Signposts 02

Theology for the road

The Grinch Is Getting Fatter at Hillsong

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

—————————————————-

Did Jesus make us fat and greedy?

December 25, 2009 

 

 

Christianity, some say, caused the crash. Not traditional Christianity, in which next-life success depends on this-life frugality, but the new so-called prosperity gospel, whose spirituality comes wrapped in worldly expectations like prunes in bacon. Devils, you might say, on apocalyptic horseback. Prosperity churches offer credit facilities for the offertory, require tithing as an investment strategy (promising huge returns) and see usury not as sin but as sacrament.

“We love the money in Jesus Christ’s name!” shouts Pastor Fernando Garay from his pulpit in Charlottesville, Virginia, promising a $10,000 return on a $100 offering. “The rich,” he explains to his mostly Latino congregation, “are closer to God.”

But it’s not just America. At Hillsong Church, not more than five minutes from where I live and a conspicuous presence on the Block , pastor Brian Houston whips his audience into a ”giving” frenzy while religiously pointing out the credit facilities in the foyer. In Garay’s words, “Jesus loved money, too!”

So in view of the over-consumption monster now blocking humanity’s path – with its three snarling heads of climate crisis, financial crisis and obesity crisis, all with their big googly eyes right on us – it is worth asking: how much does Jesus have to answer for?

Consider the manger. We’ve always taken this straw-filled washtub to signify the infant’s outsider status, his fringe cred, his underdog appeal. But perhaps – manger being, after all, the verb ”to eat”, as in munch – it is really about consumption. Like the wafer thing, you know: eat the body, drink the blood … it has to make you wonder.

It’s inconceivable that democracy or capitalism would have arisen without the risen Christ. The entire doctrine of a new world order born out of divine love and sacrifice; Catholicism’s spawning of the individual conscience that was Protestantism, which brought the self-knowledge of the Enlightenment, the self-betterment of capitalism and the self-affirmation of democracy; followed by the gradual erosion of morality by abundance and the relentless, locust-like munching of the world’s resources. Whammo, before you know it we’re eyeballing the three-headed monster.

Of course, retrospect makes history look inevitable, and can suggest causality where none exists. But it is striking, as we wonder how much Christmas cheer we can stuff in before doing workout penance, that if we wanted to do something special for Christmas lunch, we’d skip it. We’d fast.

Not me, of course. I don’t fast. I figure if God wanted us to fast he’d have put a vacuum-cleaner option on the tummy button. He’d have made it easy, even fun. And although there’s a long tradition of Christian fasting, much of it is more like super-strict veganism. The so-called Daniel Fast even markets its own cookbook, giving a whole new meaning to the term ”fast food”.

But two people who are probably not agonising over whether it’s turkey, prawns or takeaway Maccas this year are hunger strikers Pete Spencer and Daniel Lau. Neither has eaten for a month, but that is where the similarity ends. For where Lau, an economics doctoral student from Wollongong, is one of thousands who fasted globally for climate action throughout the Copenhagen conference, Pete Spencer, a 61-year-old grazier from the Monaro, is still fasting to bring one small piece of climate action to an end.

Each has a case.

Lau is not, he says, a spiritual person. For years he worked at a steel plant which was frantically pumping out carbon dioxide but when, during his PhD, he examined climate science and just how little mitigation would truly cost, he could no longer remain passive.

Spencer, by contrast, has spent more than a month chained to a platform several metres above one of the highest pieces of private property in Australia, fasting against land-clearing laws that, he says, make his farm unviable. He is not your standard sceptic, but he feels the Kyoto brunt has been unduly borne by country, and perhaps he is right (though there are other compelling reasons for constraining land clearing).

Each man says his cause is to die for, and for Spencer that is on the cards, since he will soon reach the point of permanent damage. Not that he is likely to achieve his aim, worthy as may be, since with so profoundly anti-democratic a tool as the hunger strike the Thatcher argument holds. Yield to one and pretty soon you’ll have half the population threatening to hold its breath, or else.

In any case, 1200 people die of hunger every hour, although not here. And as food becomes the new oil, many more may soon be starving for climate change, although perhaps not us. We seem to have managed climate change, like the crash, rather well; we pollute, they die.

Which makes Copenhagen’s Christmas box to the world especially dismal. Say what you like about consciousness raising and business stepping in where governments quail, Copenhagen spent billions and polluted wildly in order to change precisely nothing.

It also brought us the pre-emptive arrest, with a thousand eco-protesters arrested for crimes they might commit while the oil and coal men, wielding the new Christianity’s entitlement to planetary plunder, spun that denialista hysteria like a shroud.

So me, I’m hoping the Jews are right and that the messiah is still en route.

I also hope he’s not born here, or Nicola Roxon’s new maternity laws may force him from the manger and into the staphylococcal embrace of a NSW hospital where the Mother of God will risk the attentions of some rogue obstetrician to whom her midwife will have been statutorily shackled – and who, tacitly protected by the profession, will remove her pudenda without permission or leave her to deliver the holy infant in a toilet, and send her the bill.

Funny old world. Merry Christmas.

sda

Did Jesus make us fat and greedy?

December 25, 2009 

Comments 35

Christianity, some say, caused the crash. Not traditional Christianity, in which next-life success depends on this-life frugality, but the new so-called prosperity gospel, whose spirituality comes wrapped in worldly expectations like prunes in bacon. Devils, you might say, on apocalyptic horseback. Prosperity churches offer credit facilities for the offertory, require tithing as an investment strategy (promising huge returns) and see usury not as sin but as sacrament.

“We love the money in Jesus Christ’s name!” shouts Pastor Fernando Garay from his pulpit in Charlottesville, Virginia, promising a $10,000 return on a $100 offering. “The rich,” he explains to his mostly Latino congregation, “are closer to God.”

But it’s not just America. At Hillsong Church, not more than five minutes from where I live and a conspicuous presence on the Block , pastor Brian Houston whips his audience into a ”giving” frenzy while religiously pointing out the credit facilities in the foyer. In Garay’s words, “Jesus loved money, too!”

So in view of the over-consumption monster now blocking humanity’s path – with its three snarling heads of climate crisis, financial crisis and obesity crisis, all with their big googly eyes right on us – it is worth asking: how much does Jesus have to answer for?

Consider the manger. We’ve always taken this straw-filled washtub to signify the infant’s outsider status, his fringe cred, his underdog appeal. But perhaps – manger being, after all, the verb ”to eat”, as in munch – it is really about consumption. Like the wafer thing, you know: eat the body, drink the blood … it has to make you wonder.

It’s inconceivable that democracy or capitalism would have arisen without the risen Christ. The entire doctrine of a new world order born out of divine love and sacrifice; Catholicism’s spawning of the individual conscience that was Protestantism, which brought the self-knowledge of the Enlightenment, the self-betterment of capitalism and the self-affirmation of democracy; followed by the gradual erosion of morality by abundance and the relentless, locust-like munching of the world’s resources. Whammo, before you know it we’re eyeballing the three-headed monster.

Of course, retrospect makes history look inevitable, and can suggest causality where none exists. But it is striking, as we wonder how much Christmas cheer we can stuff in before doing workout penance, that if we wanted to do something special for Christmas lunch, we’d skip it. We’d fast.

Not me, of course. I don’t fast. I figure if God wanted us to fast he’d have put a vacuum-cleaner option on the tummy button. He’d have made it easy, even fun. And although there’s a long tradition of Christian fasting, much of it is more like super-strict veganism. The so-called Daniel Fast even markets its own cookbook, giving a whole new meaning to the term ”fast food”.

But two people who are probably not agonising over whether it’s turkey, prawns or takeaway Maccas this year are hunger strikers Pete Spencer and Daniel Lau. Neither has eaten for a month, but that is where the similarity ends. For where Lau, an economics doctoral student from Wollongong, is one of thousands who fasted globally for climate action throughout the Copenhagen conference, Pete Spencer, a 61-year-old grazier from the Monaro, is still fasting to bring one small piece of climate action to an end.

Each has a case.

Lau is not, he says, a spiritual person. For years he worked at a steel plant which was frantically pumping out carbon dioxide but when, during his PhD, he examined climate science and just how little mitigation would truly cost, he could no longer remain passive.

Spencer, by contrast, has spent more than a month chained to a platform several metres above one of the highest pieces of private property in Australia, fasting against land-clearing laws that, he says, make his farm unviable. He is not your standard sceptic, but he feels the Kyoto brunt has been unduly borne by country, and perhaps he is right (though there are other compelling reasons for constraining land clearing).

Each man says his cause is to die for, and for Spencer that is on the cards, since he will soon reach the point of permanent damage. Not that he is likely to achieve his aim, worthy as may be, since with so profoundly anti-democratic a tool as the hunger strike the Thatcher argument holds. Yield to one and pretty soon you’ll have half the population threatening to hold its breath, or else.

In any case, 1200 people die of hunger every hour, although not here. And as food becomes the new oil, many more may soon be starving for climate change, although perhaps not us. We seem to have managed climate change, like the crash, rather well; we pollute, they die.

Which makes Copenhagen’s Christmas box to the world especially dismal. Say what you like about consciousness raising and business stepping in where governments quail, Copenhagen spent billions and polluted wildly in order to change precisely nothing.

It also brought us the pre-emptive arrest, with a thousand eco-protesters arrested for crimes they might commit while the oil and coal men, wielding the new Christianity’s entitlement to planetary plunder, spun that denialista hysteria like a shroud.

So me, I’m hoping the Jews are right and that the messiah is still en route.

I also hope he’s not born here, or Nicola Roxon’s new maternity laws may force him from the manger and into the staphylococcal embrace of a NSW hospital where the Mother of God will risk the attentions of some rogue obstetrician to whom her midwife will have been statutorily shackled – and who, tacitly protected by the profession, will remove her pudenda without permission or leave her to deliver the holy infant in a toilet, and send her the bill.

Funny old world. Merry Christmas.


243 thoughts on “The Grinch Is Getting Fatter at Hillsong

  1. Nero blamed the Christians too!

    ‘It’s inconceivable that democracy or capitalism would have arisen without the risen Christ.’

    The Greeks and Romans were already playing with democracy before Jesus was born. They also strove to conquer the world through force and stealth. Financial crisis nd obesity was already a problem for the orgy-inspired rich, and addiction, crime and pollution were a cited by more than one Caesar as problematic.

    Three heads of doom? Blameable on Christians? Hardly. The financial crash was a necessary correction effected by left-wing democratic policy (Bill Clinton, no less), through which Mammon, in the guise of Bank Institutions and Corporate Lenders, were legislated by government to use the sub-prime housing schemes for the poor as leverage to greater wealth, bringing down a rather suspect house of cards it created itself.

    But don’t worry, as one Australian financial expert (Saul Eastlake) has stated, the US can always print more money! That’ll save us all! It ain’t Christians who are printing money, running (and ruining) banks, lobbying governments for wealth-driven Corporations, gambling on governments to default on interest payments, or prompting leftist, anti-religious policy.

    It ain’t Christians introducing measures to stop prayer in schools, remove the Bible from schools, remove all Christian symbolism, including Christmas, from schools, advocate for for abortion on demand, stop Christians from exposing false religions publicly, or choosing who is employed in their schools.

    Climate Change theory is daily being exposed as driven by a handful of fraudulent ‘experts’, who deliberately and wantonly bent the books. Christians are told to subdue and replenish the earth. Put back what you take out so there is more for the next generation. It’s not Christian companies which are pumping poisonous gases into the Chinese and Indian atmosphere!

    Even obesity is a by-product of fast-food mentality, driven by the need for a society ever increasingly dependent on government support, and working longer hours to gain the basics of life, and leading to the break-up of the traditional home environment, where at least one parent was able to be the bread-winner whilst the other brought up the children, and there was time for frugal, simple, nourishing food preparation.

    I don’t see Christians behind any of these things, let alone Hillsong, whose leader was incredibly and brazenly misquoted in this opinion piece. look for the worse thing you can find online spoken by some obscure minister who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and sneakily and sneeringly attribute it to Brian Houston. Great journalism! Not!

    So do you agree that ‘it’s inconceivable that democracy or capitalism would have arisen without the risen Christ’? What a blasphemous piece to put up at this time. Total bah humbug!
    _______________________________________________________

    Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year to all at Signposts02. May Jesus richly bless you as you work with Him to advance the Kingdom!

  2. What an appalling misquote of Brian Houston. Oops, the article didn’t even quote him did it? I think it’s bit rich to remotely try to reference Hillsong in this article, since it’s got nothing to do with the article. Or are you trying to get traffic to your page? 🙂

  3. I think the piece points out some problems in society and some further problems with the prosperity ‘gospel’.

    Most believers would be deeply troubled with the tone of the article shown above. However, it does show up the fact that many ‘believers’ have a wrong view of Jesus, and a wrong view of themselves as a result.

    Regarding Brian Houston, it takes a very interesting person to live a life of prosperity off the back of donations given to a charitable organisation.

    And before you come back and tell me that Houston has earned his money through selling products (books and music CD’s), who do you think is buying these products? Christians are buying the products.

    When the books contain very bizarre theology, and the worship CD’s seem to be more about me than about Jesus, what kind of God is being presented to Christians?

    Brian is simply not a good teacher. Just because there is outward success in Hillsong (20,000 people attend every weekend) means nothing. Evidence of God’s blessing cannot be taken as evidence of God’s Approval. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a wife and kids. I wouldn’t have a job. I wouldn’t have any nice things at all. I don’t deserve any blessing I have received because I am a sinner and I wouldn’t have any blessing now if I had to wait for God to approve over every aspect of my life.

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Do they worship the true God while denying Jesus is the Son? Is that really possible?

    Brian Houston is a sinner. We are all sinners. We are all at the same level before God. The only thing that makes me different to the average man in the street is that I believe in Jesus Christ. I deserve not riches, but a painful, humiliating death. Jesus died in my place that I might receive His righteousness.

    =====================================================

    While we are discussing theology … who thinks that there will be a great end-time revival that will sweep the world and everyone will become a believer in Jesus? And Christians will take over world government etc etc etc.???

    Shalom

  4. Well, I find myself agreeing with FL’s first points on this one. It is strange that a woman of Elizabeth Farelly’s education seems to have forgotten about Athenian democracy prior to Rome, and the influence of Greece upon Rome, well before Rome became ‘Christianised’ – if you can call that mixture of religion and power ‘Christian’ in the sense of what Jesus taught. The Greek influence on our society may be just as strong as the Christian influence; Greek philosophy has certainly influenced how Christian thought is understood in many ways these days. Plus, both Athens and Rome give us examples of how excess and a loss of restraint in the morality of society across the board ultimately can lead to the downfall of a civilisation. What we now see in the US, prior to the GFC, is similar. These things seem to be part of the human condition, given the right environment to grow in.

    But I think Ms Farelly hits the right note when she talks about the prosperity churches. I’m glad that she draws a distinction between them and other churches that don’t go down that track. It’s pretty obscene that Jesus message has been so distorted by these people, and installing credit facilities in churches and encouraging people to give by credit card is just horrible.

    I don’t think prosperity doctrine caused the GFC – that’s putting the cart before the horse. I do think that the enormous acceptance and growth of prosperity doctrine was a symptom of the same culture that resulted in the GFC. That’s not quite the same thing.

    As for global warming – well I do hope its not considered ‘Christian’ to be a climate change skeptic. Personally, I think its the most important physical issue we face as mankind, and shows how man has failed to be a good steward – and our continuing reluctance to turn from our sin, even when some are faced with utter disaster. I’d be very happy to be proved wrong on this particular issue – in this case it would be good if the skeptics were right. There are plenty of reputable scientists who are desperately concerned about climate change however.

  5. “Well, I find myself agreeing with FL’s first points on this one. It is strange that a woman of Elizabeth Farelly’s education seems to have forgotten about Athenian democracy prior to Rome,”

    Our democracy did not arise from Athens.

  6. The road to universal suffrage was dogged with problems.

    Women didn’t have the right to vote in the UK years ago. (quotes from wikipedia)

    Women’s suffrage is the right of women to vote, and historically includes the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending suffrage to women. The movement’s modern origins lie in France in the 18th century. Of currently existing independent countries, New Zealand was the first to give women the right to vote in 1893.[1] Similarly, the colony of South Australia enacted legislation giving women the vote in 1894. Places with similar status which granted women the vote include Wyoming Territory (1869). Other possible contenders for first “country” to grant female suffrage include the Corsican Republic, the Isle of Man (1881), the Pitcairn Islands, and Franceville, but some of these had brief existences as independent states and others were not clearly independent. Australia extended this right in 1901 to some women, and then in 1902 to all non-aboriginal women. Sweden would also be a contestant as the first independent nation to grant women the right to vote. Conditional female suffrage was granted in Sweden during the age of liberty (1718–1771), although this right was restricted and did not apply to women in general.[2]

    Voting rights for women were introduced into international law in 1948 when the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As stated in Article 21 “(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

    Women’s suffrage is also explicitly stated as a right under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979.

    and indeed in the UK …


    In 1909 Lady Constance Lytton was imprisoned, but immediately released when her identity was discovered, so in 1910 she disguised herself as a working class seamstress called Jane Warton and endured inhumane treatment which included force feeding. In 1913, Emily Davison, a suffragette, protested by interfering with a horse owned by King George V during the running of the Epsom Derby; she was trampled and died four days later. The WSPU ceased their militant activities during the First World War and agreed to assist with the war effort. Similarly, the NUWSS announced that they would cease political activity but continued to lobby discreetly throughout the First World War. In 1918, with the war over, Parliament agreed through the 1918 Qualification of Women Act to enfranchise women who were over the age of 30; providing they were householders, married to a householder or if they held a university degree.[23]. It was not until 1928 with Representation of the People Act 1928 that women were granted the right to vote on the same terms as men. In 1999 Time Magazine in naming Emmeline Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, states..”she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back”.[24]

    Athenian democracy was not for the masses but for the elite of that society. Modern democracy has actually come as a consequence of a developing society seeking legitimacy for government based on the tyranny of the majority … or in the case of first past the post systems, the tyranny of a large minority in the right places at the right times. Which is why the UK Labour Party won a large majority in 2005 on the back of about 26% of the possible vote (many stayed at home) and about 37% of actual votes cast (if memory serves … can’t be bothered to check that out … even if it’s in the low 40’s it’s still more than half the actual voters didn’t vote labour.)

    anyway … our modern democracy is not Athenian, or Roman. It isn’t Christian either.

    Jesus is neither a free-market capitalist, a communist or a democrat. Jesus, when he returns, will rule with a rod of iron. So, he’ll be a benevolent dictator. Democracy will disappear in the Kingdom of Heaven … which is why the New Apostolic Reformation is so dangerous. They want to rule in Jesus place, before He returns. In fact, with their apostolic decrees and creation of new doctrine, contrary to the Bible, the false prophecies and false revivals … they are trying to take over the Church, when it doesn’t belong to them … the Church is the Bride of Christ and belongs to Jesus only.

    When earthly things are more important than heavenly things, you have to wonder who or what some churches actually worship.

    Shalom

  7. Apart from the fact that Jesus was born in September/October … during the feast of Tabernacles … just ponder this.

    Jesus divides History, not through the crucifixion, but through the incarnation. Ever since His conception, Jesus is fully human. He has been fully human for more than 2000 years now and will be forever.

    That is why his conception and birth is so significant.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you … Shalom.

  8. To clarify my point of disagreement:

    “It’s inconceivable that democracy or capitalism would have arisen without the risen Christ. ” – E.Farrelly

    It may be hard to imagine, but inconceivable is too strong a word in my view. No, our democracy did not directly arise from Athens. But Greek thought was not lost even when other cultures dominated. Having arisen once, prior to Christ, it is not inconceivable that democracy would not have risen again, in some form, in whatever kind of a world we would have if we were still waiting for the Messiah to come for the first time.

  9. The NAR scare me. I really don’t think Jesus came to tell us to rule by domination, which is the impression I get of how NAR want to work. That’s contrary to scripture.

    Yes, it is good to remember Christ’s humanity at this time of year. A good focus for this particular season.

  10. “We love the money in Jesus Christ’s name!”

    How disgusting is that! Surely a new low in shameless greed and idolatry.

    But it’s ridiculous to blame “prosperity” Christians for the financial havoc, many were probably burned through it though. The banks that conned people to borrow beyond their means are the culprits… and many of them are also the winners. Typical.

    I hope the Global warming predictions are wrong. A consensus of scientists were wrong about the coming ice age in the seventies…. fortunately. At the time they bemoaned political inaction toward their outrageous predictions. It was seriously suggested at the time that we should melt the polar ice cap and divert arctic rivers to prevent it. I think that probably would have killed everyone but I’m no expert. But climate change…? Is it possible to keep the climate static? Good luck with that. During the “little ice age”, as famine set in through freezing arable land in Europe the church blamed witches and furiously persecuted women to stem the devilish cold. Hope for the best and plan for the worst was a bit too rational for them.

