Test What You Hear

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 30, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

As I’ve read Paul’s letters in the Bible, while he makes a big issue about explaining what the Gospel is and how it is supposed to be lived out, I’ve found that it seems that the singular topic Paul addresses the most in all this is the discerning of true and false teachings. This is one of the reasons why I speak so much about them. John, Peter, and Jude each makes a big deal about discerning true and false teachings and identifying true and false teachers. Jude says we need to contend for the faith, because false teachers will come in to distort it, disrupt it, deny it, etc.

One would think that we could identify a false teacher if one came, yet what I am seeing now is that fewer and fewer people are able to identify true doctrines today. I used to think it would be obvious that New Age would be easily discernable as strange, weird, and ‘not going there.’ But it’s not so obvious. New Age has so infiltrated the church, decorating its teachings in Christianese, that many people think that God is a mystical energy that is able to empower your inner ‘godness’ and fulfill your dreams and wishes. Yes, that is being taught is the biggest churches in this country, specifically an exceedingly large own in Houston. Numerous ex-New Agers who come to Christ are looking at the church and saying “Hey, what are you doing?”

The Corinthian church has a lot of issues. They were a messed-up lot, and part of that was how it was a center of idolatry with its own temples. Paul instructed them to kick out an incestuous man, and then to welcome him back after he repented. However, Paul was very worried about them. Paul had written to the Galatians and found out that just a few months after he left, some false teacher came in and deceived them into false teachings. Paul was like: “Who bewitched you?” He was furious at the church for letting it happen, and even more so at the man who did it. Paul was concerned that the same would happen in Corinth. He suggested that just like with Eve and the Serpent, that if a false teacher were to come into their midst, they may well put up with him.

The Apostles were adamant that we are not by any means to give any support or recognition to false teachers. John told an elect lady to not even let such a person in her home. That was against the rules of hospitality and strangers. Obviously false teachers knew about that and played to the “you need to take care of me” card or they wouldn’t be hospitable. Paul saw that danger, so he made sure he never was a burden to any church. He was a tentmaker and never took money from a church for payment for his services. Now, I know many different ministries get their support from going around to churches, however personally I’ve never agreed with that notion: to go door to door, church to church to request funding. George Mueller saw the same issue, so he asked God for a ministry in which he could completely trust Him and never ask for a penny, let alone ever state financial needs. He ended up raising over 1000 orphans and sponsored numerous foreign missionaries. Mueller could never be accused of “being in it for the money” because he never asked for a dime.

False teachers will play you like a fiddle if you let them. They will tell you exactly what you want to hear, they know exactly which doctrines to agree to in order to get you to let them in, and they’ll make sure they get just enough “Gospel” in to silence critics. They will sound good. If they didn’t, no one would follow them. Yet, what they preach is death. Rat poison is 95-98% good food for the rat; it’s the other 2-5% that makes it lethal.

To borrow from an image Eric Ludy uses, if you leave your door open during the winter, you will have a cold draft enter the house and soon your house will be cold. But if you focus so much on keeping that front door closed that you forget that your bathroom window is open just a little, you will end up with the same result: a cold house, it just will take longer. False teachers may not directly attack the deity of Christ. They will instead come through a “secondary issue,” but the end goal is still the same: to prevent people from relying upon Jesus and the Word that describes Him. I see it all the time. Let me say this clearly: Satan doesn’t care what you believe, as long as it’s not the actual truth. And he rejoices when you believe enough truth to think you are saved, but not enough to actually save you. The deception is very powerful and very subtle.

If we are not continually on our guard and continually fed and nourished by the Word of God, we become easy prey for the deceptions out there. Take Paul’s warning seriously. If we are not continually checking what we hear, a false teaching will come up, pass our doctrinal smell tests, and we may well put up with them. And sadly, the area where we are most susceptible to is in the area of music. There are rank heretics out there preaching from pulpits, yet those church’s “worship teams” are writing the songs that dominate most church’s playlists. Justin Peters make a compelling argument that if we sponsor the songs written by Bethel, Hillsong, or Elevation by singing them in our churches, then we at the least running the risk of also supporting the heresies that come from the pulpits of the same churches. I’m still chewing on that one, because some of their songs are good, but many of them are not. What do we allow in? Do we test them? Or do we see the “Christian” label and give it a pass? Test what you hear. And I’m not talking about being picky or snarky about it; rather, test the spirit behind it. Is it truly from God? Does it truly worship God, or is it about something else? If we are not continually on our guard, a false teacher will come in, and we’ll not only put with him, we’ll start defending him and lashing out against those who do have their guard up. I’ve seen this many times. Test what you hear, even if you think it’s a good source.

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Jesus’ Disciples: Thomas

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 26, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

We have made it to the last disciple on our list of Jesus’ Twelve: Thomas. Thomas is also known as Didymus, which is just the Greek equivalent of his Aramaic name Thomas. Both of these names mean “twin,” which could mean that Thomas had a twin sibling, but we do not know this for sure.

As with the rest of the disciples, Thomas is mentioned in all of the lists of Jesus’ disciples in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16. He is also in the list in Acts 1:12-14, so he was with them following Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Everything else we know about Thomas is recorded in the gospel of John.

In John 11:1-44, we read about the account of the death of Jesus’ good friend Lazarus, brother to Mary and Martha. While he is not one of the main characters in this story, Thomas is singled out in it. Jesus and His disciples had heard that Lazarus was very sick, but in spite of that news, Jesus remained where He was at for two more days. Once Jesus decided that they would go back to Judea, the disciples were concerned because just prior to this, the Jews there had tried to kill Jesus. Naturally, none of them wanted to voluntarily go back to the place where they could be killed!

Jesus then tells His disciples that Lazarus has fallen asleep, but Jesus is going to wake him up (verse 11). Of course, the disciples are confused by this; there’s no cause for alarm or a need for a trip there just to wake up a man who is sleeping! Jesus them plainly tells them that Lazarus is dead (verse 14). In verse 16, Thomas speaks up: “Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”

Thomas is referencing Jesus as the “him” in that statement, not Lazarus; after all, Lazarus was already dead. The disciples expected that Jesus would be killed on this trip into Judea and that His disciples would suffer or be killed with Him. Here, Thomas reveals his loyalty to Jesus by being willing to face death with Him if that was what the Lord wanted to do. Thomas was clearly committed to following Jesus anywhere, no matter what the cost would be to his own personal safety. We know from reading on in the gospel account that Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, but He is not apprehended and killed right away.

Thomas’ next appearance in the gospel of John is in John 14. Jesus has raised Lazarus, has triumphally entered Jerusalem, washed the disciples’ feet, and predicted His death, how many wouldn’t believe, how Judas would betray Him, and how Peter would deny Him. This passage is part of the discourse that Jesus gives to His disciples as they are celebrating the Passover before He was to die. Jesus has just given them comforting words about preparing a place for them with His Father, and that they know the way to the place where He is going (John 14:1-4).

