This is a celebratory 60th birthday video I created for Rev. Bert M. Farias. Watch, enjoy, share, and make sure to visit his Reverendship's website at https://www.holy-fire.org/
Unholy Hype: Many churches & religious organizations are following the playbook of Madison Avenue & Dr. Goebbels
The contemporary American empire
The (near) future American empire?
For those of you who are believers and subscribe to prosperity theology aka “The Prosperity Gospel”: Please take some time and carefully read Rev. Bert M. Farias’s new Charisma article titled “8 Reasons to Flee From Carnal Prosperity Preachers“. As you will see, Rev. Farias marshalled some powerful scripture-centric reasoning in this insightful piece and, if I were a betting man, I’d wager the good Lord is going to have him write a book on this very topic (I know Dr. Michael Brown has written extensively about this topic but there is always room on the proverbial plate of life for another incisive tome on the subject).
If after reading Rev. Farias’s conclusions and cautionary warnings you are tempted to reject them, kindly check out the earliest known catechism for messianic non-Jews which is the Didache (Many scholars believe it was written and first circulated in 50 CE. Given that Yeshua HaMashiach was crucified by the Imperial Roman government sometime between 30 and 33 CE, this means the Didache was penned perhaps as few as 17 years after his death, burial and resurrection). It has a few choice things to say about greed (The very first chapter of it includes instructions on “almsgiving”). Those who wish to read it in its entirety can do so online for free at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-lake.html
And for those good folks who appreciate authoritative and balanced commentaries, there is one on the Didache which IMO is top flight: The Way of Life (Didache: A New Translation and Messianic Jewish Commentary) by Toby Janicki (600 pages, Vine of David © 2017). I actually had a gift copy sent to Rev. Farias during early January of this year and have sent copies to many other people in my orbit as well since then.
My fellow Roman Catholic Charismatics are invited to read Why the Prosperity Gospel Is Bankrupt by "Catholic Answers" writer Trent Horn.
© 2018 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
On 6-16-2018 Rev. Bert M. Farias posted the request below on his very popular Facebook page. A number of replies followed including one comment from a Miss Alice. I responded to her comment, Rev. Farias to mine, and so it went back & forth between us. We did not exactly stay on topic but did kibitz on things that might, just might prove of interest to some of you.
For those who have the time and interest:
I'd like some feedback on this comment to my recent article. I'm constantly searching my heart on these issues, never wanting to be high-minded about these things, but to remain teachable. I guess the core question I found myself asking after reading this comment is this: What are some indicators of preachers who teach the gain is godliness message, and that financial prosperity equates to spirituality? (the article is on my timeline as I didn't want to repost it).
READER COMMENT: "There are some things worth considering in this article but it is hard to judge someone's heart and steweardship (sic) based only on their wealth. I will say that it seems extreme to compare someone like Joyce Meyer 35 million in estimated net worth to Bill Gates 91 billion, (A 2600 times difference) If I followed this logic, a typical minister in the USA might have 200k in net worth, while many poor have only debt. This is worse than 2600 times. Should ministers be allowed to have two cars when much of the world does not have a bike? Using the same standard, such relativism could apply the label false teacher to any Western Christian that has a skilled occupation. No, fortunately, God looks on the heart. Are you ruled by money or are you ruled by God? There is no certain dollar standard, lest all Westerners be guilty. Never mind that it takes LARGE Christian donors to move policy to the right..such as what occurred in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital."
Alice: And one more comment: I once had a lady ask me why God didn't let Christians win things like PCH millions of dollars prizes. My answer, without evening thinking about it, was that to many Christians can't /won't tithe on a $1,000, how can God trust them with millions. I believe God will bless obedience. It's not just money, but in everything that concerns us. I don't believe in all this "give $49.52 and God will multiply it 100 fold" stuff. That is just manipulation. But the Word does say that we are blessed with faithful Abraham. Again, that's not JUST money.
Anthony G. Payne Right on, Miss Alice. I would add: If God rigged drawings & lotteries to favor specific Christians or others winning he would be guilty of engaging in a form of cheating (When chance is violated in such lotteries by people who profit from it or do so to profit others this is a crime. Of course, human law is not binding on God in instances in which it violates his articulated rules and ways, but he does respect these when they spring from or dovetail with his rules & ways, i.e., his prescribed laws/instructions & ethics).
Bert Farias Anthony G. Payne Dr. Payne! Nice of you to chime in. 😁
Anthony G. Payne I'll be sending you something from my laboratory shortly, Herr Reverend (It took a while, yes, to process it). Oh vey! Oh, and here's a link to my "What's Up, Doc?" fill-in-the-blanks video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zdIRLuTTgU (Do I know how to have fun or what?!?!)
Eh, what's up doc
Bert Farias Not only do you know how to have fun, but you are brilliant! To God be the glory! While you're putting the finishing touches on your lab work, I'm gonna need about a gallon of that hair stuff! 😂
Bert Farias I'll pay for it!
Bert Farias And if both of these things work for me I will spread the good cheer and joy and market it in my circles.
Anthony G. Payne As a boy I was smitten by astronomer Edwin Hubble’s writings including this beautiful, powerful gem….
“The scientist explores the world of phenomena by successive approximations. He knows that his data are not precise and that his theories must always be tested. It is quite natural that he tends to develop healthy skepticism, suspended judgment, and disciplined imagination.”