    Ironically, man-made GW theory has led to a disastrous increase in true pollutants in the form of light-bulbs that contain at least one of the most toxic substances known to man. Bulbs that take a lot more energy and pollution to create in the first place and we’re required to dump our environmentally friendly incandescent bulbs, even if our house is wind or solar powered, and replace them with toxic, heavy industry produced, mercury laced bulbs that are beginning to choke landfills all over the country, threatening our already threatened water tables and we call them clean and green! How Orwellian! A boon for mercury, cadmium and phosphorus producers to prevent emissions of carbon dioxide which is not even a pollutant! What interesting times we live in. Meanwhile we continue to build coal fired power stations and deny funding for a new tidal power generator. Bizarre. And on the funny side, if I mention I’m not sure about man-made GW to my green friends they think I’m a lacky of the right while some of my Christian acquaintances call me a die-hard lefty for opposing war and supporting environmental and humanitarian causes like the plight of refugees….

    Oh well, Merry Christmas to all of you beautiful, sincere, loving people. Thanks for making SP2 godly, encouraging and challenging reading.

  11. Dave: “What an appalling misquote of Brian Houston. Oops, the article didn’t even quote him did it? I think it’s bit rich to remotely try to reference Hillsong in this article, since it’s got nothing to do with the article. Or are you trying to get traffic to your page?”

    Not at all. This is the influence of Hillsong today. To quote Brian:

    “But I see our mandate as not just starting millions of Hillsong churches everywhere; it’s really about championing the cause and the local churches. In other words, I would like to think we can be an example to help smaller churches grow.” – Brian Houston, August 11, 2004

    They’ve definitely ‘championed’ their cause with their different gospels. And these other churches Farrelly mentioned would have either contributed to Hillsong or been influenced by Hillsongs appalling example of being a ‘champion church’ to the local churches.

    I believe Farrell is right to say what she is seeing. We do. She has lumped Hillsong with these other prosperity pimps but at the start notes “Not traditional Christianity, in which next-life success depends on this-life frugality, but the new so-called prosperity gospel, whose spirituality comes wrapped in worldly expectations like prunes in bacon. Devils, you might say, on apocalyptic horseback.”

    With her little knowledge of scripture, she is quite accurate with her assumptions being verrry close to scripture. As Paul says:

    2Cr 11:13-15
    For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of ighteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

    In Ephesians Paul says Satan’s weapon is the bow:

    Eph 6:16
    “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. ”

    If we are not relying on His faith to save us, this ‘greek fire’ will stick to us and set us ‘on fire’. Is it no wonder that this Greek mindset that has corrupted the church this day with also this misdirected ‘(revival) fire’ for God so deceptive?

    The bow is Satan’s weapon, who possibly wears the crown of Dominionism:

    Rev 6:2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

    I think Farrell is right to assume “Devils, you might say, on apocalyptic horseback” are in these places, from her position. I think it is incredibly sad that she sees this. But she does represent the majority of those who see the church this way.

    I think Hillsong have a lot to say about this. Non-Christians see MONEY at Hillsong, not Jesus.

    The challenge, this New Year is to smash this lie in the face and have people see Christianity for what it truly is – Jesus as Love, Lord, Alive, God and man.

    I will abide in His best to live His gospel next year!

  12. re: the comment non-christians see MONEY. That’s what people told me when I left previous megachurch. Ive spoken to other non-christians to verify and they have told me even more interesting facts and observations. I would be embarassed to say i went to one of these places now. I didn’t realise so many people were suspicious of them (megachurch)

  13. Farrell,
    ‘Christianity, some say, caused the crash. Not traditional Christianity, in which next-life success depends on this-life frugality, but the new so-called prosperity gospel, whose spirituality comes wrapped in worldly expectations like prunes in bacon’

    So you agree that traditional Christianity is works-based on ‘this-life frugality’? Is that another name for poverty gospel? Is holiness and success in God best defined by the degree of poverty a person endures?

    When the Word tells us that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, does ‘life’ here include our life on earth, and are our earthly material needs included? Is God taking care of us in the same way he clothes the lily and feeds the sparrow, ie with beauty and abundance, not as a matter of reward for works but as evidence of his involvement in our lives?

    If this new ‘prosperity gospel’ Christianity caused the crash, how? It doesn’t make sense that people giving and receiving breaks down entire national economies world-wide.

    The global financial melt-down came as a result of trillions of dollars being badly invested in empty schemes, and being mostly hoarded by worldly corporations at the expense of the needy, in profit-making which became profiteering, in the rich companies keeping their rich creditors believing in their solubility and viability in a spiralling credit market, which sucked the life out of those on the bottom rung of existence, and securing paper riches by employing the best money-makers to create more riches at the ultimate expense of the powerless poor. Secular government allowed this, even legislated for this. Where were the checks and balances? Who created the investment bubbles?

    If the prosperity gospel churches received all the trillions that were manhandled, wasted or lost, where is the evidence? A very small handful of ministries may actually operate on a million or two a year, and one or two may see tens of millions, but that still doesn’t account for the multiplied billions which have been squandered.

    National economies depend on the flow of money between government, utilities, the people and wealth creating institutions. There is more than enough to go around to everyone on planet earth, whereby there should be no poverty, no lack, and no shortage of hospital aid, or assistance for those who are struggling, and yet huge corporations have managed to not only squander fortunes, but put pressure on the ordinary working man and woman to help pay back their self-inflicted losses.

    The message of the Word is equity of economy and ecology. The best fast is to relieve the poor, to balance the books, to provide for all, to have all things in common. That is true prosperity, and the basis for Biblical contentment.

    Yet Farrell manages to blame a section of the Church which preaches hope and possibilities to the people who are struggling under the weight of capitalist or socialist driven economies, both of which have pros and cons, but neither of which scratches the itch to bring people through to where God really wants them. Mammon enslaves people, no matter which economic model it uses in a nation.

    Surely anyone who is debt in any way to any institution or individual is a slave to that creditor.

    Prosperity is to live a life free of debt. Free of slavery.

    Who can claim this in this world?

    Somewhere between traditional Christian values, which are not ever works based, and the need to be free of all indebtedness to Mammon and the world, is the true prosperity God has promised us.

  14. It doesn’t surprise me at all, even if she is wrong, that she is associating the huge problems to the church.

    Too many non-believers are doing this: making wrong associations to God’s church. This is because these mega-churches do such a terrible job in representing God and His church. I don’t blame Farrell for doing this. This voice is becoming quite common. The mega-churches are persecuting the local church and they don’t even realise it.

  15. “see usury not as sin but as sacrament.”

    Jct: I guess he hasn’t read up on the latest 1948 Nag Hammadi scrolls found in the desert with the Gospel of Thomas (oh, right, the ancients excluded that one from our recent edition of the Bible):
    Jesus said: If you have money, do not lend it out at interest.
    Word for word the same as Mohammed and similar to Nehemiah’s ‘Let the exacting of usury stop.”
    And by usury, I don’t mean high interest, by usury I mean interest on principal that has no babies.

  16. While I see many shortcomings in Farrelly’s article, she seems to have very little understanding what christianity really means, she looks only to outward results.
    But of course, the interesting question is what time of day we have now and what does scripture tell us about it.
    I am very amazed how often I have heard in the last months sermons about end-time related issues like that one that the love of many will wax cold and others as well. I do not say that I think I know what time of the day we have but at least for the “western” culture the outlook is probably not hopeful. And this one is of course also true:

    “the prosperity gospel will not make anybody praise Jesus, it will make people praise prosperity”
    John Piper

    So what is the most likely motivation of many (I deliberately do not say all) people flocking to these “prosperity” churches?

  17. mj and s&p are right I think – many people think of money when they think of megachurches, and Farelly’s view is not a surprising one even if it’s not correct. Again, I think the huge increase in the popularity of prosperity doctrine was symptom of the culture that led to the GFC, but to say it caused the GFC is way too big a stretch.

    Gandalf – the motivation is an interesting question. Some people go in hope of having their lives fixed up; some go to find out if God is real; some go to find Jesus. Occasionally, some will go to meet women, or use the church as a business network.

    I think the problem is what happens next. Even if they’ve gone to find Jesus, if they learn that you’re probably not saved unless you tithe and that God’s approval is demonstrated through your financial and physical blessing, allowing us to evaluate our spirituality via material possessions, then they are putting down roots among weeds and thorns.

  18. “the prosperity gospel will not make anybody praise Jesus, it will make people praise prosperity” John Piper

    Too much emphasis is being placed on ‘prosperity doctrine’. We teach prosperity, but not all the time, every sermon, every offering message as a matter some kind of entry in the collective, or as a work essential to salvation. And we would be about average for the message preached, and not at all different from most churches where people believe that God prospers his people as part of the blessing promised to Abraham, “In you will I bless all the families of the earth”.

    Many other important doctrines, including the cross, suffering, persecution, challenges to faith, repentance, godliness, holiness and righteousness are taught, and probably more often than the teaching that God has our best interests at heart in this life as well as the life to come. When we suffer because of this world’s evils an temptations, he is the God of Consolation. When we are persecuted for the gospel’s sake, he is our strength, and has a crown of glory laid up for us, whether we live or die for the gospel.

    Some people are attracted to faith churches which teach prosperity because they are so brow-beaten by churches which emphasise the sin nature and constant need of grovelling in the dust, and practically live a begging life before God in he hope of appeasing him so he’ll let us into his perfect heaven.

    We are constantly counselling people who have come from these churches where everyone is told they are a sinner at every opportunity from the pulpit, and kept under the control of pastors who give no hope to their people. Who flood them with condemnation gospel. Some recover, but it always takes time. For the first few weeks the guilt and shame of years of condemnation messages are visibly evident in their faces, until the gospel of light changes their countenance. Others are so guilt-laden and fearful they cannot recover fully, and eventually they return to the former place of condemnation, addicted to being put down by pastors who have no clue what the gospel of peace and hope means.

    Yes we were all sinners …BUT GOD… through the Propitiation of Christ, has made a way for our sin to be forgiven, and for us to be washed clean by the Blood and the Word, and made the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, Sanctified, Justified and Glorified, not by our own works, but by the work of the cross and resurrection.

    So it’s not just the message of God’s promise to bless his people, but the message that God loves us and does not condemn us that is attractive. It is the preaching of Jesus, not prosperity, which draws people to the cross and resurrection teaching of these churches.

  19. um, i dont know about others but sin is an ongoing issue for all of us Lectfafi. We are all flawed, we are all tempted, probably nearly every day, to tell a white lie, to maybe not be as kind as we should, and lose our temper, eat too much, drink too much, neglect something. Its all about balance. A church should teach that man is always tempted on earth and one must fight and learn to overcome their own particular weakness. And to lean on each other while we take this journey to the next level. Its about balance.

  20. Thank you, Lectfafi for your post, really appreciated it. You wrote:

    “Too much emphasis is being placed on ‘prosperity doctrine’. We teach prosperity, but not all the time, every sermon, every offering message as a matter some kind of entry in the collective, or as a work essential to salvation.”

    Of course, my quote of John Piper´s sermon was a bit short, he detailed the issue later by telling what he thinks “prosperity gospel” is all about like
    that you´ll receive material blessings and health and “the good life” as an outcome of faith in Jesus and be spared from bad luck, illness or other misfortunes.
    And it has also this negative side (not given in that sermon), that when some misfortune comes to you, the prosperity gospel preachers will likely point out that either you do not believe “enough” or that it is a direct attack from hell.

    Scripture however tells very clear, that we as believers will not per default have a cozy life different from that of the unbelievers, or that we´ll be spared from the requirement to give up things that are dear to us (Matthew 5,45 and Matthew 16,25), instead, there may be even situations and times where it will (outwardly) look worse than what others have:

    “If in this life only (may also mean: all what this life can offer to us) we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1. Corinthians 15,19

    Yes, I am fully aware that God cares a lot about giving us the fullness of joy and contentment that we need, but in my own experience, this often does not show up in my wallet or getting me a brilliant career or a nice home at my favorite location. And when it shows up in such a way than it often used to be in situations to prevent some evil chance towards me or people close to me or to enable me to give as I have received. It may also occur that critical situations in life may be exploited by the enemy to attack us, but the attack is not the cause for the situation, but rather a follow-up.

    In my opinion, chances are, that God may more often work out a change in our heart and our attitudes than facilitate a change towards the situation we´re currently in.

    “Some people are attracted to faith churches which teach prosperity because they are so brow-beaten by churches which emphasise the sin nature and constant need of grovelling in the dust”

    I have no experience with such churches, but I agree that such torment is a bad thing. But one cures no evil doctrine by turning to another misguided or imbalanced doctrine.
    Additionally, redemption is a lifelong process, the neglect to teach and encourage it is not restricted to only some churches. Current western culture encourages a thinking where the acceptance of the gospel is seen as a wellness-for-the-soul message and redemption is replaced by “perfecting” and “making-better” of the natural human self, which is consequently not viewed as “fallen” in the biblical sense of the word, and therefore needs no redeemer.

  21. “the devil exploits” “follow-up” from adverse situation” that is an accurate way of explaining “attacks” as such gandalf. So many times at my previous church (and to this day) to they talk about any bad times or opposition as “attacks of the devil” etc etc. It isnt good to teach people this way anymore. That sort of teaching is long gone, even in more traditional churches.

  22. “Some people are attracted to faith churches which teach prosperity because they are so brow-beaten by churches which emphasise the sin nature and constant need of grovelling in the dust”

    I’ve never experienced this, and it had nothing to do with my earlier decision to join a Pente church that also turned out to teach prosperity doctrine.

    Has anyone else here experienced this type of brow-beating, or was driven to change churches by it?

    I have definitely experienced the attitude where ‘not enough faith’ was given as an answer if something didn’t work out in the way desired.

    Most people I know who stayed in churches that taught that actually stopped seeing things that way as they matured, regardless of what was taught. Most people recognised that things weren’t that simplistic. The interesting thing was that it didn’t stop teachers teaching it. My experience was that many people ‘translated’ the sermons in their heads to mean what they felt they should mean, rather than just took them at face value.

    I wonder what it would be like for a pastor to hear back the ‘translated’ version of his sermon, and compare it to what he/she actually said?

  23. ‘Of course, my quote of John Piper´s sermon was a bit short, he detailed the issue later by telling what he thinks “prosperity gospel” is all about like
    that you´ll receive material blessings and health and “the good life” as an outcome of faith in Jesus and be spared from bad luck, illness or other misfortunes.
    And it has also this negative side (not given in that sermon), that when some misfortune comes to you, the prosperity gospel preachers will likely point out that either you do not believe “enough” or that it is a direct attack from hell.’

    Thanks for that addenda, gandalf. It’s interesting what people think the so called Word fraternity teach on faith. Piper is, of course, a Calvinist, so he teaches that God is sovereignly manipulating everything. I am confused, therefore by his use of the word ‘luck’. Prosperity teachers, in my experience, don’t deny that there are challenges and suffering in this world, however.

    “No one promised us a bed of roses” Kenneth E. Hagin!

    In this world there is no guarantee of being spared from ‘bad luck’, illness or other misfortunes, although I can’t see what ‘luck’ has to do with anything. The reality is that we live in a fallen world. That is the point. We are in this earth and that is part of the suffering. We have to stay here to witness to others, in a place of gross darkness, where the only true light is the light of the gospel. We are here to glorify God and demonstrate his love for people.

    In our church, where we also teach prosperity, we have just buried two men in their 50’s. They were wonderful examples of faith. We are going through the process of grieving, and working with the families. No one is saying they didn’t have enough faith to survive a heart attack and cancer. No one is blaming them or their families for anything that has happened. No one is blaming God either. There is life,and there is death, until the resurrection day, when death will be conquered.

    We are all subject to death. The human body is the last thing to be redeemed. All of creation is groaning, awaiting the redemption of our bodies. The corruption of this world leaves us susceptible to sickness, disease and even death, but that is not evidence that we have no faith in God.

    On the other hand, God has provided healing for many, and faith is a key to receiving his grace. However, should the Lord tarry, we will all succumb to death eventually. As Paul said, “I’m in a quandary over whether to live or die. It’s good for me to live and help you develop, but it’s better for me to die and go to be with the Lord. For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain”.

    Prosperity is knowing that whether we live or die we have a guarantee, the seal of the Spirit, that we will go to be with the Lord, as long as we continue in the faith, grounded and settled. “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at hom in he body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” 2 Cor.5:6-8

    Death, for the person of faith, is a door we go through into eternal salvation. Our weaknesses are opportunities for God to show himself strong, and for his grace to enter into every situation, but there is no guarantee that we will not die before Jesus comes, or go through challenges, or face difficulties. It’s faith in God and patience which helps us get through.

    I think some perspective is required.

  24. It’s not as if we couldn’t tell, FL.

    Whatever name you use these days, you sound identical. Plus, Lectfafi is hardly obscure.

  25. “Too much emphasis is being placed on ‘prosperity doctrine’. We teach prosperity, but not all the time, every sermon, every offering message as a matter some kind of entry in the collective, or as a work essential to salvation.”

    How should I respond to such a claim? How about… Complete and utter BOLLOCKS!

    It was only last week, I overheard two athiests having a conversation ‘that the church just wants your money’. One of these strangers mentioned in going to C3, seeing the atm in the foyer and was given the collection plate 3 times throughout the service.

    Two friends are constantly depressed at the LACK of the gospel ever preached. Same with Hillsong with friends and families that go their. They are DEPRESSED at the LACK of the gospel preached there. We all read Brian Houston’s easter message: Jesus died for us because he loves us? True. But there is so much more than that. Maybe your church is different.

    But megachurches in general LACK any preaching of the gospel message. Look at Freshfire, CatchTheFire, Lakewood… Super-rarely have I heard it blaring from the TV’s.

    “Many other important doctrines, including the cross, suffering, persecution, challenges to faith, repentance, godliness, holiness and righteousness are taught, and probably more often than the teaching that God has our best interests at heart in this life as well as the life to come.”

    Completely wrong again. Reality is rarely talked about unless the pastors wants you to get on his side. The doctrines on the cross, suffering, persecution, etc are rarely talked about unless it has some spin on ‘VICTORY’, which is usually tied with materialistic triumphalism nonsense! These doctrines, as I’m sure you’ve seen, have been twisted to suit the needs of pastors and the religious structures of these organisations.

    “Some people are attracted to faith churches which teach prosperity because they are so brow-beaten by churches which emphasise the sin nature and constant need of grovelling in the dust, and practically live a begging life before God in he hope of appeasing him so he’ll let us into his perfect heaven.”

    I’ve heard rumours of this and I’ve met very few people from C3 who’ve had this happen to them.

    “We are constantly counselling people who have come from these churches where everyone is told they are a sinner at every opportunity from the pulpit, and kept under the control of pastors who give no hope to their people.”

    Unfortunately I’ve seen more local churches counseling people coming from mega-churches. ‘Church-excellence’ and pastors lies of ‘God’s promises’ are re-enforcing condemnation and are scorning people from the pulpit.

    “For the first few weeks the guilt and shame of years of condemnation messages are visibly evident in their faces, until the gospel of light changes their countenance. Others are so guilt-laden and fearful they cannot recover fully, and eventually they return to the former place of condemnation, addicted to being put down by pastors who have no clue what the gospel of peace and hope means.”

    That sounds like the victims of the prosperity gospel that mega churches preach.

    “So it’s not just the message of God’s promise to bless his people, but the message that God loves us and does not condemn us that is attractive. It is the preaching of Jesus, not prosperity, which draws people to the cross and resurrection teaching of these churches.”

    If pastors see prosperity, they will turn Jesus into Mr Prosperity. They will preach a ‘Jesus’, but not a Jesus of the bible. If money is a church focus as these mega-churches worship, then they can easily turn God into that money-God. And wont you look at that?

    They interpret the scriptures they want to mean things about money! Too many times have I heard from the pulpit ‘Jesus often talks about money’. True, but I see Jesus differently to them. They too often say ‘Jesus talks about the tithe’. I agree again, but I’m not twisting Jesus’s words.

    Facelift. Why defend ministries that twist the word of God to glorify a money-Jesus rather than the true Jesus?

  26. God corrects those he loves. God wants us to have a heart of blood not stone and we are continually being chanllenged and taught with the help of the Holy Spirit. All our journey’s are different to a point. Prosperity teaching is just flimsy and hollow. Man has stuffed up the world making it very unequal, children are dying and starving as I buy my next new toy…

  27. Why does FL continue to comment? This site focusses mainly on megachurches, usually C3 and Hillsong. FaceLift is to my knowledge the Pastor of a small church in the Northern Territory – not affiliated with AOG or CCC. So we are not talking about his church or its practices at all, since we dont have any knowledge of them. We are generally not against Pentecostalism per se but some of the excesses of Word-of-Faith, Health-and-Wealth Gospel, NAR etc.

    Why then does he continue to spend so much time and energy commenting on this site? He defends the mega-churches steadfastly yet he has no problem in making disparaging comments about some of the other churches.

    I would say he takes it personally if we criticise the prosperity gospel. He has bought into it so much that although he dosent have a megachurch now he fully expects and hopes to have one in the future. Brian and Phil are like the twin Popes of his faith, justified and approved of by God because of the evidence of their prosperity.

    He’s bought the franchise and now cant stand seeing the brand being eroded. But the brand is being eroded not by us but by Mercy Ministries, by the Guglielmuccis, by the focus on buildings and money, by the takeovers and by the financial cover-ups. And most of all by the emptiness and hollowness of the ‘gospel’ they preach.