Then Thomas speaks up: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (verse 5). Thomas is loyal to Jesus, but he is also curious. He doesn’t understand what Jesus is telling them. He wants to be sure he knows what to do to keep following Jesus, no matter what happens.

Jesus’ answer to this question is one that has become key in working to understand Jesus’ identity. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (verse 6). Jesus did not answer Thomas’ question in a direct earthly way, but in a way that reveals much about who He is. He won’t just show them the way; He is the Way. He won’t just teach them the truth; He is the Truth. He won’t just live life with them; He is the Life. Jesus responded to Thomas’ question of confusion by clearly telling the disciples that He is God in human form, and He is the only way that they can approach God.

Finally, the situation that Thomas is most known for is when he doubted Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus had appeared to the disciples on the day that He rose (John 20:19-23), but we find out from verse 24 that Thomas was not with the rest of the disciples at that time. The others told Thomas about Jesus, but he did not believe them. His doubt is recorded in verse 25b: “But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’” The passage continues to show us when Thomas did believe:
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”
(John 20:26-29).

We can learn from Thomas that we need to believe in Jesus because of all the evidence we have through His Word and the testimony of others, not because we’ve actually seen Him in the flesh. We are part of those Jesus referred to when He said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Thomas is mentioned one more time, in John 21:1, as being with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them again after the resurrection and caused a miraculous catch of fish.

Thomas was loyal to Jesus even to the point of being willing to die with Him, but he still needed proof that Jesus was raised. But that proof allowed Thomas to live the rest of his life spreading the gospel message of Jesus, and that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. According to tradition, Thomas was killed for his faith around 72 AD.

Where are you at in your faith? Are you loyal to Jesus no matter what? Are you confused by what you read about Jesus in the Scriptures? Are you doubting what others tell you about Jesus? Wherever you’re at, I encourage you to investigate Jesus for yourself. He has given us His Word so we can read all about what He did for us. He has also given us His Spirit so we can experience His presence in our lives, even if we are not able to physically touch His earthly body. Be encouraged by Thomas that no matter where you’re at, Jesus is there to meet you and keep you strong in your faith.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Reprobate Mind

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 23, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I wrote about the conditioning and brainwashing pattern to get the people of the U.S. to embrace pedophilia alongside homosexuality. This is all part of the spiral into depravity as recorded in Romans 1:18-32. This spiral starts by denying God as the Creator and His moral standards with it. When God is removed, then His holy moral standards are also removed, and man will seek the freedom to unleash the shackles that has restrained sin. When man breaks free of those shackles, he becomes a beast of utter evil. But it’s not really man who escapes God; it’s rather God who lets man run wild.

One of the biggest areas that man wants his “freedom from God” is in sexuality. I have found that the #1 moral reason people continually use to reject the Bible and Christianity is the restraints God puts on sexual behavior. Men want to have sex with whomever they desire: women, girls, other men, boys, and even animals. Women do the same, and both want to do with it without consequence. That’s why abortion is such a hot industry: when sexual activity is high, so are babies. But to enable more sex and not to have to deal with babies, abortions are a “quick and easy” solution. Abortions also help cover sexual abuse, especially with trafficked teenagers now that they can get them without a parent’s permission. The abuser, such as an uncle or a pimp, will take them in, perform the “procedure,” and the evidence is gone. Once the girl heals, she goes “back to work.” The restraints are lifted and God gives these sick people want they want: life without God holding back their depravity.

Now, some of you may be thinking I’m being all judgmental. But hear me out. I know me. I know what my sinful side is like. And I know what it could become if God let it loose. Don’t think you are any different. Sin is truly a vile and evil monster, and it will never be satisfied. When man continually refuses to honor God and give Him His due, God will simply take His hand off him and say: “Fine, you are on your own.” And while man will think he is free, he will never be free of “natural law” and the consequences of his actions.

When God turns man over to his own sinful desires, two things happen. The truth is exchanged for a lie and man is given over to a reprobate mind. Let’s look at the first of these. This isn’t merely believing a lie as the truth. This is a complete change of mindset. It is literally believing philosophically that what is true is a lie and what is a lie is true. When people reject God as the Creator, they take a worldview that purposefully and intentionally precludes God from ever being an option, no matter how ridiculous their own ideas sound. They will willingly embrace that which they know is impossible, if the alternative is the God of the Bible being true. And no evidence can convince them, because they have morally chosen that they will never let God rule over them.

The other part of it is God giving them over to a reprobate mind. The term “reprobate” has multiple meanings, but two big angles are “insanity” and “unredeemable.” God literally lets these people go insane. Not stupid or retarded (in a technical sense), but insane. They literally lose the ability to think rationally or reasonably, all the while thinking they are the sane ones. They exchanged the truth for a lie and so what is sane is crazy to them and what is insane is what everyone should be doing, and they will fight to make everyone be like them, too.

When all this takes place, it’s not just in the realm of sexuality where the madness happens. It’s every form of wickedness. Paul spends three verses just rambling about the kinds of perversion and evil that man does when God lifts the restraints. And there is a final step to all this. Not only do these people know the righteous standards of God and that He will hold all accountable and that they deserve death, they will do what they know is wrong and approve of those who do it as well. Let me make this clear: you do not have to be party to the evil going on in this world. If you give approval, permission, or allowance for it, you are just as guilty as doing it. If you will not have an abortion yourself, but you approve that it should be a choice that women should be able to legally make, you are just as guilty as the one who committed the murder. Now, let me speak for a second to those who have done this evil deed: God can still forgive you if you would come to Him and repent of it.

Going now to our nation, what has happened? The sexual “revolution” has not completed its spiral into utter depravity, however a great host of other evils have arisen alongside it. Don’t think they are not connected. The United States is the most drug-crazed nation in the world. I live by the border at the 2nd busiest international border crossing of the world. Drugs are a constant threat and a very lucrative industry. The sex trafficking industry is an even bigger money maker than drugs. Violence is glorified on the screen (for the purpose of being violent rather than good rising to make a stand against evil). As of 20 years ago, it was estimated that a child would witness 7000 murders before turning 18. Video games glorify violence as well (I’m not making a blanket statement here). Our nation loves evil.

Things tipped over the edge during the Obama administration. His slogan was “change,” and it indeed was a change. During his administration, the U.S. formally rejected Biblical morality especially in regard to sexuality when we embraced homosexual marriage. Even though Trump has been in office these past four years, the slide down the slippery slope has turned to a near vertical plunge.

Let’s look at the list of sins in Romans 1:29-31. Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful. Let’s take a look at society. Is there anything on this list that is NOT on display in full force? I’m seeing everything in this list on full display from the rioters, to the social media posts, to the politics, to business, to everything. But this is the world. We should expect the world that is inherently against God to do these things. How many of these are we finding in the church? Too many, I fear. As I consider myself on the leading edge of the “millennials,” my generation is known for being illiterate, unable to do research for truth, having few life skills, being treacherous to parents, authorities, and mentors, and undesirous to fight for a cause bigger than self (these reported by Eric Ludy here). Some of these I still see in me. It’s the spirit of our age.