Later on, as an adult, I got into explor-i-menting and discovered firsthand how my own musings & handiwork are but “successive approximations”. Sometimes a hypothesis or idea or invention will pan out quickly, while at other times it needs retooling & retesting or, worst case scenario, proves an irredeemable dud (And, yes, sometimes an invention or product creation will work for some or a few and not the many). But above all I strive to question my own findings & conclusions. The alternative tends to birth dogma which is anathema for the theorist as well as the experimentalist.
Bert Farias Anthony G. Payne Our God of wonders and selection put this in your heart at a young age. You not only have to have an acute sense of fascination but incredible patience to explore such things.
Anthony G. Payne Most of us are natural born explor-i-mentalists, Herr Reverend. We are all engaged in testing this against that and weighing the preponderance of evidence & logic for and against things (albeit to varying degrees). The sad part if that so many folks have had their curiosity and willingness to question & test certain beliefs & such constrained or eroded by dogmatic teachers or preachers or family or others who prefer to dole out pat answers & solutions that are never to be questioned (The truth is these people should actually welcome such questioning and even argumentation as it might just compel them to closely examine, revise and even discard that which is unfruitful or useless). IMO we should all take to heart the approach of scientists and rabbis who question almost everything and take nothing as absolutely settled or final (Which is to say any claim, pet theory, finding or even law of nature can be overturned by sufficient contrary evidence).
If you're a poor fit with the community of believers you hang out with at present moment, do not let this trouble you. It is perfectly OK to be a misfit, nonconformist (but obedient to God's commandments), or oddball. As you likely know from experience, not only do many ministries and evangelical organizations adhere to a rather narrow view of what is true faith and practice, but they also tend to exclude or marginalize those who disagree with them or otherwise differ from them. For instance, if you happen to be a theistic evolutionist (as I am and have been for decades), many ministers will brand you a heretic or worse. And (ahem) God help you if you are a left leaning soul politically much less a democratic socialist such as I have been for over 30 years (But do not let it be said I am "predictably leftist" on all issues. I am, for instance, prolife which is consistent with the Christian faith as reflected in the Didache and other early Yeshua Movement documents).
It amazes it (as I am sure it has many of you) how so many conservative clerics and ministries confuse an Americanized gospel and Americanized messiah with the very Jewish message and person of rabbi Yeshua. These poor souls often adhere to a literal reading of Genesis especially with respect to cosmological, planetary and biological origins, think capitalism bears God's imprimatur, and are convinced that the teachings and practices of Yeshua and his talmidim (disciples) are reflected in the Republican Party's platform and vision for America and the world.
Well, I am here to left you know that if your words and actions line up with the Almighty's commandments, you are perfectly at liberty to prefer science (Darwinian evolution) to pseudoscience (creationist "science" drivel), democratic socialism or social democracy or such to Republicanism or other right wing political agendas, and a low carbon impact/green lifestyle to the acquire & consume living pattern many ministers and ministries believe constitutes being a good steward of the earth and her resources.
And if you happen to find megachurch exploitation off-putting and their orchestrated rallies filled with elements that parallel those employed by the NSDAP (Nazi) party in its rallies in the 1930s, you are more spiritually attuned and intellectually aware than those who have been deceived into thinking otherwise.
Those of you who'd like to "share and care" with like-minded believer misfits, oddballs and "unconventional conventioneers" can start the ball rolling by emailing me at founderabbot at gmail.com. There is no cost or obligation, material or otherwise.
Dr. Anthony G. Payne (Summer Cloud)
What exactly did the Messiah mean when he said “Take up your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)? Did he in have in mind our dragging around a tremendous burden like a rotten job, dire disease, nagging spouse or faithless friend, being discriminated against or even dealt a terrible injustice? Now, these kinds of burdensome things obviously exist and for some of us dog us day in and day out. But this is not what Yeshua had in mind.
Actually his sacrifice on the cross included not just providing a way to get people reconciled and in right standing with the Almighty, but also gave us access to divinely mediated or enacted healing, empowerment to live in obedience to his instructions (commandments), life essentials including material necessities, as well as supernatural resources to deal with difficult spouses or friends, demanding bosses, acts of cruelty and injustice, and much more.
At the time Yeshua spoke of taking up one's cross and following him, the cross meant one thing: death. It was the brutal method the Romans used to execute those guilty of sedition against the Empire or other grievous crimes. And by invoking the cross Yeshua was saying that we must be willing to die in order to follow him. This actually dovetails with what he said about being willing to love and obey God's commandments more than one loves one's job or career, social standing, possessions, and even one's family.
He often challenged people to consider the cost of following him. And yes, the cost in his time was considerably more than in ours, at least here in the US. But even so there is a cost involved which will likely grow in scope and magnitude in the coming years and decades (Go read the books of Daniel and Revelations).
One believer who has a really good handle on "living the way" (costs and all) is Francis Chan of San Francisco. Do yourself a favor and listen to this 45m49s video teaching of his posted back on February 18 of this year (2018).
