Clearing up errors I made in last post

Dear Friends, I made 2 errors in the post I submitted yesterday.

 One, the actual URL is:

http://www.evpbooks.com/Deliver-Us-from-Evil-How-Jesus-Casts-Out-Demons-Today-PB-14.htm

 Two, the 20% discount is friendofEVP. Before the evp was not capitalized as it should be.

 Then, we discovered that the postage was not right either, so in a short time today it will be reduced. Sorry for the error.

 Kent

Deliver us from Evil: How Jesus Casts Out Demons Today

8 years ago I was asked to write a book about a subject I had engaged in for several decades, a ministry that I wish would simply go away. However, it looks like it has come back around. I am talking about casting demons out of people possessed by them.

In the early 1970s I did a master’s thesis titled, A Manual of Demonology and the Occult. Zondervan Publishing did just that, they published it and for many years people came from all over this country, and foreign countries to have demons cast out of them.

My college background is psychology and my career goal was to be a high school counselor. Oh well, right at the very end of a MA in psych at Sacramento State I bailed and enrolled at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA.. I was shocked to find that the professors took demons realistically, but I did not. My training helped me think that what Jesus encountered was mental illness. I clung to that until it became impossible to do so.

Then after ten years of continual ministry to those who had demonic spirits, the ministry slowly dissolved due to lack of people wanting it. Over the years there have been some seeking deliverance, but now it is heating up again.

Now then the second edition, and an expanded edition by 30%, and a name change, we have 92 pages of how to deal with those who are seeking relief from the horrors of demonic spirits.

Essentially it is a rather simple working that most Christians can engage in. This new edition will help with that and that is my goal. Here are the chapter headings:

Jesus Casts Out demons

Jesus’ Disciples Cast Out Demons

Casting Out Demons After the New Testament Era

A Theology of the demonic

How People are Indwelt by Demons

Can Christians have demons?

How to Cast Out Demons

Hearing Voices

More on How to Become Possessed by Demons

After Care

Epilogue

There you have it. If you go to http://www.evpbooks.com/Deliver-Us-from-Evil-How-Jesus-Casts-Out-Demons-Today

and type in friendofevp you will receive a 20% discount, and my recollection is the book is selling for $8.95.

The Third Heaven

The Third Heaven

 

Paul once said that he went to the third heaven: “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. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:2-5).

      Most commentators think 2 Corinthians was written in AD 55-57. So this vision occurred 14 years earlier, around the time of Paul”s second visit to Jerusalem and before his first missionary journey.

 Visions

 This experience may have been, it is speculated, Paul”s third vision. His visions can be listed as follows: the glorified Christ on the day of his conversion (Acts 9:3; 22:6); Ananias coming to him (Acts 9:12); the Lord showing that he would minister to the Gentiles (Acts 22:17);

      Paul”s call to Macedonia (Acts 16:9); encouragement in Corinth (Acts 18:9-10); after arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 23:11); during a storm at sea (Acts 27:23); and insight into the mysteries of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-6).

      It is likely this mention was the first Paul ever made about being into the third heaven, and he only did so because detractors in the Corinthian church were challenging his status as an apostle and thereby attempting to downgrade his teaching.

      These critics elevated themselves by claiming supernatural knowledge obtained by means of dreams and visions. For millennia shamans had claimed direct encounters with supernatural entities and this tradition was alive and well in the Graeco-Roman world. It is alive and well in our own day too.

      Reluctantly, Paul describes a vision he had, in order to assert his status as a true apostle of Christ. He did not employ typical shamanistic language, however; nor did he use such trance-inducing techniques as meditation, mind altering substances, dancing or physical deprivation.

 Third heaven

 Paul had been to the “third heaven” — surely a way of describing the real presence of the transcendent God. He humbly refers to himself in the third person, as being “caught up” there.

      Paul”s experience came to him in much the same way as John”s on Patmos. He did not seek it; there was no “soul journey”, no mediumistic trance and no paganistic transportation facilitated by spirit guides. Without warning, he was suddenly seeing that which later he would not speak of, even if he were able. He simply did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body.

      Also, “he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter”. Commentators suggest four possible meanings for this puzzling statement. First, he was warned not to speak of what he had seen; second, he could not find suitable words to describe it; third, it would have done harm to do so; or fourth, to reveal the vision would make it seem as though he had lost his mind. Whatever the meaning, Paul never revealed anything other than the fact of his vision.

      In complete contrast, Kat Kerr, a 60-year-old woman living in Florida (and sporting pinkish hair dyed, she insists, “in obedience” to God” command), has written a bookentitled Revealing heaven: an eyewitness account. In it she reports on her direct encounters, her visits and conversations with “the Father” in heaven”s “throne room”.

      Kerr is radically different from Paul in that there is no hesitancy on her part; she freely talks about what she sees and hears. It is apparent that her mission is to communicate what she has experienced in her visits to the “throne room”.

