conformity to Scripture. Isaiah 8:20 declares, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

In 1993, Charismatic Pastor John Hinkle prophesied nationally that on Thursday, June 9, God would remove the evil from the earth. That this was a false prophecy should have been apparent to believers from the beginning, for Scripture is clear that evil will not only remain in the world, but will increase before Jesus Christ returns. Deuteronomy 18:22 states, "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously." False prophets in Israel were to be stoned. Mercifully, the church is to judge prophets and reject those who do not speak according to sound doctrine or whose word is not specifically fulfilled. However, Christian leaders did not reject Hinkle’s prophecy as false but dissembled, claiming that an earthquake in South America or unknown event in the invisible realm fulfilled its conditions. Could not the latter rationalization be made for all prophecies that default?

"New" revelations extend beyond the parameters of God’s Word and give opportunity for false teachings to be introduced to the Church. The mischief that ensues from the acceptance of false prophecy is considerable. The transition from John Hinkle’s prophecy to Paul Crouch’s outrageous statement that Christians will soon remove the tares from the wheat was subtle. We have yet to see the damage that will result from Pat Robertson’s astonishing claim in a 1984 televised sermon that, "God spoke through a word of prophecy in May 1968, and said, ‘I have chosen you to usher in the coming of My Son.’"(20) Robertson also announced then that the Christian Broadcasting Network will provide worldwide coverage of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Which "coming" is precarious, for it seems that more than one "Christ" is presently expected to return. One researcher has pondered Pat Robertson’s prophecy:

"I can’t see any way out of his cameras melting if he attempted such a thing with the true coming. II Thessalonians 1:7,8 describes that extraordinary day, ‘…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.’ II Peter 3:10 states, ‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.’"(21)

It is unlikely that Pat Robertson will televise the Lord Jesus Christ in His glorious return from heaven. Perchance it may be "that Wicked One, even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."


New Agers have studied Bible prophecy carefully, especially Matthew 24, and have documented plans to technically stage a "Second Coming," which would be acceptable to Christians, New Agers, et al. David Bay, Director of Old Paths Ministries, says that these plans have been published in a book entitled, The Armageddon Script, by New Age leader Peter LeMesurier. However, before that event, there will be another supernatural, psychic occurrence:

"Pope John Paul II is anxiously awaiting a potent world-wide Marian Vision. (World) chaos is to precede this vision. This vision will validate the global reign of Pope John Paul II and will establish him as the ultimate spiritual Judge of the Planet… the purpose of this super-natural vision is to validate the Roman Catholic church as the only true church and this Pope as God's ordained leader.’…According to Vatican official, Malachi Martin, author of The Keys of This Blood, this event will be most powerfully psychic. The force accompanying this vision will be so powerful it will literally bring the normal activity of the world to a standstill. Men will be so moved that their ‘consciences will cry out with fear.’ This vision will produce an ‘engulfing chaos, along with misdirection, and disequilibruim in human affairs. In other words, the entire population of the world will experience a simultaneous changing of their minds…The vision will be preceded by either a loud sound, a bright light...

"These effects are identical to those which New Age writers have predicted during the appearance of Anti-Christ… (1) A loud sound will be heard world-wide which will herald the coming of Maitreya, the Christ. Prompted by this sound, people will be aware of his coming on three distinct levels: Spiritual, physical, and emotional. (Alice Bailey's The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy, p. 173.) (2) ‘...When Lord Maitreya appears, he will appear as different beings to different people… Thus, he will show that he is all things to all people.’ (Bill Lambert, speaking at Seminar, ‘Possible and Probable Events In The Future,’ Theosophical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, August 8, 1991). (3) His three-dimensional image will appear over all nations of the earth simultaneously. He will speak to each ethnic group in their own language. We know this is technologically possible with computer images via telecommunication satellite. (Constance Cumbey, Hidden Dangers Of The Rainbow, p. 24-25).