But what should disturb us more is not merely those who practice these evil things, but those who approve of those who do it. If we, as Christians, give approval to the sins of our nation (homosexual marriage, abortion, gluttony, greed, just to name a few), we are just as guilty as those doing it, and I dare say even more so.

Now this passage really starts back at Romans 1:18: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” God has poured out his wrath upon those who live unrighteous, ungodly lives. They deny the Creator, and they deny the Creator’s moral standards. They worship the creation instead of the Creator. They proclaim knowledge and wisdom but showcase themselves to be fools. They exchange the truth for a lie. And they do all this because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Not in ignorance, not in mistakes, not in errors, but in unrighteousness. They do this because they hate the truth, and they subdue it, wrestle it into submission in their hatred for God and His rule. This is on full display today, and it’s not just the world. I see it in the church, too.

The United States is reprobate. This nation has been given over to utter wickedness. God has released his restraints against sin in regard to this nation, because it’s what our nation wanted. We wanted to live without God’s influence, without His authority, without His standards, denying Him of His position as Creator, and rejecting His calls for national repentance. Are we beyond redemption? I don’t know where the line is to be drawn if we have gone too far, but I know King Manasseh crossed that line with Judah to where even Josiah’s revival could only delay the judgment. I also know that Nineveh did repent despite not being offered a chance to be saved.

What can we do? Until God says the judgment is final, we can pray for mercy and that He may grant us repentance. But we must also prepare for this nation to fall. We must be ready for both. One of my reactions to COVID’s lockdowns was it was preparing the church for going underground. That’s not an idle warning. While we are to call for repentance, we must come out from the nation. We must be in position for the U.S. to turn on us as believers and not be “attached” to this nation too tightly. The Romans 1 cycle is nearly complete, if not already. The judgment is nigh. Let us examine ourselves to make sure we aren’t part of this cycle.

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Spiritual Anxiety

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, October 20, 2020 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

Anxiety can take many forms for us. For example, I suffer from anxiety due to not surrendering all of myself to Christ. Other common themes are financial or social burdens, loneliness, desperation, and other underlying mental health issues. Through these experiences, many people will often quote 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Paul never states the thorn exactly, and people often come up with their own version of what this is. But if we look at who Paul is writing to (the church of Corinth) and what was going on at the time (Christians living in the name only), we can get a better picture as to what the thorn may be.

In both preserved letters to the church there, Paul is critical of how they act. While they do have members and are serving to proclaim the name of Jesus, they also are still living both in and of the world. John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17 that we are to live in but not of the world. This means that we are to exist as we do to serve God and proclaim the Gospel, not to celebrate or honor prostitution, Paganism, socioeconomic separation, etc. Paul's letters to Corinth and the church there consisted of hard love. He viewed each of the churches he directly and indirectly ministered to as his babies through the power of God, essentially trying to keep their focus on God and not pleasing the world.

Due to all of this, we can better understand what possible thorn(s) Paul is crying out to God to remove. Even to this day, we still see these things happening. We have abstracted the concept of Christian obedience and love to suit the current world's demands, and those who are crying out and demanding a Biblical foundation are in agony asking God to fix this. These include professing Christian churches “marrying” homosexuals, worshiping “Caesar” over God, or treating life as valueless unless it is outside of the womb. The true, God-fearing church, and not just the building but the people making up those places, is struggling to overcome the evils that their brothers and sisters are falling into.

Christians are called to love, and love justly. We are to do everything we can to help bring the Holy Spirit to people and lead them away from the flesh and into a reborn nature. But when brothers are against brothers, sisters against sisters, how can we maintain that sense of unity? Not only do we then not express our love and joy of what God has blessed us with, but our spirits weaken and become dull due to the empathy we either don't give or receive.

The divisional state of our nation, let alone our world, is blasphemy. Our own thorns can hinder our progress if we don't keep them in check. We will struggle, and just as Paul did, to glorify God, and for people to see us, true-believing and confessing Christians, and to understand that it is not from our own will or ability but through the Holy Spirit. Our anxiety, restless nights, and torn-apart dreams, sacrificed in the name of Jesus Christ, are of no value to us but to the eternal value of Him. For this to be the result, however, we need to be united in Christ even if we are not united in our minds necessarily.

There are solutions to this problem that we can both easily and adequately perform that improve the greater good. To address the proverbial elephant in the room, one of the biggest and best things you can do is surrender your life to Christ Jesus. However, this is also more of a life-long journey for most than anything else, so we need to find ways to help steer us toward this mentality and consider it our goal.

So, how do we lower our spiritual anxiety?

Do things as milestones, not goals. When we consider an action or “end result” as a goal, we undermine the continuous effort we have to put in to keep that action going (like Newton’s first law of motion). If we stop acting with love toward others, we will find ourselves quickly loving not even ourselves. So, the best thing you can do is love who you can continuously not just by words but by actions.

Recharge yourself every now and then. Burn out is very high in my day job’s field, as it is in ministry. We are often taken advantage of without any amount of respect returned for our deeds. So we continue acting out of love, but the love never returns. The second law of thermodynamics basically states that we can only give so much energy out before we are depleted of it. The way we recharge our ability to love is receiving it as well. For example, a church elder visits a shut in and feels God’s love replenishing the elder’s love given to the shut in. Another way this would happen is by spending time with God, relaxing, and embracing the moment.

One final way we can all start to keep our love high and our anxiety (relatively) low is by acknowledging our weaknesses and finding ways to balance them out. We weren’t designed or built to take on the world; only one was and that’s God. He designed us to be in unity, taking our various attributes to be harmonious in our variety. For example, I am not the most skilled at being social, but my wife is. I love teaching, evangelizing, and being an apologetic, whereas she is more timid toward it. We utilize each other’s strengths to not hide our weaknesses, but to glorify God with them through unity.

In the end, we need to start embracing the fact we need help, that we can find it in God and His children. The stigma that as a Christian we are perfect should be disproven by our constant appeal to God for His guidance and grace. We should lower the expectations that if someone is filled with anxiety, depression, trust issues, etc. that they can’t be; instead that they are just as important to His kingdom as everyone else.

If you like this blog post and would like to dig deeper into what Eric is addressing here, we here at Worldview Warriors encourage you to read this resource: Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Jesus’ Disciples: Simon the Zealot

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 19, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Duplicate names seem to be quite common among Jesus’ disciples. We’ve already discussed James and James the Less, and Judas and Jude. Today, we look at the second Simon - not Simon Peter, but Simon the Zealot.

Unfortunately, not much is known about this Simon. He is listed as a part of the Twelve disciples in the lists in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16 of course. He is also listed among those disciples who were together after Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:12-14. In all of those lists, he is referred to as “Simon the Zealot,” which is likely to differentiate him from Simon Peter.