      On one occasion the Father escorted her via time travel to the very occasion when Jesus was crucified; she says she was right there at the cross of Calvary. Not only that, she was there at the resurrection. Not even the shamans have been as brazen as that!

 Apology

 As with the psychics and mediums of spiritism, she also “visits” deceased loved ones, in order to bring back reports to the bereaved on their status. Always she reports that the departed are safe in heaven, much to the bereaved’s comfort. In one instance, according to her testimony, a person who had lost a loved one was surprised to hear of the deceased person being in heaven at all!

      She reports that every human being has at least one guardian angel from the moment of conception. These angels go with believers along the road of life and at death accompany them all the way to heaven. Sometimes, however, Jesus personally does the work of escorting to heaven, at least for those who have been especially faithful.

      She has learned that, if a person does bad things while on earth, the guardian angel is owed an apology upon arrival in heaven!

      Kat Kerr recounts her own conversion experience when aged four, then again aged five when she prayed “the sinner’s prayer” just to be sure. She is of a Pentecostal persuasion and her rapidly growing audience is primarily among Charismatics and Pentecostals.

      It is not necessary to continue detailing the incredible things Kerr reports about her frequent visits to heaven; these can be garnered by visiting YouTube.

      One either accepts what she says is true or disagrees and objects. In the latter circumstance, it is tantamount to declaring her a false prophet. The Old Testament penalty for false prophecy was stoning, although the New Testament settles for rejecting the message.

 Spiritism

 There are further dangerous aspects to Kat Kerr”s ministry. First, acceptance of it opens the door to connection with spiritism and shamanism, for this is essentially what she is up to.

      We do not find mention in the New Testament of congregations developing such connections. The experiences of Paul and John were exceptional and were not in any way the same as Kerr”s.

      Second, there is a mind bending process going on. People have to suspend scepticism in order to accept the often-bizarre nature of what she proclaims.

      Third, Kerr reveals a not-so-subtle expectation that others could or should be doing what she herself is doing. You too can visit heaven and talk with the Father; and here”s how — so why don”t you? Christians will be moved along a slippery slope into the occult realm.

      Fourth, those critical in their analysis are likely to be regarded as blaspheming the Spirit or rejecting what God is doing in “these last days”.

      Paul does not state that he spoke with any person within the Godhead in the third heaven; Kat Kerr, on the other hand, does. Her picture of the Father is akin to a description of conversation with a human friend. I think that this is exactly the relationship Kerr intends to convey — that she has such an exalted status that she is able to be in the very presence of God and talk directly with him just as Adam and Eve spoke with the Creator God in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.

      But Paul speaks of God”s utter transcendence: “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

      It is true that the Spirit indwells all born again Christians and, through Christ, they have access to the Father in prayer. The Scripture also affirms that we rest in the finished work of Christ and cease from our efforts of trying save ourselves.

      But that does not mean we treat God as just another friend or buddy. Kerr ignores the historical Christian understanding of God”s otherness and claims to have been repeatedly in his presence as though she were nearly his equal. This cannot be accepted or ignored.

 False prophets

 Kat Kerr is not the first to claim conscious contact with heavenly beings. One thinks of Muhammad, Joseph Smith, David Berg of the Children of God, Sung Myung Moon and countless others.

      The claiming of special revelation is standard fare in the spiritual market place. There are others too today currently claiming familiar heavenly conversations with the angels, Jesus and the Father.

      We must recognize that not everyone who claims spiritual experiences has to be accepted and believed. In the last days there will be false signs and wonders performed through the power of Satan; and deceptive attacks and demonic tricks are often played out within the Christian community.

      We are to “watch and pray”, as Jesus told his disciples that last night in Gethsemane. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

 

                                                                                                                               

The Book Convention in Atlanta

Late June Katie and I were part of the annual book convention for retailers in Atlanta when America’s Christian book publisher display their goods. We were with the Christian Small Publishers Association, which made it financially possible to part of the event. I have been many times as an author, but the first time now as a publisher.

We had 3 book signings, one for the Awakenings in American and the Jesus People Movement, a second for If the devil wrote a bible, and a third for Memoirs of a Jesus Freak. These last two attracted a lot of attention. We wanted to do a fourth signing for the newest book, out now less than a month, our The Soul Journey: How Shamanism, Santeria, Wicca, and Charisma are Connected we had on display only and it garnered a whole lot of interest.

I am a poor sales person, maybe too shy, but anyway, I invite folks to look at especially the Soul Journey book. It is absolutely unique and in my view will prove of value to all who read it. It is available at our online store as well as at amazon.com. Hoping you will get it at our store, www.evpbooks.com since authors and publishers make very little through amazon and this was a costly book, 3 years in preparation. Please check it out.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfullness

In Sunday’s Washington Post, May 25, 2014, is a story about a Buddhist teacher/therapist who works with military veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her theory, as outlined by the Post journalist, is that keeping one’s mind on the here and now is healing.