"We also know that Satan could produce this phenomenon by his Super-Natural power alone. New Age writers clearly state, however, there will be a mixing of super-natural phenomena and advanced technology when the staging of the Anti-Christ occurs… New Age Leaders boldly state in their Plan to use the special effects of modern TV and movies to persuade the people of the world that Maitreya is who he claims to be. ‘...the use of such special effects should not be ruled out on this occasion. The world's news-media can be counted upon to do the rest.’ (The Armageddon Script, Peter Lemesurier, St. Martin's Press, 1981, p. 236) The New Age book, The Messianic Legacy, states that the only way the Messiah could be super-naturally staged in all aspects that Christians are expecting would be through the use of "Hollywood."(22)

True believers will meet the Lord "in the air" (not on earth) and He will return with them to earth, not as a "peacemaker," but to destroy the nations gathered at Armageddon. The unthinkable will become "religiously correct" when Evangelical and Charismatic shepherds lead an apostate Church in the worship of a false Christ. Revelation 13:15 further states that, "as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."


In view of this prospect, an alarming "new revelation" taught by the modern prophets is that the end-time Church is God’s army in Joel 2, which will judge the Old Order and bring in the Kingdom. In Prophecy Today, Clifford Hill explained, "This teaching is part of what is known as ‘dominion theology’ which teaches that an elite army of ‘overcomers’ will either destroy or subdue all the enemies of Christ until they eventually gain power and authority throughout the world. The government of the nations will be upon their shoulders and when all the secular authorities, governments, princes and kings have finally submitted to them, Christ will return and they will present the kingdom to him."(23) According to Rick Joyner, Christianity must be destabilized and redefined by modern apostles, prophets, etc. to finalize Alice Bailey’s plan to "take the great basic doctrines and shatter the old forms in which they are expressed and held."(24)

"What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival, or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. The vision was given in order to begin to awaken those who are destined to radically change the course, and even the very definition of Christianity. The dismantling of organizations and disbanding of some works will be a positive and exhilarating experience for the Lord’s faithful servants. A great company of prophets, teachers, pastors and apostles will be raised up with the spirit of Phineas…"(25)

To sanctify this Machiavellian plot, Jack Deere recasts Joel 2 in the context of Ezekiel 9: "When this army comes, He says it’s large and it’s mighty. It’s so mighty that there’s never been anything like it before…‘begin the slaughter and begin it in the temple and begin it with the elders, the leaders of my people.’ And they walk through the land and they start and they begin to slaughter and you know it’s already started with the biggest names in His household? He has already started the slaughter…and it is coming now among the Church."(26) Vineyard pastors James Ryle (Promise Keepers), John Arnott and Wes Campbell (Toronto Blessing) and prophets Bob Jones and Rick Joyner all report visions of "a bloody civil war" in the Church:

"James Ryle has had a similar vision. The Lord even showed him how the blue coats stand for the revelatory, the revelation, and the grey for grey matter, man's wisdom. And in this context the north fought the south and the south fought the north, and the south wanted to keep the people enslaved. They wanted their money. They wanted their keep the system going. And the north said ‘No! Freedom! Freedom!’ And they went into a terrible fight, and it was father against son, brother against brother, and a man's enemies were in his own house. And the angel said this: ‘There won't be a house that escapes weeping.’" (27)

Such prophecies do not edify the Church, but are inflammatory and undermine the true unity of believers for which Jesus prayed in John 17. Nevertheless, they give increased momentum to the program of New Age leaders such as Alice Bailey, who wrote, "The reorganization of the world’s religions…is for the new world religion."(28) Barbara Marx Hubbard divulged the real reason for the New Age mission, "There is an anti-evolutionary cadre of orthodox believers who focus on the limits of this life and the unworthiness of human nature. Now they would destroy our capacity to transcend…"(29)

She and other New Age leaders have estimated "that for planetary transformation to take place, up to one quarter of the inhabitants of the earth will have to be excised like a cancer." Given the animosity that has been generated by Latter Rain prophets toward Biblical Christianity and the affinity of this movement for warfare terminology, it is hard to resist the suspicion that the New Age/Latter Rain regime will be using a militant Church to accomplish this. Prophet Rick Joyner has even identified "Antichrist" as the traditional Church (30) and Jack Deere claims that modern prophets will execute the Tribulation judgments.

