Monday, October 30, 2006

The November issue of Christianity Today contains an interesting article that happens to mention my father. In it, Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary uses selective comments made by Donald Barnhouse, my father's mentor and dear friend, to criticize Dad's approach to Apologetics. Mouw, a liberal and good friend of the Mormons, couldn't resist taking a shot at Walter Martin.

He paints a distorted picture, but it doesn't offend me. I expect this from Mouw. In all honesty, I find it quite encouraging. Two years after the disgraceful joint worship service (Mormons + Christians) that took place in the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple, Mouw feels he still has to defend his actions--and take a swipe at Walter Martin in the process. This means that my father is like the proverbial thorn in the lion's paw . . . and that makes me smile. God will defend him, and all those who continue to contend for the faith using the apologetic method of Jesus: confrontational love.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We lose what on ourselves we spend;
We have as treasure without end
Whatever, Lord, to You we lend,
Who givest all. --Wordsworth



Money changes people. Fame changes people. I knew someone a long time ago who seemed to be a committed Christian. He seemed earnest and sincere, kind and considerate . . . and then money and fame entered the picture. His focus became the world and all it could give today--not eternity and all it promised tomorrow. His house became bigger; his car became flashier; his name became a phone number; his ministry became a bank. There was a time when he led my little sister to Christ, and listened intently to every word my father spoke. But the things of this world are powerful, and they change people.

I once knew a young couple so full of love and enthusiasm for the Lord. They were in love and recently married, and both possessed great intelligence. They loved my father and worked hard at the tasks he gave them. They were kind and loving; good friends and great spiritual warriors. We trusted them implicitly. And then something happened . . . somewhere their perspective changed, and they turned their backs on my father. They sacrificed loyalty and love, honesty and even basic kindness, for the security of money and influence.

Money and power change people.

When my Dad was alive, he wanted to own a Cadillac in the worst way. He loved cars, but he could never bring himself to buy what he wanted . . . he knew that as a minister of the Gospel he could not be seen driving around town in a shiny new Cadillac. He didn't want to set a poor example, and he didn't want to disappoint God.

He started out poor, but then God blessed him, and there came a day when not only could he afford the shiny new Cadillac, but he could afford a big mansion up on a hill. It was tempting, but in the end, he just couldn't do it. You see, it was all about perspective. His eternal perspective--born of love for the Lord Jesus--just wouldn't allow him to buy these things. When he was 60, just a little while before he died, he finally bought that Cadillac . . . it was 25 years old . . . but it was a Cadillac and he loved it. He never bought a mansion--just a nice house near the bottom of the hill.

Every day I fight to keep my heart where it should be. We live in an old neighborhood in a little town . . . but some of our neighbors houses are beautiful. Some days I think, "It would be wonderful to have a beautiful house," and then I remember the families in Mexico in their little houses made of garbage--so proud to own a home--and I thank God for all the blessings I have.

You see, it really is all about perspective. Where is your heart? Do you need a brand new car and a brand new house? Do you have to have that diamond ring or Armani suit? Do you need the attention fame can bring? Then your heart's perspective is not an eternal one. In the scheme of eternity, everything this world offers is worthless. Jesus was homeless. Peter and Paul were homeless. I am so blessed to have a home.

If we truly view our lives through God's eternal perspective, our perspective changes and suddenly that extra $100 can buy toys and blankets for the little ones in Mexico. If we see things God's way, that brand new car is a foolish waste of money better spent on widows and orphans; the designer sunglasses are worse than silly pieces of plastic designed to cause envy in others--they're offensive to God. It's all about perspective.

Whenever my perspective starts to blur, and I find myself longing for the things others have, I think of how it will be when I finally stand before the Lord. Will I be delighted because He is delighted in me? Or will I be ashamed--and relieved--just to be standing there and not somewhere else? Will He be proud of me . . . or disappointed in me? I couldn't bear either one of the second choices--I want the first ones. I fiercely want the first, and I will not settle for anything less.

The eternal perspective--born of love--will make all the difference in life . . . and all the difference in eternity.

A Hollywood celebrity was once asked how he remained so level-headed when other celebrities turned to alcohol and drugs. He answered, "I never believe my own press." Christian leaders need to stop believing their own press. They need to stop spending the Lord's money on lavish salaries, big houses, gorgeous cars, luxury vacations and everything else the world offers. They have lost their way . . . and in the end, they will be destitute.

Money and fame change people.