But what does that designation of “Zealot” mean? In the original Greek of Matthew’s and Mark’s lists of the disciples, the word “Kananaion” is used to describe Simon. While this does look similar to the word for “Canaanite,” it does not mean that he was a native of Canaan. Instead, it’s derived from the Aramaic word “Kanean” which was the name of a particular sect of Jews. This sect is also known as the Zealots. In Luke’s list of disciples both in his gospel and in Acts, the word “zealot” is used instead.

But what is a zealot? This Greek word is defined as, “zealot, enthusiast, adherent, one who has the feelings or attitudes of deep commitment to a person or cause; in the New Testament this can technically refer to a person who belonged to a nationalist Jewish group that sought independence from Rome.” This word can be used in the general sense to describe a person who adheres to a particular cause, but we see that it can also refer to the particular group of the Jews who were seeking to be independent of the rule of Rome.

Was Simon a member of this Jewish group? Unfortunately, we do not know for sure. Scholars haven’t found a list of members of the Zealots that includes his name or anything like that. In fact, other than these lists, we have no outside record of Simon being a part of this group. So, scholars don’t know for sure.

We see no other references to Simon the Zealot in the Bible. But we do see him mentioned in other works from that time period outside of the Bible. It is believed that he preached the gospel in Egypt and likely joined Jude in Persia to further the gospel message there. A writing titled “Acts of Simon and Judas” indicates that Simon the Zealot was killed for his faith by being cut in half with a saw. But according to 4th-century writer St. Basil the Great, Simon the Zealot died peacefully in the ancient city of Edessa.

So, what can we today learn from this man who we know so little about? The first important thing to learn is that we don’t all have to be famous. We know that Simon the Zealot was one of Jesus’ disciples, so along with the rest of the Twelve, he followed Jesus faithfully during the time of His earthly ministry. Simon also went on to share the gospel of Jesus in various places throughout the Middle Eastern world at the time.

Many people today do things so that they become well-known. This is why social media, YouTube, etc. have become so popular - we all want to get our voice out there and have people know us. Almost countless numbers of YouTube videos have been uploaded simply with the hope of it going viral, so the “star” even gets a few minutes of fame. People have done lots of crazy things just to become famous and well-known, even for a short time.

Simon, however, risked his life for the gospel message of Jesus Christ - all so that history has nearly forgotten who he was. We know he existed, but we know very little about his life and work. The message he proclaimed of Jesus being God, coming to earth to live in human form, dying a terrible death, and being raised again is SO much more important than most of what we see on social media today. Yet we know so much more about people with messages that have so much less true meaning to them.

Following Jesus is not about being famous or well-known at all. It’s about proclaiming His Gospel Truth in whatever way God wants us to. That may mean becoming well-known on some level, or it may mean that history will all but forget us. Either way, that shouldn’t matter to us; what matters is that we are faithful to the calling God has for us, whatever that looks like.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Perversion of a Nation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 16, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I wrote about the start of the fall into depravity as recorded in Romans 1:18-32. The fall starts by rejecting God as the Creator and then denying His moral standards. When that happens, the demand for “higher education” rises, only to showcase foolishness, and what follows is the worship of the creation instead of the Creator. Then, when the Creator is denied His place as Creator and Law Giver and man is given the “freedom” to do as he pleases, usually the first area he goes to “explore” is sexuality. This is the next part of the Romans 1 spiral: men and women giving up their natural desires and lusting after each other. But what we are seeing in the United States is not merely a “fall” into this sin, but a strategic planting, training, and encouraging of this sin. Yes, I will go on record and say that the sexualization of our nation and especially now of our children is intentional.

There is a cliché of how to boil a frog. You don’t drop him into a pot of boiling water; you put him in a pot of cool water and slowly crank up the heat. Because a frog is cold-blooded, it will never notice the heat change until it’s too late. Three months ago, I wrote about the Hegelian Dialectic and the process of compromise, which always leans towards the direction of the group seeking control. I addressed then how this process has been used in brainwashing people to believing things like Evolution or socialism. But here, I’m going to show how this is being used to destroy the moral foundations.

The United States has become a perverse nation. Not merely arrogant, violent, murderous, greedy, etc., but perverse. Usually the term “perverse” is in context of sexual immorality. Since the “Sexual Revolution” of the 60s, our nation has truly become utterly vile and evil. How did it happen? I grew up when homosexuality was considered not merely a sin but as a mental illness. Now it is publicly embraced to the point where if anyone dares speak against it, it’s as though we are speaking treason. And now we are watching the progression move to our children in public. Again, how did it happen? Let me take you through a brief walk through the last few decades, but I’ll focus on the last couple of years. This is going to be a difficult post to read but we need to know what has happened so we can take action and stop it while we can.

The first time I ever saw a gay couple on TV was the movie Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams. It’s a comedy of a man going through a painful divorce, and to see his kids he dresses as an elderly woman with the aid of his gay brother. As a kid I thought it was funny, knowing that that stuff was stupid and silly at best. Today, I’d never watch that movie again. That was one step. In 1998, Matthew Shepherd was murdered in a true hate crime against him for being gay. It never should have happened; however, that was the case that opened the door for the homosexuals to claim “special privileges.” It worked.

In 2005 there was a controversial movie called Brokeback Mountain. All I know about it was that it was the first movie where the lead characters were homosexual. More TV shows continued to work in more and more sexually risqué situations. Then Barak Obama hired Arnie Duncan as his Secretary of Education. One of Duncan’s big movements was to instill an anti-bullying program that specifically included the LGBT lifestyle, teaching that to be against it was like being racist. Another part of the agenda was the instillation of LGBT student groups on numerous public school campuses. I’ve seen them on the campuses where I’ve worked. Then Obama spearheaded the formal “legalizing” of homosexual marriage. I said then that pedophilia was going to be right on its heels, and the only thing that’s surprised me is that it’s taken longer than I was thinking to do it. But it’s here now, and it’s in full swing. Here is how I have seen the progression to get the public to embrace pedophilia, though the process is not complete… yet.

In 2017, a sitcom called “The Mick” had a scene where a teenager and his six-year-old brother had a bet in which the boy would lick a hot stove for $1000. So the brother had to wear what looks exactly like a “ball gag” to help heal his tongue. Though not in a sexual setting, the mere image of a little boy in that device is a total turn-on for perverts. This boy apparently was transitioning to a “girl” as well. Then in 2018 came a movie called Show Dogs. The internet exploded when there was a scene of the talking police dog undercover in a dog show being molested in his preparation for the show and being told to go to his “happy place,” the exact type of language that pedophiles use when they “play” with their victims. The public was rightfully outraged enough to get the movie shut down, but I had something to say about it at that time.

This movie was just a test. It was just a feeler to see how the public would respond to child sex in a covert way. I knew immediately that this would not be a one-time thing, and after more “desensitizing” they would try it again. Those who saw my Facebook response to that were pleased that as a man I said something, but I suspect few really understood what I was saying. The pedophile movement turned up the heat.