"You see why we're excited about someone like Paul Cain or Bob Jones coming on the scene? Or others that we've met…you know those two powerful witnesses in Revelation 11:3? You know what - they are first and foremost? They are prophets. He said they will prophesy for 1,260 days. He's going to end the last days just before His Son returns with a prophetic movement that will sweep the entire face of the earth and will eclipse anything we have ever seen before…the significance of these signs and wonders…But they don't just happen on the earth. They come because they are prayed for and they are predicted by God's people."(31)

It would be unwise to nonchalantly dismiss these claims as idle braggadocio. Paul Cain, Bob Jones, Rick Joyner and other Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God proponents have paranormal experiences on a regular basis and have demonstrated occult powers.

"Bob Jones (KFC’s resident seer) is a man who claims to have five to six visions and revelations per day. We are talking about a man who thought he was a backslider when two days went by without a visitation from Jesus…Paul Cain…is called the ‘Terror of the Lord’…and has exhibited the ability to tell people the details of their lives, hidden sins and even things they have said in confidence to others. There have been reports of earthquakes and other natural disasters predicted by him…(and) power surges of electricity at places where he ministers." (32)


False prophets preach "another gospel," which is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Vineyard scholar Jack Deere has even admitted that he is not sure of the true gospel. In an interview, Deere told Robert Dean of Biblical Perspectives, "I used to be like you…thinking the gospel was simply justification by faith."(33) This spiritual advisor to John Wimber, late Director of Vineyard Ministries, added that the gospel would have to include works, such as healing and deliverance. This false gospel of works is leading a vast religious system into spiritual deception. Enchanted by signs and lying wonders and riding the ecumenical bandwagon, the Latter Rain/ Manifest Sons of God will be easily assimilated into the Mystery Religion revival foretold in Revelation 17. II Thessalonians 2:10-11 describes God’s judgment, which has already begun in this movement: "…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."

Gnostic doctrines are not a new revelations, as modern prophets tell us. Although they come in various expressions, they always contain the same lie the Serpent used to beguile Eve --"…then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods." Neither are Gnostic doctrines the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather the false gospel of the "King over all the children of pride." This corrupt tree always bears evil fruit in the Church. "Gone is the understanding that we must be cross-bearers. The church now seeks adulation and quickly becomes a seed bed for pride, greed and power all under the guise of spiritual growth."(34)

There are few today who are willing to take the low seat at the Wedding Feast. Often we must look to the message of older generations (of whom the world was not worthy) for inspiration to seek a better resurrection and an heavenly country. Amy Carmichael, missionary to India in the early 1900s, scorned the vain imaginations of a worldly Church and would not glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. She wrote –


Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?


1. "Joel’s Army," cassette tape, 1990, Vineyard Ministries.
2. Vineyard Prophecy Conference, 1989.
3. Ibid.
4. PTL Newsletter, March, 1994, Paul Crouch.
5. Looking Beyond Toronto, "The Source and Goal of the Second Pentecost," Banner Ministries.
6. "Joel’s Army," Discernment Ministries.
7. Ibid.
8. "End-Time Handmaidens Magazine," Gwen Shaw, (P.O. Box 447, Jasper, AK 72641), June, 1995, p. 5.
9. Prophetic Power and Passion Conference, Paul Cain, Christ Chapel, Florence, Alabama, August, 1995.
10. Constance Cumbey, A Planned Deception, as cited in "Constance Cumbey’s New Age Monitor," Aug.-Dec. 1987.
11. Theodore Rosak, Unfinished Animal: The Aquarian Frontier and the Evolution of Consciousness.
12. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, 1957.
13. "Beyond Pentecost," Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson Morning Star Journal," Vol. 4 No. 3, 1994, pp. 42-44, 48.
14. "National Catholic Reporter," Oct. 19, 1990.
15. Constance Cumbey, A Planned Deception,(Pointe Publishers, Inc., East Detroit, Mich.), 1985.
16. "Cardinal Etchegaray Opens Meeting on Jubilee," Vatican Information Service, Vatican City, February 15, 1996.
17. "Perspective," Pat Robertson, January/February, 1981.
18. George Warnock, The Feast of Tabernacles, 1951, (Springfield, MO, Bill Britton), pp. 108.
19. "Apostasy and the Year 2000," Year 2000: Tabernacles, Jubilee, Alabama Discernment Ministries.
20. Sermon on Satellite Network Seminar, Word of Faith Outreach Center, Dallas, TX, Dec. 9-12, 1984.
21. Alabama Discernment Ministries, July 27, 1996.
22. "Staged Appearance of Anti-Christ," David Bay, Old Path Ministries, Grace Baptist Church, 35 Elizabeth St., Attleboro, MA 02703-2030
23. "Prophecy Today," Vol. 7, No. 1 Eng.
24. "Kansas City Prophets," Prophecy Today, Clifford Hill.
25. Rick Joyner, The Harvest.
26. It Sounds Like the Mother of All Battles, Jack Deere, VMI, Joel’s Army, 1990.
27. Toronto Airport Vineyard, James Ryle, 1994.
28. Alice Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, pp.453-454.
29. "Spiritual Counterfeits Journal," Volume 19:2/3, 1994, p. 47.
30. Weighed and Found Wanting, Bill Randles, p. 64.
31. "Joel’s Army," op. cit.
32. Weighed and Found Wanting, pp. 94, 98.
33. "Biblical Perspectives," Vol. III, No. 4, July-Aug, 1990.

