Be Very Alert! No 193

Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)

On Watch at the Door.                                                                                            No 193, April 28, 2015

LEADING THE SHEEP ASTRAY WITH BIG DRAMA

In recent decades there has been a plethora of Hollywood style films based on the Bible and scripturally incorrect to varying degrees. “The idea is to infuse the Bible with “drama” in order to get people excited about it. This is accomplished by letting Hollywood do its thing, adding content not found in Scripture and avoiding things that are not politically or socially correct.” (Berean Call) The Bible warns about doing this: “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Prov 30:5-6) Many shepherds are not heeding this warning and are now leading their flocks on the path to destruction.

Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett have now produced a number of movies or mini-series that have received much acclaim. One is the Son of God movie which has been enthusiastically embraced and promoted by evangelicals.

Justin Peters has watched and reviewed the movie and says that it is filled with non-scriptural statements. In the first scene Jesus calls Peter as his disciple. He says, “Just give me an hour and I will give you a whole new life.” Peter replies, “Who says I want one?”  Jesus says, “I’m giving you the chance to change your life.”  “What are we going to do?” asks Peter.  Jesus answers, “Change the world.”

Peters says this reflects the entire tone of the film. “Rather than focusing on the Person and work of Jesus reconciling sinful man to the righteous and holy God, the movie is focused on meeting people’s and society’s “felt” needs. This is not surprising given that the men chosen by Burnett and Downey to be the film’s theological advisors are the seeker-sensitive Rick Warren and Word-Faith preachers Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes.” There are many events and speech in the movie which are foreign to the biblical record and reflect Downey’s Catholic beliefs.

At the end of the screening, Peters turned and faced the audience and told them that they had not seen the Jesus of the Bible in the movie and explained how Jesus was grossly misrepresented. He talked about sin, the wrath of God and the absolute necessity for genuine repentance. He asked them to go home and read their Bibles as there and only there they would find the real Jesus.

Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention teamed up with Rick Warren and the Son of God movie producers Downey and Burnett to produce a small group “Bible Study” resource, which has been described as more “you” than Jesus and more “study” than “Bible.”

The many problems with Roma Downey’s beliefs and connections are pointed out in the Lighthouse Trail booklet, Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs, by Gregory Reid. Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett really came to notice after their successful TV mini-series, The Bible. Downey and Burnett come across as being sound professing Christians, but that is not so. Downey graduated with a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica in California, a New Age training centre. Of her education Downey says, “It’s heightened my awareness… The skills I learned at USM are so simple and effective… It was a beautiful exploration… USM is at the cutting edge of transforming people.”

In 2010, Roma Downey endorsed the book Loyalty to Your Soul by Ron and Mary Hulnick which promotes the New Age. Here are a few quotes from it: “You begin to recognize others as Divine Beings, and the situations and circumstances of your life as learning devices.” (p. 31) “Center your awareness in your heart and consciously look for the Loving Essence in the person in your presence. By doing so, you’re signifying your respect for the Soul before you…  Maintain awareness that you’re in conversation with another Divine Being who is engaged in having a human experience.” (p. 209)

Downey has also recited a rosary prayer for a CD called Practical Praying by John Edward. Edward is a psychic medium best known for his TV show in which he has talked to the dead. Downey has been on his show and allowed him to “channel” her “mother.” She is also an avid reader of New Age material by well-known writers such as Eckhart Tolle who are miles from Biblical truth. Because Roma Downey says that she loves Jesus, she has been accepted unquestioningly by Christian leaders and pastors who have no discernment. As a result, Christians are in danger of following her into New Age/Catholic beliefs.

The latest production by Downey and Burnett is A.D. The Bible Continues. It is based on the book of Acts. David Jeremiah is one of its chief promoters and has written a book to accompany it. It also is being promoted by many leading pastors.

Before the recent release of the first episode, David Jeremiah invited Downey and Burnett to his Shadow Mountain church and interviewed them in the main auditorium and reinforced the belief that she has a powerful Christian testimony.

According to Lighthouse Trails, David Jeremiah has shown little or no discernment regarding spiritual deception during the past decade. In his widely promoted book, Life Wide Open, Jeremiah says that people like Rick Warren, Brother Lawrence, Buddhist sympathizer and Catholic convert Peter Kreeft, and goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd are a handful of people who have found the secret to a passionate life. Many others will likely follow Jeremiah and Downey and fall into deception, ignoring all the warnings of the last days.