  28. I used to defend prosperity teaching et al too. People would say this church seems about money and i would say not its more than than blah blah blah, brainwashing at its best or he is a pastor so therefore he would lose his job if the movement failed or something

  29. hi flightattendant,
    maybe the wording of bad luck is a bit confusing. See, I´m not a native speaker, in fact my mother tongue is German. The actual examples used in one of Piper´s sermons were “dying pigs” and “miscarriages” within the household. In German we speak of “Unglücksfälle” (Glück=luck), that´s where the bad luck came from. But maybe it was not the best choice to use that wording…

  30. When i was in a big church the emphasis on “faith” was enormous, it was all you needed, and all you lacked if you were “upset” about something.

    God wants us to have a relationship with HIm and learn his character and then its easier to follow Him. Churg attendance (in some churches) does not guarantee you will get to hear good teaching. I just love reading the 1st 2 books of the New Testament. Jesus is such a good example to follow, not that we will ever be perfect here on earth.

    Gandalf what city do you come from in Germany, if you don’t mind saying.

  31. hi mj,
    I come from near the city of Hanau, 30 kilometres east of Frankfurt. It may be interesting that there was founded the first C3 church in Germany (one of the reasons I came to this blog).

  32. Oh right, my ancestors came from Bavaria and I have a dream to visit there one day. Is the c3 church still there?

  33. yes it`s still there and I know their pastor from one or two meetings. Their website is at http://www.c3hanau.de/ (of course the site is all in German).
    The pastor and his wife were originally with another pente church but left it in 1995 to join c3 and this particular new-founded church, or to be more precise returned. They were baptized in Australia by PP himself in 1980 so there was a very early connection. The church is not large probably about 100-150 people.

  34. oh ok, yeah im going to a non-denominational church now that is simple, completely Christ based and we are even allowed to speak up during the sermon, make comments, disagree or not, and discuss (as the minister is speaking). Its so different from what I was used to.

  35. Good to hear a little about your background, Gandalf. German was the only foreign language that I studied back in high school – unfortunately I was dreadful at learning it. But I’d love to go there one day. Are there many C3 churches in Germany? Is the Pentecostal movement influential there? I wonder if it is as influenced by the prosperity gospel as it seems to be here in Australia.

    Wazza – re FL:
    “FaceLift is to my knowledge the Pastor of a small church in the Northern Territory – not affiliated with AOG or CCC. So we are not talking about his church or its practices at all, since we dont have any knowledge of them. ” – wazza

    Things do change. I believe he is CCC, whatever he may have been in the past. He does not respect our community enough to stay away as requested. S&P will need to block him again.

    FL, if you continue to disregard our repeated requests to stay away, should I continue to consider your own occasional requests? Think before you respond.

  36. I would say too Wazza that FL is a lawyer or similiar the ways he picks at everthing. He does it for sport or whatever but ironically he comes out looking silly as there isn’t much support in the Bible for the teachings he defends.

  37. The reason we ended up barring FL from commenting was because his manner (as opposed to his message) became offensive and disturbing to members of the group here.

    I regret that was necessary. FaceLift apologised. I believe he was sincere at the time. However, the decision was taken and he was barred.

    He has broken silence a number of times. I understand the temptation to do so. I really do. When you really want to speak out if you feel you have been mis-represented.

    However:

    Blessed are you when people say all manner of evil against you.
    (as long as it isn’t true)

    Let me say this to Facelift. Remember the true Jesus when the NAR come calling. While we may disagree about the emphasis on material well-being or whatever we may think about the word prosperity and what it refers to in the believer, please heed this warning. The New Apostolic Reformation is about taking control of the church, and moving it into the end-time delusion.

    It is when this happens that the love of most will grow cold. Like it or not, FL, you have a responsibility for your fellowship … I am praying for you brother, in the midst of our disagreement. These people will try to worm into your fellowship (all of c3 I believe) and may even be welcomed in by Phil (and Brian into Hillsong) as he is not a good biblical teacher.

    You’ve gone into c3. Ok. I don’t know if that was such a great move. I believe that the most important task of a Pastor is to make himself redundant. The more effective he is at getting people into that personal intimate relationship with Jesus, the less he’s needed.

    Look, as you are a Pastor, FL, I urge everyone else to pray for you, even though some may not like you!

    Jesus didn’t command us to like one another … but he did command us to “Agape” one another.

    Everyone else, if you feel that you can, please pray this with me for FL and any other Pastor/Church leader who reads this.

    Abba Father, we simply ask that for the leaders we know, including Facelift and others who read this, that your wisdom and knowledge are made known and acted upon, and not man’s wisdom.

    Father we seek to protect and extend your Kingdom here on earth, in Australia, in America and even in Britain. Give us the wisdom to see the doors you open, and the knowledge of you so that we may speak with Authority through those doors.

    In Jesus Name we ask it, Amen

    May the Lord Bless you and keep you.

    Shalom

  38. Since you ask:

    Thanks Bull, I appreciate that! I’m not a NAR, although I’m fully aware of what NAR says. I’m a Christian who follows the Word, but I appreciate all the prayer I can get! I need it!

    wazza2,
    ‘Why then does he continue to spend so much time and energy commenting on this site’

    Firstly, I don’t anymore. I just drop in now and then when something is featured which is unpleasant. This post was unkind in more than one way.

    But, nevertheless, I’ll answer this question for you, but I have to thank mj for reproducing the other thread being featured presently, which perfectly answers this question in a couple of ways.

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/abuse-by-institutional-church-rampant-says-jacobson/

    One, some of the discussions on Signposts were tremendous, and I think, very Jewish in their passion and power. Jewish, in that they will always argue out the definitions and meanings of what scripture is declaring to God’s people. And being heated, or having more than one opinion was, and is, considered healthy. It was the true essence of what nutting out Biblical interpretation is all about. This particular discussion was very strong, but also productive. I think it brought something out of those who contributed, and helped us immensely.

    Two, I was, at this point, in 2008, practically running the site single-handedly, with RP moderating and sporadically posting, so I feel I have a piece of this blog still in me, despite your assertion that I’m no longer wanted.

    Again, during this thread I made the following comment, encouraging specks&planks to come on board so RP and I weren’t doing all the posting: ‘Thanks for that, specksandplanks. Maybe Raving Pente could contact you and you could contribute posts here. Zeppelin too. And Heretic. Wazza2?’

    I note also, again on this particular thread, that this was when wazza2, RP, and heretic really began to press in to uncover my identity, practically demanding at one stage that I tell everyone if I was a Pastor or not, as if that has any bearing on anything, and to begin to say I had a vested interest and therefore implying that my comments weren’t to be trusted, even though I constantly reiterated that I was giving a purely personal opinion and enjoying the dialogue, not representing anyone but my own ideas.

    I mean, what are you wazza2? A tax official or some kind of government bureaucrat? Does that give you a vested interest in your opinion on S02? Does anyone here really give a rip what you do? Have I ever pressed you over your career? Or even tried to guess, or say there’s something wrong with your opinion if you don’t tell everyone? No. I just read what you say, and take you at your word. I see you as a Christian brother with different ideas to mine, that’s all.

    And heretic, what are you? A high school teacher or principal? Have I ever put you through the third degree to see what line of business you’re in? RP?

    I mean, why should it make a blind bit of difference? We’re all involved in the Church in some way or other, aren’t we? We’re all Christians. What does it matter what we do for a living? What if I’m a refuse collector, a lawyer, or a plumber.

    Does it make a difference to what we might discuss in regard to scripture? And if it does, and I am in an eldership role in a local church, which I have declared often, what does it make you if you say that singles me, or any other elder from any other church, for that matter, in regard to discussing the Word?

    RP, and therefor heretic, already have a good idea, since I’ve let RP know who I am in email conversations. I’m not ashamed, actually, of what I do, or my testimony, but had I wanted people to know, I would just tell you. But why press so hard? If you wanted me to know what you do, or who you actually are, you’d not use a pseudonym. But thanks for being interested anyway!

    So I thank Bull for his prayers, and mj for reminding wazza2 and heretic why I have an interest in this blog.

    Incidentally, I really feel a part of this blog, also, because over on the left side of the header on this page my FL gravatar is partially featured!!! Now you know why I feel the license to drop in now and again!

    Happy New Year to all!! I pray above all things that God will prosper you and keep you in health even as your soul prospers!

  39. As a long time lurker and an occasional contributor I have to say that I support what FL posted 100%. Keep posting FL. It’s good to hear opinions from “the other side” once in a while.

  40. It would be a little ironic if someone was outcast from this site for thinking differently!! However, there is a grey area between nutting out those differences and becoming abusive. I guess the moderators here make the call when the line is crossed for the sake of continuing better discussions for the majority of contributers here.

    I suppose this will get harder as more and more people get involved. Imagine the difficulties that would be faced if this site became a mega-blogg of 20,000 contributors!

  41. Sorry, don’t agree, FL is distracting and exhaustive in his attempts to pull down the true Gospel. He is a blind guide and as much as i love my fellow man i don’t think its conducive to the flavour of this site. He never actually says what he is in church so i don’t trust him. An elder, yeah well, so are we

  42. Muppet, not sure about the term “megablog” it alludes to…..but this is a good place to discuss openly, FL will poo poo that. There are thousands of sites about God but FL comes here because we discuss C3 et al. He is a minion for the kingdom/storehouse/cause/movement/

  43. mj I think this site is extremely well run, if someone is banned then there must be good reason. With the megabog statement I was alluding to an observation of the inherent problems of growth. I think it is interesting to see the problems that this community faces and the similarities with the problems that any other church faces, and importantly how they are dealt with. Maintaining a common purpose, pastoral ministry, submitting to the leadership, service of the leadership, expelling someone from the fellowship, dealing with criticism from others, etc etc.

  44. oh sorry i meant megablog (megachurch) word association :o) This site, as ive mentioned, has given me validation and freedom in Christ that i never knew before. well kind of knew but hadn’t found a place where truth is upheld and the Gospel of Jesus preached above all. I think the big churches didn’t consider the impact of the internet and information going out to millions….

  45. I agree, the internet is hard to ‘control’ the freedom of access and information is aninteresting challenge for any institution whether it be a government, a manufacturer or a church. It requires transparency, which is a good thing.

    I’m glad you have your validation and freedom in Christ. That’s how its supposed to be. It would be good to understand the core elements that allow this and see how they can be transposed to other forms of gathering.

  46. More than anything, I see this blog as a community, albeit an online one where some of us may never meet in person.

    It is very difficult to decide to ban someone, and is a last resort when it becomes obvious that the person is interacting in a way which is damaging to the community in an ongoing fashion. FL was first banned, due to his personal threat to ‘expose’ me, which he retracted and apologised for at a later date, saying he never intended it. I saw that at the time as an attempt to bully me.

    There is now other ‘stuff going on’ unfortunately, which I was not going to mention, however, since FL is now persistently commenting here again, it is time to shed some light on things. I did ask him to think before he responded here. Obviously he doesn’t mind me explaining, or he would have held back.

    All here should know that he has returned this time because he is angry with and does not respect S&P’s request for him to stay away particularly while S&P posts up articles regarding C3 or Phil Pringle. FL is concerned that S&P is deliberately setting out to subvert leadership and undermine the flock at his C3 church. Things came to a head after S&P’s somewhat inflammatory post regarding Phil Pringle, which has since been made private. (Please note, my own comments on that post were made prior to any communications from FL.)

    Subsequently, there was a 3 way email exchange over the last 4 weeks or so re this between FL and myself, since FL knew S&P would not read his emails. FL asked S&P to explain himself, and if FL was not satisfied that S&P’s intentions were innocent, FL stated that his intention was to give S&P’s church what information he has about this blog in order to assist in exposing S&P. FL regards S&P as a wolf among the C3 sheep.

    Well, there are two issues here. One is S&P’s actions at his church. Personally, I think that if S&P was actually capable of rampant ‘sheep stealing’ there, C3 would notice and do something and ask whoever was involved to desist and leave. They are not stupid in that respect. So FL would serve little purpose in trying to expose him. The fact that FL thinks he would have some sway, even if its small, demonstrates his association with C3.

    I’m sure C3 and Hillsong know about this blog and don’t worry about it much. We are like a flea on the elephants back. Pypically people who understand what we are saying here and are ready for some part of it will become regular members of our community; others who don’t like it typically won’t read it or expose themselves to our thinking. So we are no threat to C3 or its like; the only people we might help are those who already have questions about certain things. The exceptions are those who want to involve themselves to oppose what we are saying. This is OK too, if respect can be maintained and bullying does not occur. FL does not respect us, and is attempting to bully, though he doesn’t see it that way.

    Re whether a persons occupation is relevant: most of us have disclosed our church background, and some our occupational background. This is enough to give others an idea of where we are coming from, which is quite helpful. Since we discuss church related issues, knowledge of a person’s church related background is relevant. We know we have quite a few IT people here, a few ex-C3 and ex-Hillsong people; people currently attending Anglican, Baptist, non-denominational and no churches. FL has never stated publically what church he attends or what level of involvement he has despite repeated requests by others over the past two years. He is the ONLY one who has ignored these requests completely. We have even had other pastors visit, and recently an ‘Apostle’ who all disclosed their involvement, if not their identity. Of course it is relevant – why else do people writing in magazines and papers disclose their interest in subjects related to their writing topic?

    We have many more people participating here since FL was banned, and I think I was too slow to do it the first time. However, we can’t actually completely prevent him from commenting here. He will remain officially banned, not because we hate him, and despite him being a brother in Christ, but because he has a negative effect on the community here and has once again threatened to go beyond the environment of the blog in his effects upon the lives of one of this community.

  47. Muppet – a ‘megablog’! Ha, that would be impossible to manage, I think. But you are right that this has raised issues in common with regular churches. The difference here is that what is said is all in public, and all can decide for themselves what they think about someone’s views or behaviour, if they are willing to read enough, anyway. We wanted the environment to rely on self-moderation, but there are certainly lines which when crossed mean some kind of action needs to be taken, even here. Unfortunate.

    MJ – thanks for your comments re the community here. It’s very encouraging.

  48. If we ever did get much, much bigger, we’d probably have to introduce membership in order to comment freely. That’s unnecessary at the size we are now, and would discourage visitors from commenting.

    Not that ‘growth’ is our aim here! Learning just to ‘be’ is enough for me.

  49. “It would be good to understand the core elements that allow this and see how they can be transposed to other forms of gathering”

    A good new topic. I’ll try a new thread.

  50. RavingPente wrote:
    “Are there many C3 churches in Germany? Is the Pentecostal movement influential there? I wonder if it is as influenced by the prosperity gospel as it seems to be here in Australia.”

    In the country/society in general it is not influential, save to serve sometimes for occasional hostile media coverage (but this goes for evangelicals and conservative Catholics as well) done by secularist journalists. Topics will not be the prosperity gospel but things like morality issues (abortion, gays), intolerance towards other religions (Jesus is the only way…), exorcism and perceived closeness to the Bush government and the fundamentalists in the US.

    The pure pente denominations are all small (and c3 one of the smaller ones of them) and all together are not more than .1 pc of the population (80000-100000 of the popuation). There are charismatic groups in the oher denomainations and this will be a much larger group. There are no megachurches, the largest local congrgations I know of are russian (their ancestors originally came from Germany but emigrated to Russia in the 17th century) baptist churches that have somewhat more than 1000 members. Some big cities have a bigger share of pente churches often with multinational congregations.

    I commented earlier about “wellness-for-the-soul” oriented messages, in fact, prosperity gospel as money, health and wealth oriented message is not often heard here, but a positivist message detailing all the nice things God wants us to experience and glossing over the harder and more uncomfortable topics is fairly current and heard across different denominations and theological camps.

    While denominational loyalty is slowly waning, it is still very strong here, so the classical mix of protestant (lutheran and reformed) and catholic churches are more than 50 million nominal members and all other denominations less than 1-2 million members.
    After the two main christian “camps” Islam is now the third largest religious group with approx. 4.5 million people mainly concentrated in the big cities.

    I will stop here, otherwise it will get too large, I’m always in danger of getting into too many details…

  51. I knew FL was c3, its pretty obvious from the comments. well he’s just keeping tabs and being a fly/spy. He also seems to have a personality disorder of some type (sorry shouldn’t have done psyc) I wish him well but feel sorry for him too as he is a bit deluded. I know he would hate that and argue I am or we are. He is so stubborn in his ways, there’s no point arguing with him…

  52. better than my German … 😉

    Thanks for the info about what’s been happening in Real Life between FL and S&P, RP.

    FL, I have emailed you now … so you can explain yourself to me.

    I do think that it is quite disturbing and in fact from RP’s report there is obviously no reason to rescind FL’s ban.

    FL’s behaviour has become more extreme as opposed to becoming more moderate and reformed, thus enabling him to rejoin the community.

    For me, personally, that is very disappointing. FL at his best I found to be challenging at times but not threatening in any way and I felt that we could reach some form of agreement. However, he was rarely at his best.

    The main problem for him, of course, is that this community hopes to act as a place where individual believers who have been chewed up and spat out by the the Hillsong/C3 system can heal up and recover from that experience and rediscover what they can do for God. Freedom in Christ … I will comment on later.

    The trouble is, FaceLift would put people off, and deny them a place to come and receive from God through us. That might sound arrogant but I tell you the truth, I receive from God when another believer writes something here. When we are being supportive and are building people up in faith, hope and love … that is pretty special. It is something that we neglect to do in our daily lives and yet somehow find the time to put it into words on a computer.

    That’s why I come back … to give and receive.

    This is a special community … like all of the communities of God’s people are. (I hasten to add!)

    May Abba Father bless you all.

    Shalom

  53. I agree with your all your comments on the situation, Bull. And I think the community here is great; we get to really hear one another at times, which is not so easily done in real life.

    Gandalf – that is very interesting re the scene in Germany; very different from here. I’m interested in your comment re the ‘positivist’ message, as opposed to prosperity doctrine; it might make a good post topic at some point.

    Don’t worry about any typo’s – we all do them, and notice them after we can no longer edit our comments. Can’t be helped!

  54. Bull, RP gave her perspective of a private conversation.

    I wrote this up, and then pulled it out, since the email was a personal conversation, and I didn’t feel the need to defend my actions, even though they were not wrong, in view of the seriousness of the situation, and the fact that it was personal, not public, but now that Bull has taken RP’s comments the way he has, and no doubt others will, I have decided to go ahead and post this response.

    Let me say at the outset that it was never my intention for this to be a public conversation. However, now it is, so I’ll be careful how I respond.

    With respect, that’s not a fair representation of what was written between us in private conversation, RP.

    In fact I came into this when s&p, over the course of around three articles, accused Chris Pringle of what amounted to witchcraft, Phil Pringle of being a wolf, and C3OF of being a cult.

    That’s not really a problem, if he wants to go that way, he is clearly not alone in his assertions, and, as you say, these people are big enough to take care of themselves.

    But his language was extreme, some would say to the point of defamation, and his motives unwise, so I asked him, by way of giving him an opportunity to deliver some actual proof of these very strong and life-shattering accusations, to produce scriptural and factual evidence rather than angry accusative language.

    He did not, and, I think, could not. But I am prepared to wait and see if he has anything tangible. That’s a fair challenge. Besides which, I found his language and claims personally offensive because these people are known to me, and I have not seen these tendencies in them, so, naturally, as you would regarding and brother or sister, I asked for an explanation.

    I believe it’s well within the correct procedure for a person who is offended to approach the one who is being offensive one on one, or, subsequently, with a witness, which I attempted to do, albeit with you as a referee, by email, not on the blog. These issues are not supposed to go public without first being privately approached.

    S&p refused to reply to any of the emails I sent, choosing to make one legal statement, through you, to the effect that he had done a course on defamation and was sure he had avoided being defamatory (that is, after this particular defamatory post had been wisely removed by Heretic, after my complaint).

    The main thing achieved here, so far, by my pressure, was to have that defamatory piece removed, and as I explained to you and s&p very clearly, as much to save you and heretic, howbeit unwittingly at first, from the cost of a defamation case, as anything else, but primarily to distance myself from s&p’s reckless posts, since I have been, in the past, a primary contributer, and am therefore associated.

    Had I said nothing, that unwisely written piece would still be there, I have no doubt.

    On hearing about s&p’s newly acquired skills in avoiding defamation claims, I wrote:

    ‘I’m not personally interested in whether an article is defamatory or not. That is for those accused of being wolves and witches and whatever to deal with. I imagine they’d not be bothered about what they are called, since it is par for the course for pastors to be called things they are not, and they have to learn to get over this and walk in love. That’s merely persecution, which all Christians suffer if they preach the gospel.

    What I am interested in is the goal of removing sheep from a fold. If a person who is clearly opposed to a certain ministry is causing disruption amongst the sheep they need to seriously reconsider their position. If [s&p] is actively engaged in causing discord amongst the brethren, and I am aware of it, then the church should have an idea of what is taking place under their noses so they can take appropriate action. It’s nothing to do with what is written on a blog. That is peripheral, and merely where the information came out about what s&p is allegedly doing.

    All I have asked for is a reassurance that s&p is not engaged in sheep-steeling, or deliberately removing members of that congregation from the fold. I’m not interested in defamation cases.’