Very shortly after Show Dogs was released, we started hearing about prepubescent child drag queens. I remember seeing one boy Desmond is Amazing, then only 11 years old, being shown on Good Morning America in his full get up and his parents saying “that’s what he wanted to do.” Desmond made headlines again, dancing at a gay bar and having money thrown at him. For those not in the “know,” dancers who get their “customers” excited and sexually aroused will have money thrown at them as a “tip,” and apparently they can make a decent amount of money this way. This was an 11-year-old boy doing this. I’ve seen a picture of another prepubescent boy in drag in an “excited, shocked” state next to a nude adult drag queen. With this was the “Drag Queen Story Hour” at libraries. I even read one article where an elementary school brought in a pole dancer to perform in front of their youngest grades, even where one girl said she wanted to be a pole dancer when she got older (she was barely six or seven). This incident took place in Poland in May this year. The Christian conservatives paying attention spoke up against this in social media, but it didn’t stop there.

Last summer, another movie came out called Good Boys. I only saw the previews. It was about three boys approaching puberty who apparently were “angels” and never did anything wrong or weird. So for some kind of project, they began to see what the rest of the boys did. They looked up videos for kissing and obviously saw things significantly more detailed than kissing. One boy got onto a strap “swing” not knowing at all what it was used for, and the boy was in a pose for receiving anal sex on that swing. Yes, sorry for the graphic description, but this was in the preview on public TV. But unlike Show Dogs, virtually NOTHING was said that I noticed.

Then this year Netflix released a film called Cuties about a “twerking dance group” of 11-year-old girls. Supposedly the director, after the backlash, said that the film was to showcase what happens when you let your girls dress so scantily and that we should be shocked. I’m frankly not interested in what happens in the film or what it is about. The issue is that you have a movie with girls doing full sexualized dancing that would be seen in a kid porn film. If you are going to expose something, you do so with tact, and this was not tactful. I saw the exact same thing with this movie as I did with Show Dogs. It’s another test, only this time, it’s far more explicit and graphic.

And that’s just on the entertainment side of things. On the legal side, there have been pushes to make the “age of consent” lower and lower so it can be “legal” for children to have sex. California recently passed a law that drastically reduces the sentences for younger adults having sex with younger children as long as there is less than a ten-year difference, including even registering to be a sex offender. So that means a 24-year old man can have “consensual” sex with a 14-year old boy, and at most there will be just a slap on the wrist.

I have to make clear that all this is intentional. I am not talking about a conspiracy theory of QAnon or what not. These are just my observations of what I have seen in the actual news and in the entertainment industry. The United States has not embraced pedophilia nationally yet, but we are one bad leader away from sealing the deal. I’m not convinced we can stop it without some nationwide revival and repentance from our leaders calling for it (not merely Franklin Graham or President Trump, but from Congress and our state leaders). But if we know what is happening, we can cut off the process from continuing. The only solution is the Gospel, and the only way to cut off an industry is to cut off their customers and the demand for the products. Sex is selling because, like drugs, there is an insatiable appetite for it that only the Gospel can cut off.

The Romans 1 spiral has a final phase: complete and total lawlessness where not only the wicked thrive in doing it, but those who approve it share in the judgment. That’s next week.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Jesus’ Disciples: Philip

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 12, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As we continue making our way through Jesus’ twelve disciples, Philip is next on the list. We know that Philip was a native of the town of Bethsaida, where Andrew and Peter also came from. After Andrew and Peter were called, Philip was next according to John 1:43-45:

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote —Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

As with all of the other disciples, Philip responded quickly to Jesus’ call on his life. Following that account is the story of Nathanael becoming a follower of Jesus as well.

Philip is mentioned a few other times along with being included in the lists of the disciples. In John 6:5-7, during the account of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus asks Philip about buying bread for that entire crowd to eat. Philip, of course, responds that they couldn’t possibly have enough money to buy food to feed that huge crowd. Jesus was testing Philip’s faith; John informs us that Jesus already knew that He was going to perform a miracle to feed that crowd. Philip is just being realistic of course, in that they didn’t have that kind of money to buy that much food. He likely did not yet fully understand what Jesus was going to do to show His glory in that experience.

Philip is also mentioned in John 12:20-22. Some Greeks who were attending a festival found Philip to ask about meeting Jesus; Philip then went to get Andrew, who brought them to Jesus.

We don’t see any more about Philip in the gospel accounts, but we do learn more about him in the book of Acts. After the killing of Stephen (Acts 7), the disciples scattered to different areas, and Philip ended up in Samaria. Acts 8:4-8 tells us: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.” We see Philip performing miraculous signs and bringing great joy to the people as he also preached the Word to them. He was clearly carrying on Jesus’ mission in this way.

A bit later, in Acts 8:26-40, we see the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. This eunuch was a very important official to the queen of Ethiopia. There was nothing pre-planned about this event, but it happened as Philip was traveling and he was obedient to what the Holy Spirit was telling him to do. Philip doesn't question the Spirit's instructions, but he just does them. Rather than judging the eunuch for not understanding the scripture or immediately starting to lecture or instruct him, Philip asks questions to understand the situation to best minister to this man. He continues to listen and respond to what the Spirit asks him to do. In this encounter, the eunuch ends up being baptized and becoming a believer in Jesus as his Savior, and it is believed that this encounter is what brought the Christian faith to Ethiopia.

We can learn many important lessons from this encounter Philip had with the Ethiopian eunuch. First, we often feel like we just need to get where we’re going. But for Philip, paying attention to the journey and not just his destination was what was important. If Philip had just continued on because he needed to get where he was going and hadn’t stopped to discuss Jesus with this one man, the course of the Church would have been changed.

Second, we need to be responsive to God both in our actions and in our timing. If we do things in our timing, we’ll likely mess them up. But if we follow God’s timing and don’t let our fear of “what ifs” get in our way, we can make a big impact for His Kingdom.

Third, our initial reaction when we meet someone struggling with ideas about God is often to give advice, instruct them, or just give up on them. Philip doesn’t do this; instead, he asks questions, seeking to understand where this man is coming from so he can best help him. Philip is not immediately pushing his own agenda, but he is seeking to understand what this man is seeking. He is being invitational, not judgmental. Inviting this man into a conversation allowed Philip to share love rather than simply judging him for not understanding the Scriptures.

Finally, numbers aren’t the most important thing. Philip could have been spending his time preaching to many people at this time, but at this point, he was called away to reach just one. This is a divine encounter that God set up so that God's will would be done. It may seem like Philip could spread the gospel better by teaching a large group, but reaching this one person was what God had planned for Philip, and through that one person, the Church in Ethiopia grew and flourished. Philip did what God asked him to, and God did the rest.

Perhaps this lesson is what Jesus was starting to teach Philip back at the feeding of the 5000. Philip needed to pay attention to the miracle that God was going to do. What God does may not make sense to us through our worldly ways of thinking, but God’s timing and God’s plan are always better than anything we could imagine.

