From Bad to Worse

Malarkey Says Malarkey

In recent years, books related to peoples’ alleged trips to heaven have caused quite a stir in the evangelical community. The books certainly sell and make the publishers money, but what doctrinal value are they providing to the church of Jesus Christ? Are we supposed to take the claims of these people and paste them to the back of our Bible and consider them the latest addition to Holy Writ?

The critics of this genre of Christian literature, known as “heavenly tourism”, have pointed out that in Scripture not even the apostle Paul was willing to describe his trip to heaven. He was uncertain as to how he came to see what he saw.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter…So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (2 Corinthians 12: 2 – 4, 7)

In light of these words from Paul, and the shadow of doubt they cast on all claims of heavenly visitations (which are replete with detailed descriptions), it is not surprising to hear that Alex Malarkey, of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, published by Tyndale House, has publicly recanted his story. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether others will come out and recant, and whether the church’s fascination with this genre will finally wane and provide the publishers with no more profit. To learn more about this breaking story:

  1. Read Alex Malarkey’s published statement
  2. Read Phil Johnson’s (John MacArthur’s right hand man) commentary on the heavenly tourism genre.
  3. Read Phil Johnson’s personal correspondence with Tyndale House regarding Alex Malarkey.

Sadly, all signs point to Christian publishers and bookstores having no concern about making money off of false doctrine. We should not be surprised by this, however, for that very same Paul who gave us no detail about heaven gave us great detail regarding these latter days on earth:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money…(2 Timothy 3: 1 – 2)

Michael Jordan is YHWH?

During my lunch break at work today, I was reading an issue of ESPN magazine, as it featured an article on Michael Jordan turning 50 (I think the magazine was a few weeks old).  Like many, I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan in the 90s and was intrigued by what the story might have to say about that American icon.

The story was very sad, for it painted the picture of a man with no regard for God and no knowledge of Christ, whose power and fame have led him to a lifestyle of narcissism and childish behavior.

Although it is not surprising that his inherent sin nature is corrupted even further by his power and fame, I was surprised to learn that Michael Jordan’s code name amongst his security team is “Yahweh”.  The writer says that Michael is “used to being the most important person in every room he enters”.  Below is an article commenting on the ESPN article.

Michael gets what Michael wants.  If he is on his private jet, and his entourage is trying to sleep, but he is awake, he will turn on the lights and blast the radio.  There are other things revealed in the article that make it clear the revered and beloved Michael Jordan is nothing more than a typical tyrant of the earth, in the manner of Pharaoh or Herod, men who both ruled from on high and claimed divine status for themselves.

Whether or not the nickname of “Yahweh” is a literal claim of divinity is not the point, for I think one can deduce that functionally Michael thinks he is a god, even if he doesn’t say it out loud.  The mere fact that he allows himself to have the nickname of Yahweh says a lot about who he thinks he is.  Is it a normal thing for a regular man to have a nickname of “god”, let alone the divine name of “Yahweh”?

It is easy to look up to athletes.  Sports are fun to play and fun to watch.  When we see someone excelling in a sport we like, it is easy to reduce our perception of them to merely what we see on the field of play.  Yet athletes, including Michael Jordan, are not gods.  They are not even heroes, at least not by Biblical standards.  Professional athletes play a sport well and often get well paid for it.  Have they done anything worth boasting about before God?  Have they done anything to earn the adoration of the church of Jesus Christ?

As it stands now, despite all he has accomplished on this earth, Air Jordan will end up six feet under ground, like most others who have lived (Elijah being a rare exception).  Make no mistake – MJ will suffer an eternity of torment under the wrath of God for rejecting God’s chosen Son, Jesus Christ.  But should MJ believe he is a sinner, and turn to Christ, he will be forgiven, despite his bearing the code name of Yahweh, a claim to divinity which is a total offense to the real YHWH and a sin worthy of death.

Should the infamous 23 turn to Jesus, that would truly be something worth cheering about, just as it was when all current Christians, who once were pagan and thought themselves to be gods (except without the money or power of MJ), turned to Christ and were born again.

Jesus said:

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  Luke 15: 7

Beware of “The Bible”

“The Bible” mini-series currently airing on television is a big hit. 

Yet the producers have stated that three of their theological consultants were Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and T.D Jakes.  All three of these men teach heresy, and some, if not all, a blatantly false gospel.  Therefore their contribution to the miniseries is a warning to viewers to be on guard.

Not having a television of my own, I caught about forty-five minutes of a broadcast while on vacation, and now back in Seattle I have heard audio clips and I can say I am unimpressed with what was produced and some of the things I have heard are actually quite deceitful and clearly contradict Scripture. 

One example would be the narrator’s introduction to the story of Samson, in which he states:  

A hundred years after Joshua, the twelve tribes of Israel have spread out across the promised land.  But hostile neighbors surround them.  Better armed and better trained, the Philistines are the deadliest threat.  Without great leaders like Moses or Joshua to unite them, the Israelites must rely on local heroes, called judges.  People like Samson.

According to Scripture, here is the reason for the judges:

The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.  Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.  Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.  Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them…  Judges 2: 14 – 17

The narrator says that Israel was surrounded by hostile enemies and God gave them local heroes since there was not one central uniting figure like Moses.  Scripture says that it was God’s wrath that caused Israel to be plundered and it was God’s mercy that also gave them judges.  However Scripture says that Israel did not listen to the judges. 

