THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, who convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is the agent of God in the regeneration of the lost. He is the gift of Christ to the church indwelling all believers, sealing them in the body of Christ unto the day of redemption. He is the divine teacher who guides believers into all truth. He imparts the gifts of the Spirit as found in Scripture. (John 16:6-15; Titus 3:5-7; John 14:17; John 15:26; Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
.. SECTION 2 – THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, inerrant and infallible in their original writing. They are the supreme and final authority for faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Peter 3:16)
.. SECTION 7 – THE KINGDOM OF GOD
We believe the Kingdom of God to be God’s right to rule, which was prophesied through the law and prophets, and came to fulfillment in Jesus Christ. We believe Jesus to be the King in the Kingdom, which is working for consummation at the end of this age. (Mark 1:14; Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20; Luke 17:20-21; Revelations 19:11-16; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Revelation 11:15)
.. SECTION 10 – MISSION OF THE CHURCH
The mission of the church is to demonstrate the power and reality of the Kingdom of God on the earth, specifically through the transformation of people’s lives into the likeness of Jesus by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit. The biblical means of accomplishing this is evangelism and discipleship. God fulfills His purpose for His church through local churches. (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 3:10; Matthew 28:19; Colossians 2:19)
.. THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving the bread and the cup, according to the appointing of Jesus Christ, His death is proclaimed. Those who worthily partake, in remembrance of Him, feed upon Him to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace, have their union and communication with Him confirmed, and testify and renew their thankfulness and commitment to God and their mutual love and fellowship with each other as members of the same body. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24)
I have been preaching for 20 years. Yesterday I did something that I have never done before in a sermon. I publicly called out false teachers and named them by name. I said:
If you listen to Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, if you take what they teach seriously, it will not be good for you. It will be detrimental to your long-term growth as a follower of Jesus.
(You can watch my sermon here.)
I used to think that their error was so blatantly obvious that they could just be ignored. I was wrong. They are massively growing in popularity in the evangelical world and are seen as credible and helpful. Before I’m inundated with questioning emails I want to share why I distrust these two and think you should as well. So, don’t shoot me — at least not yet.
When I was a kid I could tell the difference between neighborhood kids who wanted to be my friend from the neighborhood kids who were my friends so that they could play with my toys. Joel and Joyce are the latter. They both teach a twisted form of Christianity that teaches obedience, giving and faith as a way to get things from God. They are both products of what is known as the Prosperity Gospel and The Word of Faith Movement, or the Seed Faith Movement.
John Piper does a great job of defining what the Prosperity Gospel is and why it is so sinister. Please take a few minutes to watch this before moving on to the critiques of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen:
In the past, most of Jesus’ practical teaching was ignored by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians. The establishment chose instead to concentrate on private sinfulness and personal salvation and, as Brian McLaren says, an “evacuation plan” into the next world.
.. growing recognition that Jesus was clearly concerned about the specific healing and transformation of real persons and human society “on earth as it is in heaven.”
.. The Church, more than Jesus, historically focused on doctrinal belief and moral stances, which ask almost nothing of us in terms of real change. They just define groups—often in an oppositional way.
.. Critical biblical scholarship is occurring on a broad ecumenical level, especially honest historical and anthropological scholarship about Jesus as a Jew in the culture of his time. This leads us far beyond the liberal reductionism and the conservative fundamentalism that divide so many churches.
We now see the liberal/conservative divide as a bogus and finally unhelpful framing of the issues.
Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote in his memoir, Duty, that Biden has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
.. I haven’t always agreed with Biden’s positions, but those positions have tended to follow a pattern and demonstrate a consistency of approach, analysis, and engagement that stands out—particularly when compared with many other foreign-policy players who often don’t leave clear footprints.
.. decisions on whether to deploy America’s “enormous military capability,” he said in the interview, should depend on assessments of “(a) what is the strategic interest? And (b) what are the second, third, and fourth steps in this process?” His contention to me that “you do not commit force unless you can demonstrate that the use of that force is sustainable and will produce an outcome” sounds nearly identical to the views President Barack Obama expressed to Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlanticarticle “The Obama Doctrine.”
.. what makes his approach distinctive is that he may very well be the nation’s first “personality realist.” Unlike Obama—whose relationships with world leaders from Japan’s Shinzo Abe to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu are famously chilly—Biden says of his doctrine that “it all gets down to the conduct of foreign policy being personal. … All [foreign policy] is, is a logical extension of personal relationships, with a lot less information to act on.”.. She supported the U.S. surge of forces into Afghanistan in 2009, at a time when Biden opposed it. In 2011, she supported both America’s Libya intervention and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.. Americans, he said, tend to over-respond to the “wolf at the door” without recognizing that there are other wolves out in the field... The “wolves in the field,” then—the real existential threats facing the nation—he sees not as terrorism, even from ISIS, but rather the prospect of “loose nukes, and unintended nuclear conflict that erupts with another nuclear power” like Russia or China. Other big threats include “that not-stable figure in North Korea,” Kim Jong Un, and Pakistan, which, he reminded me, he dubbed the “most dangerous nation in the world” nine years ago... “Terrorism is a real threat,” Biden said, “but it’s not an existential threat to the existence of the democratic country of the United States of America... had seen Biden take his granddaughter Finnegan to China to help break open new terrain with the new Chinese leaderwhen Xi Jinping first took office, and do the same with his granddaughter Naomi*.. “You’ve got to figure out what is the other guy’s [leader’s] bandwidth. … You have to figure out what is realistically possible.. Netanyahu had enough trust in the vice president to ask him to help normalize his country’s relations with Turkey, which had ruptured in 2010. Biden took the mission, mediating between Netanyahu and Erdogan—himself not an uncomplicated leader. And it worked. The two countries signed a deal to normalize relations this summer. Netanyahu called the vice president thanking him for his role in making their rapprochement—and a potential natural-gas deal between the two countries—work... Biden has tried to effect similar reconciliations between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.. Biden is regularly handed the lemons in the foreign-policy sphere—the tough, unglamorous cases, the ones that have to be worked for a long time. It’s worth noting, as Goldberg has, that there are leaders Obama never really warmed up to. Biden tends these relationships.. Biden would be the golden retriever of the administration.’.. Biden Doctrine, then, has four key components. 1) Don’t use force unless it counts and is sustainable. 2) Shore up and strengthen alliances—and build common cause on common projects with other global stakeholders. The world is changing and fragile and America can’t do all that needs to be done alone. 3) Have a sense of perspective, and think about proportional responses to threats—terrorism is not existential but nuclear exchanges are. 4) Relationships and the personal side of foreign-policy making—with allies and with enemies—is a key part of successful foreign-policy execution. It’s this fourth dimension of “personality realism” that represents the vice president’s biggest contribution