            Focus, center on you right now, where you are, how you feel, right now, seems to sum up her approach. Question: Is this ego-centric? If you think about others or troubles you are presently facing, are you still being mindful? I suspect some will find a measure of relief while others will not.

            Perhaps being mindful is beneficial, and like everything else of course, it is debatable.      

            Mindfulness! I read this often, hear this often, after all I live in Mill Valley, California which is a bastion for Buddhist and yoga-style meditators. One of my friends at our local gym is the director of a Zen center and he and I have talked on and off over the years on the subject of mindfulness.

            Mindfulness! Sounds like one ought to be mindful. Sounds like a good thing, maybe even a virtue. Mindful of the moment, mindful in the moment; yes, a worthy goal I suppose. What if a train were bearing down of you, one would want to be mindful.

To ask — mindful of what — probably misses the point however. I don’t think it is about jumping out of the way of trains, planes, or automobiles, but it might encompass such. Seems like a koan, one of those sayings that leave a person scratching his or her head, like “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

This is now bordering on being silly; even I know it. I am not mindless. Let me get down to it: I am suspicious that what the mindfulness practitioner means is she has discovered something very large and that those who do not practice mindfulness are missing out.

I also wonder if the call to mindfulness is not a form of Buddhist evangelism. There is a Christian type evangelism which basically looks like this: Christians speak of their gospel which may be reduced to a three part formula: Law plus Grace = Gospel. The Christian evangelist points out that the Law of Moses, whose centerpiece is the Ten Commandments of Exodus chapter 20, when read will lead the reader to understand that they have sinned and fall well short of God’s demands. Bad News. The second part of the formula is Grace, which means that though God could send the poor Law breaker to hell, He instead pardons, forgives, and saves the miserable sinner. Good News. The result is Gospel, which literally means Good News. Shocking! Instead of hell there is now heaven.

So then, is there anything of a mindful nature here? It clearly is self focused to a considerable degree and it centers on really large issues that do impact the here and now; thus it is mindful and in a large way. What is more ultimate than a present relationship with the Creator? How much more significant, hey, even mindful can you get?

Mindfulness. The impression I often get is that the Buddhist, or perhaps the Hindu yogi, those who meditate and focus on the NOW are where one ought to be as opposed to those Christian types who are thinking only about the kingdom to come with the harps, angel wings, fluffy clouds, and much more in the sweet bye and bye, which is down the road someplace and certainly not in the here and now. Is mindfulness the Buddhist version of the good news and is it superior to the Christian version. Of course, like everything else, this is debatable.

Let me get down to it right now. I am mindful that living in the now is a good thing. No question, I embrace it, but is that all there is? Since there is a future, however short or long, there is more to life than now. I confess I do not get too excited about now all the time. Sometimes now is painful, discouraging, boring and I would rather not focus on it twenty four seven. Hope is a good thing, and hope is future oriented and centers on what may or may not come to pass. But it is nonetheless not now. Is this an acceptable state of mindfulness?

 

Got an App?

Got an App?

Michael Sam kisses his “wife” (boyfriend), someone expresses disapproval, actually disgust, and the Gay Gestapo attacks.

A guy named Ward expressed less than positive feelings about seeing this scene on TV and started getting death threats; his kids were included in the murderous threats, too.

Well, didn’t Ward deserve what he got? After all, the guy dared to have thoughts about seeing one man kissing another on television. Ward didn’t do anything – didn’t deny anyone their equal rights, didn’t do or say anything he could even be sued for. The Gay Gestapo “thought” police, however, were offended.

The media, out of the usual fear of being attacked by the Gay Gestapo never uttered a word in defense of Ward, not even regarding the death threats against him or his family. Yes, here was a vile homophobe who deserved to be punished.

Homophobic. Is that fear of homosexuals? Is it fear of being homosexual? Fear is an emotion and is mostly involuntary. Thinking or feeling that homosexual behavior is immoral is probably common for the majority of Americans, and this is not overt and intended discrimination against homosexuals, which is a violation of a person’s civil rights, and which is wrong. But does not wanting to be homosexual or experiencing disgust when seeing gay behavior on mainstream media constitute homophobia? Let’s hope not, but no telling to what extent the enforcers will go.

The pro-gay lobby has successfully shut down nearly all dissent. If a retailer gets tagged with something that offends them, a boycott starts, and vendors who sell products in the store will be attacked as well. Do you suppose an app will be developed that will detect anti-gay thoughts going through the brain? And if so, what will be the punishment?

I wonder if we are not seeing a kind of revenge from the gay population for the mistreatment they have experienced over the years. Despite their inevitable guilt and shame, they want to be seen as normal and okay like everyone else, but they’ve been seen as less than okay by others, even considered to be sinners by Christians like me, and that may have become intolerable for some. So, like gets like?

How long will knee-jerk reactions from gays on the emotional edge advance their cause? Will the pendulum swing back into a kind of balance?