Are you "pretty sure" or even "absolutely convinced" you're heaven bound? Here are things you need to be aware of.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNA6tAlArnY - Many Christians are headed to hell - Francis Chan – 12m25s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXoTMtNOY-0 - Christ's Good News Gospel vs Today's Fake News Gospels (16m27s video) – Laverne Gooding (Manitoba, Canada)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEQIo-4EVoc - Jesus Taught More from Non-Canonical Books Than He Did Canonical - Pt 1 (Laverne Gooding)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQpB2ucjB-I&t=16s - Jesus Taught More From Non-Canonical Books Than He Did Canonical - Pt 2 (Laverne Gooding)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omiNicnBCPc - Beware the Coming False Revival and the False Teachers Promoting It (Laverne Gooding)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC62eT14dFb2-e7uQfV9T7CA (Laverne Gooding’s YouTube channel – 8 years’ worth of teaching)
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/shepherd-lightfoot.html - Shepherd of Hermas
https://www.st-philip.net/files/Fitzgerald%20Patristic%20series/shepherd_of_hermas.pdf - Background on the Shepherd of Hermas
http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0050-0150,_Pseudo_Clemens,_Homilies_[Schaff],_EN.pdf – Clementine Homilies
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ - Many other early Christian writings
http://www.toddtyszka.com/full-list.shtml - Full list of/ links to all known extrabiblical writings
http://www.jacksonsnyder.com/yah/2014/hnr/index.htm - Essene Assembly (Believers living an Essene informed lifestyle), Links to topics and documents and such galore.
Like many believers (especially fellow Catholic Charismatics) I am acquainted with and stay abreast of the written and spoken pronouncements of many people who claim to be anointed prophets and seers. In this regard I have been on the Elijah List prophecy database for some years now and get emails from them many times daily. However, with this said I find much of what is declared prophetic to be more the product of human fantasy and wishful thinking than anything else (The fact so many of these purported prophesies contradict one another with respect to specific areas of life and faith, prominent personalities and so forth speaks volumes).
Full gospel minister and author Rev. Bert M. Farias and I have exchanged emails on this topic for some time now and we see pretty much eye-to-eye on much which is pawned off as being prophetic.
In a recent post to his Facebook page Rev. Farias shared some of his thoughts on contemporary prophets and prophecy:
The late Kenneth E. Hagin was going to call the Bible school he founded a school of the prophets. The Lord stopped him and told him that was old covenant. Under the new covenant there are 5 ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11, so it should be a ministry school for all.
Today there is what I believe a risky and inordinate attention given to prophets and prophecy. There are conferences and online schools that teach people to prophesy at will and to move in revelation at will. That’s dangerous because you open yourself up to not only visualization and imagination but familiar spirits as well. This is one of the big reasons the Charismatic Movement is associated with weirdness and flakiness. What some call “seasoned” ministers are teaching people unseasoned and unscriptural doctrine and practices.
I picked up a book recently about how to flow in the revelation gifts, and one chapter into it I could not read it any more. Why? Because it was a different spirit, a spirit of error. There was no anointing on it. Be very careful for the devil is crafty and it is a day of much seduction.
It’s okay to teach people to yield and follow the anointing but you can’t teach people to be prophets and prophesy and get revelation.
To be warned is to be armed.
I emailed Rev. Farias a written 2 thumbs up for his FB post and reminded him of my own difficulties with contemporary prophetic excesses and sometimes sheer foolishness including what I expressed in this blog entry on failed extrabiblical prophecies from September of last year (2017) https://summerclouds.weebly.com/summer-clouds-blog/and-now-a-word-about-failed-extrabiblical-prophecies.
In my opinion a great deal of what so-called Christian prophets and seers post and otherwise publish is little removed from cold psychic readings (The accuracy of these so-called prophetic words and prophecies are about the same as parlor psychics who read body language and ask probing questions to help them weave "psychic advice"). I would be remiss if I did not share my conviction that many of the books, articles and blog entries spun by these so called Christian prophets and seers are the handiwork of people who have a fantasy prone personality (Great for doing creative writing but misleading when daydreams and other imaginative flights of fancy are mistaken for "downloads from God"). Some of these people appear to be delusional while a handful of others strike me as suffering from some sort of serious psychological or affective (emotional) disorder.
Like the Rev. Farias, I am especially leery of people who claim to teach people to prophesy and include instructions on how to offer lengthy "personal prophecies" to parishioners, conference attendees or others. I have to wonder how many people's lives have been messed up or derailed because some "prophet" or "seer" gave them a "life plan imparted by God" which originated in the presumed oracles' own imagination and wishful (and/or magical) thinking.
Human desperation for certainty in an uncertain, oftentimes unpredictable world no doubt plays a role in predisposing many believers to seek out a surefire personal prophetic word or anchor. This psychological propensity has, I believe, played a crucial role in fostering the embrace of everything from pseudoscience to pseudohistory (including nonexistent conspiracies) to self-styled messianic personalities by often well meaning but desperate people down through the ages to our very day.
The next time a believer receives or comes across a "word of prophecy" or such, I would urge him to hang on to it and then see if it comes to pass or not. As for anything "prophetic" which is penned in generic or convoluted language: This sort of thing should be given no more credence than what's found in fortune cookies and daily horoscopes.
Summer Cloud (Dr. Anthony G. Payne)
There is marriage and then there is marriage. By this I mean there are marriages that are legally sanctioned by the state, and those that are celebrated by a church body or congregation or such, in which it is said or inferred that God has blessed the union. Unfortunately, many religious bodies have essentially synchronized their stance on marriage, divorce and remarriage with the state; which is to say, if a court grants a couple a divorce, their church or congregation treats this as AOK with them and God. It is most emphatically not.