    Which brings us to the second point of the conversation. Anyone who has followed the blog would have noticed s&p’s intention to expose a number of ministries, including C3OF. That, of course, is par for the course for so-called ‘discernment’ ministries.

    Nothing new there, except he also indicated that he was getting around people at C3OF in leadership positions, by which I understand him to mean of departments or connect groups rather than Pastors, to listen out for information, or what some of us would call gossip, he could use in articles here to ‘expose’ the ministry. Perhaps I have misread his intentions. Maybe he can tell us all I am wrong in this, but please remember that this was written in an email in a private conversation, and I did not demand a public explanation.

    RP made this public.

    S&p, on this blog, has also made several concerning remarks which, to me, indicated his desire to remove people from C3OF, including friends and relatives. I asked him to prove me wrong in this. A simple explanation is all that is required. If he says he as no intention of removing people from C3OF, then I will say nothing more.

    He has often been scathing of C3OF, and of the Pastors there. I was not aware, until your reply to my email, that he was a member of C3OF, which compounds the issue further. I have repeatedly asked for a reassurance that this is not the case that s&p is actively working to remove sheep from a church. I hope I am mistaken in this. He has not, so far, given any response.

    Now that this has been made public, s&p can have the opportunity to reveal whether or not it is his intention to remove members of C3OF from that church, or if I am mistaken, which is all I asked him in the first place. I asked, albeit firmly, for an assurance that I had misunderstood his intentions. He has thus far refused to respond.

    RP, in your admirable and vehement defence of s&p, you asked me to consider waiting for a response, which I have, and still I am waiting. I will continue to wait, even though you have compromised my position by revealing this private conversation. Does that serve me right, do you think, or does it put s&p in further jeopardy of being exposed, now that you have used the main weapon you considered would hold me at bay?

    In fact the ‘weapon’ holding me at bay is my conscience under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, who has not released me to do anything but contact s&p for an explanation of his position.

    The only response I have seen from s&p so far is a scathing post, after I had asked for a reassurance, which outlined just about every scripture on wolves and deceivers, and the fact that, in the new year, s&p will, he says, go all out on this blog to expose the ‘wolves’ at C3.

    I have not called s&p a wolf, but suggested that his actions seem more wolfish than those he accuses. I have given him an opportunity to prove me wrong. Now he can do so openly if he so desires, or not. His call, eh, RP!

    I sincerely hope I am utterly wrong.

    I reiterate that it was not ever my intention for this to become a public discussion.

  55. FL, that’s fine as far as it goes. I can see that are always two sides to a conversation. The difficulty of this medium we are operating is that we can give the wrong impression without ever meaning to.

    That’s why I asked to explain this to me privately … since I have sent an email, you can reply to me personally.

    We can therefore take this offline, without resorting to deleting your latest comments.

    I am willing to act as go between as RP has obviously been doing as well.

    As I recall, RP asked you if you wished to keep it private and you didn’t respond so it was taken as a tacit agreement that this could be madeknown more generally.

    If S&P is a member of the Oxford Falls community and is in disagreement with leadership there, I would tend to agree with the notion that he should speak to the leaders and have it out. However, it then begs the question, can they be trusted to act with dignity and honour when they are personally criticised.

    The truth is, Phil Pringle is not more anointed than any of us. Otherwise we into multi-tier Christianity.

    It’s not good for him or any of us to imagine that we are extra special. The minute we do, we take our eyes off Jesus. It the Hero Preacher thing.

    I have said before that the goal of a Pastor is to make himself completely redundant. He gets people so close to Jesus that they don’t need the Pastor any more.

    On top of that, when Jesus comes back, guess who’s out of a job? The Pastor!

    Phil will have to go back to painting and decorating or whatever it is he did before. Taxi Driving is a noble occupation too.

    If you think menial jobs are beneath Phil’s dignity then we are right into greek thinking! We need to get back to Hebrew thinking … Paul had to go back to making tents for a while didn’t he? And while he was there, he bumped into Priscilla and Aquila. Brilliant!

    so, c’mon! Let’s get back to a right understanding about work, leadership (servant-ship!), uplifting people rather than lording it over them.

    C’mon!

    Shalom

  56. “The truth is, Phil Pringle is not more anointed than any of us. Otherwise we into multi-tier Christianity.”
    – Bull

    Amen Bull. Bull’s eye.

  57. FL, I have posted none of your emails up here, which is why I attempted to summarise the conversation instead. I implied to you that if you continued to ignore our requests for you not to post here, I would see no reason to entertain your own requests. Wazza was asking why you persisted in commenting here. I have answered his question.

    I have personally asked you repeatedly not to post; you have decided to ignore me; when wazza asked why you continue to comment, you came up with an innocent explanation when in fact there was recent history between you and S&P. You were not being honest about why you are here this time around.

    As for me defending S&P – name one comment I have made on this blog in his defence. I have even stated that the post you disliked was inflammatory. I have not stated whether I think his actions are right or wrong – I have made no comment on him. It is YOUR actions which are speaking here, and no one elses.

    As for ‘weapons to hold you at bay’ – nothing holds you at bay. Were I to post up a link to your church – which I am not threatening to do – that would not hold you at bay. The only one who can hold you at bay is you, and you choose not to do so.

  58. BTW – just to set the record straight – I suggested S&P remove that post well before I heard anything from FL. However, since its removal, none of the comments are visible.

    FL, if you do something that pertains to member/s of this blog community and then attempt to participate here as if you’ve done or threatened to do nothing, you can’t expect me to keep it secret from other members of this blog community and carry on as if you hadn’t done it. It would have remained private if you had refrained from rejoining the community.

  59. There are two sides to every story, RP, which is why I’m still waiting for s&p. That post wasn’t removed until I dug my heals in.

    Bull, can you email me through the address RP has. Thanks. I haven’t received anything from you yet.

  60. Bull, my email is banned here, and I don’t want to trouble RP further, so I’ll extend it for you:

    ALTAREDSTATE @ HOTMAIL.COM

    Except not in caps!

  61. Obviously there is more to this whole FL situation that is being mentioned here, but going solely by what is written here, it seems to me that FL has some genuine concerns about S&P. And judging by what S&P has written in the past about a whole range of subjects, I believe that S&P has just as much reason to be banned from this site as FL does. S&P always seems to find the worst in everyone and everything, and his language when describing Pastors, Ministers etc is very strong and can quite easily lead others astray. It seems that everyone here is making excuses for S&P while ignoring the damage posts such as his can cause. And to discover that S&P is a member of the very same congregation that he so vehemently opposes opens up another can of the proverbial. It would be quite easy to construe that his sole purpose in being there is to disrupt, subvert and influence those who are perhaps not quite strong enough in the Lord to know better. FL has a point, and his opinion shouldn’t be ignored. I haven’t been visiting this blog long enough to have read any of the posts that got FL banned, but I believe that in the interests of this blog not becoming another “I am right and the rest of the Christian world is wrong” type of blog inhabited by bitter people filled with hate for those who don’t agree with them, I think you should reconsider your banishment of FL.

    As for the whole “disclosure” thing, why should FL disclose who he is, what position he holds in leadership, if any, and what job he has? Do these things make his opinions any less valid? I feel no need to disclose any more of my own details to the rest of you as I already have. Why should anyone else? Does your not knowing who I am and what I do have any bearing on my opinions? Chances are I know you RP because I think you and I were at C3 at the same time, but whether I do or do not has no bearing on my opinion of you or your posts.

    Debates such as those that occur on this site are healthy. Even ones that become heated. The church for too long has demanded blind obedience, and the more people who are awake to this the better. But the debate needs to be two-sided, and banning people who have differing opinions is not in the best interests for anyone. Anyway, just my opinion! (BTW, I have no association whatsoever with FL.)

  62. “With respect, that’s not a fair representation of what was written between us in private conversation, RP”
    – FL

    I agree. RP put it in a much more positive light than it deserved.

    A fair representation is that FL basically threatened S&P in private. Probably because he did not have access to the blog at the time to threaten him in public.

    Actually it would be interesting if FL did report S&P to management since management would then have to read the blog and read all the stuff that FL has written. They would be able to see FL’s doctrine (which they would probably agree with – except where he pokes at management for not being word-of-faith enough and for putting up with certain shysters) but they would also be able to see FL’s character in the same way that we can see it. I wonder if they would agree with mj re “personality disorder”?

  63. “I believe that in the interests of this blog not becoming another “I am right and the rest of the Christian world is wrong” type of blog inhabited by bitter people filled with hate for those who don’t agree with them, I think you should reconsider your banishment of FL”
    – XC3

    FL was not banned for his opinions. He was banned for threatening RP.

  64. It may also be of interest that FL has also been banned from two other blogs so we are not breaking new ground here.

  65. “FL was not banned for his opinions. He was banned for threatening RP.”

    Ok, puts a new slant on things. As I said, I wasn’t aware of this site when all of this stuff went down.

    When you say threatened, do you mean in a “you’re a (insert expletive here) RP” kind of way, or was it more of a “I know where you live so you’d better watch your back” type of thing? It would be good to know, coz I’d hate to be defending a person who really should be reported to the relevant authorities!

  66. I think the actual quote was “Now I know where you are.”

    Which could be, and was taken very seriously. It implied very strongly a knowledge of where RP was physically. An apology was given, but the damage was done.

    One of the blogs he’s been banned from is of course Lance’s blog. Lance can’t stand FL, so that’s no surprise.

    (I am praying for Lance regularly BTW.)

    I will be emailing FL now. Seeing as how he has changed his email address.

    Shalom

  67. Dear Lord, heretic, I couldn’t have been more apologetic over that misunderstanding, and you still bring it up.

    I have never ever meant anyone on this blog or anywhere else any harm, whatsoever, neither would and neither did I.

    I swear before God, and on the Bible that I did not, nor would I ever mean any physical harm to RP, or to any other member of this blog.

    I do hope I won’t have to explain the thing again. RP mentioned this earlier and I let it go, but this is rather extreme!

    I take you have never accepted my apology for the misunderstanding. That I am also sorry for, and it explains a lot.

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    I am banned from groupsects, which is actually not a bad thing, considering his stance on Pentecostals and Pastors, whom he considers to be pond-scum, and other names made up of words most mature Christians don’t use, and he ran the original Signposts02, from which he also banned me before he shut it down. The irony is that he challenged me to go on his blog in the first place, suggesting I didn’t have to bottle to do so!

    Lionfish is also banned from at least two blogs, and he considers that a trophy. Does that make him a bad person, or just persistent?

  68. “I know where you are’ absolutely meant, ‘where the blog is’, ‘where Signposts is’, where I could comment if I ever felt the need to come back, which I have. No more, no less.

    Which I admit, in retrospect, was a stupid thing to say, as it was misunderstood, but that was all I meant and that was explained fervently and with great tears.

    I don’t have clue where RP lives. Nor do I want to.

    I have given this guarantee publicly and privately on a number of occasions now.

  69. Indeed.

    I accepted the original apology, BTW. However the damage had been done and in my judgment, the best solution was for a period of reflection and to withdraw from commenting.

    The difficulty is in bringing FaceLift back for a specific topic only and only for a limited time, because the manner of a number of posts was too combative.

    I would have been very interested to find out FL’s perspective of Matt Ford.

    Well, he can email me now.

    Shalom

  70. “As for the whole “disclosure thing”, why should FL disclose who he is, what position he holds in leadership, if any, and what job he has. Do these things make his opinion any less valid?”

    No they dont, but it is standard practice to disclose an interest that you may have in the subject – in order for people to take that into account when evaluating your argument. We are not asking FL to disclose details that may reveal his identity, but when he refuses to answer when asked about relevant interests he may have in the topic, it does affect his credibility.

    As an analogy, suppose we had a small blog which was generally critical of the government. A new commenter comes on and totally disagrees with all of our points. Gradually we begin to wonder if the new commenter is a member of staff in a government ministers office. When asked the commenter says that it is completely irrelevant where he works, and refuses to answer. The commenter then continues to refute every point made in the blog, then threatens to expose the identity of some of the other participants to the government authorities. If that person declared his interest in the subject from the start then it would be probably be possible to enter into conversation. Without declaring the interest an element of falsity is introduced which people pick up on.

    FL’s gravatar, which he mentioned above, portrays FL as a devious puppeteer. The artist obviously picking up on the fact that FL is not exactly as he portrays himself on the blog.

    As for S&P’s recent blog post, I dont support the content of that post but I do support his right to say it. To get things of his chest without fear of retribution. And through the self-moderating of the community to adjust his viewpoint accordingly. This moderation was taking place before the abrupt and threatening intervention of FL.

  71. good analogy Wazza, Im sure someone like Tony Abbott woudn’t bother finding out who is against his policies (alot are) and track down who started the Mad Monk Moniker. We have a right to say what we think about leaders and talk about experiences.

    For example I went to a very strict Christian school and sometimes we get together or write about some very negative experiences. We actually could have taken to court the terrible offenses against us. Anyway, what this site really is troubled by is wrong teaching of the Gospel. Or unbalanced and our experiences are true. When I left my previous church i had some funny “follow-ups” IM sure they know who i am and they know exactly where i live.

  72. Also, in regards to C3, when the leader talks about warfare, soldiers, laying down your life for the church (heard on internet) This is slightly dramatic and encourages people to be on the offensive. So, some ways i don’t blame people for being defensive and use war like ways in their Christian walk. Im sure FL would give me many scriptures ie: I have come with a sword……et al. another thread perhaps :o) God bless all on this site and I pray for truth to win out. (I mean Jesus’s truth)

  73. Thank you all for your explanations of what drove FL to be banned. Anyone who has spent any time in the blogosphere would have seen countless instances of threats, abuse and name-calling, and even been the recipient of that abuse. We all say stupid things online, the “anonymity” allowing us to say things we wouldn’t in real life. I readily admit that I am speaking out of a certain position of ignorance here seeing that I haven’t ever read FL’s previous posts or emails, but I’ve got to say that it appears to me that perhaps FL was ganged up on by a bunch of people sharing the same views who didn’t like his. Going solely by what you guys have said here, and by FL’s apology and explanation, FL’s banishment may have been an over-reaction and not necessary. Seems to me then that perhaps there are rules for some on this site and rules for others.

    Case in point – “As for S&P’s recent blog post, I dont support the content of that post but I do support his right to say it. To get things of his chest without fear of retribution.”

    I have visited many blogs like this, and most are inhabited by bitter, angry, hateful people who take comfort in having their hatred stroked by others who share their hatred. I first came across this site when Matt Ford was being criticised, and I was impressed by your (mostly) respectful responses to Frank Manhattan’s comments. I thought I’d come across a site where both opinions could be discussed respectfully and openly without the regular name-calling and baseless accusations you see on other blogs. From what I have seen this is mostly the case. RP’s articles are great, and most comments are mostly respectful (with the exception of S&P, who for some reason became completely apoplectic towards a comment I made some time back). It would be a real shame if the only person on this site that has opposing views to the rest was banned from posting due to an imagined threat was not able to offer his opinion. The site would then become another one of the countless “pity-party”, “woe-is-me” blogs that infest the web.

    As for your analogy Wazza, whether that person is a political stooge is irrelevant. Knowing whether that person has a vested interest can be a good thing, and usually it is evident by what they write, but why should this make their opinion any less valid? Every one of us has opinions and bias. But sometimes we cocoon ourselves from any other view point and dismiss opposing viewpoints. In my opinion, this is the height of arrogance. The whole Global Warming hoax is a case in point. The whole world has swallowed just one side of the argument, yet when you take the time to look at the other side of the argument you begin to see that what you first believed to be true is in fact false. The Bereans were commended in the book of Acts for examining scripture to see whether what the Apostle Paul was preaching lined up with Scripture. We should all do the same thing.

  74. Not a good analogy because FL didn’t come on this blog after a pattern was established, but was, in fact, an original commenter, and was the main poster for at least a year. There would possibly be no SP02 had it not been kept going. As pointed out above it was FL who encouraged s&p to begin posting, and heretic and zeppelin, and wazza2.

    It has always been wazza2’s main goal to discover FL’s employment. He and heretic have driven this.

    Does anyone here know what wazza2 does for a living? Has anyone asked? Which church does he attend? What is his position in that church? Does everyone take at face value what he is? Why? Because he says so. We trust his word. No questions asked. Why are any of these things relevant to what he says here?

    By the way, being a gnat on an hippo’s back is no excuse for blatant demonisation of a ministry. Being a mosquito on an elephant is no reason for making serious unsubstantiated allegations.

    That particular article was defamatory. I said so strongly. It was removed. Why? Because in essence you agreed. But nothing was done for days until I kicked up a stink. If it was harmless you should stick to your guns and put it back up. If s&p has the right to say those things publicly re-enter the piece, let’s discus it’s merits, and let him back up his claims with some scriptural and factual substance.

    Having a rant is one thing, but laying down serious charges about a ministry is quite another. You want these ministries to be accountable, which is totally acceptable, but who are you accountable to?

    mj,
    ‘We have a right to say what we think about leaders and talk about experiences.’

    Yes you do, to a degree, and I have made this clear both here, and in my conversations with RP and s&p, but what s&p wrote was way out of order, unless he can produce actual evidence. RP called it inflammatory. Heretic removed it.

    Perhaps a post reproducing the heading and opening paragraph, with a disclaimer, could be discussed. Where does one draw the line between criticism, the right to say what we think, and defamation?

    There are defamation laws in our nation, mj, so clearly there are those who agree that there is a line drawn somewhere. But lines are there to be tested. Give it a go!

  75. Oh dear. I also accept the apology for the original perceived threat. I’m not going to ‘unaccept’ it.

    The words were ‘…because I know where you are now…’ He had always known where we were on the blog, so I saw that at the time as knowing my physical church location. Certainly not where I live.

    The original conversation is on this thread for anyone who is concerned about it, to save rehashing everything here:

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/signposts02-guidelines-for-comment/#comment-3597

    This link starts with my response to FL’s comment immediately prior. But you can read the entire thread for more context which is lengthy so you can see why its better not to go through it all again.

  76. Yes i remember on Gsects “alias” asking what church you were at RP, back a few months ago. Of course some members want to know, when i see members (of previous church) in my area almost always they ask where do i go now etc etc. And as (previous church) know who i am and that i went there, they (penties who visit here, never ask me. I am too open and have blogged on (previous church’s) blog with the same moniker….probably not a good idea at the time :o) Also a member of that church rang me and enquired about my thoughts about that church etc etc and i have informed, the pastor over me, why i was leaving. This is a site for ex-church people, it is not moderated as much as church blogs, which seem to me to be just advertising, their is not critical analysis on those sites, its more interesting here and FL knows that

  77. XC3 – just to clarify – I in no way believe that FL would intend physical harm to anyone here. The harm I felt could occur was relational in our real life contexts. Not something to go to the police over.

    It is healthier for this blog for the ban to remain in place. Strangely, the conversation always returns to FL when we respond to his comments, rather than the topics we were trying to look at, which defeats our purpose here.

    S&P may decide to remove all these comments at some point, just to restore things.

  78. I have said that FL’s opinions are valid and I support his right to express them without fear of retribution on other sites.

    I do not think the threats made by FL were imagined. I think they were conciously made with the intention to stifle expression, debate and opinion. Not only on this site but on other sites and in real life. Essentially you had to be there to witness the behaviour, which I have done for over 3 years.

    As for me I am an IT consultant who goes to an Anglican church, not in a position of leadership, do some occasional music. I started a discussion about whether being an IT person might affect my opinion about the matters we discuss on this blog.

    Being in a paid position of leadership in the organisations we discuss on this blog will obviously affect ones opinion much more than any other occupation would. It also goes to the question of whether people who are affected and hurt by an organisation should be continually exposed to the forceful opinions and even threats of the leaders of those organisations. One of the functions of this blog is for people to detox from bad experiences in these churches.

  79. Wazza has pointed out a vital point.

    “It also goes to the question of whether people who are affected and hurt by an organisation should be continually exposed to the forceful opinions and even threats of the leaders of those organisations.” – wazza

    It is important that this blog is a safe place for these people – as safe as an unmoderated environment can be.

    XC3 – I want to see the ability to have opposing opinions preserved and believe it is possible if we all try to treat each other with respect. Occasionally most of us will get a bit heated over a particular issue, and that’s OK. Have a read of the link I put up to the original conversation, and you will see that we were trying to address these very issues with some guidelines… which I didn’t get around to putting up.

    Maybe I have some homework to do here, getting those guidelines up, and this is a result of not getting onto it some time back! So – my fault!

  80. the site is find RP don’t let people bully you. tactics to refute claims and expression are obvious by those that attend and support the Gospel according to “man”. We all have our differences ie: when discussing about women’s role in church we had differingi opinions. That’s fine. But what the majority agree is that Jesus is Lord. Pretty simple. He is our leader. We are not under man’s law. We are not under quasi bible laws. The truth really does set you free. But on the other hand i believe people that are deceived often don’t know they are so i give them a break too…

  81. Yes, everyone was quite respectful with our differing views on the women issue, I thought. That’s a good example. And I agree with your other points too.