In the scheme of eternity, the things we buy for ourselves--the fame we gain for ourselves--all are ashes in the wind. A loving heart, and the joy that love brings to others, these are priceless.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Madonna must be stopped. Yes, I know, there are many others who want to stop her too (thank God), but I have a different reason for trying. This is a perspective that has not been covered in the media—and it is not surprising, considering the mainstream media’s tendency to disregard religion oriented stories. My problem with Madonna is this: She is a follower of Kabbalah, an ancient Occult offshoot of Judaism, yet she has taken a child from a Christian family in a predominantly Christian nation to openly raise in a religion that is not Christian.

Mr. Banda, David’s father, believes Madonna is “a nice Christian lady.” She may be nice, but she’s anything but Christian. Little David will not be raised by a nice Christian lady. He will be raised by parents deeply absorbed with the Occult. He will be raised by a woman who places herself publicly on a monstrous cross--in open contempt for Christians, and for the death of Jesus Christ.

Madonna wants to adopt David, and then build a large orphanage to house Malawi children . . . and teach them Kabbalah. The mortality rate for these children and their mothers is high, and this orphanage is desperately needed. But at what cost? Little David will never be taught the faith of his family and his country. Someone lied to Mr. Banda about Madonna’s religion. The question is, who?

The people of Malawi are predominantly Christian. Kabbalah is Occult Mysticism. Madonna is certainly not a Christian--Kabbalah denies the basics of the Christian faith. Little David Banda will be raised in an Occult-based religion opposed to Christianity.


Christians need to take notice of this and say something. Even more, they need to do something. We need Christian orphanages in Malawi. This is a battle not only for the lives of Malawi’s children, but for their souls.

Madonna must be stopped.

Jill


Would you like to help? Email Matt Drudge at The Drudge Report and ask him to carry this story on his site (drudge@drudgereport.com). If he does, every news organization will take notice.


I can guarantee you God cares about Malawi--and we should, too.

Friday, October 20, 2006

For all of you who love my Dad . . . we've had some wonderful news about The Kingdom of the Cults--41 years in print and still going strong. God is Good!

Congratulations too, to our friend George Mather and all the people involved with Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults.

The October 1 issue of Library Journal includes a listing (p118) of the top 20 occult/parapsychology titles in demand by libraries and bookstores (from leading distributor Baker & Taylor) for the first half of 2006:


1) The Lightworker' s Way: Awakening Your Spiritual Power to Know and Heal, by Doreen L. Virtue [3]

2) The Devil Is a Gentleman: Exploring America's Religious Fringe, by J.C. Hallman [4]

3) Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Ralston Martin & Jill Martin Rische [5]

(I don't know how I made it on as an author, but my father would get a kick out of it.)

4) Wicca's Charm, by Catherine Edwards Sanders (AR 11:15) [6]

5) Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler [7]

Two more...

12) Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions, by "George Mather and others" [8]

19) Running Against the Wind: The Transformation of a New Age Medium and His Warning to the Church, by Brian Flynn [9]

(Quoted from Apologia Report)


It doesn't matter if the messenger is gone . . . the message is here and God blesses it. :)

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, October 19, 2006

The morning news was sad today:

Africa

"Eritea: Two Christians Tortured To Death" ("Compass," October 18, 2006) Asmara, Eritrea - Eritrean security police tortured two Christians to death yesterday, two days after arresting them for holding a religious service in a private home south of Asmara. The deaths came just after officials detained a U.S. citizen and re-imprisoned a popular Christian singer who was hospitalized as a result of spending 29 months in a metal shipping container. Immanuel Andegergesh, 23, and Kibrom Firemichel, 30, died from torture wounds and severe dehydration in a military camp outside the town of Adi-Quala, eyewitnesses told Compass. The military buried the two unmarried men yesterday in the southern Eritrean town near the Ethiopian border, where they had been performing their military service. Andegergesh and Firemichel were arrested on Sunday (October 15), along with 10 other Christians, while attending a worship service in the home of Teklezgi Asgerdom. The three women and seven men, all members of the evangelical Rema Church, were kept in military confinement, along with Andegergesh and Firemichel, and subjected to “furious mistreatment,” one source said. The fate of the 10 other Christians remains unknown."

Kind of puts the Local Church issue in perspective, doesn't it?

Some of you have asked me for more information on this issue, so here it is (thanks to Anton and Janet at Apologetics Index):

Is the Local Church a cult of Christianity?
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/378-lc-cult

Why the Local Church was included in the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/379-encyclopedia

Friend of the court or friend of the cult?
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/380-cultfriend

CRI’s statement explaining its Friend of the Court brief
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/377-cri-statement


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Unfortunately, I have to write an update on the Hanegraaff/Passantino/Local Church debacle (disaster, catastrophe--you pick). I'm no longer classifying it as CRI and the Local Church as I consider CRI an innocent victim.