If you are contemplating getting married or are married, or are divorced and remarried, you really need to acquaint yourself with what I shared in this blog post https://summerclouds.weebly.com/summer-clouds-blog/for-those-planning-to-get-married-or-remarried and also with what follows below.
http://www.pblcoc.org/media/audio/1756 - Part 1
http://www.pblcoc.org/media/audio/1762 - Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-50ZaNWraPY&list=PLSFihzL3Ie7zYul2dCQE2teD6P5pzdxHR – Link to the entire 9 part teaching series
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1494220407/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - Book to use with the 9 part video series
Torah Rediscovered: 4th Edition by Ariel and D'vorah Berkowitz
The Way of Life (Didache: A New Translation and Messianic Jewish Commentary) by Toby Janicki
If you have kept up with the flurry of books and papers on the nature of consciousness published in just the past decade alone, then you probably are under the impression that neuroscientists have made an overwhelmingly convincing case for brain activity as the source of consciousness and all else that is associated with this ("We are our brains"). And surely evolutionary psychologists have nailed down the most likely evolutionary influences and players that gave rise to key human mental and psychological traits. If you are tempted to say "Well, yes they have" to both, I want you to buy, beg or borrow a copy of "Aping Mankind" by Dr. Raymond Tallis and give it a thoughtful, careful read. By the time you finish perusing it, you will probably find your confidence badly shaken.
Mind you, Dr. Tallis's critical literary tour-de-force is informed by his own rich academic and professional background in medicine, clinical neuroscience and philosophy. And, he is an atheist (He thus came to his thesis without religious convictions or sentiments).
And, just in case there is someone reading this who suspects Dr. Tallis is a creationist or is in any way sympathetic to such pseudoscientific nonsense, he is most empathetically not.
"Aping Mankind" ably tackles (what Dr. Tallis terms) "Neuromania" and "Darwinitis" with hard-hitting reasoning and arguments based on secular science and empiricism, logic, and good sense. In addition, Dr. Tallis's book serves as a powerful reminder that in science nothing is forever settled or final; which is to say, even well-established principles, theories or laws can be overturned by sufficiently compelling contrary evidence.
Summer Cloud gives "Aping Mankind" 5 out of 5 stars.
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
If you need of a spiritual lift, watch this wonderful Arabic language Christian music video (with English subtitles). And yes, the lead singer is an angelic beauty with an angelic voice!
Like many of you reading this blog I have been following eschatologists, prophecy teachers and perusing bible-based prophecy books for what seems like an eternity (1960s on in my case). Along the way I have noted and sometimes jotted down prophecies that were precise as opposed to nonspecific, meaning specific timeframes and events such as a major quake in southern California were predicted in “thus says the Lord” fashion. None panned out.
Now, as you might expect my interest in eschatology and prophecy has not escaped the notice of close friends, family and others in my orbit. This leads to my getting emails containing prophetic words in oral or written form penned or spoken by various (mostly) evangelical preachers and self-proclaimed prophets. I typically retain those prophecies that bear a specific timeframe and later compare the predicted catastrophe, upheaval or what-have-you with what actually unfolded (The misses outnumber the hits by an almost astronomical margin).
On occasion, I will have someone pass along an email “imminent warning prophetic word” more often than not given by a well-known evangelist or teacher whose prophetic track record is not just abysmal but a literally train (of accuracy) wreck. Last night (9-4-2017) I got one such email in which great credence was given to a prophecy Jim Bakker reportedly shared concerning the recent flooding in Houston (and this well before Hurricane Harvey hit). Here are a few of the salient sentences from this email concerning Bakker’s prophetic predictions:
That prophecy was right about the flood here. Jim Bakker remarked a prophecy after that was for California. He predicted an earthquake. Since he was correct about the flood in Houston, I hope you take him serious for earthquake preparedness. Those products Bakker cover everything to get one through disaster.
I have done some digital archeology field work (aka digging around search engine results) in an effort to try and locate this prophetic word (which must be specific and accurate – testable – to have any validity, BTW), but have yet to locate it. Perhaps a reader has seen it or will prove better at ferreting it out than I have been so far (If so, kindly email it to me at founderabbot at gmail.com).
Whether Bakker managed to hit one nail on the head or not, I sent this cautionary reply to my well-intentioned Houston contact:
You might want to think twice about spending too much time listening to Jim Bakker as well as most of his purported prophet guests. IMO, he has spun more prophecy misses than just about anyone I know and his Morningside venue comes across as a revenue generating engine for his seemingly endless string of building projects (The very pattern that characterized his PTL empire). Here are but 2 posted videos that lay bare this man's “challenges” as a God-sent oracle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY_shD-fUGw – 1m18s – J.D. Hall sitting in the audience of a Jim Bakker show taping calls him out for false prophecies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvd7UlesWbk – 19m14s – Former Morningside (Bakker organization) staffer kept a list of Jim Bakker’s prophecies during a specific period and to say most were wrong or worse is an understatement.