from: http://watch.pair.com/rain.html

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Christian Revival in the Muslim World

By Mike White,
published Aug 23, 2007

"Through the centuries Christians have shared their faith with Muslims-the same as they have with any group of people. Often it is been with little result. Although there may still be countless Muslims who are not interested in Christ, things are changing. Various sources report that although there may be many Muslims not interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is a Christian revival, as Arabs, young and old alike, educated and those who are not educated are turning to Christ. Those who do often pay a heavy price for their new faith.

"I see many Arabic-speaking people turning to Christ, accepting Him as Lord and Savior," Nizar Shaheen, host of Light for the Nations, a Christian program seen throughout the Muslim world, said as reported on the website, www.cbn.com. "It's happening all over the Arab world. It's happening in North Africa. It's happening in the Middle East....in the Gulf countries....Canada and the United States."

Other experts say that that current Christian revival among Muslims is unprecedented, among all age groups, educational backgrounds, and among male and females.

One such convert is Achmad Muhammed, a Wahhabi sheik, who came from one of the most violent forms of Islam, a man who hated Christians and the Christian church. He now says that since he committed his life to Jesus Christ, He forgave his sins and gave him eternal life and peace.

A part of the evangelical spark among Muslims involves atheistic China. Chinese house churches, in the country which greatly persecute Christians, plan to send 100,000 through many Muslim nations and back to Israel.

The evangelization of the Muslim world has also involved the work of evangelists, satellite television, and the Internet.

Christine Darg, author of The Jesus Visions: Signs and Wonders in the Muslim World, said God is revealing throughout the Arab world how that God let His Son die on the cross and be raised again from the dead to provide the forgiveness of sins for the whole world-including Muslims.

Muslims who do become Christians, however, can face persecution, discrimination, or even martyrdom."


Monday, July 21, 2008


Astonishing X-Men #16, published by Marvel Comics (October 2006), page 5; reprinted in Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3: Torn (2006); written by Joss Whedon, art by John Cassaday.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

B.C. Comics Censored

B.C. may be the most censored cartoon strip in America today. Religion--more specifically, Christianity -- seems to be considered offensive on the comics page, unless it's a spoof. In contrast, illicit sex, violence and witchcraft seem to be quite acceptable.

"Question: When and how did you become a Christian?

Johnny Hart: When I was a kid, my mom and dad were C&E Christians -- they didn't go to church except on Christmas and Easter. But they made sure I went to Sunday school.

I was fascinated by the stories in the Bible, without actually having read them. But I always believed in Jesus--that he died and was resurrected, and that he is in heaven.

But whenever I was around church people, I would be really nervous, because I felt like they suspected I was a hypocrite. I didn't want them to find me out, so I would exude goodness when I was around them. There are a lot of good people in the world. I was one of them.