Yes, that is possible, I think. But things will never be the same, as say in the 1950s. We are looking at a new “normal,” in which the norm is tinged with a kind of perverseness — sorry but that’s what I am thinking and feeling. I will never accept this new “business as usual” that our society has been cowed into accepting. Hope you can get over it, since I, and hosts like me, are not likely to change, despite the threats, boycotts, mudslinging, civil suits, and bad publicity.

Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google — which will be the first to come up with the app?

Memoirs of a Jesus Freak

Now you see why my blogging has slowed down. But finally the book is ready to go.

 Just released!

Kent Philpott’s memoirs of the

Jesus People Days

 ”"

In 45 chapters, Kent relates how he was called to go to the hippies in San Francisco to tell them about Jesus and what happened in the years to follow. Includes 36 bios and 66 photos Jesus people era leaders and committed followers.

 

Available to ship now from www.evpbooks.com

Retail price is $21.95

Use coupon code “friendofEVP” for a 20% discount = $17.56

 

Homophobia and Heterophobia: Two Sides of the same Coin?

Homophobia and Heterophobia: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

 

    by Kent A. Philpott 

 

Homophobia – “A hatred or fear of homosexuals.” (from the Oxford Concise Dictionary). This expresses the core definition of homophobia as found in most standard dictionaries. 

 

Heterophobia – “A hatred or fear of heterosexuals.” This definition is not found in standard dictionaries, but the “Urban Dictionary” does not shy away from giving some rather politically incorrect definitions: 

 

From the Urban Dictionary, found online at www.urbandictionary.com:  

  • Heterophobics – “Gays who are afraid of heterosexuals usually due to their own heterosexual feelings or leanings.” This followed up with, “Gays, don’t be afraid, you’re probably just straight.”  Homophobia – “a severe condition, usually prominent in Republicans and most of American culture, leading one to: 1. inaccurately use bible quoting for the justification of killing homosexuals; 2. restrict the rights of millions; 3. hide in their rooms crying if they looked at the male body of one of the same gender and do not vomit; 4. incessantly call things ‘gay.’” 
  • Heterophobia – “an unreasoning disgust of heterosexuals, frequently supported by erroneous and faulty statements about heterosexuals.”  
  • Homophobia – “the irritation of having faggotry shoved in your face.” 
  • Heterophobics – “People who indulge in bigotry or intolerance because of the Heterophobia sickness.” 
  • Homophobia – “an irrational fear of going home.” 
  • Heterophobia – “The often irrational fear of heterosexuals. Usually experienced by a homosexual or bisexual who has had bad experiences with heterosexual coupling.” 
  • Homophobia – “fear of homosexuals or possibly a condition where one person has the same fears as someone else.” 
  • Heterophobia – “To hate heterosexuals out of some bizarre, irrational or innate fear of them. Probably due to repressed heterosexual feelings. Up with heterosexual pride!” 
  • Homophobia – “Dislike, fear, hatred, and/or disapproval of gays and/or homosexuality, often (but not always) for religious reasons or because of insecurity about one’s sexual orientation.” 
  • Heterophobia – “Queer frustration and hatred towards straight oppression. Often mistakenly perceived to be equivalent to homophobia, or other forms of discrimination.” 
  • Heterophobia – “Unreasoning prejudice against heterosexuals or their sexuality, the LGBT equivalent of reverse racism, and the inverse of homophobia. Commonly manifested as disgust with the very idea of straight sexuality and/or reproduction. It copies the prejudices of homophobia, including the idea that straightness is unnatural, or unhealthy, or can somehow be ‘cured.’” 
  • Heterophobia – “Frequently paired with prejudice towards the opposite sex. This is surprisingly common in the LGBT community, but is often not addressed due to concerns for political correctness.”    

 

Finally, let me add this, which I gleaned – and paraphrased – from Gay Religion, edited by Scott Thumma and Edward R. Gray, and published by AltaMira Press in 2005: Some homosexuals believe homosexuality is necessary for the earth to survive, as the “breeders” keep pumping out babies, resulting in the population growing to an unsustainable level. Therefore, homosexuality is a survival mechanism.  

 

Two sides of the same coin? 

 

Both phobias are based on fear, or so it would seem. I would suggest that “phobia” is the wrong word to describe either phenomenon. The term means an irrational fear of something or the other, such as agoraphobia – a fear of open spaces or public places. But are the so-called homo and hetero phobias based on fear? Is the homosexual fearful of heterosexuals? Is the heterosexual fearful of homosexuals?[i] In both instances, I think not; My sense of it is that the “phobias” are something else all together. 

 

Heterosexuals may disagree with homosexuals as to the rightness of homosexual behavior. And should they not be allowed this? Equal rights, justice, fairness, civil rights, and so on, are what most heterosexuals would agree are owed to all people regardless of sexual orientation. What if heterosexuals think homosexual behavior is “sinful” and morally wrong? Is this a bad thing?  