In addition, many of his regular guests such as Rabbi Johnathan Cahn have made plenty of money hawking “End Times prophecy” books that are riddled with logical fallacies and other problems. I spoke of Cahn’s prophecy-based works in a September 2014 blog entry which includes links to an analytical expose of the intellectual and prophetic bankruptcy of his bestselling book "The Harbinger" http://summerclouds.weebly.com/summer-clouds-blog/prophecy-is-primarily-about-israel-the-jewish-people-not-america
Many dire prophecies concerning the Blood Moons and Shemitah showcased on the Jim Bakker Show and many other Christian media outlets also bombed out (Something many analytical thinkers including "yours truly" saw through from the get go).
As for prophecies of earthquakes and California, this is like saying there will be mudslide in China in the future. Seismologists at Caltech and USGS have been predicting quakes in northern and southern California for some time based on all kinds of data crunching and mathematical models. Anyone who is remotely in touch with past and current events knows quakes occur in this region and will continue to do so. What I have not seen among those who claim to have a word of prophecy on California is accuracy. They bat no better than those who those coins in the air (which means their pronouncements are next to worthless. And I have heard hundreds of them since the 1960s, some dire and "imminent"). Eventually there will be a major quake in northern or southern California, especially in light of the tectonic activity along the Pacific Rim. It doesn't take a prophetic gift to know this and those who claim such words of prophecy have yet to finger an exact timeframe and place that has held up (Indeed, they to a man/woman have missed the major ones since 1970. Now if I missed a genuinely spot on accurate one, send it and your source to me at founderabbot at gmail.com).
And, as I mentioned long ago, I have had basic survival gear and a small stockpile of high energy, high calorie food bars since the mid-2000s (The later replenished after expiration dates pass of, course). Not because of any prophetic word, but because earthquakes happen here and history and the science alone is sufficient to buttress such data based predictions/expectations.
As for Houston, it amazes me that so many evangelists and so-called prophets do not acknowledge the very thing that made this scientifically predictable: global warming. Climate scientists were warning about more aggressive hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and Pacific (including the Gulf of Mexico) long before any preacher or prophet began talking about with any specificity (The so-called prophets vague and imprecise impressions do not meet the biblical standard for prophecies which must be 100% accurate or else did not come from God. Period. Go read Deuteronomy 18:21-22). If there has been a timespan/date specific and wholly accurate prophecy concerning Houston and Hurricane Harvey, I have yet to see it but do not discount the possibility it exists. But overall, and especially when it comes to Jim Bakker and the parade of doomsday thinkers he routinely interviews in almost assembly line fashion (all of whom invariably help him sell survivalist products which appear to support a never-ending succession of building projects), I am appalled that believers are latching on to doom & gloom words of prophecy they and others dispense -- tens of thousands of them if you include prophecies given in other media venues -- all the while forgetting the biblical requirement of true prophecies (100% accuracy) -- and then promptly forgetting the scores of failed prophecies. What is even more odd but very biblical, is that the very people who hear these prophecies, see them fail and then forget this and go on to the next sure-to-fail prophecy - worry about "End Times deceptions and delusions" -- and are actually caught up in this very thing!
Yes, the “birth pangs” (biblically prophesied calamites both natural and human made) will come closer and closer together over time and God will likely tap genuine prophets to warn of specific events prior to their happening and move others to establish communities to weather this and continue the evangelization efforts and mitzvahs (good works) commanded by Messiah Yeshua. But whenever someone says they speak for God especially when it comes to prophecy, they must 100% accurate. If not, they did not hear from God but their own fears, subconscious convictions or mental projections, wishful (sometimes perverse or morbid) thinking, et cetera. What is truly sad is that these failed prophets ignore the many biblical warnings about the fate of those who speak in the Lord's name and then are shown to be wrong (It carries some heavy duty penalties and consequences, which surely means God did not and does not shrug off false prophetic words attributed to him in any way, shape or form).
And since Bakker clearly has issued failed prophecies -- and showcased so many others who did likewise -- I again would caution you to treat them with no undue skepticism and immediately stop giving credence to anyone whose prophetic statements amount to guesses and cold reading tactics. To do otherwise is to buy into false prophecies and the people who concoct them, which is the same as buying into deception and deceivers.
Stick with Daniel, Zechariah, Revelations and other prophetic books and use reason and discernment to evaluate interpretations of them but be especially cautious and critical when it comes to extrabiblical prophecies. And when a source of prophecy bombs, do not cut the “prophet” any slack. People who give inaccurate prophecies are deceived and are misleading others with their deception; something God warned would happen as history moved closer to Messiah's return. Such false prophets should be paid no heed by believers least they be pulled into fear that paralyzes and dead ends that divert them from doing what God commanded and expects (individually and corporately).
Let us move ever forward but with our eyes wide open!
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Some Hear Thunder... I Hear a Roar! Supernatural Encounters & Stories to Encourage Your Heart
If you are considering getting hitchified (married) or remarried, I am sure by now you have been on the receiving end of all kinds of advice (welcome or not) and have spent some time online researching ways to help insure you are ready for this big step (Click to read 13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married) and have in-place what's needed to avoid a future marital meltdown and subsequent divorce.
One thing I hear from altar-bound couples is how compatible they are and how much in love they are. This is great, but what I want to know about is their relationship/bonding (attachment) style. Most couples I have dealt with have never heard of this or have, but know little about it. What I typically suggest is that couples read up on the subject starting with Attachment Styles – Why Knowing Yours Can Change Your Relationships, then take a free online, researcher developed attachment style (The long, not short version) at http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl and share the outcome with each other.