A pastor’s responsibility is to feed the sheep on the Word of God and protect them from wolves. David Jeremiah is abdicating his responsibility and should be warning about Downey and Burnett, not presenting them as true believers.

SOZO (AND PROGRAMS)

“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.” (2 Tim 3:16-17) What’s right! What’s wrong! How to get right! How to stay right!

Christians are being weaned off the Word of God. What has contributed to this is the massive and tragic increase in the number of programs, fads, books, movies and so forth which have replaced the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. People are forever seeking new ways to get closer to God by their own efforts. It doesn’t work and the results are often disastrous. Christians are being tossed to and fro with every wind of teaching. (Eph 4:14)

Sozo is described as “a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry in which the main aim is to get to the root of those things hindering your personal connection with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Sozo prayer is the invention of Bill and Brenda Johnson who serve as Senior Pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. One pastor who has had first-hand experience with the Sozo ministry says it makes false promises of miraculous psychological cures by pretending to be based upon a combination of Christian teaching and psychological science. But in reality, its theories and practices are a “travesty of both.”

In a typical Sozo session, the Sozoee is encouraged into a mild trance while being led into a series of mental/emotional rooms or stages where the person “connects to their deeper feeling and thoughts and comes to a new experience with God.”

The New Zealand Cults’ website tags it ‘Danger’ and says that Sozo and the other practices from the Inner Healing Movement are strongly New Age. Sozo focuses on attaining intimacy with God through the subconscious rather than through prayer and Scripture.

One of the most dangerous practices is that of ‘memory healing’ or ‘regressive’ therapies that seek to root out buried memories which need to be uncovered and healed. This practice is extremely dangerous and can wreck people’s lives. In one case, a man experienced horror when his daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel and experienced a so-called ‘recovered memory’ that he had molested her from the age of thirteen. None of which was true. Stay away from Sozo!

Leaders need to rise up and go back to the preaching of the Word. Programs and fads do not have the life-giving and life-changing power of the Word of God which transforms us in every way.

The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centred, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. – Oswald Chambers

THE FATE OF MECCA

I’ve been intrigued by the number of news items relating to Mecca lately. One ISIS member has said that they would destroy the Kaaba in Mecca: “If Allah wills, we will kill those who worship stones in Mecca…” Another item says that Mecca and Medina are the main ISIS targets. Another, “If ISIS destroys Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where will Muslims go for their Hajj? (Pilgrimage)” The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and every able-bodied Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage in their lifetime. And a further item: “Iranian Ayatollah: Emancipate Islam’s Holy Sites from Saudi control, Hand Mecca to ‘Men of Piety.’”

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have increased over several issues, one being when Saudi Arabia turned away an Iranian plane carrying 260 pilgrims on the grounds that it did not have permission to use the country’s air space. As a result, Iran suspended all pilgrimages to the country. This is not the first time that Iran has been in a bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia over Mecca and cancelled pilgrimages.

Karbala in Iraq is fast becoming Iran’s holiest place. It is in Karbala that Hussein, the man that they believe to be their Shiite Messiah, was martyred.

Tensions have increased too between the two countries over the conflict in Yemen. Saudi Arabia also fears for its survival following the recently-signed weak nuclear proposal which will allow Iran to continue its pursuit of nuclear arms.

Walid Shoebat is one of the people who point out that Babylon in the last days is Saudi Arabia. It is the only place that fits all the descriptions, including the complete list of requirements in Revelation 18, and that it must be in a desert and near the Red Sea. Mecca, the place of idol worship will be destroyed, and it will be destroyed by Iran. (Isa 21:1-11) There is much more that could be said about this.

The Islamic Antichrist will set himself up in a newly constructed temple in Jerusalem. According to Daniel, he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers. (Dan 11:37) Apparently many Muslims will cease worshipping at Mecca. Instead the Antichrist will command worship of himself in Jerusalem and many will presumably make pilgrimage there. Mecca will eventually be totally destroyed.

Newsmax has put out a list of the 100 most influential Christian leaders which they say “make a real impact on modern lives in 2015.” Here are some of them: Franklin Graham (1), Joel Osteen (2), Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (3), Billy Graham (5), Rick Warren (6), Joyce Meyer (9), T.D. Jakes (14), Cardinal Timothy Dolan (15), Victoria Osteen (18), Tim LaHaye (19), Mark Driscoll (36), Tim Tebow (37), Creflo Dollar (46), Pat Boone (67), William P. Young (The Shack) (81), and John MacArthur (82). It would be good if some of these were far less influential!

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