Hank and Gretchen have decided they need to explain their indefensible defense of the Local Church, and Gretchen (probably) has written a lengthy, painfully wordy piece of what can only be called--well--rubbish (garbage, trash, dopey hyperbole).

According to Hank and Gretchen:

"We believe the court’s dismissal to which this appeal is being made was a dangerous, precedent-setting decision that greatly interferes with our First Amendment rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion. Furthermore, this precedent sets a lower standard for religious publishing than for secular publishing and demeans commitment to truth. Finally, we believe the consequences of the court’s decision are life- and liberty-threatening to Christians living under repressive, religiously persecuting regimes."

They seem to think that by throwing around big words and phrases like "First Amendment rights" and "dangerous precedent setting decision" that this somehow justifies their sneaky behavior. Uh, uh (wags finger) no, no . . . it does not. I just happen to think they're silly now as well as sneaky.

First, they advocate Christians suing Christians--because it protects free speech and free exercise of religion.

My response to this is . . . huh??

Second, they accuse Harvest House of lowering the standard for religious publishing, which is hilarious in a bizarre kind of way as I thought Hank's plagiarism did that. As for commitment to truth . . . (wait--I have to get my inhaler).

My response: People in glass houses . . .

Third, they drag in the great saints of God from across the seas--people living through hell every day of their lives for the glory of God--and say that they (Hank and Gretchen) are supporting the Local Church for their sakes!

My response: Have they lost their minds?? How can this egocentric lawsuit set any precedent in the U.S. or overseas? Sorry Hank and Gretchen, it's just not that important.

I could go on and on (and believe me I'm tempted) but frankly, this mumbo jumbo is not worth the time. The only redeeming quality of Gretchen's endless monologue is that it's so excruciatingly boring most people won't read it. Thank God.

Jill


Hank and Gretchen are scrambling to fix a public relations nightmare. That's right, my friends, your voices are being heard, and they are on the hot seat. Good work!


Want to get involved? Tell people how you feel!

The Local Church
http://www.localchurch.org/contact-us/index.htm

John Ankerberg
http://www.johnankerberg.com/survey-series.htm

Gretchen Passantino
http://answers.org/

Hank Hanegraaff
http://www.equip.org/

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!" 1 Cor 6:1,7-9


This is one of those days when I have to write about something unpleasant. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the details, the Local Church sued Harvest House, John Ankerberg, and John Weldon in December, 2001, claiming they defamed them in the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions. I'm not going to go into details on this lawsuit

(http://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/about_cstatementfaq.cfm)
but recently something new occurred that requires comment.

In August, 2006, Hank Hanegraaff and Gretchen Passantino filed statements with the Texas Court of Appeals in defense of the Local Church--and consequently--in support of the Local Church's position in this lawsuit.

Why is this a problem? In the 1970s my father met with Witness Lee in an effort to discuss the theology of the Local Church before he commented on it publicly. My father felt that the Local Church was dividing the Church of Jesus Christ. They were using methods of evangelizism and biblical interpretation similar to those used by the cults, and my father believed they were in serious error. Bob and Gretchen Passantino did extensive research on Witness Lee and the Local Church at my father's request. They provided him with the primary documentation he needed to challenge them. As a result of this research, my father gave his lecture on the Local Church:

http://www.waltermartin.com/listening_library/Witness_Lee11.ram

http://www.waltermartin.com/listening_library/Witness_Lee12.ram

Today, it seems not much has changed in the methodology and beliefs of the Local Church (
http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/lc.html#easy
). CRI must agree that not much has changed (http://localchurch.8m.com/cri-dl-075.html ) and yet, Hank Hanegraaff and Gretchen Passantino (Christian Apologists) decided to publicly support the Local Church against John Ankerberg and John Weldon (Christian Apologists) and men with a record for a bold defense of the Christian faith.

Why did they do this? Only God, Hank, Gretchen, and the Local Church know the answer to that.


The Local Church is upset--they reject any link to the word "cult". My answer to the leaders of the Local Church is this: if you are truly Christian brothers, then show the love of Christ. You have no business taking your brother to court. You are acting more like cult members than Christians. Stop it now.

To Hank I would say this: Actions speak louder than words. Either stand by CRI's position on the Local Church, or take it down. Don't say one thing and do another--that makes you a double-minded man (James 1:23). And while you're at it, drop your lawsuit against your brother in Christ, Dr. William Alnor. Where is the love of Christ in your actions?

To Gretchen I would say this: You should be ashamed. You know better.