Obviously, I place great store in attachment style in marriage, something reflected in articles and blog entries I have penned going back many years including Is an attachment style problem complicating or undermining your life? and Problems relating well to God & your fellow man? Your attachment style may be a major contributor.
Hopefully you and your intended spouse both have secure attachment styles. But what if one or both of you do not? Judging from published studies and analytic articles on this area of human psychology, when an individual with an anxious attachment style marries someone with an dismissive-avoidant attachment style, there is almost certain to be big trouble in paradise. Marriage and family therapists consider the presence of more than one of these predictors (criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling) in a marriage an indication that it may not last. Many of these predictors characterize individuals with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, something which underscores all the more the need for couples to determine their individual attachment styles before tying the proverbial knot.
Not surprisingly, attachment style plays a role in infidelity too.
For Christians, there are other considerations surrounding marriage which are touched on in Preparing for Marriage and, for Roman Catholics especially, in this online Pre-Cana course: https://livingourfaithinlove.com/
For those readers with one or more marriages under their belt (especially followers of Yeshua), it is vital to determine whether you are morally free to remarry. If not, you may be entering into an adulterous union (This carries some heavy duty consequences - click). To help you sort this out, I strongly recommend that you view this 9m59s video: https://youtu.be/hOvxlcR_Yd0
For those readers who prefer written material over video, or who just want more detailed information, I highly recommend perusing these articles:
I would be remiss not to include this article in which the author limits "adulterous marriages" to a very narrow category of unions: https://biblicalgenderroles.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-an-adulterous-marriage/
And yes, the issue of adulterous marriages is complex and not unexpectedly contentious one within the community of believers. Actually, the American church has over time pretty much lined up its teachings on divorce and marriage with that of the secular world.
It would be a mistake in my opinion for divorced folks to interpret this ecclesiastical laxness over divorce and remarriage -- as well as the contentiousness and theological in-fighting going on in some quarters over it -- as constituting a form of permission-by-default to press on with a remarriage. Since estrangement and (ultimately) separation from God is decreed for the sexually immoral, there is too much at stake to throw caution to the wind and enter into a 2nd, 3rd or nth marriage (Those already in such a state may not want to hear this, but their only remedy may be to adopt a brother-sister type relationship with their "significant other").
For those couples who are considering entering into a marriage without any major encumbrances (such as a prior marriage) but in which one or both partners has an attachment disorder, the question arises: Can an attachment disorder be altered or remediated? The answer is a qualified "yes". The methods used to effect such change differ somewhat between practitioners and treatment facilities, something reflected in these online sources: Adult Attachment Therapy and How to change your attachment style. From what I have been able to garner from various psychoanalysts who handle adult attachment disorders, therapy that produces lasting results takes years if not decades to transact.
It is, of course, both easy and natural to dismiss an attachment disorder and assume the heady biochemistry of infatuation/love and lust (love potion #9, if you will) will hold sway against all comers including relationship/bonding issues. From my own experience and observations, most people with an attachment disorder -- especially dismissive-avoidant types -- function fairly normally while under the influence of the aforementioned love potion. But as the "magic love phase" fades out over time, their old troublesome patterns of coping reemerge and soon their marriage becomes strained and then dysfunctional.
In the final analysis (as it were), make sure your pre-nuptial homework is thorough. You and your intended bride or groom should (at the very minimum) answer these 13 Questions Before Getting Married and also take the (long form) researcher developed attachment style inventory at http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl and share the outcome with each other. If one or both of you turns out to have an attachment disorder, do yourselves a big favor and learn all you can about it including treatment/remediation options.
For couples in which one or both have prior marriages, do not skip over or treat lightly the question of whether you are biblically/morally at liberty to remarry.
To sum it all up using my own country vernacular, better to drive your pickup down a dry narrow road than a wide, muddy one.
For the insatiably curious and others who want to know more about love, relationships, and attachment challenges, as well as how to live as God intended:
Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love (Paperback)
Treating Attachment Disorders: From Theory to Therapy (Paperback)
The Relationship Between Attachment Styles and Lifestyle With Marital Satisfaction Mohammadi K, Samavi A, Ghazavi Z. The Relationship Between Attachment Styles and Lifestyle With Marital Satisfaction. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2016;18(4):e23839. doi:10.5812/ircmj.23839.
Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (Completely Revised and Updated with a New Introduction) by biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher. Click to access a list of Dr. Fisher’s books on Amazon.com
For You Shall be Holy as I am Holy by Rev. Bert M. Farias.
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Note bene: I have no commercial or other interest in any clinical or other enterprise mentioned or linked to in this article.