 

Suppose it was a hate crime to even consider homosexual behavior wrong. Should certain kinds of thinking be criminalized? Should “homophobes “be marginalized and discriminated against? Most outrageous is the goal that anything short of complete acceptance of all that is homosexuality be stamped out and eliminated since such thinking is the seed bed for discrimination against homosexuals. Could it be that the pro-gay, LGBT community, the whole of it or segments thereof, might even justify the creation of a “thought police” that would be dedicated to eradicating anti-homosexual thinking?  Have I gone too far?

 

Irrational fear? 

 

Once again let me state that to believe certain behavior is wrong is not necessarily born of fear or anxiety. There may indeed be those who are homophobic, that is, having a fear of being molested or raped by a homosexual, or fear of becoming one, or identified as being one, and the list goes on. And for those who have been in the military, or in prison, or in other circumstances where a homosexual might have a certain amount of power and authority, say a high school sports team coach, there may be homophobia, and such would not be irrational or imaginary. 

 

Needless to say, heterosexuals in positions of power and authority over persons of the opposite sex have abused that authority in sexual ways. Certainly, there is much more of this than homosexuals exploiting those of the same sex. Both are wrong, plain and simple.

I have been homophobic. In the Air Force there were homosexuals living in the barracks at Travis Air Force Base, and once in a while some would be caught doing what they ought not to have done and were either dishonorably discharged from the service or at least demoted and locked up for a while. In my thirty years as a volunteer at San Quentin Prison I found out that prison life was dominated by sex, some heterosexual, but mostly homosexual. I have also put five children through the school systems in Marin County, and I have been a freshman baseball coach for nine years. There are valid reasons why some have a fear of homosexuality. I don’t want to get specific or graphic, but I have been there and seen that.  

 

Yes, I have a certain amount of what is mistakenly called homophobia. So, what should be done with someone like me? Do I not have a right to it? Must the authorities be intolerant of it? As a Christian, must I repent of it?  

 

I do not want to be fearful of homosexuals, and in fact, to the best of my ability, I am not. With the growing numbers of gay people in American, if I were homophobic I would live a fearful and miserable life. I live in the world and am very much a part of it; I am a law-abiding citizen, and I will act according to the laws of the land. But I reserve the right to believe that homosexual behavior is wrong. 

 

For all have sinned 

 

What about heterosexuals? Many, perhaps most, heterosexuals are disturbed sexually to one degree or another. And how would we expect anything less, particularly in western societies where sex is distorted and confused? We have rapists, child molesters, sex-slave traffickers, pimps, brothel keepers, porn addicts and makers, and more than I care to know about, and in far greater numbers than do the homosexuals. The marketplace commercializes sex and throws naked flesh before our eyes daily to sell products.  

 

Much of the distortion has come along with the millennia-long patriarchal cultures that are in place in most parts of the world, cultures that falsely empower men to control those who are physically weaker. And our religions have either looked the other way or actually institutionalized this departure from biblical models, including Christianity. All of this morass has to do with what theologians call “the Fall,” that time when humans rebelled against the Creator God (who, by the way, is both feminine and masculine, see Genesis 1:27), and sex got completely tweaked.  

 

Moments after the Fall, Adam and Eve – or if you can’t handle that, the first man and woman – looked at each other, having a new knowledge of good and evil firmly implanted in their brains, and realized they were naked and were ashamed. Wow! Ashamed and guilty – and it is right here where the trouble is. Read the account below and see what you make of it. Here is Genesis 3:1-13:   

 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  

 

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”      

 

Guilt and Shame 

 

A careful interpreter could reel off pages of commentary and never get to the bottom of all that is in the above passage. But there is certainly guilt and shame. 

 

The balance between the man and the woman was gone. Together they reflected the Creator; now separate and apart life drastically changed and not for the better. Heterosexual marriage is now a mere shadow of what it was intended to be. Not until that which is called heaven and paradise, symbolized as a wedding between Christ, the groom, and the Church, His bride, will there be restitution and realization of the original intent of the Creator. Until then, well, we know the story, don’t we? 

 

Pleasure, contentment, fulfillment, completion, happiness, rightness – it was all there for Adam and Eve. These wonderful gifts were replaced with guilt and an abiding sense of shame. No matter how much pleasure might be found in a sexual act, it would never be, for anyone, what it could have been. So we have sin lodged right in the core of the identity of the human sexual experience. And heteros and homos have forever attempted to overcome guilt and shame. 

 

Within marriage between a man and a woman, however flawed and imperfect, is contained a hint and a promise of what will come in the grand eschaton, that end point when there will be a recreation and a new heaven and a new earth. What God started will be completed. God’s laws, the thou-shalt-nots, were intended to make the best of what is. Adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts are a breaking of the law and thus guilt and shame arise. That is just how it is. 

 

Though the LGBT community may succeed in all its demands for equality and normality, guilt and shame will remain. Could it be that the homosexual, who in the quest to irradiate homophobia, is really being driven by guilt and shame? If homosexual behavior is normal and good, then ought not the negative and powerful emotions go away? But they will not go away, since the ‘wrongness experience’ is hard wired into every human being. 