  82. Then there was the women covering their heads thing, which is in the NT, there’s so much to the Bible and so many interpretations one has to see the big picture, which is Jesus has the last word, He our example. The greatest commandment love.

  83. wazza2,
    ‘I do not think the threats made by FL were imagined.’

    Well there was no threat. I signed off on a farewell. I asked for posters to check their facts when they made accusations, because I might slip in and challenge them, that is with comments on the blog, no more, no less, as often explained here and by email. No threat made, and no threat intended.

    I was not, at the point I made the comment, banned from SP02, just taking voluntary leave for a while whilst I got over the disappointment of being relieved of posting duties, and being discussed with such disgust!

    Heretic completely got hold of the wrong end of the stick and shut me out before I had a chance to explain anything, and by then the conversation moved on to how terrible I was and how justified he was in banning me, even though he wasn’t the moderator, with no right of reply.

    Then all the talk of being able to return a some later date, so from time to time I make a comment to test the waters, not being rude to anyone, or even responding to personal comments such as mj’s here about being ‘deluded’, the ‘blind leader’, etc, but it’s rather like being before a parole board every few months, and no mercy, no forgiveness, and no way back.

  84. I am making on observation on what you have said, not making up things FL. And from previous experience you cannot discuss the Gospel with some people from church. Ive tried, you can’t get through. I was in that membership and I was deluded into thinking that there were demons in people and other stuff. Its not healthy to focus on such issues and not read the Gospel properly. Open discussion? Ha, don’t make me laugh, there is none, especially from the high-up ones. If you or anyone else wants to attend these large church’s so be it but don’t try and convert people back and try and browbeat them into submission of an alternate Gospel. If peoplel want to submit to a church/cause/movement, that’s fine but you can’t expect ex-followers to change their mind, in light of all the evidence….

  85. You’re entitled to your opinion, mj. I have no comment to make on your comments.

    My only hope is that my feux pas of nine months ago is now water under the bridge, and understood forever as non-threatening.

    Be blessed!

  86. Case in point PP’s twitter today says “Dry bones become armies” I mean, the focus on warfare et al is overwelming. Who is this army against exactly? are we not to love? The focus should be on love, compassion, selflessness….and there is mercy on this site and forgiveness and fairness but the Bible says we are not to wander from the faith. Not to stray from the teachings of Jesus. That’s all we’re trying to do. Your long flowery discussions seem to take us nowhere

  87. Haha trust FL and me to be posting exactly at the same time, i wish you well, I admire your loyality and determination just please place it on Jesus only, He’s all we ever need.

  88. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Tim.2:3-4

    ‘Flowery’ discussions? That’s a new one! Take time to smell the roses!

  89. i mean, “i should have said cue the…” How about this one, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal….” “Who is not with us, is against us” andn so on and so on………………

  90. As an author here, I can delete the comments anyone makes on a post which I started. I can’t delete comments on posts started by other authors.

    So, my posts will be FL free zones for all the reasons discussed already, sorry FL; its up to other authors to do the same as they wish, or not.

    S&P, as overall administrator, can do this to the entire blog; if he’s not active at the time, then individual authors can still look after their own posts if they choose.

    None of us are present here all the time, so regardless, things will sometimes slip through.

  91. I don’t think you’ll find me on any of your recent posts, RP.

    I tend to target hypocrisy and rage. This post stands out.

  92. This post is actually from the Sydney Morning Herald. Greg the Explorer put it up for comment. The author is not Christian. Actually she often writes very well on architectural matters. She’s written another piece including some of the reactions to this piece where it was published in the SMH.

    Here’s the link.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/sure-god-has-a-sense-of-humour-shame-about-some-of-his-followers-20091230-ljtl.html

    It looks like almost her entire school class became Pentecostal Christian when she was 14, and she notes the change in the way they related to her. Its worth a read. People can comment on it on the SMH.

  93. v good :o) btw Happy Happy New Year to one and all, and thanx for your kind words, wise words and thought throughout the year….yay

  94. Well it’s Ok to make fun of things, and I’m sure God has a sense of humour, but this isn’t really funny, nor does it say anything really kind about Christians. It’s just sarcasm and not relevant to anything, plus she actually believes what she is saying when she blames the financial crisis on Christians!

    There are more seriously funny things she could write about.

    For instance, the Catholic claim that we have never had a saint in all the history of Australia, so we have to make a dead person into one – Mary McKillop, who the Catholic Church both ostracised and excommunicated for being a feminist!

    So now the only way to become a saint is to be dead 50 years and perform two miracles whilst dead! I thought you could only become a saint while you were living, and then through faith in Jesus Christ!

    Or the more serious news that UK has FGM co-ordinators, and have allowed 1,000 girls be circumcised by their religion over Christmas. Now there’s a really contentious issue, and very current. I heard that Australia also has FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) co-ordinators! Perhaps a post on these issues might bring some light on real religious controversies.

    Still, Brian Houston is a far softer target!

    Funny New Year to all!

  95. No faith isn’t enough im afraid, it takes courageous acts and martydom….and sacrifice to be a saint, it takes alot…..dont insult me by saying its just faith, Jesus, then millions are saints for believing there’s a Christ, even the devil knows this…

  96. “We love the money in Jesus Christ’s name!” shouts Pastor Fernando Garay from his pulpit in Charlottesville, Virginia, promising a $10,000 return on a $100 offering. “The rich,” he explains to his mostly Latino congregation, “are closer to God.”

    In Garay’s words, “Jesus loved money, too!”

    Is that good doctrine FL? Not serious or worth attention? I think this type of thinking, whether as overt as this or not, is destroying the reputation of Christians everywhere and shipwrecking countless otherwise sincere brothers and sisters. It’s a perversion of the gospel and deserves attention and condemnation wherever it is found.

    I’m sure you’d like everyone to discuss anything other than preachers making themselves obscenely wealthy by conning their congregations into giving them money! Pastors like Pringle and Houston who live high on the hog while members often struggle to make ends meet. Meanwhile all pentes are being tainted with the “prosperity” brush even if it’s foreign to their beliefs and heritage.

  97. I’m not meaning to insult you, mj, but it is a commonly held belief amongst evangelicals of all persuasions that sanctification, ie, becoming a saint, is by grace through faith alone, and not of works.

    It is the Catholic Church which insults Australians with their misleading doctrine of sainthood through works and election by papal decree.

  98. ha, good one FL, worx, thats all u do at a pentie church, worx for the “cause” and what do u get a thankyou once a year, if your lucky. A person to be esteemed, either christian or not (gandi for example) has to have done “alot” of good to his fellow man.

    to get a Nobel price become a Knight one has had to do something that affects millions, not just attend a church once a week.

  99. Has anyone actually heard of Ps Garay? Where did Elizabeth Farrelly actually Google this one up from. Looks like a small Spanish speaking church in Charlottesville. And he travels around doing crusades!

    http://www.iglesiacasadelpadre.com/default.html

    I guess if you Google long enough you’ll find what you’re looking for, then just contrive to add Hillsong and Brian Houston to the mix and you have a story!

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    mj, salvation is not of works. It is by grace through faith alone.

    None of us could ever do sufficient works to earn or pay for either salvation or sainthood. All our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. It’s only through faith in the cross and resurrection of Christ that we can be saved. It’s his righteousness not ours. God’s holiness not ours.

    No one comes to the Father but through Christ.

  100. we were talking about actual saints or people that go beyond the call of duty in Christ. Hey aren’t you banned anyway

  101. “I think this type of thinking, whether as overt as this or not, is destroying the reputation of Christians everywhere and shipwrecking countless otherwise sincere brothers and sisters. It’s a perversion of the gospel and deserves attention and condemnation wherever it is found.” – Hal

    Back on topic! Definitely this sort of thing, wherever it happens, gives Christianity a very, very bad name. It’s not Christianity at all.

    Garay may be pretty small fry, but there are plenty who have an audience on God TV etc who say the same kind of thing.

    And as long as they do, there will also be people like us objecting to it. Plus many more who would never write about it on a blog.

    Articles like Farelly’s are exactly what you would expect to result from people trying to pass that sort of thing off as the gospel.

  102. That’s how the Catholic Church has deceived millions over the centuries, keeping them down in the pews subjected to ignorance and subservience.

    They contrive to convince people that saints are only created by papal decree after a person is dead and has done incredibly miraculous and good works, so no one really believes they can become a saint in their lifetime!

    Then they are persuaded to pray through those saints! Idolatry!

    And the whole of Australia is being fooled into thinking this new idol worship of Mary McKillop is the way to have their prayers answered.

    There’s the real delusion and blind leading the blind!

    I haven’t seen much about this on Christian blogs, I have to say! It’s a major deception. Fog over the eyes of all non-evangelical Australians.

    Nice talking to you, mj!

    Be blessed!

  103. Sorry, RP!

    Garay is wrong to say what he said, if that is what he said. I can’t find a reference to this quote anywhere to confirm it.

    What kind of house does Phil live in then, hal? Do you have figures on the amount of money he is given, and by whom? Same for Brian. Is it acceptable for a minister of God to have a house in a nice street, or suburb, or should they live in a tent like Abraham?

  104. Who Garay is is not important. He’s an example of the love-of-money Gospel. He is a disciple of the prosperity gospel, preaching what is the natural result of prosperity teaching.

    So FL, is it good doctrine or not? Do you condemn it as outrageous? Maybe it’s just a little bit off for your liking? Or maybe asking these questions makes me a proponent of the…. wait for it…. poverty gospel! The stock standard answer to prosperity critics. “You expect all Christians to be poor and miserable!” 🙂

  105. cant help myself…FL trying to put a light on the Catholic church’s behaviour doesnt discount other church’s behaviour and teachings. At least they accept gay ministers in certain sectors, now lets not go there, as we all know the ultra conservative, worx, legalistic approach of pentie policy…..seriously farewell FL

  106. Oh Hal, that’s so true. Yep, naturally if we don’t support prosperity doctrine, we must support poverty doctrine. _Sigh_ And then we have to explain at length why that is not the case! Even though there’s no logic to the assertion.

  107. The love of money is the root of all evil, hal.

    Loving money is foolish and dangerous. The rich can never be closer to God than the poor, nor vicé versa. It’s harder for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven than it is to draw a camel through the eye of needle. The love of riches is a man’s downfall.

    No, I don’t think aversion to the prosperity gospel is akin to supporting the poverty gospel. Love of poverty is almost as dangerous as love of money, in some ways.

    Godliness with contentment is great gain. Paul said, “I have learning in all things to be content, whether I am abased or abounding!”

    There are people who have wealth who are able to help others and be contented and not greedy. There are poor people who crave riches and go to great lengths to acquire it.

    Better to be poor and contented in God than rich and afraid of losing everything.

    Hope that answers your question.

    The source of Farelly’s article is here, I think:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200912/rosin-prosperity-gospel

  108. Talking of poverty doctrine though… I read about some Christians who covenanted to only buy houses in the middle to lower end of the economic spectrum in their city, to ensure they could identify with poor Christians around the world and not to spend money on things beyond their real needs. Obviously this was a choice they made; to buy less than they could afford. For them, this was a kind of exercise of their faith. This is quite different to the prosperity gospel. Is there merit to this approach or should we condemn it as part of a ‘poverty gospel’?

  109. I think we should reject a ‘poverty’ gospel as much as we reject a ‘financial prosperity’ gospel.

    the word ‘prosperity’, like the word ‘revival’ I want to ban.

    People mean different things by those words.

    We can’t ban ‘Christ’ or ‘Jesus’ because Mormons and JW’s mean something else by these names, but we can and should ban words that are relatively unimportant and replace them with words or phrases that mean what they say in plain English.

    Revival to Todd Bentley means Fleecing God’s people for a truck load of cash and free sex with an intern.

    Whereas Revival to me would mean a Renewal of Faith for God’s People, and perhaps extending the Kingdom through tears of repentance.

    Time for another coffee I think!

  110. Hi RP, I think it’s a good idea for Christians to live within their means and as a choice those people have made I certainly wouldn’t condemn it but I also wouldn’t suggest to people that they should live in one place rather than another. It could quickly become legalistic. It’s a nice idea but I’m not really sure about that one.

    About a poverty gospel, I don’t think it’s very common. I haven’t come across many people that believe in poverty as a requirement or a promise. If we listened to the preachers of unlimited wealth they’d have us believe all of Christendom preaches poverty. I don’t think pastors should be poor but I don’t think they should live lavish lifestyles and amass great wealth on the pretext of a gospel that promises them riches and do it with the money people give for the true Gospel.

    FL – Of course we shouldn’t love money. I’ve never heard a prosperity teacher teach that point thoroughly. I have heard them ridicule it though. Nice to see you commenting against obviously obscene preaching. That wasn’t too hard was it?

    Christianity does not promise material wealth, nor encourage the pursuit of it. It doesn’t necessarily forbid a person from being wealthy but it warns of the dangers and states not to seek it. Prosperity doctrine does not teach contentment. It teaches Christians to desire and pursue material wealth, to expect it, believe for it, focus on it, assume entitlement to it. Prosperity teachers make themselves very wealthy from the desperation, generosity and/or greed or gullibility of their disciples. Material prosperity is taught by them as a right and that various techniques or rituals can cause money to come to you. That if you don’t have wealth it is a failure to establish the rituals or apply the right beliefs or otherwise fail to fulfil the requirements of gaining the wealth you are entitled to.

    Mostly it’s the Pentes who suffer the consequences, the fallout, the derision. As someone pointed out earlier, traditional Pentecostalism doesn’t teach any of that. The roots of Pentecostalism still, and more than ever, speak against and put to shame today’s pente “leaders”. William Seymour still condemns them, the poor, blind, holiness preacher from Azuza street. Even Kenneth Hagin condemned the madness in the end and he was largely responsible for it! But did any one of his brethren listen to him? Fat chance! They were busy building empires! They were raking it in and they weren’t about to give up their increasingly strange doctrines, the greed, the luxuries and the ostentatious lifstyles, the gold and the Rolexes and the private everythings. Because the warnings of scripture were not only ignored they were ridiculed and the love of money contaminated deeply into their souls. Now it’s spread like a raging infection and has become synonymous with pentecostalism making thousands of pentes cringe with shame or flair up with indignation or just leave altogether.

    “What kind of house does Phil live in then, hal? Do you have figures on the amount of money he is given, and by whom? Same for Brian…”

    I don’t have the figures but I’m sure they’d be happy to tell the world of the great wealth God has given them according to their gospel which they’re not ashamed of. I can only imagine that with the windows of heaven and parishioners pockets opening to them with uncontainable material wealth the figures must be spectacular! Please feel free to inform me of their true and total wealth through the Gospel.

    “Is it acceptable for a minister of God to have a house in a nice street, or suburb, or should they live in a tent like Abraham?”

    Hmmm, a difficult choice. Are these the only two options or can I have another category? Maybe a really nice tent in an average suburban park?

    One modest house somewhere not too far from the church would seem appropriate.

    But seriously, happy new year with peace, love and joy to you FL and everyone on signposts02.

  111. I find it interesting that a lot of this is relative. When I talk to friends in Sydney some would think I have a poverty theology (living within your means, not getting a large mortgage etc) but when I talk to my family in rural England they think I have a prosperity theology (because we can afford a family car etc when so many people they minister to can’t afford anything).

    I guess you’ve got to deal with the circumstance God has placed you in. There will always be criticisms and encouragements, but at the end of the day it will all pass and all that will remain is who we are (which now I’m half way through my life, I need to take a lot more seriously).

  112. I think you are right, Muppet; a lot of it is relative. Societies around the world vary so wildly. No doubt some of what we take for granted is excess to others; if we pare everything right back though, where do we stop? In other words, if we take a religious approach to it, there would always be more we could cut back – if we are prosperous enough to have a choice. So in the end, we have to deal with the circumstances we are placed in.

    Also, in life, the only guarantee is that our circumstances change, often through things we can’t control. Some of my relatives have had a shocking year. Unemployment, cancer, divorce… We can only enjoy the good things while they are there and share them with others, and trust God through all seasons. As you say, it is all temporary.

    When can I regard myself as officially middle-aged, do you think? I’ve been wondering about this ever since I turned 40. I know what you mean about half way through your life… it does make you consider what you have been doing with it.

    Met a woman the other day who knew she was going to die (cancer), and was pondering what she’d done with her life. She was blessed, because she could look back and say it was good; she was happy with what she’d done; she was mainly happy that she’d seen her kids grow up and have their own kids.

  113. I am still shaking off the idea of what we do being the important thing rather than who we are. Its a reflex to assess things in measurable ways, when looking at my own life at times, rather than to focus on the things I can’t measure. Though I am acutely aware of my lack in some of those areas. Patience and a short fuse at times being amongst them. This is where I would like to find more freedom in the sense that Bull talks of it – freedom from the tyranny of my own inner self. Some days I find it. Other days, I lose it. Its one of those invisible struggles.

  114. When I assess my life in most peoples terms there is not much to look at (but there is not a lot I would do differently)- so I allow myself some feeling of success.

    But the things that annoy me are my laziness (not to do more with what I’ve been given), short temper after the 3rd coffee, selfishness etc etc. But I suppose that’s just the way it is – perhaps these are the sort of tensions that come with freedom!

  115. what better way to start the new decade by talking about Jesus….i know what u mean though, my non-christian friends can’t believe how much time i put into my beliefs. But i love to discuss Jesus, truth and well, that’s about it. And other topics of course, like nude bathing, money and life’s issues. One ive just been blogging about is Tony Abbott and his comments about “boat people” someone blogged. “Some Christian you are Tony” or something like that.

  116. “By the way. I thought I’d be the only sad-sack with nothing better to do on New Year’s Day!” – Muppet

    Nope, you’re not the only one, especially with the uncertain weather! Actually, we’ve walked the kids down to the local park this morning then for an ultra short bush walk that was stopped by a tree full of bees. We’re trying to catch up on jobs around the house over Xmas/New Year, such as uprooting bushes and weeds, plus shopping in the sales for things we know we need – school shoes etc. It’s a relief to use this time for some very ordinary jobs – hard to find the time the rest of the year. Organising anything else has just felt too energetic for me. My house looks very disheveled because everyone is home all the time. That’s the great thing about a computer – you can jump on for 5 or 10 minutes then disappear to do other things, and still have a conversation.

    Now I’m going out to uproot more of that Wandering Jew I was doing earlier in the year. It just keeps on coming back. 🙂

    Mj – I know what you mean re time put into your beliefs. Glad you like the variety here… its also one benefit of having a few different authors.

  117. I have to say that i feel i discredited myself a bit re: Catholic saints etc. I don’t actually pray to saints, although someone close to me does. I tell the to go “higher” oh well. Also i know someone who was considered for sainthood and they were one of the best human beings one could meet so…..sainthood, probably for some mothers/parents/teachers/nurses/doctors and so many deserving people really

  118. What a thread….

    FL

    you have one of the strongest giftings I have ever come across to piss people off. Totally amazing. And I’m sure you do it with a straight face too.

    You are a brother but you are the reason why I left SP02 for almost a year. Couldn’t stand it anymore.

    Having said that my view and I have no rights here are ideally you would be commenting here…I just wish you could learn some judgement and empathy with those who have been chewed up by mega churches.

    I also think it fair for S&P to put up – accusations not backed up don’t do anyone any good, including S&P..

    I’m not concerned about defamation either as a law used to hide the truth, or by those who use it as a basis to attack from.

    Most of the above I find quite sad.

    Moderator’s judgement or not I wonder where forgiveness cuts in…that is an open question I have been pondering due to events near me over the last 2 years.

    Yes Islam or at least the extreme version is a ‘threat’ but the thing that is damaging God’s people the most, and our ability to be used of and by God by putting ourselves at his disposal.

    This I think is the point of Farrelly’s articles.

    We are and have always been our own worst enemies.

    If the comments are true about the sort of things that C3, HS et al teach the best thing that could happen for all is that they close their doors.

    Sorry…can’t be bothered propping up poor teaching, or excusing it when it seems to be costing us so dearly.

    There is one comment of FL’s that I feel I have to respond to since this is the background I come from and I simply can’t let it go unchallenged.

    I’ll respond through the body of the thread…

    FL: Too much emphasis is being placed on ‘prosperity doctrine’. We teach prosperity, but not all the time, every sermon, every offering message as a matter some kind of entry in the collective, or as a work essential to salvation. And we would be about average for the message preached, and not at all different from most churches where people believe that God prospers his people as part of the blessing promised to Abraham, “In you will I bless all the families of the earth”.

    Yeah sure, but…

    2 Tim 3ff into 4 – sorry for the length of this all

    But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

    They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

    You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings — what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

    For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

    Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

    Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

    At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

    Paul rings truer to me. Not interested in fancypants preachers in whited sepulchres, but I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and Paul who have real meat on the bones, and something real to say that meshes with the life they gave lead!!

    FL: “Many other important doctrines, including the cross, suffering, persecution, challenges to faith, repentance, godliness, holiness and righteousness are taught, and probably more often than the teaching that God has our best interests at heart in this life as well as the life to come. When we suffer because of this world’s evils an temptations, he is the God of Consolation. When we are persecuted for the gospel’s sake, he is our strength, and has a crown of glory laid up for us, whether we live or die for the gospel.”