Do we live in a messed up culture or what? Congress is often gridlocked (aka constipated) and Wall Street seems to have terminal IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – alternating constipation & diarrhea). Many people are vociferously declaring things God declared good, evil and things he declared evil, good. Hypocrisy abounds -- one indisputable example being the legions of married people who pledged fidelity to their spouses and can be found looking for “afternoon delight” or its equivalent online (A human failing that finds ample expression in websites devoted to facilitating adulterous unions). People in general are now so jaded and fearful that just about anything from a sour look to a child's toy gun qualifies as a deadly threat. And the boxers in the ring – that’s you and me folks – are so punch-drunk we longer hear the bell, see the canvas… or even care. To hear the most vocal among us we are either one step from becoming the Fourth Reich or else on the slippery slope to some form of communalism or communism or some ism no one seems to favor or else believes signals the advent the "End Times". In light of this, I’m pretty sure if an extraterrestrial intelligence actually visited this veil of tears it would not conclude we are “Mostly Harmless” and would stick a quarantine beacon in high orbit to warn off other space farers.
So how did we wind up so utterly messed up? I’m sure you have your own pet theories and suspicions. Me? I think it is rooted in trying to obtain and then sustain that ethereal, seemingly fleeting state-of-being we identify as “being happy” (or “being content”). There is a restlessness underlying this quest, something rooted in biology and culture and a whole lot more, which compels us to believe that we’ll be happier with the “next whatever” or “more whatever” or even “less whatever” (You fill in the whatever – be it material or immaterial or a mix of both).
This quest for happiness or contentment is not satisfied when our fundamental need for food, warmth, shelter, safety and such are met. Give an individual cradle-to-grave security in the form of an education, a job and decent income, healthcare, a home and security in all these things and more, and he or she will in no way “have arrived” (Though I have no issue with a country providing such things. Given Yeshua's share & care MO, I suspect he would advocate for democratic socialism sans some elements that run contrary to the Torah). Would that happiness or contentment were that simple! No, the quest goes on….next or more or less, please.
In this country, those extraordinary souls who birthed this experiment in democracy were also on a quest for happiness. And while they differed somewhat in how they defined happiness and how to achieve it, they included “the pursuit of Happiness” as an unalienable right. Of course, they left achieving happiness including creating a roadmap to it to individual initiative and ingenuity. Although this sounds, well, so very democratic and is certainly far better than having an autocrat dictate what constitutes happiness and how to best achieve it, it did (shall we say) free some folks to pursue happiness in ways that undermine democratic institutions, not to mention what’s moral, fair or ethical.
Of course, what are churches, synagogues, mosques, Sunday schools, Hebrew schools, parochial schools and families for if not inculcate young people with the ethical and moral guidelines and civic virtues that, while perhaps not defining happiness, at least helps point people from seeking it in crime, cruelty, abusing others, intolerance, enslavement and a whole host of other demonstrated social and religious evils?
We have had these institutions around since “day one” and they have generally helped people establish and respect boundaries (e.g., don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet, don’t cheat, et cetera) and fulfill agreed on religious and civic obligations.
Unfortunately, while many secular and religious organizations and institutions have helped constrain human nature and direct it in positive, productive directions, there was always that nagging inner “pursuit of happiness” faculty and a dark refrain to ignore “the high road” and indulge self-serving, self-aggrandizing impulses and baser instincts. Did not God himself grant those early humans (hominins) he endowed with spirit tremendous freedom with only one boundary or rule? A rule which constituted a simple “this one thing don’t do” test of loyalty, fidelity and obedience? Presumably, there was no happiness to pursue at this point-in-time – people communed with God and knew unprecedented blessings – they had happiness -- and yet temptation got the upper hand and left these early people…well, unhappy (or at least in need of filling the spiritual void within created by their rebellion with diverse pursuits and things, both material and immaterial).
While you are busy trying to figure out how temptation wrecked and continues to wreck human-God and human-human relationships, and how to remedy this, ask yourself this question: Did the Founding Fathers & Mothers do us any favors by acknowledging the “pursuit of happiness” as an unalienable right?
They did, I suppose, but one is tempted to wish they had added some boundaries and obligations to that pursuit.
Now, long before there was an America – before my own American Indian forbearers existed on this continent – stories had been created and circulated that extolled specific beliefs, behavior and goals that helped people grow, survive, thrive, and ensure their “own posterity”. Many not unexpectedly reflected the human “pursuit of happiness (or contentment)” and added fairy tale type endings or outcomes. These inspired and encouraged people, yes, but there was a downside; with the advent of filmmaking in America some fairy tales (or “tall tales”) powerfully tapped and exploited the human pursuit of happiness/contentment in ways that dovetailed with American capitalist sentiments and convictions (“More”, “next”, please). During the formative years of my own generation, the Baby Boomers, we were endlessly spoon-fed movie and television fare in which all wrongs were righted (in 2 hours or less installments, no less), and countless princesses, a puppet turned human, a talking cricket and exceedingly cute fawn and most of her family, and enumerable other mythic characters beat the odds, triumphed over every evil, and wound up somehow living happily ever after. So what is wrong with this? Isn’t it natural to seek such mental escapes from “cold, hard reality”?
Maybe so, but what I saw was impressionable children filled with a beatific Hollywood vision of happiness…..harmony, good over evil, all that biz….only to have this (ahem) violently shaken by the latest TV special on how to survive a nuclear war or a report on how many American soldiers had died in Vietnam on that particular day (“Body bag counts”).