 

God made sex and meant it for both procreation and pleasure; it is a strong bond that keeps a husband and wife together. It is in that “one flesh” relationship where sex can be experienced absent guilt and shame. God-ordained and -approved sex is a wonderful thing. A marriage between a man and a woman allows for the freedom to develop a very sexy relationship, which is not driven by lust and a never-ending quest for fulfillment. Such a sexuality opens a door to a “peaceful easy feeling.” 

 

Is achieving equality enough? 

 

Victory won, normalcy and equality achieved, backed by the law of the land, and clear sailing ahead. All will be well, right? This has certainly not been so for heterosexuals, and the trend seems to be downward rather than the other way around. Will homosexuals fare better? Probably not. 

 

Sexuality is the human core identity, but it is not larger than the kingdom of God and life eternal. The fuss about homo and hetero phobias is magnified, because sex has become so very distorted and filled up with the hope of ultimate satisfaction. In sexuality, even for the most well adjusted and blissful heterosexual married couple, there will be disappointment and frustration. As they say, “Get over it.” 

 

Phobias must not drive our behavior 

 

Both hetero and homo phobia are expressions of sinfulness, not the sense of fear itself, but the acting out on the fears to the detriment of others. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, so we have to admit that expressing these phobias is wrong. At least, let us deal humanely and rationally with each other, homosexual and heterosexual. Let us hear and respect each other’s positions while not having to approve of them. 

 

If I could say that homosexual behavior is right, I would do so, but I cannot.  I cannot say that the heterosexual’s adulteries and fornications are right, either. To approve homosexuality in any form, or to approve sex outside of marriage, is unacceptable from a biblical perspective. And to many, such is unacceptable.

 

There is hope, strength, and dignity in saying “No.” The aberrational, criminal, abusive, or exploitive quest of self-centered sexual pleasure cannot be tolerated by a civilized society where the rights of the weak must be safeguarded. Heading off the steep cliff without an observer shouting out a warning is both negligence and unloving to the extreme.  

 

Enough of this phobia talk. 

 

 



[i] News reports of pedophilia and the reality of child pornography and child sex slaves, and both of a hetero and homo sexual nature, frequently find their way into print. For instance, in the San Francisco Chronicle (November 12, 2013) is an Associated Press article titled, “Police rescue 386 kids in global child porn bust.” The arrests of 348 people, was orchestrated by Canadian police, included schoolteachers, doctors, and actors, among others. The arrests of operatives of Azov Films, that had been in business since 2005, distributed some of the most vile images of boys from age 5 to 12. “The videos included naked boys from Germany, Romania, and Ukraine which it marketed as naturist movies.”  This sort of thing is likely to produce some fear, and if it does not, then the human situation is more vile and evil than we have imagined.

Charisma: The Fourth Branch of Christianity?

Charisma: The Fourth Branch of Christianity?

Christianity is divided into three main branches: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. Without going deeply into the whys and wherefores, it will be enough to say that this essay recognizes the three distinctions. While there are doctrinal differences among these three, their core theologies are surprisingly similar.

This essay suggests that there is now emerging a fourth branch of Christianity, which I am referring to as Charisma.

Charisma

The apostle Paul lists the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. In the Greek text the word translated “gifts” is transliterated as charismata. From this we get both “charismatic” and “charisma.”[1] Most simply put, a charismatic person is one who speaks in tongues.

Some Christians are cessationists, viewing that the writing of the New Testament and the death of the Twelve Apostles ended the need for and viability of the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Their belief is that these gifts are no longer operative and therefore are not seen.

In marked distinction, some Christians are continuationists, believing that the charismatic gifts never ceased and are yet operative in the life of the Church. This belief lies at the heart of the idea that there is emerging, or has already emerged, a fourth branch of Christianity.

Semis

Some Christians, like me, are semi-cessationists or semi-continuationists. To clarify, I think that during times of awakening, those times when God pours out His Holy Spirit to sweep many into salvation, the charismatic gifts of the Spirit may be in evidence. But during “normal” times, which are most  times, the gifts are rarely observed.

At the church I pastor we pray for people to be healed and follow James 5:14: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” We do this on Sunday evenings and also give an opportunity for deliverance, which is when demons are cast out of those who understand their need for this ministry. No one that I know of speaks in tongues at our services, and we don’t have much of a praise band, so we are fairly tame. “Semi” is the right word.

Moving in the flow of the Spirit

There are large and growing numbers of Christians world-wide who claim to be “moving in the flow of the Spirit.” They further claim that God’s Spirit is being poured out on all those who are open to it. This predominantly occurs in Pentecostal churches, but not solely.

During the Jesus People Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s I was a charismatic. We saw the miracles, we spoke in tongues, we had prophecies, and we had healings by the hundreds. Now, we did not understand that we were right in the middle of a national awakening and that all over the country similar things were happening. We flattered ourselves in thinking we were part of a special elite group of spiritual commandos taking the world for Christ. We had power, spiritual power, and we could not seem to help thinking more of ourselves than we ought to have.