    At face value this is OK, but the real issue is what is in our best interests, and it is not the consumerist society we live in, or get 10000 for 100 put in.

    I’m sure C3 and HS would give Paul and Jesus the bum’s rush. Dostoevsky said this, and it has only gotten worse in our society. Jesus is being used and the true Gospel that Jesus, Paul, the prophets taught is being increasingly sidelined because it simply does not fit our society.

    FL: “Some people are attracted to faith churches which teach prosperity because they are so brow-beaten by churches which emphasise the sin nature and constant need of grovelling in the dust, and practically live a begging life before God in he hope of appeasing him so he’ll let us into his perfect heaven.

    We are constantly counselling people who have come from these churches where everyone is told they are a sinner at every opportunity from the pulpit …..

    So it’s not just the message of God’s promise to bless his people, but the message that God loves us and does not condemn us that is attractive. It is the preaching of Jesus, not prosperity, which draws people to the cross and resurrection teaching of these churches.”

    I agree with you FL here, but in reality what we are seeing is one diminishing urban myth being substituted by another growing one. What we have it seems is a preponderance to teach control by guilt over sin, to guilt by not having enough faith because God really wants us to be prosperous etc etc

    This is the nub of my comments.

    Good, sound teaching which allows the Word and the Spirit to speak for it and Himself is even in relatively sound churches in incredibly short supply.

    In my lifetime the really good stuff has been rare and the solid good stuff I am sorry to say increasingly rare.

    People who are serious about there faith yearn for this in the context of being able to meet with people who yearn for the same thing and are prepared to be honest and humble themselves in that context.

    Every now and then I get glimpses which leaves me thirsty.

    Sorry FL, but you are one person that I have not heard anything from that would give me a desire walk that road with even though I see you as a brother.

    It is also the absence of a people who are well and truly schooled in the Word leading to the exercise of a Godly faith throughout our society that gives license for article’s like Farrely’s.

    If there was they either would not be there, or far worse, not the dismissive world weary acknowledgement of what is that it was – even if factually incorrect.

  119. If that seems too negative I apologise to the other readers here. There are clearly many hundreds and thousand of believers who are doing the best they can.

    But I stand by my comments about teaching in general.

  120. well said. Just reading an old thread with FLs comments: That signposts02, are trying to take people away from the church (about a year ago). that is so totally funny. I left because i copped some bad behaviour from a fellow brother and complained (quietly) to a head pastor. Although they seemed concerned, nothing was done. I emailed a top leader many times and phoned, always in a meeting, no reply by email, i left, i re-read the NTestament. I found one of these sites through the Herald by accident.

    To say that these sites are dragging people away is just so delusional. But hey had to laugh about that, the opposite was true

  121. Spot on mn.

    I agree with you FL here, but in reality what we are seeing is one diminishing urban myth being substituted by another growing one. What we have it seems is a preponderance to teach control by guilt over sin, to guilt by not having enough faith because God really wants us to be prosperous etc etc

    Exactly the case unfortunately. It is all about men controlling a bunch of people using shame as a tool.

    Good, sound teaching which allows the Word and the Spirit to speak for it and Himself is even in relatively sound churches in incredibly short supply.

    True again unfortunately. The CCC I left preached almost exclusively on how we should go about being the the CCC I left. It was all about itself. I think they were following the porpoise drivel church where you preach about the church for all but 13 weeks of the year if I remember the book correctly.

    With respect to how often prosperity gospel was preached at my old CCC it was more than once a week. There was a special 10-15 minute giving sermon every week which would almost always preach the prosperity gospel. It would usually also be referred to during the sermon.

    FL’s argument seems to be that you can preach fraudulent rubbish as long as you don’t do it all the time. Ie it is just a little bit of leaven so its all right.

  122. MN: “You are a brother but you are the reason why I left SP02 for almost a year. Couldn’t stand it anymore.”

    Had the same effect on me actually.

    One of the arguments for continuing the ban was that people started coming back once he was banned. FL obviously hates what this community is about and his actions work against it consciously or otherwise.

  123. MN – that scripture that you put up is heartbreaking to read, the way Paul was deserted. At the same time, it’s extraordinary, the way he held firm through everything. Clearly he suffers greatly in this passage. It really is a strong contrast.

    Your comments re teaching are sadly true, much of the time, I think. I am very grateful though that there is good teaching out there if we look for it, and sometimes God brings it to us if we are willing to listen to suggestions from other believers on a similar journey.

    MN, the start of your post made me laugh out loud because unfortunately I agree with you there too. I’ve had to just walk away from the computer sometimes in the past, because my strong response just wouldn’t have been wise at the time!

    Re the forgiveness question – I would like to say that I hold nothing against FL; I know we get frustrated with each other (very, at times), but I have nothing to forgive him for. He has caused me no personal harm, and frustrating or angering someone at times isn’t something that I hold against anyone, although I might choose to limit their company.

    Nonetheless, I uphold his ban where I have the ability to do so purely because his effect here is to derail or frustrate most of what we want to discuss and the place becomes unpleasant. Threads are all we have here, and if they are all derailed into areas we don’t want to go, the blog can’t achieve what we hope it will.

    I am glad you came back, MN, and I find your comments insightful.

  124. Yes, well it’s easy to walk in love with a friend isn’t it! But it’s far more of a test when you are confronted with an opposing view to your own.

    The site has become one in which there is a majority group-think, apart from perhaps Bull, who has some different ideas, but the viewpoint has become introverted and somewhat exclusive, to a degree, as pointed out by XC3, whose comments are worth considering. How healthy is that, do you think?

    In all honesty I’ve tried to put the case for seeing things from another perspective, not another gospel, but another angle. Perhaps from the point of view of those you are criticising, but, though you’re correct about some things, you are not about others.

    No one condones fraudulent preaching, heretic.

    I’ve had some interesting conversations with you over time and you’ve never given an inch either, so that makes you closer to my personality than you realise. You’re also at least as provocative on occasion. The difference is that you are able to pull the banishing, vanishing switch at will.

    Are you, therefore, always correct in your doctrinal understanding of prosperity, contentment and poverty? Perhaps you are.

    I’m just curious about who has the fulness on this, since God actually speaks about blessing, prosperity, abundance, fruitfulness, multiplication, increase, and a number of related benefits as part of his covenant with both Israel and the Church, all ranging off his Promise to Abraham and his Seed. I see no conclusion to this, even in the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament is based on these better promises. Are you claiming, now, that we’re cursed when we’re blessed?

    There are other issues on the other side of this, pitfalls of avarice, warnings that both Jesus and the apostles give in regard to financial propriety, but I ask how you can dismiss prosperity as fraudulent teaching when it is so clearly evidenced in the Bible.

    In fact, aren’t you condoning fraudulence if you consider it appropriate to leave out the Biblical references to prosperity? “Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” Which benefits might these be, a Barean student have to ask himself, or, rather, inquire of the Word and the Spirit.

    Conversely, am I always wrong? Maybe. But I speak from my understanding of truth, not from contention, or a need to disturb anyone, although I clearly have, and certainly not from a base of fraudulence.

    I can tell you, I have defrauded no man. If you claim I have, I’m ready to answer to your evidence.

    Otherwise, let’s hear of your understanding of what God means when he promises abundant life.

  125. By the way, if you only use Hillsong or C3 as your reference point in prosperity teaching, you make the same mistake you charge me with, when you claim I’m a merely a blinded stooge who toes the party line.

    In other words, I see a danger of throwing out the baby with the bath-water, and withholding a great benefit and blessing form people through shooting the messenger without reading the message.

    In fact I’m discussing scripture, which is there for all to see, not WoF, Pentecostalism, TV Evangelists (some of whom I think have a lot to answer for), or those who are targeted as excessive. I pulled the plug on some of these ministries long before I began commenting here.

    There is a bona fidé prosperity message in the Word.

  126. Yes, but what does that prosperity mean?

    We’re reading from the same book, but I don’t understand prosperity the way you or I think Jesus and Paul would contend – that was the purpose of the of the 2 Timothy quote.

    I and I’m sure others here don’t have anything against being well of, blessing both material and spiritual, but when you read the book it is stacked against us in the sense that this world has a view of what prosperity is, and it is simply not the same thing as the biblical version.

    When you read church history it is not the same.

    When you look at the rest of the world it is not the same.

    We have been blinded by both the prosperity we have, and the desire for even more in a Gospel and a society where Jesus is never enough

    If there are churches that use the Gospel as an excuse and a means to tap into people’s desire for more, offering God as a short cut to satiate their desires, why should we support that?

    It is what it is.

    You defending it is as much pouring petrol on the flames as those you say are being unreasonably accusatory.

    You take sides as much as you accuse Heretic and S&P of doing.

    And in the end the Gospel gets buried.

    If all the teaching we get is with barely a mention of scripture and a few illustrative homilies from personal experience – and there is a place for that – to give people a friendly rest and entertain them in exchange for money – we are setting ourselves up.

    I don’t believe people lose their salvation, because God can’t.

    But I acknowledge Bull’s point about making sure of our salvation, working hard and slogging away at it – Scripture makes this point again and again and again.

    No leave passes there.

    No short cuts – it is hard yakka – whether you are well off or not, with the well off having responsibility to help those who are not.

    If the Word is not up front in halogen headlights, we are making ourselves easy targets.

    To me this is what the fight is about at the moment.

    We want the rest, the prosperity and the freedom, but we don’t want to count the cost, and yet Jesus repeatedly told us to do that.

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    And yet…

    “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

    And again in Eph 2

    “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  127. I noticed FL was arguing on the Mercy Ministries thread too. Girls that want to discuss and perhaps try and heal should not be subject to his type of “discussion”. They are vulnerable and hurt and FL just dismisses this, he is not compassionate, ergo has lost the message of Jesus entirely. Honestly I think it borders on harassment….

  128. mj, thus far I’ve ignored your slurs and let things go, but this time I have to correct you. I supported the Mercy Ministries victims cause, and was not in anyway rude or argumentative towards them.

    On that thread, which was about Hillsong’s involvement with MM, I said:

    ‘I hope Mercy Ministries will open up and allow an independent, though Christian-based, enquiry into their practices.’

    ‘It would behove MM to be seen to revise their methodology and publish the basics of what they do so the inquisitive public can have a better understanding of their mandate and aims.’

    It was one of the rare occasions when wazza2 agreed with my opinion.

    The post was in reference to a newspaper opinion piece. It is perfectly valid to comment on these things.

    No Mercy Ministries victim commented.

    Again, when the girls commented on other threads I was courteous and supportive.

    I have never dismissed their hurt, or harrassed them in any way.

  129. “What is wrong with exorcism”? Your words? when this is clearly what upset most of them. Watch your words FL

  130. mn,
    ‘Yes, but what does that prosperity mean?’

    Equity of economy and ecology for all God’s creation.

    Which is nullified by the effects of sin, which often tends to greed, avarice, selfishness and covetousness, leading to protectionism, self-preservation, and ultimately, in some societies, hatred, violence, anarchy, war, theft and murder, traits of satanic oversight. Perversion of ethnic cultural ideals creates wrongly motivated nationalism and tribalism.

    The early church didn’t reject the concept of prosperity, but, rather, organised it into pooled resources for all. Being primarily Jewish in the beginning, the idea of blessing and prosperity was acceptable to every Jewish convert, but the instantly accepted concept of covenant, equity and mutual support, eliminating the separation between rich and poor, became the foundation for shared prosperity, which has always been God’s plan for his creation.

    I hate the idea spread by a handful of TV Evangelists that we have to send them millions to support their ministries when they add to their TV time the lifestyle of the separated rich. They will answer for this.

    There is relevance to TV ministry, but only on the basis of reaching people who otherwise would not hear the gospel, or for those housebound Christians who are unable to get to a local church. And we understand that TV ministry is very expensive.

    However I have been shocked by the insensitivity of some TV ministries when they broadcast in nations such as the Philippines, and ask the people there to support them, when TV time there is so affordable compared to the US or Europe. They should be giving TV time for free in developing nations. Incidentally, in the Philippines, the Catholic Church is selling indulgences on TV!!! So it’s not just certain TV Evangelists.

    But please don’t think that these extremists have a handle on what is taught as prosperity in most churches.

  131. At least one Mercy Ministries survivor saw that other thread FL. I know this because they e-mailed me the URL to it. She was too upset to comment after reading some of the things that were said.

  132. Well, anonymous, I can say that I have not said one thing to any survivor to deliberately offend them.

    I notice you’re careful not to say who said what. I can only remember saying I was sorry they had been hurt by MM. My opinion of MM is that they handled some things carelessly, and should learn from their mistakes.

    I have said that the association with Hillsong was overdone. That is, there was an obvious association, and things were done incorrectly, but the attack was primarily on Hillsong, not MM.

    It would have been better form the outset if MM had been scrutinised in its own right, rather than being made a tool to get at Hillsong. There were clear shortcomings, and I have said so.

    However, I haven’t actually commented a whole lot on the MM situation.

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    mj, the context of asking what was wrong with exorcism was in reference to the article in the post, which seemed to consider exorcism itself to be wrong. In fact it’s Biblical. We practice exorcism, although we don’t call it that. I think that’s a Catholic term for casting our demons! The difference is that we don’t hide is the fact that we minister in this way, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many people have been helped this way.

    What I have agreed with is that MM should have made girls aware that exorcism would be part of the treatment, if indeed it was practised, but the leaders there, at the time, made a statement refuting that this part of the manual had been adhered to. We’re going back over a year!

  133. FL: “I notice you’re careful not to say who said what. I can only remember saying I was sorry they had been hurt by MM. My opinion of MM is that they handled some things carelessly, and should learn from their mistakes.”

    I know you won’t get it FL, but this quote above is typical FL tonality where you say all the right things, but it really is in the form of a non-stick circulon/teflon frying pan.

    I hear the words, but I don’t read/feel the heart.

    If these girls/women were severely damaged and used as a means to an end – that’s how it comes across to me – where is the repentance, the heartfelt contrition for that?

    I’m not saying you need to be personally repentant – we understand at the moment that you are commenting from afar.

    No all I sense is damage control – let’s learn from our mistakes and move on etc.

    The whole point of the blog I think is that people don’t move on unless there is healing which the people of God and hopefully those of us who have wronged others are a part of which often with the Spirit’s ministrations take time.

    But know we get damage control.

    You don’t want to say if you’re part of the hierarchy, but you nearly always sound like it, which is why so many people get mad at you.

    I don’t sense the pain that Nehemiah expressed when he prayed “we”…..

    “I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”

    The letter’s F and L are in teflon.

    Appropriate I think.

    Anyway I see this as typical of your tone…..just at little snapshot.

    All the best and out.

  134. Re the MM story – also on Lance’s blog, which some of you may not read, ‘anon’ put up this link to a Mercy Girl’s blog.

    http://stupidedthattookovermylife.blogspot.com/2009/12/read-article-first.html

    Darlene’s statement didn’t convey any sense of responsibility for anything that happened at Mercy, but was an attempt to distance herself and her husband from it. The second link above shows that now some people, ex-Mercy girls themselves, are questioning the morality of accepting money that the ACCC imposed as a fine upon the Mercy Directors, and seem to be trying to persuade other girls to consider not accepting it. This is despite the course being advertised as free, and the girls all having had to sign over months of Centrelink payments to cover it anyway.

    Its a good example of a hierarchy being defended in some way, even by those it has hurt, even when its been found culpable by an independent inquiry. A lot is expected of the victims. They are to forgive, move on, and now, some would suggest, not accept the payment they are entitled to.

    This mentality needs to change; it does massive harm to the real message of Christ, who affirmed the rights and value of the weak in the face of exploitation by the powerful.

  135. MN, you are right; he will not get it. Not at this point in time, in any case. We have all tried.

  136. You forgot the sigh, RP! 🙂

    mn, I’m actually being treated as if I were one of the ‘hierarchy’, and yet I have stated categorically on a number of occasions I’m not.

    I cannot speak for the Hillsong, MM, C3 etc leadership.

    It occurs to me that some of you would like to issue these statements to the leaders of Hillsong, C3 etc, but as they don’t come here, I’ll do!

    I’m not them.

    If we have to repent like Nehemiah, then so do you. I’ll be in it with you! Call the solemn assembly bro!

    Maybe you don’t get it either! Sigh!

  137. Accountability and covering seems to only operate when it looks good. You would have thought that given the relational base of Mercy Ministries they would have been under a specific “covering” and adhere to an accountability structure.

    This seemed to have dissappeared an no-one is responsible for putting things right! I’ve donated money to MM in the past, and I wouldn’t mind it back.

    Mistakes will always happen but how we deal with them says a lot. I would hope the directors do the right thing and return all the money to the girls in question (whether they ask for it or not). Going beyond the ACCC ruling would also make a statement about their genuiness in wanting to help these girls.

    I’m not judging, I know what it is like to be on a board an not always know everything that is going on. But it is always our choice how we respond.

  138. RP, if the anonymous on here is the same Anonymous on the ‘Didyouknowitsimpossibletolickyourelbow’ blog, then I’d be very disturbed by what has taken place.

    If the comments on that post are true and accurate reflection of what was taking place at MM, then their practices were well out of order, and the ACCC was justified in penalising the board for their involvement.

    Promoting a service as free and then charging $500 per fortnight, or $1,000 per month, for the it is clearly abusive.

    I would like to see further verification of these sums, but the ACCC has made a judgement, and that would appear to confirm the complaint.

    The current maximum payment for Newstart is, I believe, $465 per fortnight for a single person. Full-time Austudy was around $475 per Fortnight. I don’t know what people were receiving five years ago, but say it was in the region of $400 per fortnight, then these girls would have been charged more than their monthly allowance. Can anyone in the know verify this?

    As for the email attempting to persuade the girls to defer receiving the amount awarded to them, perhaps there is a legal issue here and they should seek counsel, depending on the source of the email.

  139. There are alot of legal issue here. Anyone concerned should seek legal advice. There might be cause for a class action

  140. FL said “Incidentily in the Philippines the Catholic Church is selling indulgences on TV!!”. I’d be very surprised if the Catholic church is involved with anything like this in any country. Do you have a reference or link for this?

  141. FL: “I cannot speak for the Hillsong, MM, C3 etc leadership.

    It occurs to me that some of you would like to issue these statements to the leaders of Hillsong, C3 etc, but as they don’t come here, I’ll do!

    I’m not them.”

    Do you deny you are a CCC pastor FL?

  142. FL: “No one condones fraudulent preaching, heretic.”

    The frauds are people who preach tithing to believers. You admitted once that it was not supported from scripture but you preached it anyway “by faith” not “by law”. You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give. That is fraud.

  143. heretic,
    ‘You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give.’

    That is a flat out baseless lie!

  144. ‘The frauds are people who preach tithing to believers.’

    That would include hundreds of years of well-renowned preachers and teachers, come to think of it! 🙂

    If you’re going to make stupid allegations we have nothing to discuss, heretic!

  145. All I can say is … “AAaaaarrrrrggghhhhh!”

    So far on this thread, particularly in light of the MM discussion, I do not doubt FL’s sincerity.

    I would only point out that he is now strongly against what happened after the judgment of ACCC against MM.

    I disagree with the idea that SP02 has become a group think blog. We constantly sharpen one another.

    If I might be so bold, I would suggest that Greg sits on the liberal/contemplative side whereas I sit in the fundamentalist camp. (I know fundamentalist is now a pejorative word, but think of me as a conservative if that helps … or not.)

    We have a broad range of views. The thing that unites most of us is the anger we feel at blatant abuse of televangelists who make merchandise of God’s People. We share the anger of Jesus.

    Since FL has also expressed his anger and dismay about such abuses, we are actually in agreement on this. It is when we broaden the debate into “prosperity” that we end up fighting.

    Much of the problems in church theology come from not rightly “ploughing” the Word of God. (or dividing … which Darby took incorrectly and produced dispensationalism. [google it]).

    FL … can you give me a list of all references to God prospering His people in 2 lists please.

    List 1. Old Testament quotations.

    List 2. New Testament quotations.

    I will say nothing more at this stage except to say, please let FL post the reply.

    It is very important. Maybe I can learn something. The question just came to me so I thought I’d ask, so that I might get something besides “Aarggghhh!”.

    Shalom

  146. Oh, we had the Tithing debate ages ago.

    the Anti-Tithers won that one.

    FL tithes by faith not by law. I.e. you tithe if you want to. That’s fine.
    However, don’t expect anything in return is my response! 😉

    Shalom

  147. Yes, I agree Bull – we share some common passions and concerns here, but also have our differences, and its really great to have that. Love learning from everyone and from being challenged as different people put their views or questions; often a different slant to the one I might have first taken. I also particularly value the times we may disagree, but still treat one another with genuine respect. And I don’t think I’ve ever been so well equipped to handle random challenges on issues outside this blog before – when that happens now, typically we’ve already thrashed everything out here very thoroughly. So in fact, I have to hold my tongue, since others haven’t had that experience yet.

  148. And that is something I need to work on from time to time, being one of those people who talk before they’ve finished thinking at times. Nothing is impossible with God!

  149. Sorry Bull. Have to respond to the lie comment. FL can still give you his list although I suspect he will not.

    heretic,
    ‘You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give.’

    That is a flat out baseless lie!