I also had a fascination with nature. As a kid I used to spend time in the woods just looking at things. I would lay in the backyard and watch clouds for hours. The first time I ever got a helium balloon, I let it go, laid down and watched it go all the way up until it went through a cloud--one of the most fascinating things I'd ever seen.

I had this need to know things. Why are we here? What are we doing here? What is this all about? I also had a spiritual yearning.

I would gravitate toward anything that sounded spiritual or extraterrestrial. I got into things like Ouija boards and UFOs, ESP, astrology, psychics, seances, reincarnation, Edgar Cayce, the whole thing. I was always seeking anything outside of the physical realm, because that's where I thought everything was happening. But there was always a downside to these things. They were frustrating--not satisfying. There was no completeness -- no perfection.

Years later, we moved to this property -- about 150 acres outside of Nineveh, New York--God sent me to Nineveh. The property has a 30-acre lake on it--it's like a Shangri-la. The woods are full of rhododendrons and all kinds of flowers--a beautiful place.

There was no television out here. There were some local channels, but we were used to having the whole schmear -- HBO, ESPN and all that good stuff. We got along without them for a while.

Finally, my wife and I bought a satellite TV system. A father-and-son team came out to install it -- and it turned out they were born-again Christians.

We had several TV sets, so every room I went into, these guys would have Christian TV on. I'd go into one room and see D. James Kennedy. I'd go into another room and see the PTL Club or another preacher. I began to sit and watch and listen, and pretty soon I got hooked on it.

I began to read the Bible, to realize it was the Word of God, to find out that Jesus died to take away our sins, to learn about salvation and grace and all this fantastic stuff.

Once I got all that down in my heart, then all of the wonder, the doubt, the fear and the unknowing just dissolved into understanding and peace. I know why I'm here and what I'm doing and where I'm going and who's going to get me.

So I prayed for my wife, Bobby, to want to go to church. One Sunday morning she came popping into the room and said, "You wanna go to church?"

We went to a Presbyterian church over in Nineveh--a little country church with a membership of about 80. But the kicker is, it has 55 kids--a thriving youth group. It's a good, caring church, and nice people.

We became members, and elders, and now we teach Sunday school--we do the whole thing. Bobby is superintendent of the Sunday school. We just put a big annex on it, a brand-new parish hall and five or six more Sunday school rooms in the basement.

Q. How did you arrive at a caveman theme for your strip?

A. My thing in cartooning was simplicity. I tried to reduce my cartoons to the fewest words and the least clutter in the drawing. The simpler you do things, the more genius is required to do it. I used to take ideas as far back as I could take them--back to their origin.

So cavemen became my favorite thing to do because they are a combination of simplicity and the origin of ideas.

I was working at General Electric and doing magazine cartoons on the side for The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, True and Look--and I was becoming quite a success as a cartoonist. But I could never sell any cartoons about cavemen.

One night I was about to head home from work. I was clowning it up with the guys, and I said: "Good evening, friends. I must repair to my domicile. Tonight I'm going to create a world-famous comic strip." And one of the guys there said, as I'm going out the door: "Why don't you do one about cavemen? You can't sell 'em anyplace else."

So when I got home, I started doodling--drawing little cave guys. I was trying to think of a title, and Bobby said, "Why don't you just call it B.C." So I did.

Then I was having trouble putting characters together, so she said, "You could pattern them after your friends." So I did. Wylie is my brother-in-law, Thor and Peter are two guys I worked with at GE, and two others are personal friends of mine who work with me now.

B.C. is sort of the patsy, the straight man. Everybody says that's me.

Q. Do you consider the strip to be your ministry?

A. Yeah, it is, in a sense. Other than Sunday school.

Q. What do you want to accomplish with the strip?

A. When I began to do Christian themes, that's when I began what I'm trying to accomplish. I would do more Christian themes, but right now there's a balance--thanks to God. He holds me down. He makes it difficult for me to come up with enough Christian themes, because I probably would do it with all of them. But I realize the value in being subtle.

I think the current balance is effective -- using good secular humor. That keeps people reading it -- the audience I need to reach with the Christian stuff.

I'd like the content to be at least half-and-half. But to do that, I must do it with greater subtlety -- like having gags with morals. I want to do them with subtlety and with more "yucks." I want them to be really funny. The funnier they are, the more people remember them.