The movement came to an end in 1972 or somewhat later, depending on where you were. But this insight was hindsight, as we did not learn of this until decades later. It was almost panic time when the conversions dramatically slowed and the healings were few and far between. What happened? Who took the power away? What will we do now?

Since we were flexible, we learned how to infuse people with excitement like in the good old days, and we accomplished it mostly through music. No, I am not against praise music. To this day, decades later, I still play the guitar and lead a kind of praise band, but we sing solid Jesus-centered songs and don’t get carried away with the beat of the drum and a cranked up amp. We play and sing for short periods with nothing like the now famous 7-11 routine, that is, seven words sung eleven times.

More, More, More

More is what so many want. They want to experience more of God, they want to be touched by His power, and they want the power to heal and do miracles. Sitting quietly in the pews listening to doctrinal sermons from uninspired preachers simply will not do. They want moving, shouting, falling, soaking, shaking, burning, and prophesying – charismania. They want more!

And more is what they are getting. It is all over YouTube from IHOP in Kansas City, Morningstar in North Carolina, and the Bethel Church in Redding, California. Young people, who have largely vacated the churches of the three branches, are present and fully engaged in intense activity. It is very compelling.

Why not us?

If Charisma is enjoying incredible success, why don’t the rest of us get on board? We would, but we sense something is wrong, and it is not merely jealousy or envy or because we are stuck in our ways. Neither is it a rejection of what God is doing by the power of His Holy Spirit.

We sense something wrong in the craving for more. We think it opens the door to deception.

We see disproportionate attention given to the Holy Spirit, or what is thought to be the Holy Spirit, while the Trinity, as a complete entity, is ignored. Father and Son seem to drop out of sight or are only peripherally mentioned. We cannot but notice Jesus’ teaching in John chapters 14, 15, and 16 to the effect that the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus; the Holy Spirit will not glorify the Holy Spirit.

We are dismayed at the notion that the Scripture is no longer authoritative for both practice and belief, for that is the implication in the claim that we are “off the charts” or that we can receive truth directly from angels, Jesus, or even the Father.

We smell a mediumistic odor here, emanating from the mouths of those who sway seekers into avoiding their Bibles in favor of rolling on the floor straining to hear the actual voice of God in their entranced ears. To many of us this is repulsive and even demonic.

Give me that old time religion  

Worship for many of us means gathering together with other Christians to pray, sing, study the Word, hear the Word proclaimed, and enjoy fellowship with each other. We love reciting the Lord’s Prayer, saying the Apostles’ or the Nicene Creed, listening to prayers written by brothers and sisters long gone, and thinking through what our God means to us. We do not think we have to “experience” God, especially since there is nothing in the Scripture that teaches us to do so. It is a life of faith and service, sacrifice and giving, prayer and praise. It is decent, orderly, respectful worship of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the “more” we need, and it is enough.

Unity, and if not, respect

We do not need a gigantic organization that enfolds all the world’s Christians. There is no need, and it simply will not happen until, and there is an until, the kingdom of God comes in all its glory. Then there will be unity.

Respect is what we can hope for. Respect for each other, however many branches there may be, respect that comes from the fact we all worship the same God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And in that sense of respect, we can learn from each other out of humility. We can critique, evaluate, repent, confess, ask for forgiveness, and work together, even with those whom we consider a little off track in terms of doctrine.

The enemy who wars against Christ’s Church loves to divide and conquer. An elitist attitude divides. The thinking, “I have more of the Spirit than you do,” divides. When Jesus is not the center of worship and praise, then there will only be splintering and factioning, not unity.



[1] Transliterated here means to put English letters in place of corresponding Greek letters. For example, kai is the transliteration of kai, alpha, nu, a word meaning “and.”

Charisma – The Fourth Branch of Christianity?

Charisma: The Fourth Branch of Christianity?

Christianity is divided into three main branches: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. Without going deeply into the whys and wherefores, it will be enough to say that this essay recognizes the three distinctions. While there are doctrinal differences among these three, their core theologies are surprisingly similar.

This essay suggests that there is now emerging a fourth branch of Christianity, which I am referring to as Charisma.

Charisma

The apostle Paul lists the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. In the Greek text the word translated “gifts” is transliterated as charismata. From this we get both “charismatic” and “charisma.”[1] Most simply put, a charismatic person is one who speaks in tongues.

Some Christians are cessationists, viewing that the writing of the New Testament and the death of the Twelve Apostles ended the need for and viability of the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Their belief is that these gifts are no longer operative and therefore are not seen.

In marked distinction, some Christians are continuationists, believing that the charismatic gifts never ceased and are yet operative in the life of the Church. This belief lies at the heart of the idea that there is emerging, or has already emerged, a fourth branch of Christianity.