    Hmm. Accusations of lying.

    Q1. You have previously stated that you tell your people to tithe “by faith”. Is this true? If so my statement stands and I am not the lier.

    Q2. You have stated above that you are not CCC leadership. But it is already been noted on the blog you are a CCC pastor. Is this a lie or do you strangely not regard a CCC pastor as a CCC leader?

  150. Well you know that I could do this and we would find hundreds of quotations in the Old Testament, and fewer in the New. I’m not so sure that there is space enough to place them. Which words would you like placed? Prosper, wealth, prosperity, bless, increase, multiply, benefits, etc?

  151. heretic,
    ‘You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give.’

    That is a flat out baseless lie!

  152. If you insist, heretic, but I warned you!

    Prosper

    Ge 24:40 “But he said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house.
    Ge 24:42 “And this day I came to the well and said, ‘O LORD God of my master Abraham, if You will now prosper the way in which I go,
    Ge 26:13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;
    Ge 39:3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand.
    Ge 39:23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.
    De 28:29 “And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you.
    De 29:9 “Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.
    De 30:5 “Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
    Jos 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
    Ru 4:11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.
    1Ki 2:3 “And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn;
    1Ki 22:12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, “Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the king’s hand.”
    1Ki 22:15 Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the hand of the king!”
    1Ch 22:11 “Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you.
    1Ch 22:13 “Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.
    2Ch 18:11 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, “Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the king’s hand.”
    2Ch 18:14 Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” And he said, “Go and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand!”
    2Ch 20:20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
    2Ch 24:20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you.’”
    2Ch 26:5 He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.
    Ne 1:11 “O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer.
    Ne 2:20 So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”
    Job 8:6 If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place.
    Ps 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
    Ps 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
    Pr 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
    Ec 11:6 In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.
    Isa 48:15 I, even I, have spoken; Yes, I have called him, I have brought him, and his way will prosper.
    Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
    Isa 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
    Jer 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
    Da 11:27 “Both these kings’ hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time.

    Prosperity

    1Sa 25:6 “And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have!
    1Ki 10:7 “However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard.
    Job 36:11 If they obey and serve Him, They shall spend their days in prosperity, And their years in pleasures.
    Ps 25:13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
    Ps 30:6 Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.”
    Ps 35:27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
    Ps 68:6 God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
    Ps 118:25 Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.
    Ps 122:7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.”
    Ec 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
    Jer 33:9 ‘Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’
    Da 4:27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
    Zec 1:17 “Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.”’”

    Prospering

    Ge 26:13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;
    Ps 10:5 His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.

    Prosperous

    Ge 26:13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;
    Ge 30:43 Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
    Jos 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
    Ps 22:29 All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive.
    Zec 8:12 ‘For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their dew–I will cause the remnant of this people To possess all these.

    Bless, blessed or blessing has 451 entries!

    Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

    De 28-2 “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
    3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
    4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
    5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
    6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

    Increase has 65 entries
    Wealth

    De 8:18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
    Ru 2:1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.
    2Ch 1:11-12 And God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life–but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king–wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
    Ps 112:3 Wealth and riches will be in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.
    Pr 8:21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.
    Pr 10:15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty.
    Pr 13:11 Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.
    Pr 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
    Pr 18:11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own esteem.
    Pr 19:4 Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend.
    Ec 5:19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor–this is the gift of God.
    Isa 60:5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
    Isa 60:11 Therefore your gates shall be open continually; They shall not be shut day or night, That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, And their kings in procession.
    Jer 49:31 “Arise, go up to the wealthy nation that dwells securely,” says the LORD, “Which has neither gates nor bars, Dwelling alone.
    Zec 14:14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations Shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.

    NT

    1Co 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
    3Jo 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

  153. FL, I did not insist.

    You accused me of lying. I asked two questions about the lying issue.

    I think it is telling that you chose not to answer them.

    Of course you still may.

  154. heretic, for the third time, you lied when you said, ‘You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give.’

  155. fl: “That is a flat out baseless lie!”

    It is hardly baseless. It is based on your statements.

    I have given you the opportunity to show me my error in my paraphrasing of your position which is:

    1. there is no biblical requirement for believers to tithe

    2. you teach them to tithe anyway “by faith”

    By not refuting them you have confirmed that both these points are correct.

    FL: “heretic, for the third time, you lied when you said, ‘You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give.’”

    From the above we can see that they don’t have to tithe.

    From the above we can see that you tell them to tithe.

    Therefore you are telling people they should be giving money in tithes that they do not have to give.

    Please explain where the lie is.

  156. If you want to put me in the corner, heretic, that’s OK, and keep the punches coming, because I’m attempting not to fight back, although, I have to ask, could you box Queensbury rules, and try to stay above the belt, please.

    I have to tell you, though, I’m human and probably have a point at which I’ll abandon cowering, and I’m also pretty sure of my ability and strength on this, so I’ll let you know just this truth, I have never forced anyone to to ever give out of their poverty. When you said that you lied. That is as strong as I’ll get for now.

    But I’ll tell you this, I’m far more likely to have given people with no money some seed for themselves and seed to sow to get them on their feet.

    Ask yourself: How can a person tithe on nothing, either by law or by faith?

  157. This has been interesting – just when I’m going away!

    “Either live by the Law or admit it’s impossible. Either teach absolute, systematic, no exceptions tithing or admit that we cannot do it.”

    The answer is to go back to Paul’s rule. Giving is between a man and his God. The left hand is not to know what the right hand is doing (Mat. 6:3). Let every person give according to their heart and quit motivating people by guilt and massive contradictions.

  158. and to give quietly, secretly, not in front of man. Not to tell others, only the Father (or perhaps your spouse of course):o)

  159. Just a clarification Heretic…

    “You tell people they should be giving money they do not have to give”

    Do you mean “They should be giving money they are not required to give”?

    Or do you mean “They should be giving money (that they dont have to give)”?

  160. The second sentence is essentially saying “They should be giving money that they dont have”

    I think Heretic may have meant the first sentence, and FL may have heard the second one.

  161. Good point Wazza, thank you for that. I was not saying FL instructs people to give what they cannot afford (not that such a practice is unusual). I will rephrase …

    The frauds are people who preach tithing to believers. You (FL) admitted once that it was not supported from scripture but you preached it anyway but “by faith” not “by law”. You tell people they should be giving money they are not required to give. That is fraud.

  162. The answer is to go back to Paul’s rule. Giving is between a man and his God. The left hand is not to know what the right hand is doing (Mat. 6:3). Let every person give according to their heart and quit motivating people by guilt and massive contradictions.

    – Teddy

    Amen

  163. FL if you are a Pastor in the CCC movement, then you share some responsibility for its doctrine and practice. You should either be ready to give an answer for it, or you should leave the movement.

    Pentecostalism today seems to have a loosely-coupled model of leadership and oversight. So when things are going fine, the leadership step up and take responsibility for it, emphasising their links with the organisation. When things turn bad the leadership or oversight deny their association and emphasise that their separation from that organisation. We see that now with Mercy Ministries – suddenly no one we know was ever in charge. “We werent there!!! Even when we were we werent told anything!!! I didnt know, I was even more deceived than you!!!” They suddenly turn from fearless overcoming leaders into pitiful deceived plebs – only to rise again like the phoenix into overcoming leaders.

    Anyway I dont know why you wont admit your leadership in the CCC movement, its not as if you are doing something you should be ashamed of, like being a real-estate agent or something.

  164. I think parts of this conversation hav become dangerous.

    I think any statement that a person is lying should not be based on paraphrase – bluntly that is not very bright.

    And I’m not sure if there is time to trawl through however many comments to find the direct quotes.

    Thank you for putting up those scriptures.

    Clearly God does want us to prosper and be blessed, but I think in the absence of context this doesn’t help.

    To clarify this issue there has to be a nuber of questions at that go along with this:

    What is prosperity? Are there different types?

    Are there different sources of prosperity?

    Are they always of God?

    What is Godly prosperity (if there is such a thing)?

    Is prosperity ephemeral or eternal? What’s the difference?

    If forced to choose do we pick ephemeral or eternal?

    What does the reality of life have to say on a global plane?

    What do most people – whether the be Christian or not – choose?

  165. To continue.

    FL has posted up a heap of quotes indicating God wants to bless and for us to prosper.

    OK, and yet we also have these Scriptures.

    Ps 10

    Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.” His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.” Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The LORD is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

    Which clearly indicates another reality.

    There are 39 references to the fatherless, and 42 to widows.

    There are a 178 references to the poor, and 82 to the weak

    The simple fact that they are there forget about the individual context for a minute indicates that not all are prosperous in the 21st century or unchurched meaning despite in many instances a clear faith.

    The widow with her two mites who was held up by Jesus as an example of faithful giving – where was her prosperity.

    Solomon also said:

    So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.

    And then he says:

    “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

    In relation to riches Solomon syas:

    If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. 9 The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.

    and then

    Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”

    And finally…

    “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

    I have seen something else under the sun:
    The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

    So then, what is true, real and lasting prosperity?

    In what or who do we find it?

    Where was Jephthah’s and his daughter’s propserity?

    Where was Jesus’?

    Where was Cain’s?

    He was given instructions:

    Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

    Jesus said:

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ……So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

    Here’s my last question: when will they be given to us, and what is the potential problem with even posing that question.

  166. Life is simple, but we come to the simplicity of it only by battling through all the complexities and the feelings that those complex situation bring up.

    Prosperity in my opinion is an attitude. Some people will set bench marks and decided to feel prosperous when they meet those targets. Others will never feel prosperous – no matter what they gain in life.

    For me, I have accepted life in Christ, so I will accept the blessing and prosperity that it brings in whatever form (a loving family, friends, enjoyable work etc etc). If these are taken away (like Job), I hope I can decide to go through hardship to still recognise the prosperity of the freedom to call Him Lord.

  167. MN, I just love Ecclesiastes; its been one of my favourite books for years, and for some reason I find it gives me joy to read it, rather than depression. I know some people find it depressing, but I find it enormously encouraging. Reading through that again, all I can really say thinking upon today as well, is – ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. 🙂

    Yes, I have to agree with Muppet, that prosperity is an attitude. In God, we can never just base our lives on what is seen, touched and measured. The intangible blessings cannot be stolen.

    Mn – in terms of when these things will be given to us – I believe we have them now. The more we abide in Him, the more we know this and to really know it is also to experience it. God’s Kingdom is here now; his Kingdom is in our hearts, and we walk in it if we choose to. His transforming power is released in our lives when we do. If we don’t, then we don’t see that. It takes faith. Is that too esoteric?

  168. No not at all RP – think Eph 2

    And I agree with Muppet.

    The issue about “when” can become problematic if seeking God’s kingdom first is a means to get the other more important goodies.

    That’s what I see as the key issue with the prosperity based teaching.

    My hope and prosperity is in God in the here and now, and also for what is to come.

    “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

    It’s all about what is of value. God is our treasure, and is it a terribly smart thing having found our treasure, to sell it off again to buy the other stuff back?

  169. heretic,
    ‘You tell people they should be giving money they are not required to give. That is fraud.’

    Well, as I’ve said many times before, I don’t. That is your extreme misunderstanding of it.

    In fact, What I teach is that every person should give according to what they purpose in their heart; not grudgingly, or of necessity. If person feels they are required to give then they are giving of necessity. There is no obligation on giving of necessity. If person begrudges giving, then there is no obligation on them to give.

    God loves a cheerful giver. Those who purpose to give cheerfully have a promise from God, that he is able to make all grace abound towards them, and that they will always have all sufficiency in all things to abound to every good work.

    Gd also provides seed for the sower and bread for the eater, and multiplies the seed sown, increasing the fruits of our righteousness, is that we’re enriched in everything in all liberality of giving, which brings about thanksgiving towards God through us.

    I didn’t make that up, or get it out of a C3 or Hillsong manual! It’s right there in your own Bible. I teach what the Bible says. Why would I go outside of these guidelines for giving?

    mn,
    Bull asked me to put up every scripture which speaks of God’s will for prospering his people. I did so.

    wazza2,
    Thanks for clearing up that misunderstanding of what heretic wrote. You see how poorly phrased English can cause confusion. I made the same mistake once which heretic continues to misunderstand, and which caused him to banish me. NOw, I guess e’ll call it quits! 🙂

    I withdraw my accusation that he is a liar, but instead I repeat that he is mistaken. I am not a fraud.

  170. FL has gone to church to try and buy his way to Heaven. He soon shall return to try and confuse and bemuse. He can never reveal his true identity and say exactly which church he attends. The mystery contintues, and the plot thickens….

  171. FL:

    In fact, What I teach is that every person should give according to what they purpose in their heart; not grudgingly, or of necessity. If person feels they are required to give then they are giving of necessity. There is no obligation on giving of necessity. If person begrudges giving, then there is no obligation on them to give.

    FL you previously stated that you teach “tithing by faith”. Do you teach it or not?

  172. Fl has been trying to lure ex-pat penties back to the mother church and although tempted by prosperity type scipts no-one returns. Fl will return with vigour and more tantilising scripts and scrolls, as he scrolls down they many debates he himself has ignited. FL you must start your own website where hurt, injured and disenchanted ex-megachurch goers can find more nonsensical beliefs and continue to suffer, as longsuffering is part of the walk….

  173. FL: “I made the same mistake once which heretic continues to misunderstand”

    Hardly, the fact that you are currently threatening S&P shows that threats are what you do. Sorry FL I just don’t believe you. Your recent patterns of behaviour don’t support your words.

    Anyway it is not me who is banning you it is S&P. Your appeal should be to him. I am not sure how you could in all seriousness be asking for the result of one threat to be undone while at the same time threatening the administrator of the blog who has the power to undo the ban. Up to you I suppose.

  174. The wounds are opening up again (not mine).

    I’m not enjoying this – starting to seem rather pointless.

  175. mn: “It’s all about what is of value. God is our treasure, and is it a terribly smart thing having found our treasure, to sell it off again to buy the other stuff back?”

    Absolutely agree with Muppet and mn.

    The prosperity verses of the OT are fulfilled in Jesus. He is the treasure that the OT verses are shadows of. Relationship with him is a treasure beyond price. The prosperity the prosperity doctrine offers are filthy rags in comparison.

    On the other hand we are rich because our Father owns everything and works all things to our good. But giving us stuff because we follow religious laws is not to our own good.

    Jesus is clear about in what form this prosperity is received in this life in Mark 10:

    29Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, (Z)there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,

    30but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in (AA)the age to come, eternal life.

    I have heard it said that this shows that if I donate a house I will get 100 physical houses for myself. But if I donate a mother will I get 100 physical mothers? Of course not.

    Jesus is saying that his body (us) owns hundreds of houses and we are fathers and mothers and brothers to each other. We have all the riches because we have each other.

  176. “I’m not enjoying this – starting to seem rather pointless”

    Yes last time I just walked away. I don’t feel that way yet.

  177. Well, there are some new threads now to move on to…

    Got to give credit to Doz – he knew when to shake the dust off his feet. 🙂

  178. heretic,
    I won’t discuss everything said to s&p since that was a private conversation and a personal request to which he hasn’t responded. Had I thought RP would make our private conversation public as she has, I would have not made her privy to it. For that I apologise. It was a misjudgement on my part. I had placed a high amount of trust in her integrity, which I still feel is intact, but I am rather nonplussed by her action. Lesson learned!

    The use of the word ‘threat’ is misleading. Your word not mine. You’re not supposed to know anything about this conversation, so I don’t know why you’d make that assessment. I asked s&p to clarify some things for me, which he has not, so far. I suggest we do not discuss this publicly, since it was always a private conversation by email, and s&p has yet to respond. You know my email address.

    Final thing on this. I wrote to s&p a few days ago to say I am taking no action at this stage regardless of his intentions. I made that decision in view of family involvement. I am also in private discussions with Bull on this in hope of a positive outcome to a difficult decision. So you see I have taken private counsel from members involved, and nothing is concluded.

    People will have to speculate as to who is right or wrong in this, and if they choose to judge me harshly then so be it. God is my Chief Witness, and that is what counts in the great scheme of things.

    mj’s comments are unwarranted an unkind. I’m not sure why you would find them funny, except I’m glad to have provided you both with some light relief at least! 🙂

    I have told Bull my occupation and why I am taking time on a decision to reveal it. Perhaps he will clarify some things for you privately.

    Your confronting style in regard to my blog persona could also be said to be reflective of what you are, but I suspect you are actually a very nice person. Very angry at some people you see as Pastors who don’t fit the bill for you. Aggressively active against Pastors you see as even suggesting there may be such a thing as tithing in the Bible. Fine. I’m sure you’re a gentle, kind person in reality.

    I don’t see the point of going over tithing with you again. Your mind is made up. No other perspective is allowable.

    I’ll leave you with this thought. There are a great many people in the Body of Christ who travel interstate and relocate, who enter churches like ours where we have a revised, relaxed view on giving, including a non-legalistic understanding of tithing, but whose understanding is closer to the legal tithing teaching. There are a great many people who read their Bibles and have concluded that they want to tithe to bless God. Others adamantly believe tithing is a must, so they expect to be able to tithe. According to you they’re all frauds. According to you they’re so far in error that they probably can’t be saved! mj would consider them to be paying their way to heaven.

    From a pastoral perspective, you do not cut them down, or rebuke them, or bring aggressive correction. You give sound teaching, and ensure that they grasp the truth as best they can. I am under no obligation to force anyone to do anything. My task is to reveal truth. My purpose in God is the well-being of the flock.

    You have no responsibility to anyone but Christ, yourself and your family. You do not attend a local church. You are not being Pastored. You are free of the church, whilst being in the Church. You only have to think about what you are going to give and where.

    Pastors have the care of their flocks to consider, and with it a great many different perspectives, partnerships, levels of understanding and ideas, and ways of doing things to help arrange into some kind of free-flowing order and harmony. Your charges of fraudulence are grieving. You have no idea how hurtful they are. Maybe that was the idea. I hope not. Pastors are answerable to God for the care of their flocks. It is a fearful thing to fall short of God’s will for his children.

    Charges of fraudulence, and s&p’s charges of ministers being wolves, witches or their churches cults, are, to me, extreme charges, and worthy of great condemnation from God if true. That is why I have written to him in part. He needs to clarify, in my opinion. Fraud is wicked. Being a wolf is wicked. Wirchcraft is evil. Cultishness is an affront to God. This is no joking matter.

    My take that the tithe principle is a good one to follow is purely personal and one my entire family is in agreement with in regard to giving. I am under no obligation to do so, but I choose to do so. That way I can give cheerfully and my giving is blessed.

    I tell people that is what we do. I recommend the tenth as a sensible option. It was God’s idea. It was equitable for all. It is fair. I do not force it on anyone. Better not to give if you can’t do it cheerfully.

    I’m sorry, for you, that I had to use the word ‘principle’ in there. I know that irks you! Too bad. It’s actually a good English word, and very applicable to many things in life.

  179. There are hundreds of websites and blogs about tithing. This isn’t some new idea that tithing 10% of your gross is disputable. Why does FL come here all the time, sneaks in under another name? My slant on it is that he attends a local megachurch and is keeping tabs. He has not revealed on the site openly where he attends. So no response is yes? If that were the case it could be classed as cyber-bullying…I don’t think anyone is worried about people that do tithe if that’s what they want to do. Its about Jesus and what he thinks….

  180. My take on Facelift comes from a different perspective these days. For at least 20 years I would have sided with FL on every point. I’m the Clayton’s Facelift sometimes, remember MN?

    When the Lord revealed His total sovereignty over my life and took me out of the charismatic/pentecostal movement, it was the worst time of my life. I never believed that I could come to the position I hold now in reformed theology.

    I understand how FL feels defending his position and that’s his journey. I think we now need to cut him some slack and include him (if for no other reason than he certainly challenges everyone re their views).

    He has apologised enough, does he need to grovel? He seems to “enjoy” the dialogue and we can’t accuse him of not loving and serving the Lord to the best of his ability. What is the general consensus here? It can be a dry old blog at times! 🙂 I would much rather dialogue with FL than Matt (unteachable) Ford!!

  181. anonymous – you can contact me privately at ravingpente@gmail.com – feel free to do so.

    FL said:
    “Final thing on this. I wrote to s&p a few days ago to say I am taking no action at this stage regardless of his intentions. I made that decision in view of family involvement.”

    Thank you for that, FL, and thank you for not acting in haste re the issues you are concerned about.

    Regarding you revealing your identity here – I don’t think that’s necessary. The most that would be relevant, if you are considering it, is simply denomination and level of leadership involvement. Not location or specific church. Most of us have only revealed our denomination and level of leadership if we have it. Other things, such as secular occupation or general geographic location, are interesting, but not necessarily relevant.

    Regarding revealing the conversation; a brief gist is as far as I’d go (much less than the lengthy email content), because in my opinion it became relevant to the community here in the context of the discussion. (Unless S&P were to be revealed himself in a very personal way as a result of any action but that is not relevant now.) You must also know that S&P is in charge of his own actions, and is the only administrator here, so the nature of what he posts is under his control only. It is quite possible that you will find a lot more of it inflammatory in the future, so I guess this matter may raise its head again.