We can learn from Philip that we should pay attention to what God is asking you to do, and who He is calling you to spend time with. God knows we're in the process of learning how to follow Him. If we mess up, that’s ok; God will still work in the situation for His good purposes. God gives us opportunities like what Philip had so we continue to be responsive to Him. Pay attention to what God’s Spirit is speaking and calling you to in your life; you never know how God may use that situation for His Kingdom.

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The Romans 1 Spiral

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 9, 2020 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Netflix recently released a movie called "Cuties,” which is about a group of 11-year-old girls who are part of a “twerking” dance group in which they engage in very sexually explicit dances. The director claims this movie about the problems of exposing the sexualization of children and that “it is supposed to shock you,” however what followed was a massive backlash not just against this movie but against Netflix for showing it. What I saw in this movie, of which I know nothing about other than the talk on social media, dislodged something in me that I’ve seen for the last two years in particular about how our nation has fallen to the point where the media and numerous outlets are pushing to “normalize” child sexuality. I spoke with my fellow Worldview Warriors bloggers about how to address this, and with some back and forth, what has come out will be this three-post series on how a person/nation falls into utter depravity.

There is a pattern laid out in Romans 1:18-32 that showcases how this all happens. It comes in three stages so I will address the first stage today. Next week, I will address this pattern I’ve seen, and then in two weeks, I will showcase what happens as a result of all this.

Verse 18 gives a summary which I will come back to later in this series. Then, Romans 1:19-20 tells of the start of this spiral into depravity. It starts with describing the two witnesses which testify to every person of the fact and existence of God. These two witnesses are 1) Creation and 2) Conscience. Take note that the first thing that Paul notes as where the fall into depravity starts is in rejecting 1) that God is the Creator then 2) that God is sovereign and is the moral standard over all life. When God is no longer Creator, He is no longer able to hold man accountable for his choices. This is no small matter. Those who have been following me for any length of time will notice I talk about origins quite a bit. And while there is a danger to become so fixated on Genesis that we miss Jesus, there is a greater danger of ignoring Genesis and missing the entire thing.

I have to make this as crystal clear as I can. EVERY origins model’s core, with the exception of one, denies God as Creator. Only one model, shared by three religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by all sharing the same origins text) gives a six-day creation and a recent history only lasting a few thousand years. Take notice that these three religions are the only ones that even posit the idea of a “one True God” (and only Christianity gets it correct, but that is for another time). Every other model, including all the “Old Earth” models, does not have God as a “Creator.” If they have god at all, he (I meant this to be lower case) is merely a facilitator and a “starting energy,” but not an active designer nor creator, nor is he the true ruler of the universe. All these other models try to force God to be subservient to the “laws of nature.” I’m not being facetious when I say this. When you listen to any of these Old Earth teachers, their “god” is science. That is their authority, taken without question, and to challenge them on those grounds is seen in the same way a Muslim handles a challenge against Muhammad. They have rejected the Creator and the account that the Creator has given us about what He did and turned to worshiping the creation instead. The secularists say they have replaced the gods with science. They are correct. They have replaced man-made deities, which accounted for the laws of nature, with dead formulas instead, but it’s still the same pagan worship of the creation.

When the Creator is rejected, moral standards directly follow. I hear stats that 90% of church denominations teach some form of Old Earth model (I am still waiting for verification on this one from those who claim it). I’m also seeing that more and more of these same churches are now affirming same-sex marriage, do not think sex before marriage is a sin, think it is more important to save the whales than to live a pure and holy life, and the list goes on. I believe that when you open the door for “interpretation” on origins, you allow that door to be opened further on morality. I hear the exact same argument style to suggest that Creation could not be 6 literal days or the Flood could not be global in extent as I hear that the Bible “supports” homosexuality. The same argument style is to muddy the waters by saying an explicit phrase really doesn’t meant what it says, and then insert an opinion in the space, despite the text never giving any support to that opinion. These are tied together.

What happens next? They claim high academic credentials. They profess to be wise. But the Bible does not speak well of the “educated” of this world. Paul, the academic of all academics, saw the futility of his pursuit of knowledge and threw it all away to go after Christ. They think they learned anything at all, but they became fools. I’ll be frank. Some of the PhDs I’ve met are among the most ignorant people I’ve met. They think they learned things like “science” but all they know is pure “secular humanist naturalism.” Proverbs says there is no wisdom, no counsel, or understanding against God. Paul scoffs at them too for knowing nothing. And what happens at this point? God turns them over to their desires.

I’ll cover that next week, but I want to do a little history lesson here. The Baby Boomers still alive will remember this lesson, but few have made the connections I will showcase. For most of our nation’s history, we taught out of the Bible, from the homes to the church schools and even the public schools. To teach the alphabet, each letter started a phrase that pertained to the Gospel. It started with A for Adam. Yes, the New England Primer for kids’ education was based on the Bible and the Gospel. But then came a man named Charles Darwin and his theory of Evolution. Without going into details, debates raged on about Evolution and Biblical Creation, and compromises quickly took root. Samuel Wilberforce debated Thomas Huxley in 1860 and effectively lost because he didn’t know how to answer the misused probability formula to disprove the necessity for God (as told by A.E. Wilder-Smith). And William Jennings Bryan defended Creation at the Scopes Trial in 1925 but could not defend his history (as told by Ken Ham).

The turning point came in 1959, the year Sputnik was launched. Atheistic Russia had beaten the Christian U.S. to be the first to get something into space. Let that sink in. Atheistic, Communist Russia beat us, who believed in God, to getting into space. That changed a lot of ways of thinking. The Evolutionary undermining of the nation on origins was now ripe for its fruit to be born. In 1962, under the heavy influence from Madeline Murrey O’Hare, the Supreme Court voted to remove God and prayer from the public classroom. How did that happen? Look at the history. Gradual influences of Evolution and compromise and our best men being unable or unwilling to stand upon the authority of Scripture showed the nation that the Bible could no longer be trusted on all matters. And Sputnik was the clincher. The U.S. needed to abandon God and focus on science to be able to beat the Russians. We did beat them to the moon 10 years later, but the damage had been done. The U.S. rejected God as Creator, and even before we got to the moon, the rejection of God as the light of our conscience fell too.

The 1960s didn’t merely see the protests from Vietnam. The Hippie movement, well known for its rebellious attitude against society and its drugs and its worship of nature, was fully underway. “Rock and Roll” with Elvis and the Beatles and others were huge hits, but what where their songs about? Often rebellion against God, living “free from authority,” and the like. This climaxed with the Woodstock Festival, again known for drinking, drugs, and “free sex.” The Sexual Revolution took place during this time which was a direct assault on the nuclear family structure, and marriage was no longer a sacred covenant. This encouraged people to live freely as they wanted, sex before marriage, affairs, easy divorce, and so on.