Semis

Some Christians, like me, are semi-cessationists or semi-continuationists. To clarify, I think that during times of awakening, those times when God pours out His Holy Spirit to sweep many into salvation, the charismatic gifts of the Spirit may be in evidence. But during “normal” times, which are most  times, the gifts are rarely observed.

At the church I pastor we pray for people to be healed and follow James 5:14: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” We do this on Sunday evenings and also give an opportunity for deliverance, which is when demons are cast out of those who understand their need for this ministry. No one that I know of speaks in tongues at our services, and we don’t have much of a praise band, so we are fairly tame. “Semi” is the right word.

Moving in the flow of the Spirit

There are large and growing numbers of Christians world-wide who claim to be “moving in the flow of the Spirit.” They further claim that God’s Spirit is being poured out on all those who are open to it. This predominantly occurs in Pentecostal churches, but not solely.

During the Jesus People Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s I was a charismatic. We saw the miracles, we spoke in tongues, we had prophecies, and we had healings by the hundreds. Now, we did not understand that we were right in the middle of a national awakening and that all over the country similar things were happening. We flattered ourselves in thinking we were part of a special elite group of spiritual commandos taking the world for Christ. We had power, spiritual power, and we could not seem to help thinking more of ourselves than we ought to have.

The movement came to an end in 1972 or somewhat later, depending on where you were. But this insight was hindsight, as we did not learn of this until decades later. It was almost panic time when the conversions dramatically slowed and the healings were few and far between. What happened? Who took the power away? What will we do now?

Since we were flexible, we learned how to infuse people with excitement like in the good old days, and we accomplished it mostly through music. No, I am not against praise music. To this day, decades later, I still play the guitar and lead a kind of praise band, but we sing solid Jesus-centered songs and don’t get carried away with the beat of the drum and a cranked up amp. We play and sing for short periods with nothing like the now famous 7-11 routine, that is, seven words sung eleven times.

More, More, More

More is what so many want. They want to experience more of God, they want to be touched by His power, and they want the power to heal and do miracles. Sitting quietly in the pews listening to doctrinal sermons from uninspired preachers simply will not do. They want moving, shouting, falling, soaking, shaking, burning, and prophesying – charismania. They want more!

And more is what they are getting. It is all over YouTube from IHOP in Kansas City, Morningstar in North Carolina, and the Bethel Church in Redding, California. Young people, who have largely vacated the churches of the three branches, are present and fully engaged in intense activity. It is very compelling.

Why not us?

If Charisma is enjoying incredible success, why don’t the rest of us get on board? We would, but we sense something is wrong, and it is not merely jealousy or envy or because we are stuck in our ways. Neither is it a rejection of what God is doing by the power of His Holy Spirit.

We sense something wrong in the craving for more. We think it opens the door to deception.

We see disproportionate attention given to the Holy Spirit, or what is thought to be the Holy Spirit, while the Trinity, as a complete entity, is ignored. Father and Son seem to drop out of sight or are only peripherally mentioned. We cannot but notice Jesus’ teaching in John chapters 14, 15, and 16 to the effect that the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus; the Holy Spirit will not glorify the Holy Spirit.

We are dismayed at the notion that the Scripture is no longer authoritative for both practice and belief, for that is the implication in the claim that we are “off the charts” or that we can receive truth directly from angels, Jesus, or even the Father.

We smell a mediumistic odor here, emanating from the mouths of those who sway seekers into avoiding their Bibles in favor of rolling on the floor straining to hear the actual voice of God in their entranced ears. To many of us this is repulsive and even demonic.

Give me that old time religion  

Worship for many of us means gathering together with other Christians to pray, sing, study the Word, hear the Word proclaimed, and enjoy fellowship with each other. We love reciting the Lord’s Prayer, saying the Apostles’ or the Nicene Creed, listening to prayers written by brothers and sisters long gone, and thinking through what our God means to us. We do not think we have to “experience” God, especially since there is nothing in the Scripture that teaches us to do so. It is a life of faith and service, sacrifice and giving, prayer and praise. It is decent, orderly, respectful worship of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the “more” we need, and it is enough.

Unity, and if not, respect

We do not need a gigantic organization that enfolds all the world’s Christians. There is no need, and it simply will not happen until, and there is an until, the kingdom of God comes in all its glory. Then there will be unity.

Respect is what we can hope for. Respect for each other, however many branches there may be, respect that comes from the fact we all worship the same God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And in that sense of respect, we can learn from each other out of humility. We can critique, evaluate, repent, confess, ask for forgiveness, and work together, even with those whom we consider a little off track in terms of doctrine.

The enemy who wars against Christ’s Church loves to divide and conquer. An elitist attitude divides. The thinking, “I have more of the Spirit than you do,” divides. When Jesus is not the center of worship and praise, then there will only be splintering and factioning, not unity.



[1] Transliterated here means to put English letters in place of corresponding Greek letters. For example, kai is the transliteration of kai, alpha, nu, a word meaning “and.”