How foolish are these lawsuits in the light of God's instructions to us? You tell me:

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ
forgave you." Eph 4:32

Who is being kind? Who is tenderhearted? Who is forgiving?

I think my father got it right when he pounded the pulpit and said, "The whole world is going to Hell around us, and we're fighting about nothing!"

Jill

Disclaimer: These statements are purely my opinion and no slander, libel or defamation is intended herein.


Want to get involved? Tell people how you feel!

The Local Church
http://www.localchurch.org/contact-us/index.htm

John Ankerberg
http://www.johnankerberg.com/survey-series.htm

Gretchen Passantino
http://answers.org/

Hank Hanegraaff
http://www.equip.org/


Need more information on this?

Don Veinot- Midwest Christian Outreach:

http://www.midwestoutreach.org/

The Confusing Message of CRIzzzThe Christian Research Institute (CRI) was founded by the late Walter Martin, the Bible Answer Man. It had been an organization dedicated to articulating and defending the essentials of the faith and exposing false teachings outside and inside the church. The recent request by the current CRI President and Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff to the Texas Supreme Court in the form of an Amicus Curiae or “Friend of the Court Brief” with what reads as a request for the Texas Supreme Court to be the arbiter of essential orthodoxy and allowing what he personally and officially considers a Christian group (The Local Church) to sue another Christian group (Harvest House Publishers and John Ankerberg and John Weldon) is sending very mixed messages. As I mentioned last week I have not been able to make direct contact with Hank and have not had my message returned from CRI V.P., Paul Young. In an email to William M. Alnor, PhD. (the Spiritual Counterfeits Project), Dr. Norman Geisler wrote, "I was shocked when I saw his brief. I have sided with Ankerberg from the beginning. I personally pled with Hank not to side with the Local Church. I believe this was a very unwise and unfounded decision." It is unclear if the version of the Scriptures CRI is currently using contains 1 Corinthians chapter 6 or perhaps it was overlooked. This issue becomes important because, unlike the top down authoritarian leadership of the world, the higher one ascends in leadership in the Church which is the Body of Christ, the more accountable they are to a larger number of people. It is the case that Christian leaders live in glass houses and everyone around them has Windex. Having a clear and understandable message is very important in the process of teaching and accountability.


Jackie Alnor
http://www.apostasyalert.org/Bible-Answer-Man_Traitor.htm

Dwayna Litz
http://www.lightingtheway.blogspot.com/ (Monday, October 09, 2006)

Apologetics Index
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/docs/HanegraaffSupportsLocalChurch.pdf

Friday, October 06, 2006

One of my favorite stories my Dad told is about a dear friend of his. I love it because it is so full of hope:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I once had a very good friend; we grew up together. He was really my brother’s buddy but I loved him just like an older brother. He was the most blasphemous, womanizing, boozing, absolutely degenerate human being I have ever met in my entire life—and I’ve met about every kind there is. He made his money in oil and he could buy anything he wanted, and he did. Every time I’d witness to him he would say, “You don’t really believe this Jesus stuff, do you?” And with that he’d really zing me. I witnessed to him until I was purple in the face. Man, he roasted me every chance he got. You would say, “It’s impossible—God’s never going to do anything with that kind of man.”

Well, I met him in Singapore a few years ago and while we were chatting, I began telling him about the Lord. Oh, he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He didn’t need any of this stuff, and he went on and on about it. A few months later he came back to the United States and he contracted a rare disease—an inflammation of the lining of the heart. And suddenly, this great brute of a man was reduced to a shadow of himself: All of his money couldn’t help him, all his women were memories, all his strength was gone. Everything he had ever leaned on all of his life had disintegrated and disappeared.

I made a special trip to the hospital to see him, and he was lying in bed—frail and hopelessly sick. When I came into the room he recognized me and said, “Help me up,” so I gently pulled him up in the bed. He put his head down, and said, “I’m dying.”

“Did the doctor tell you that?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Are you sure you’re going to die?”

“Yes,” he said, “Everything’s in order.” His lip trembled. He was a courageous man.

“It isn’t,” I said.

“What? What do you mean?”

“It isn’t in order, Jack. It’s not in order with God. But I’ve got some wonderful news for you! What I’ve been telling you all these years is still true. The Lord Jesus is here tonight and he wants to save you. Why don’t you trust Christ?” And then I witnessed to him.

Afterwards, I took him by that great, massive paw of his and I said, “Jackie, do you want Jesus?” The tears rolled down his hardened face and he said, “Yes, I need him.” And we prayed together. That night, in just a moment of time, Jesus Christ came into that room, and into that man’s life, and into his soul and he was born again. Don’t ever give up on people.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling—
Calling, “O sinner, come home!"