Right on the heels of the Sexual Revolution came abortion in 1973 with Roe vs. Wade. Since sex became so free, lots of girls started getting pregnant. One of the big influencers on getting abortion legalized was Alfred Kinsey who was a sick pervert and had pedophiles do extensive “research” by timing the number of “orgasms” and their frequency. He is the one whose data was used to justify the homosexual agenda for today (which was falsified but still used) and who helped provide the “science” for abortion. I would NOT recommend looking for details about it unless you have a strong stomach, but there is a documentary about him on YouTube.

When a person or a society rejects God as the Creator, they will soon reject God as the moral standard. When God is not there to worship, they will turn and instead worship the creation. And because they no longer have God as the authority, they turn to those they put in “high education” centers, heaping teachers on themselves who can teach them what they want to hear. Yet while these people proclaim to be wise, they show themselves to be fools. And because they reject God, suppressing the truth not in ignorance but in unrighteousness, God will give them over to what they wanted: a depraved and debased mind. He will let their sinful choices take over and control them. This is just the first phase of the spiral into depravity. Next week, I’ll cover how that depravity takes further shape by showing how our nation is trying to promote and encourage wickedness.

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The Christian Vote

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, October 6, 2020 4 comments

by Chad Koons

Do we expect God to bless America? Our actions have everything to do with His blessing. Many Christians shy away from political involvement, yet if the Godly neglect to use our voice, then we allow the ungodly to call the shots.

“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2.

In the United States of America, you are blessed with the right to a voice, a vote. You also have the right to influence others around you regarding that vote. Use that vote wisely.

Party over candidate
Don’t like Biden? Don’t like Trump? Here’s something to remember: you are voting for the policies of a party perhaps more so than the candidate himself. The president is not the single “righteous” or “wicked” factor that you need to be concerned with. The party behind them is. No president runs alone; they are the representative of the party to which they belong. Look at the party. What do you see within it? Do you see overall righteousness or wickedness from that party?

Look at the policies of the party. Look closely at the trajectory of their policy. Where is it heading? Is it growing more progressive or more conservative? Who are the upcoming movers and shakers within the party, and what are they pushing for? Your vote will support the party’s trajectory and shape our future.

What to avoid
In choosing your vote, perhaps the worst thing you can do is vote for the candidate whom you personally “like” the best. Charm, eloquence, and stature are often very deceptive. Remember King Saul. He seemed to be the best suited for the position, yet he brought much grief. Some of the most magnetic, quick witted, and charismatic people are trojan horses for wicked policies.

Equally as wrong is voting for a candidate based upon their skin color. We call this racism. Let me say it louder for those in the back: this is called racism. To vote for a candidate because they are white is wrong. To vote for a candidate because they are black is wrong. To vote based on ethnicity is wrong.

What to look for
How does a party’s current and projected policies line up Biblically? Look at where the parties stand on issues important to Christians such as abortion, religious freedom, Israel and the Middle East, LGBT position, and the Constitution, just to name a few. Again, when held against the Word of God, do the policies reveal righteousness or wickedness from that party? A tree is known by its fruit.

What makes the people rejoice? Greater freedoms. High value placed on life. A prosperous economy. Policies that promote Godly values. This is what happens when the righteous are in authority.

What makes the people groan? The restriction of freedoms. Varying values placed on lives. A depressed economy. Policies that promote ungodliness. This is what happens when the wicked are in authority.

Bottom line
Our vote MUST align with the commandments of God as found in the Bible. We need to realize that our “feelings” have nothing to do with it. If our vote supports a party that pushes ungodly policy, then we need to repent and get back on track. I mean that with all sincerity; it’s time to get right before God and support what He supports and condemn what He condemns. The time is short. If God blesses our nation, it comes with our repentance first.

IF my people who are called by my name…
1. humble themselves
2. pray
3. seek my face
4. turn from their wicked ways
Then I will…
1. hear from heaven
2. forgive their sin
3. heal their land
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

The only hope for America is Jesus, through the voices and actions of a Godly, praying, and repentant people. Make no mistake about it, your vote is supportive of the party that you are voting for. Will your vote align with the Word of God? As a Christian, there can be no other way.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Jesus' Disciples: Matthew / Levi

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 5, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Matthew and John are the only ones of Jesus’ twelve disciples to have written gospel accounts that are included in our Bible. Mark, also known as John Mark, was believed to be too young to be one of the twelve, but he followed Jesus’ ministry closely. Luke was a physician who likely did not actually follow Jesus’ ministry while it was happening, but he investigated and wrote about it after the fact from firsthand sources.

So who was Matthew? It is believed that he was first named Levi, but he likely changed to being called Matthew (which means “gift of God”) after being called into Jesus’ disciples. In Mark 1, Jesus calls His first disciples and begins His earthly ministry, including performing many healings. At the beginning of Mark 2, Jesus already starts to get the religious leaders of the day riled up by forgiving a man’s sins while healing him. Then in Mark 2:13-17, we see the account of Jesus calling Matthew:

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

We see from this account that Levi was a tax collector, but he immediately got up and followed Jesus when Jesus called him. This same account is recorded in Matthew 9:9-13 and Luke 5:27-32. He is listed under the name Matthew in the listings of Jesus’ disciples that we find in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16, indicating that his name change was likely due to his change in lifestyle.

Know how many people don’t like the IRS today in the U.S.? Well, it was significantly worse for tax collectors back in Israel under Roman rule. The job of being a tax collector was one where a man could get rich quick. If the tax collector required you to pay a certain amount your taxes but you actually owed less, he would pocket the difference. It was both a coveted job for financial reasons, and it was a hated job because nobody liked tax collectors. Tax collectors were notorious for being incredibly dishonest, so naturally, they didn’t have a lot of friends.

When Levi left his job as a tax collector, he would not be able to return to it. The position would have already been filled by some other greedy person who didn’t care about his reputation, and once Levi experienced the love of Jesus, he would not want to go back to that sinful lifestyle.

Knowing this, it’s important to look at the whole passage quoted above regarding Levi’s call to be a disciple, not just the first part. Jesus and His other disciples had dinner at Levi’s house. Tax collectors were not someone you wanted to associate with, yet they not only hung out with the guy but had dinner at his house! Obviously, the religious leaders of the day questioned this, as they would never be caught dead doing such a terrible thing (in their minds). Jesus responds to them by declaring His mission: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus lived out this mission by calling men like Levi to be in his inner group. He wasn’t just saying that, but He was living it out by inviting one of the lowest of the low in society to be part of His inner circle, who carry on the message of salvation to the whole world. But what happened to Matthew after this initial calling by Jesus? We don’t see him mentioned specifically in any of the gospel accounts after being listed as one of the Twelve. We do see him listed in Acts 1:12-14 as being among those who were present right after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, so we know he stuck with the group and continued being one of Jesus’ disciples.