    Re fraud – I’m personally not going to call every person who teaches tithing a fraud, even though I think the doctrine is a lie (and yes, obtaining money by deception is fraud, so the doctrine is fraudulent) and very harmful to a lot of people, directly and indirectly. There are other doctrines which are wrong, some of which I might myself believe are true, and teaching a wrong doctrine doesn’t make us frauds in my view – it just makes us wrong. We can still do much damage until we wake up to it, of course. Heretic’s logic there is his own (he knows what I think of course). If we were knowingly teaching things or manipulating people emotionally to do things which are not required, then yes, we would be frauds.

    Teddy, I would have backed FL once on all points as well. I am interested in consensus opinion, but personally feel that the blog has now more participants and we get further in our discussions on issues when he is not here. This has always been something which we have mixed feelings about.

    Our community grew when he was absent, and shrank before he left. He does not reflect the same sense of mission that the rest of us here often have, and strongly undermines that purpose, though there are other points on which we do agree. It is more fiery when he is here, which can be entertaining, but I couldn’t handle it in the long run, to be honest. The fruit of our discussions is generally not that great. I think his return would result in several people ultimately leaving again. Forgive me if I presume here, but that list could include MN, Wazza2, Heretic, S&P and myself. In the long run; we all have our threshold where the effort isn’t worth it anymore. I’d rather avoid that outcome.

  182. On the other hand, it is possible that the blog may ‘dry up’ here over time. 🙂 Since I have a reflector/theorist learning style, and don’t have the gift of writing humour though I enjoy it when others do, I’m aware that some topics might be a bit boring. I’ve lost my angst. S&P can provide the fire, and the other authors who feel led in that direction. Some of us want to attack and expose off the wall ministries; others prefer not to attack in that way, and discuss dodgy teachings and practices – the latter is bound to be less interesting to some of us, but its the only way I’m comfortable writing. I also prefer productive discussions, rather than roundabouts arguing over whose behaviour here is right or wrong.

    Have a good holiday, Teddy. Hope you get better weather than we’ve had for the last week or two!

  183. Fantastic! Have heaps of fun!

    BTW – we have relatives in the UK who’ve been snowed in over the last week or so.

  184. I dont mind people having different views, I often debate with atheists but we are very civil and can also laugh at ourselves. Its not what you do sometimes but how you do it

  185. mj: “I dont mind people having different views, I often debate with atheists but we are very civil and can also laugh at ourselves. Its not what you do sometimes but how you do it”

    I agree 100% with you where this is the case. For example Doz came in and we had real discussion about scripture. In the end Doz did not prevail in the discussion and went elsewhere.

    FL on the other hand just makes stuff up. You get stuff like this above “According to you they’re so far in error that they probably can’t be saved!” over and over straw-man arguments rather than discussions of the scripture. If you can be bothered you start refuting the straw-man arguments but typically you have other things to do (some of us have to work and can’t sit around on blogs all day) and it is not worth the effort.

    So I agree I am all for real discussion with people of all persuasions where this is really the case.

  186. FL: “I don’t see the point of going over tithing with you again. Your mind is made up. No other perspective is allowable.”

    Err, you and I have already had the tithing discussion. You agreed at the time that there is no biblical instruction for believers to tithe.

    You then said your church teaches “tithing by faith”. I challenged you on what such a statement might mean but you did not choose to debate it.

    I have no problem starting the debate up again. Happy to start a new thread or go back to the old one.

    FL: “Your charges of fraudulence are grieving.”

    I have provided you the logic and you have chosen not to debate it. Up to you. I have so far been reflecting your statement that you teach “tithing by faith” but you seem to be retracting that (see below). If you are not in fact teaching tithing then you are not perpetuating that particular financial fraud.

    FL: “I tell people that is what we do . I recommend the tenth as a sensible option. It was God’s idea. It was equitable for all. It is fair. I do not force it on anyone. Better not to give if you can’t do it cheerfully.”

    So now are you saying that you don’t teach tithing? You don’t teach people that they need to give a tenth? Then you are not perpetuating a financial fraud. Great 🙂

  187. i would rather not go there anymore either. I don’t agree with pressuring people to tithe 10% of gross (thats for any church that does that). Its just plain and simple for me. I don’t feel pressured to but i do think one should give in one’s own life when a person is in a need (of any creed, race or religion), Jesus said, “when i was hungry you don’t not feed me, when i was….” I stand by that scripture for giving

  188. I’ve told you that before, heretic! 🙂
    ________________________________________

    On faith: The just shall live by his faith. If we don’t live by faith we cannot please God. Faith is our lifestyle. Therefore whatever we do involves faith.

    Galatians 3:7-9
    ‘Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.’

    Romans 4:16
    Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…

    So the seed of Abraham includes those under law, and those under grace, who is the father of all through faith. And the Seed of Abraham is Christ, who fulfilled the law and brought us under grace through faith in Him.
    _________________________________________

    In regard to some people’s understanding of the tithe: I will say, from previous discussions, that we have a fundamental difference of opinion regarding the role of Melchizadek and Abraham, and the types portrayed at their meeting at Salem, which is also evidenced by the writer to the Hebrews. If it were not evidenced by the writer to the Hebrews then there would not be any real connotations for the New Testament, or for believers. As I say, I won’t go over this with you again unless you are prepared to allow the discussion to be ridicule and accusation free.

    In my opinion this present site isn’t a very good place to discuss this because of the extreme feelings of the majority of contributors, and I would be a lone voice facing multiple disagreement. Which would not be helpful, really. That is not meant as a criticism of the people on this site.

    I’m happy to give my views, but I don’t think it would serve any purpose here. However, in view of some of the understanding by other ministers of these passages, ie that there is some merit in considering Abram’s tithe an act of faith, calling people who teach ‘tithing by faith’ (for want of better terminology) fraudulent is not helpful, and more likely to stifle debate or discussion than encourage it, so, in the end, it goes nowhere and we have a stale-mate.

    The unfortunate thing here is that critics like Russell Kelly, with whom I had a long debate with over some of these issues, have gained great milage amongst some groups by attacking the teaching on the tithe rather than handing it with a more conciliatory approach.

    ‘Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.’

    Russell refused to see the possibilities in the Melchisadek connection, and, rather than comment and produce reasons for any error, resorted to insulting me. I considered that an admission that he had no way of refuting the possibility.
    ________________________________________

    On ‘straw-men’: I say a great many things, probably too much, when discussing issues. If you only search for and respond to what you perceive as ‘straw-men’, then you only have yourself to blame for not ignoring them and commenting on the rest of the content. 🙂

    However, using your mode of argument, in view of the fact that God hates fraudulence, and you claim tithing doctrine is fraudulent, it follows that you would consider these people both frauds, therefore being deceivers, who will not see the kingdom of heaven, and thus disqualified from salvation.

  189. FL: “As I say, I won’t go over this with you again unless you are prepared to allow the discussion to be ridicule and accusation free.”

    Deal. As long as the discussion is about what the scripture actually says and not speculation or what other people say about it (excluding explanations of word-meaning, cultural norms etc).

    Also ridicule includes straw-man arguments. That is their purpose. You set up a ridiculous point of view and then knock it down.

    I will start a new thread.

  190. God considers stealing, lying and oppressing your brother wrong….oh and pride one of the worst sins. This is His view. I follow Him only.

  191. About prosperity and tithing. I feel like we’re getting mixed messages from you on these subjects FL.Interested to see how you do on the new thread.

    If people decide to give ten percent or five percent or seven percent of their income to the church without compulsion, just as a way of being dedicated in their giving, and without the legalism that would cause them to feel compelled to give it no matter what their circumstance looked like then who cares? If they are told and believe things like “God can’t bless you if you don’t” even if it’s qualified by, “you’re not compelled to” It’s a whole other story. If they are told and believe God can’t bless them then that is compulsion, it’s coercive and it’s greater pressure than being harangued from the pulpit.

    About prosperity, I think to prosper in general is to succeed. To prosper is to do well. John hopes Gaius does well even as his soul does well. Paul prays that he might have a prosperous or successful journey to Rome. The third and only reference to the term prosperity in the NT from where FL draws the quote about giving generously is Paul asking the Corinthians to donate as God has prospered them, in other words according to their level of income, for redistribution to poor brothers. Some had more, others less. There’s no indication that those who were poor had somehow failed to apply the right techniques as prosperity preachers would suggest. Nobody considered the Macedonian brothers faithless, in fact they gave out of their deep poverty, not money, because they were very poor, but they gave everything else they could. They gave themselves.

    The idea that the Corinthians will have their needs supplied and that they will have all grace abound toward them is the afterthought and not the motivation. A comfort to them and not the reason for giving. They had already committed for over a year to give a donation to the Macedonians. Because the Macedonians had desperate needs. Incidentally, the Macedonians where also described as having all grace abounding and they were dirt poor. He also tells the corinthians about the supply of their needs after he’s described how he personally won’t be taking any money. Why is that? Because he had a lucrative book deal going on with a big Roman publisher? Not enough donkeys to carry all his share of the denarii? No, Because he didn’t want to do anything to hinder the Gospel. Sometimes i think about how careful those brothers would have been with that money. How careful, scrupulous in fact. I don’t imagine any of them charged with distributing that offering would go out and buy himself a new cloak. They would have kept their own needs very sparse.

    Christians are encouraged to generously look after each other and the poor. That in sowing generously towards the needs of poor churches God would provide help for their needs in the future. Namely bread, a surplus to give to others, and the the fruit of righteousness, rewards or treasure in heaven and it would result in praise to God because of their generosity toward their poor, needy brethren. It’s not a magic formula or recipe for incantations, a get rich scheme or motivation for giving rather than the heartfelt desire to help the poor. It’s a comfort to believers and a call to faith and generosity. It doesn’t teach that believers who are poor or struggling are that way because of their ignorance, miserly attitude or lack of faith. It doesn’t promise wealth to consume on luxuries or desires beyond needs. It does say that after your needs are met you’ll have left over to help others. That’s consistent with the idea of being content with food and clothing.

    Paul wasn’t trying to fix the financial problems of corinth by offfering a formula for success. If that was his point he should have been telling it to the Macedonians. They were the struggling ones. he wasn’t offering a formula for the personal enrichment of pastors. He was trying to redistribute to the poor Macedonians. He wanted to create equity by supply to the macedonians who lacked, with what the corinthians had that was more than they needed. There is absolutely no slight against the Macedonians for struggling or being less than generous, faithless or stingy resulting in their lack. The opposite in fact, they received praise for their incredible generosity and faith. Their poverty was going to be relieved, not through magic formulas or saying the right words but through the generosity of their corinthian brethren. It wasn’t going to miraculously appear, it was coming from a donation from another church who were far better off.

    That’s the difference between biblical generosity, the meeting of needs, equity in the church and the prosperity (get wealth) gospel. The one gives generously to the poor because they are poor, believing God will also help us in time of need and bless us with the necessities of life overflowing to the needs of others.

    The other gives money to the rich pastor so they can also be rich or believes that by giving money to the pastor and the church his financial excesses and woes will be miraculously fixed. The prosperity Gospel teaches that the reason, the very reason you struggle is that you have not applied the principles. That you don’t tithe so God ‘can’t’ help you. That you struggle because you don’t give enough or have faith enough. I’m not saying that’s what FL believes. I don’t really know anymore what you believe FL.

    No-one I know opposes generosity or a God who provides. What I oppose is blaming the poor for being in a struggling circumstance, accusing them by default of being faithless or ungenerous. I oppose the idea that all Christians should be wealthy (by the worlds standard) and all the other like things prosperity teachers teach. I have nothing whatsoever against middle- class, well off, or very well off – wealthy, Christians. Nothing at all. If people work hard in their chosen field or if they study, invest time in uni degrees and so forth to secure a well paying job that’s great. Some will receive more in their job, others less. The well off should help the struggling. Anyway, sorry for the lack of references, basically 2 corinthians 8 and 9.

  192. Well summed up, Hal. That was the typical message.

    Our ex-pastor told us that people could not be blessed unless they tithed. It was the first bit of advice offered to people who were struggling financially.

  193. Forgot to add:

    There were a couple of different versions. One actually promised riches, miracles and answered prayer, especially for financial issues, if you tithed faithfully, and more so if you gave to a sacrificial level on top of your tithe.

    The other version was softer; didn’t promise you vast wealth etc, but certainly taught that ongoing blessing and needs would be met if you tithed, and that to not tithe was to cut yourself off from God’s blessing.

  194. It’s a really damaging doctrine RP. When things don’t turn out the way the pastor says it starts the merry-go-round of all the additional things you have to do to make it work. Before long your “commanding” the money to come to you or yelling for the devil to take his hands off your money and on it goes…

  195. I’m really sorry … but it is impossible to read every word … there is just so much.

    Regarding FL’s identity. He has already expressed on this blog and in private email conversation with me that the main reason for his anonymity is because he travels to Muslim countries and witnesses there. If identities were checked out and cross-referenced (easy nowadays), then people’s lives are at risk.

    This is a very serious point. Christians in Turkey a couple of years ago were literally butchered in a little prayer meeting/bible study. So even in a “civilised” western-style democracy, witnessing to Muslims carries great danger.

    FL is anonymous for a very good reason. I have no reason to doubt him. As I have family connections (in-laws) in M’sia, I cannot be too candid about my identity either.

    Ripping each other apart isn’t helping any of us.

    This money thing is actually a very, very big distraction. It’s a softening up exercise. (I still hate the money gospel … seems too close to the money changers in the temple for me. Everyone has agreed that tithing+signs’n’wonders/HellTV-money-merchants are a real bad thing too.)

    It’s a softening up exercise because the NAR is the biggest threat to the church. Once the new Super-Apostles are the accepted Authority, then the Bible will be compromised by new apostolic decrees and new scriptures being written by chief apostle Peter Wagner.

    I believe now that with this kind of Christian Fascism, people like me who wish to hold onto Sola Scriptura will be forced to wear a yellow cross stitched onto my coat to mark me out from others who accept the new breed.
    ==================================================
    “Don’t be arrogant but be afraid. For if God did not spare the Natural branches, He will not spare you either.”

    I know it is out of context … but it speaks powerfully to me. The context is the nature of Salvation and if Gentiles can also be cut off, after accepting Jesus and being grafted into the Jewish Olive Tree. “Don’t you gentiles boast over those natural branches that have been cut off, they were cut off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Don’t be arrogant, but be afraid, for if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.”

    I believe that since God did not spare the natural branches in the Holocaust, he will not spare us either. The thing is, when this kind of pressure came on the Jewish people, they could not escape it … it was a racial question.

    When this kind of pressure comes on believers, we can avoid it, but only by abandoning Jesus. This is becoming an increasing burden and I am sorry if this possibility either upsets you or even if you think that this is impossible. But Jesus told us that we would have to pick up a cross to follow him. I think that I will end up preaching this message … I pray that it will be soon.
    ======================================================
    Right … now I am feeling pretty low … so it’s coffee time.

    Shalom

  196. Hal said:

    It’s a really damaging doctrine RP. When things don’t turn out the way the pastor says it starts the merry-go-round of all the additional things you have to do to make it work.

    It is a damaging doctrine. We know a wonderful person who gave well over 10% for 20 years. At the end of it she had minimal assets since she had given it all away.

    When the pastor said that tithing results in being financially secure we (in private) mentioned our friend to him the pastor without a blink of an eye said “they did something wrong”. So in CCC the actual doctrine is that to be financially secure you must tithe and not do anything wrong. Or as you say, to do other unspecified things. So much for the simple principle of tithing.

  197. “FL is anonymous for a very good reason. I have no reason to doubt him. As I have family connections (in-laws) in M’sia, I cannot be too candid about my identity either.”

    Bull – I hope you know that no-one has been asking FL to say his name (not that I’ve noticed), or anything more than the level of position he’s held and overall denomination. Nothing actually identifying. For example – ‘a minister in an Anglican church’ is not identifying. On the other hand, if he was ‘senior pastor of the Church of Facelift’ – that would be extremely identifying, but I don’t think that’s the case here! 🙂

    I totally agree that it is most unedifying to rip into eachother. Still, the blog views sure do increase when we get into a stoush, so perhaps everyone actually enjoys the entertainment???

    Re the NAR – we haven’t seen a big influence here in Australia _yet_ that I am aware of. That is, no major denomination that I know of aligns themselves with the NAR. It’s more an alternative thing here, which people seem to come across in some smaller or newer Pente churches or via the internet or books.

    It is definitely worth looking at their doctrines re Apostolic leadership. We have an issue where we have denominations who believe in 5 fold ministry and have their own apostles, but who don’t necessarily recognise the NAR apostles – so there is similar doctrine but inconsistency in outcome. Perhaps you could suggest a starting point for some of these things.

  198. I agree that saying that you are a church leader in the C3 denomination would still retain a certain amount of anonymity … the truth is, most C3 church websites have a list of pastor/leaders on them so, it might be very easy to cross-reference that listing and look for people to watch out for.

    So in that instance … should the church drop his name from the leaders rota so we can suss out his level of involvement?

    Just to satisfy our curiosity? No one has suggested outing him … I agree.

    However, I could now look him up and I think that I found him from some info you unintentionally leaked RP.

    He/she could be one of half a dozen people.

    Or it could be a red herring. Or I could be completely making it up.

    Umm … what was in that coffee? 😮

    I’m not having a go … I’m thinking really hard … what have I really been doing? What have we been doing? What has FL been doing?

    We’ve missed the point. I have missed the point. Let us remember those in prison who are suffering for Jesus, right now.

    Return to the fight tomorrow if you want. I might join in!

    Shalom.

  199. I want to make it clear that I had no qualms with Facelift until he threatened RP.

    I’ve been stubborn for a very long time in keeping him here. I honestly like diversity of opinion and wish to very much promote it. The more different opinions there are, the more was is open to learn differences.

    In a lot of ways I liked Facelift because he made the site popular because of his controversial opinions. People would respond. I never wanted to get rid of him. Me and him would have some very intense arguments.

    However, when people started leaving, I started to question his motives. People e-mailed me their concerns about him. Someone rightly pointed out via e-mail that a lot of the topics were revolving around him more then the articles.

    When people started leaving I defended Facelift’s cause and case for being Signposts02 and held to the idea that Signpsts02 was a place for everyone to express their views and opinions. However, I think I made a comment to Facelift to change his tact, which he did not.

    Threatening RP was the last straw. Oddly enough, I actually didn’t kick him off. I was extremely sad that had to happen because as much as I disagreed with him, I loved him as ‘Pinyata’. 😀

  200. For me i just don’t want any more spiritual abuse, or, see anyone else cop that type of abuse. Power and control is evident in some people that are under power and control. So I forgive people who are being manipulated. I have people close to me in pentie churches. Its the blind leaders and guides that annoy me, if they read this pls read Matt 23:4, 23:15 and repent and be cleansed, oh well, i tried

  201. Now that FaceLift is banned I would like him to go. Everyone noticed the SignPosts02 environment improved without him.

    He has shown he has disregarded my request to stay off SP02 and has acted deceptively by continually coming on under different alias.

    This thread, once again in my eyes, is revolving around him again. Typical.
    Facelift. Please go away.

    The only reason why you’re there in the banner is to prove that you’re proging to be the fly in sheep’s clothing (you wont go away) and remain a pinyata as you beat your chest and like the idea that you’re crucyfing yourself as some sort of martyr.

  202. I am involved in C3 whether I like it or not. If I don’t go to the church, I’m involved. If I go, I can actually do good work rather then run.

    My friends and family are integrated with the movement. This is why I cannot easily escape it’s grasp.

    Phil Pringle offers delusion. I see those that fall and shatter and become disillusioned with the movement. Thank God that God wishes to use me at all to help those that fail in the eyes of C3’s standard of perfection and unbiblical glory.

    What I have heard from the pulpit is wrong. What I have seen is wrong. On a few occasions, what I have seen is horrifically wrong. Dare I say exactly what they are- I am narrowing my identification online.

    I have been appalled by the things that have been said behind the pulpit. Pringle has even merged the idea (through prayer) the idea that we are saved through our giving of money.

    That is pure manipulation whether he realised he said this or not.

    In his prayer meetings I’ve heard him pray against the spirits of ‘cynicism, cricism and backsliding’ and those who are under those influences.

    The church appears to be in financial trouble as he is using the tithe doctrine to ferociously whip people to give. To quote how black and white he has got on this doctrine: “If you’re Christian – you tithe!”

    Fear, condemnation, lies, false hopes and desires are used to keep the saints their bound and it breaks my heart to see my families and friends deal with such appalling leadership.

  203. One more thing.

    The more authors we have on Signposts02, the more various things we have to discuss.

    Everyone seems to see where my focus seems to lie. Unfortunately, my passion can get the better of me and I can say some stupid things. Fortunately, I am open to listen and make changes if people make comments about what I have written or said.

    My username is a reminder for myself to make me wonder if I am being a hypocrite or reasonable in the issues that I believe need to be looked at.

    I also do realise that people like to be challenged with controversial topics. Maybe this is an artform I need to master. I pray that you all will be blessed at Signposts02 and that the issues I raise may sharpen the minds of all of you.

    S&P

  204. Houston has never pointed out the credit card facilities in the foyer. Why would he? He does point out the people can give money by credit card using the envelopes on their seats.

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