Q. Do you ever get complaints about the B.C. strip?

A. Every once in a while. But it's usually people who are offended by an antievolution gag. If I bring in a Christian message, they say: "Well, the title is B.C. -- it's before Christ. How can you bring in Christ?"

These things bother some. But otherwise, hundreds of people write me, and it's all "up" stuff. Everybody is flag-waving and saying "thank you" and "this is wonderful."

When we were in Fort Lauderdale, we saw Dr. James Kennedy one Sunday. He introduced me to the congregation and said, "I love it when you put those little Christian jabs in there." And everybody began applauding.

The pathetic thing is that people think I'm brave for doing this, which I'm not. They think I'm some kind of a hero. Maybe it's just that I'm too stupid to realize the consequences of doing these things.

The Los Angeles Times refuses to run my strips when they have Christian content, but they're just playing into my hands.

Q. Do you exercise total control over the content of your strips?

A. Yes. And I also have the blessing of the people who work for me, and the syndicate and all those people. They love it. Rick Newcombe, the president of my syndicate, is a brother to Jerry Newcombe, who works for Dr. Kennedy.

Q. What do you think of the current state of newspaper comic strips?

A. I think it seems devoid of what I'm doing -- of Christian messages.

There are some attempts. There's Bil Keane's Family Circus and a few of them out there who always mention Christmas and Easter. And they're rather unsung--people don't seem to have noticed. But I don't think they do it with the boldness (or the lack of intelligence) that I do.

Q. Do you think Christianity can maintain its distinctiveness when it merges with the secular?

A. Yes, absolutely. Jesus did OK, didn't he?

Q. Do you see a trend to allow more Christian-themed material into the mainstream media?

A. No, I don't. Not from the establishment, anyway. But I think these guys will cave in to the popular trend -- you know, the family values and all that good stuff that's going on now.

People are more conscious of Christianity and their Christian heritage. And I think the media establishment guys, being the hypocrites they are, are going to have to buckle down and go for it.

Take Christian music, for example. The kids in our Sunday school prefer that to secular rock. If you want to pull kids away from hard rock, you create some Christian rock and wean them off of the bad lyrics. And that's a growing trend in this country.

Q. Do you think Christianity and politics mix?

A. Yes. Absolutely. Politics came from Christianity, actually. The values, order, law--the Constitution was framed by Christians. The country was made by Christians. The universities were first theological schools. John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, was a Christian. These people said things like, "The only way this nation will survive is if we fill our courts with Christians" -- I'm paraphrasing.

They were adamant about it. They said you've got to keep our elected officials and our judges Christian or the country will fail!

Q. What's the most gratifying thing you've done professionally?

A. Just what we're talking about. I've turned the strip into a ministry. I was almost beginning to get tired of my work until that happened.

Of course, I'm never tired of drawing or doing funny things, you know. It's hard to get down on your work if you're dealing with humor, and especially drawing pictures, which is my favorite thing in the world to do.

I think it's my mission to prove that the secular and Christianity do mix, and to prove that it can be fun. That's really what I'm after.

I don't think I've arrived at that yet. It's always nice to have a goal. Otherwise, you're just sitting there at your plateau saying, "Well, gotta go over to the plateau and do some more drawings today."

It's harder to draw when you're going uphill. Anyway, that's where I need to go."


Support 'B.C.' Cartoonist Johnny Hart From Anti-Christian Bigotry

"Traditional Values Coalition Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, urges all TVC supporters to expressed concern today about attacks in the media against cartoonist Johnny Hart over a B.C. cartoon depicting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The B.C. cartoon ran in Easter Sunday newspapers across the nation.

Hart's cartoon has been attacked by liberal newspaper editors and from liberal Jewish organizations, claiming that it promotes anti-Jewish hatred and urges Christians to burn Jewish symbols. The cartoon panel showed a Menorah, with candles being extinguished until it turned into a cross. The panel eventually led the reader to the empty tomb and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.

"This cartoon does not promote anti-Jewish hatred," said Rev. Sheldon. "It shows great respect for Judaism and also demonstrates the Jewish roots of Christianity. It is regretful that some Jewish leaders are so quick to take offense at a cartoon."