But, as I mentioned previously, Matthew wrote the gospel account with his name on it. Scholars likely believe it was written between 60-65 AD, though we have no record of how or exactly when Matthew died. Just as with the other gospel writers, he wrote it from his own point of view. Matthew wrote to a primarily Jewish audience, and his point is to prove that this Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah who had been promised to the Jews in the prophecies found throughout the Old Testament. His gospel account is full of references to those prophecies and how they were fulfilled in Jesus. Matthew’s gospel has significantly more Old Testament references than the other gospel accounts.

So what can we as Jesus’ disciples today learn from Matthew? We can have greater assurance that Jesus was and is the promised Messiah, based on all of these references to the prophecies of the Old Testament. But we can also remember Jesus’ mission: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” It is not our mission to seek out those who already know Jesus as much as it’s our mission to seek those who do not yet know Him. Yes, we need to encourage and equip our fellow believers, but as Jesus points out, it’s the sick who need a doctor, not healthy people. Those who do not yet have a saving relationship with Jesus are the ones who need Him most. What are you doing in your life to promote this mission?

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Don’t Mix Worldviews

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 2, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Ever seen the “Coexist” sign, where it has seven different symbols of different religions from Islam to Judaism to Christianity and others?

This comes from the idea that all religions point to the same truth, just with different flavors. But did you ever notice WHO is promoting this and to WHOM? It’s not the Jews. It’s not the Muslims. It’s not the Hindus. They aren’t calling for it, nor are they being asked for it. It’s by the mainstream media and the New Age mystics, and it’s targeting Christians in particular.

Why New Age? New Age is showing itself in many different forms, and one of their primary teachings is an idea of a panentheism. It is slightly different than straight pantheism, which is the idea that God is nature and is part of nature. It does have those aspects, but it treats “God” as an overarching mystical energy that we all have a piece of the essence of that energy (it can be known as the “Divine Spark”). This god is not a person but an energy that powers the universe.

This is the same teaching from the Gnostics from 2000 years ago which the Apostles fought. It’s not a new teaching at all. It specifically denies the Creator His position and puts man in the “god position” with the “divineness” or the “godness” to speak and draw that mystical energy and control our own destiny.

Some of you may be thinking, “I’ve heard that stuff before.” You don’t have to go to a Tarot Card reader or go read Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, which is a very popular book that codifies the “Law of Attraction” using these principles. I watched the documentary over the book to see what it was about and “Satanic” certainly came to mind as well as “blasphemous.” One quote was: “Greater is the power within you than the power in the world.” This was talking about how we can, with our thoughts and our lips, control the “energy” of the universe to bring what we desire into reality. You don’t need to check out those pagan sources to hear these teachings. You just need to attend your typical “Progressive Christian” or “Prosperity Gospel” American “Christian” church. If you don’t believe me, check out the documentary “American Gospel: Christ Crucified” released earlier this year (it’s on Amazon Prime and DVD).

What we have seen is a mixing of worldviews within the Christian church. What the “Progressive Christian” movement has done is taken the New Age mystic ideas and covered them in Christianese. They started out with correct objections to how the typical evangelical church has been doing things, but instead of going back to what historic Christianity is and looking for the real thing, they went out to literally redefine Christianity.

What has happened as a result? A larger and greater Christian community? A people walking in holiness with Almighty God? A faith so strong that the world cannot faze them? Nothing of the sort. What has happened is a castrated church. Yes, that is a very appropriate term. When we abandon the sound doctrines passed down to us from the Apostles through the preservation of Scripture, we castrate ourselves of our faith’s power. We may declare a form of godliness, but there’s no life, no power, and no ability to reproduce.

Paul warned the Corinthian church about mixing worldviews. We are not to be unequally yoked. We cannot tie ourselves to the heathen and thus be forced into commitments that we are obligated to keep but are morally against what God said. Back in those days, many businesses were part of trade guilds. You could not operate a business independently. You had to be “registered” with the guilds. And the guilds were often dedicated to a particular pagan deity, and their “union meetings” (if you could call them that) involved rituals to worship said deity and most of them had something sexual in nature. This meant that as a Christian, if you associated in business with the heathen, you were expected to pay for and participate in pagan rituals that you knew were sinful.

But that passage is talking about marriage, right? It’s often been taught that way, and it most certainly applies to marriage, but it’s talking about ANY relationship. Now we can have acquaintances who are not believers, but we are not to have a relationship with an unbeliever where that relationship will produce a commitment that can lead to sin. Marriage, business, politics, you name it. However, Paul wasn’t just aiming at a practical application with this passage. He was aiming at our spiritual lives, at our worldview, and at our way of thinking. How can a Christian, who has been born again, having had his nature changed from sin-loving to God-fearing, having his mind be renewed to think of God’s things not man’s things, have anything to do with that which he was rescued from? What business does a Christian, who was bought with a price to be freed FROM sin, continue to have relationships with that which is sinful? How can we claim to be Christians and yet borrow so many ideas from the world in how we think and operate?

“But I’m not doing that? I’m a Christian. I live by the Bible.” Do you? Let’s test that. Do your ideas about origins come from the Bible, or do they come from our modern scientists? If the latter, then you are carrying a mixed worldview, if not an anti-Biblical one. How are you raising your children? Are you teaching them how to live and operate by Biblical standards (like parents being responsible for a child’s education and upbringing) or have you let the “village” raise them? (This is not a knock on schools, but the idea that all parents need to do is house and feed their kids, and let the “education” be done by the teachers). How do you handle your problems? Are you tuned to Scripture to see what it says and seeking the face of God in dealing with them, or are you seeking the advice of the professional counselors and doctors to give you pills for your problems? How do you handle conflict? Do you follow the instructions from Scripture on what to do, or do you follow the world’s way of lashing out with insults, violence, and lawsuits? Can you point to me which Scriptures you are living by, or are you just going by what your social groups or church traditions tell you?

How are you doing? Let me make this clear. NONE of us are doing it 100% Biblically, because none of us have been completely redeemed yet. However, there are only a few of us even trying. There are only a few of us who can go to Scripture and say, “I am doing this this way, because I am striving to follow this verse.” Can you do that? Can I?

If we want to see power back in the church and if we want to see the real thing again, we have to rid ourselves of that which is hindering us. We have to rid ourselves of worldly thinking and the worldly way of operating. We need to have our minds transformed, completely changed, and conformed to the will of Christ and of Christ alone. Jesus does not share masters. The idea of “Coexist” is really just code for something else: “Comply.” It is not asking us, “Can’t we all just get along?” No, they are saying, “You better get off your exclusivity claim, and you better join us in our exclusive religion, or we are going to make your life miserable.” They aren’t going to compromise. Why should we? Yes, we’ll be unpopular, but who said popularity was something we should chase? Our goal and our purpose for living is for the glory of God alone. That is what I am aiming for. I’ll mess it up and I’ll stumble, and I’ll miss it many times, but I’ll be aiming that directly. Let us not mix our worldviews. Let us stand holy and separate from the rest. Let us build our lives on Scripture Alone, by the Grace of God Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, and for the Glory of God Alone. Let’s not share that which belongs to God with another.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.