Yes, most of the Boomers I grew up with somehow managed to surmount the disparity between “movie and TV land happiness” and “real world happiness”. Sadly, though, I knew more than a few became disappointed, anxious or depressed neurotics who “pursued happiness” by jumping from one scheme, bed, marriage, bar or what-have-you to the next, in some oft unspoken (but discernible) belief that the happily-ever-after endings of so many TV shows, movies and books could yet be realized. Sadly, a very sad few found themselves wondering if happiness/contentment is something only those in the local cemetery found…. a miscalculation that resulted in their taking a permanent stage left.
How do we then overcome or surmount this messed up state-of-affairs? Do we expunge happy endings and amend fairy tales and tall tales and the movies and TV shows they inspire? Since the “pursuit of happiness” (or contentment) is rooted in human nature, I do not count it likely that we can long suppress or redirect its expression (And what would happen to the arts if we did?) I believe, though, that we should counterbalance “happily ever after” with a greater emphasis on civic virtues, courtesy, diplomacy, sharing/caring/empathy, honesty, loyalty/fidelity and like virtues (not to mention sacrifice, hard work, persistence, healthy ways of dealing with stress, thwarted desires/goals and set-backs, etc.)
And what of holiness? Obedience -- as in keeping God's commandments?
At least by more intentionally taking the ethical & moral high road we will (perhaps) be less inclined to expect film or TV show happy endings that seldom if ever come to pass, to seek self-destructive escapes or detours in a quest for this, or to fearfully overreact to differences of opinion, though if we hang on and do what’s right and virtuous we might just get pretty darn close to enjoying the happy ending God intended for his children.
© 2013, 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Supplemental reading: The intimate relationship God and early humans knew long ago was violated and ruptured long ago, yes, and accounts for some of the misguided, sinful, failed ways we have looked to for happiness/contentment. Thankfully, God provided a path to reconciliation which you are invited to explore in a blog entry of mine at https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-post-death-decomposition-body-farm-video/
"Yours truly" has been on Twitter since June 2009 and during that time I've made over 21,000 tweets (most re-Tweets) and received hundreds of DMs (Direct Messages). Most of these DMs have been some variation of "Thanks for following me and do check out my latest book, article, album, movie, sales catalog, award, or such." Few are truly genuine in the sense they are not an obvious marketing come on. Mind you, I do not fault people for promoting their products, creations, convictions, advocacy, pet cause or pet dog, cat, bird, bat or what-have-you. Heck, I've done this myself on more than one occasion. Naturally, I like most of you have wound up somewhat jaded and as-a-result tend to glance at DMs and quickly move on. But not so when it came to a DM I got from Kristeen Nicole Gillooly:
There is always someone to pray for, and today I would like to pray for you. Praying that in all the difficulties you face, you know and understand without a shadow of a doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ is your refuge, the Savior that will continue to save you in your darkest hour. May the peace of His love bring comfort as you cry out to Him.
Mind you, Miss Kristeen's DM came on the heels of my following her, something prompted by a Christian music video she made that I had come across on a Twitter feed and found uplifting.
What made her DM a stand out in my book was not her offer to pray for me -- or even her music video "Praying for You" which she provided a link to -- but what I discovered about her. If you go to Miss Kristeen's blog site at https://kristeennicolegillooly.wordpress.com/ and read her bio, you will (I wager) be touched and impressed by her journey to redemption, deliverance from stage fright, and especially the resilience, faith and hope she mustered in the face of many losses including her own health (to fibromyalgia which has saddled her with chronic, relentlessly strength and quality of life robbing pain).
Then there is this: Miss Kristeen wrote "Praying for You" just four days before her Mum changed worlds ("Passed on").
Of course, I appreciate Miss Kristeen's offer to pray for me. But the truth is that from where I sit she has a more pressing need for prayer, something that brings me the real thrust of this blog entry: If you are a believer who places great store in faith, then say a prayer or two or three for Miss Kristeen's healing. Perhaps once she is well she will go on to write a song of praise to God for his role in bringing about her recovery and also for those servants who interceded for her after hearing one of her videos, reading her life story on her Word Press blog site, or getting a DM from her as I did.
Looking for some music that inspires (draws one closer to God) and at the same time relaxes? Perhaps one of my favorites will work for you. Namely, Gregorian chants.....3 hours worth, no less! Go ahead, sit back and give it a whirl.....
And if you just happen to like J-pop (I came by my affection for it naturally, having lived and worked on the enchanted isle for many years), try this golden oldie from "Morning Musume" (English subtitles) on for size:
Or if you are in "Jolly Roger" mood, how about?
More about Summer Cloud
Summer Cloud is an American Indian (Tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) who, though reared in the Southern Baptist faith, realized early on that many of the so-called sacred dogmas, creeds and beliefs he had been taught were at serious variance with the findings of historical researchers, Biblical scholars, Biblical archeologists, physical anthropologists, geologists and more. As you might expect, a boy who openly argued for modifying or throwing out beliefs and claims that had been invalidated was not especially popular among his conservative Protestant peers much less the leaders of the Southern Baptist church he attended. In time his critical thinking mindset propelled him on a quest for an expression of faith that both incorporated and reflected the findings of science and scholarship. In 1980 he became a Roman Catholic (Charismatic) and in 2015 he became a lay monk in the transdemoninational Knights of Prayer Monastic Order (Full monk in 2017) as well as a monk in several other religious communities & monastic organizations which are part of the New Monasticism movement. In 2017 he took the name "Brother Anthony of the Resurrection".
Dr. Payne has been a Mensan since 1985.