"There would not be any Christianity if God had not first spoken to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and then to Moses and His Prophets. We are of one point of origin in our history," observed Rev. Sheldon. "This cartoon says only that point in a beautiful way."

While Irv Rubin, head of the Jewish Defense League has accused Johnny Hart of encouraging Christians "to be more Christian by burning up a sacred Jewish symbol," the Orthodox Jewish editor of JewishWorldReview.com, is supportive of Hart's cartoon.

Binyamin Jolkovsky writes of Hart's cartoon: "The message contained is one of love, not hate. I believe Hart is preaching that, despite Christianity being the majority religion in this nation, members of other faiths need not worry as they must in other lands. Love thy neighbor."

"Binyamin Jolkvosky is so supportive of Hart's cartoon that he has called upon his Jewish readers to protest any attempts by publishers to drop the B.C. cartoon strip," said Sheldon. "I urge all Americans of good will to defend Johnny Hart's right to express his religious beliefs in public. If secularists are allowed to silence a Christian cartoonist for his faith, then Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths will be targeted as well."

Rev. Sheldon and Binyamin Jolkvosky are both concerned about the increasing secularization of our culture and hostility toward religious belief being expressed in public.

"We must stand together to protect a precious freedom granted us by God and protected by the U.S. Constitution," said Sheldon. "Freedom of religion is a right guaranteed to us by our Founding Fathers. We cannot permit secularists to violate our rights to free speech in the public square."

The following newspapers have pulled Johnny Hart's B.C. cartoon as a result of this controversy. If you live in one of these cities, please contact your newspaper and express your opposition to their pulling of this cartoon.

The Bergen County Record, Newark, NJ; Vivian Waixel, Executive Editor, waixel@northjersey.com.
The Daily News, Bangor, ME; A. Mark Woodward, Executive Editor, bdnmail@bangornews.infi.net
Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC; George Benge, Executive Editor, gbenge@asheville.gannett.com
The Journal Times, Racine, WI; Randall D. Brandt, Editor, rbrandt@journaltimes.com.
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA; Narda Zacchino, Los Angeles Times Readers' Represenative, readers.rep@latimes.com

If you live in these areas, please contact your newspaper.

Express support for B.C. Creator's Syndicate, headed by Richard Newcombe, syndicates Johnny Hart's cartoon strip. Please send emails of support to Newcombe at: info@creators.com. To learn more about Creators, go to: Creators.com."


Saturday, July 19, 2008

China publishing Bibles

"China is now the world's #1 publisher of Bibles, even though private printing and distribution of bibles and underground house churches remain illegal, and many Chinese Christians, priests and pastors remain jailed for their faith."

Cartoon by Dan Lacey

Arrest of Christian bookseller focuses attention on China
article from 12/13/2007 10:26 PM

"By Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY
BEIJING — The owner of a Christian bookstore here, held in secret detention since Nov. 28, broke no laws and sold only legally sanctioned religious material, his wife says.

Businessman Shi Weihan was arrested because of his faith and refusal to register their unapproved "house church" with authorities, says Zhang Jing, 37.

Shi's case has attracted international attention and drawn condemnation from overseas Christian groups. His arrest comes as the Chinese government is struggling to convince critics that it has expanded religious freedom and tolerance.

China is officially atheist and restricts religious practice to state-sanctioned churches and places of worship regulated by authorities. The government, military and ruling Communist Party discourage officeholders and members from practicing any faith.

In September, though, the party made a historic concession to the fast-growing church movement by saying that "religious believers should be mobilized to make a positive contribution to society."

Last Saturday, the government announced that the country's only authorized Christian publisher had reached a milestone, printing its 50 millionth bible. At a ceremony marking the occasion, Ye Xiaowen, the top religious affairs official, said China "respects and protects religious freedom," according to reports in state-run media.

Each year, Chinese police arrest thousands of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and others affiliated with unsanctioned religious groups. Last month, government officials were forced to deny reports that bibles would be banned from the Olympic Village at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

The U.S. State Department calls China a "country of particular concern" for violations of religious freedom against Protestants, Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and followers of Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned as an "evil cult" in 1999.