If you are watching the series, be on guard.  The producers have taken liberties such as the ones demonstrated above, to advance their plot and keep their story “exciting”, and by doing so they have changed the historical and theological truths found in Scripture.

The Bible is not a story to be re-interpreted by entertainers as they see fit.  It is the word of God documenting the need for and work of Jesus Christ, and every word of the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Every Bible teacher, including the entertainers making movies, ought to tread carefully when teaching the word of God.

Creational Monotheism = Polytheism = Henotheism

John Mark Comer, of Solid Rock church in Portland (some 7,000 attendees), is teaching a doctrine that he has labeled “creational monotheism”.  This doctrine declares that there is only one “creator God”, but that there are many gods.  He claims this is the teaching of Scripture.  He claims that there is a distinct class of created beings called “gods”, but that they all derive from the creative power of the creator God.  These gods are distinct from demons, for he made a point in one of his sermons to teach that the demons serve “the gods”.

If you take the words monotheism and polytheism by their plain meaning, as provided by

       Monotheism = the doctrine or belief that there is only one God

       Polytheism = the doctrine or belief in more than one god or in many gods

then you should quickly realize that the pastor’s attempt to call his doctrine monotheistic is greatly lacking in logic.  For if you teach there is more than one god, you are by definition polytheistic.  It does not matter whether you teach that only one of the gods, out of the many, is worthy of worship.  The recipient of worship has nothing to do with the definition of monotheism or polytheism.

So, in summary, there is a church which, if you were to peruse their website, seems to fall within the class of an evangelical church with social justice leanings.  But they are teaching polytheism. 

Yet, because he is teaching that we ought to worship Yahweh above other gods, his brand of polytheism can be more precisely labeled.  He is a henotheist.  The dictionary tells us that henotheism is

“The worship of a particular god, as by a family or tribe, without disbelieving in the existence of others.”

Henotheism is neither considered apostolic doctrine nor the teaching of Scripture.  The Scripture refers to false gods and idols, but we are never to take such things literally, as if there are actually a distinct class of beings known as “gods”.  The false gods of Scripture are always demonic or derived from the art and thought of man.  Henotheism is not a viable doctrine in orthodox Christianity.  The Scriptures teach monotheism.

To teach that Yahweh rules over the council of gods is to teach something very similar to Greek mythology, where Zeus was the “Father of Gods and men” and ruled the council of the Olympians.  It is a horrible leap in logic to think that if you teach only one god should be worshipped, that you are monotheistic. 

The prophet Isaiah gives us words from the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the only true God.

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God was formed, and there will be none after Me.  I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me.”  Isaiah 43: 10 – 11

If this pastor can’t understand the simple definitions of monotheism and polytheism, should we even entertain the idea he understands the Scriptures accurately regarding “the gods”?

The False Gospel of Ray Lewis

Did you watch the Ray Lewis interview that was aired prior to the Super Bowl?  Ray, never one to hesitate speaking about a “god” somewhat related to the Bible, demonstrated his fundamental lack of knowledge about the Biblical gospel.  When asked about his role in a double murder over ten years ago he offered this quote:

“If you really knew how God works, he don’t use people who commit anything like that for his glory.”

Has Ray Lewis never read about the Apostle Paul, and how he once persecuted Christians until being redeemed by Christ?  Ray laid all his cards on the table with that quote.  He has no conception of the Biblical gospel of Jesus Christ dying for sinners, including murderers, but instead is caught up in some false religious form of American Christianity which contains dangerous strands of moralism and a prosperity heresy.

His lack of understanding was further demonstrated during the post-game celebration, where he said something to the effect of “If God is for you, who can be against you,” as if he had firsthand knowledge that it was God Himself who had planned and purposed for the Ravens to win the Super Bowl during Ray Lewis’ last season.

For those who may be inclined to think God was with the Ravens because of the religion of Ray Lewis, I offer the following warning from Moses, for it surely seems applicable to someone who has done great and amazing things on the football field, but who is praising a god that, every time I have heard that god spoken about, has no direct connection to Jesus Christ and His gospel, but only a loose affiliation with hand-picked Bible verses.

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 13: 1 – 3

Walking Before Running

If you are a Christian and want to test whether you can differentiate sound Biblical doctrine from false doctrine, listen to obviously false teachings and see if you know why they are false.  For if you are unable to spot the heresy in those teachers who are obviously antichrist, how will you ever spot the clever wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing?

There are two people you can listen to where you will be guaranteed to encounter antichrist doctrine.  One person is Joel Osteen, the “pastor” of one of the largest “Christian” churches in America.  The other person is Oprah Winfrey, a woman who is antichrist and yet has always tricked Christians into listening to her teachings by referring to “god” and using spiritual terminology.

Joel was on Oprah’s show recently, and he lead the crowd in chants proclaiming how great they are.  They would chant “I am” followed by a word describing who they “are”:  strong, healthy, confident, secure, talented, creative, disciplined, focused, valuable, beautiful, blessed, excited about my future, victorious.

Did someone forget to tell Joel Osteen that God did not come for the righteous and self-sufficient, but for miserable sinners?

For consider your calling brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  1 Corinthians 1: 26 – 29

Joel Osteen is antichrist and yet thought to be a Christian. 

Do the dirty work and study false teaching, for it is a Biblical way to spiritually mature.

Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.  Hebrews 5: 14