Shi's case has put China's record in the spotlight again, just months before the Summer Olympics. The case also is being watched by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing because Shi and Zhang have a 7-year-old daughter who was born in the USA and is a U.S. citizen.

Shi opened the Holy Spirit Bookstore in a north Beijing office tower in March 2006. The businessman, who also runs a travel agency, converted to Christianity more than a decade ago and began an informal "house church" called the Antioch Eternal Life Church.

Each Sunday, 20 to 30 worshipers meet in a room next to the store, Zhang says.

"The government only wants people to worship in registered churches, but we prefer the freedom and comfort of our own place. If we register, the government would supervise us and demand reports on speakers and all attendees," she says.

Police confiscated more than 1,000 books and other religious literature even though "everything we sell is copyrighted and has a legal bar code" to indicate that it is state-approved, Zhang says.

California businessman Ray Sharpe, a friend of Shi's and a onetime China resident, calls the arrest "shocking but not unusual."

Cai Zhuohua, a Christian pastor who served three years in prison for printing and distributing bibles, says membership in China's illegal churches dwarfs that of legally approved churches.

"The government is afraid of the fast growth of house churches," Cai says. "So many house churches had my bibles that the authorities said I was a threat to national security and kept asking if there was a foreign organization behind me."

Zhang says she remains fearful that she will be arrested. She says police have refused to allow her to visit Shi or deliver him medicine he needs to control diabetes and high blood pressure.

Cai says Shi "will suffer" at the Haidian detention center northwest of Beijing, where Cai spent a year and was held in a cell with 27 other prisoners. "The cells are very cold and crowded," he says. "I was not allowed to read the bible, even though my relatives tried to send copies inside. Con men and thieves were allowed to leave prison early, but because of my religion I had to serve my full term."

This week, shoppers continued to visit Shi's bookstore, rummaging through picture frames, crosses and other goods left behind after the police raid.

One customer, Hannah Zhang, browsed for gifts for Christmas, a holiday that she said is arousing curiosity among the Chinese.

"People are looking for more meaning in their lives," she said. "They see Christmas decorations everywhere and don't know what it means, (wondering), 'Is it Santa Claus's birthday?' Now, more are interested and want to find out about Christmas."


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Donatists

In the age of Constantine, the Donatists were the first ones to stand up and ask, "What does the emperor have to do with the church?" It was a question that needed to be asked, but the Donatists paid a heavy price in blood for asking it. Although by no means without their own faults, the Donatists left an enduring witness that is remembered to this day.

"North African Christianity tended to be uncompromising, ready to suffer imprisonment and martyrdom, and unafraid to take a stand against the rest of the Church when it felt that its side was right.

There were periods of persecution and peace during the entire period before Constantine's "conversion." One of the most severe and widespread persecutions–called the "Great Persecution" was under Diocletian in the years A. D. 303-305. Many Christians were imprisoned and martyred. Leaders were ordered to hand over all of the Christians Scriptures and writings to be burned. Those who did so, were called traditores (Latin: tradere, to hand over) by other Christians. Our English word, traitor, comes from the Latin traditor.

Among those who denounced these clergy were a group of confessors in prison in Carthage. ("Confessors" were Christians who confessed Christ before the authorities and who were imprisoned as a result.) In Carthage, the clergy had grown quite lax. Some of them were traditores; others sympathized with the traditores. Among this class were the bishop of Carthage and his archdeacon, named Caecilian. He bristled at the preaching and accusations made by the confessors, and he even prevented Christians from taking food into prison to the confessors.

When the persecution was over, these issues continued to brew. When the bishop of Carthage died in 311, Caecilian was hastily ordained as his successor by those in power. These were the more worldly ones, and they didn't represent the general will of the people. So the majority of the Christians in Carthage, acting in conjunction with the bishops from nearby Numidia, ordained their own bishop, Majorinus. Later, after Majorinus died, he was replaced as bishop of Carthage by a vigorous, outspoken leader named Donatus.

This is the origin of the group that were called "Donatists" by their opponents. Eventually, the Donatists found themselves in a face-to-face conflict with the catholic state church."