Musings on Repentance 1: Glen Beck’s Call for Awakening versus Biblical Repentance

Glen Beck has made the news because of a speech he gave on the Washington Mall on 8/28/2010 which was an Anniversary date of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream speech.  The speech was part of a rally hosted by Glen Beck that when by the title of Restoring Honor.  The speech made the news because Glen called for the nation to return to God.  The speech garnered varied reactions ranging from unqualified support, skepticism, or criticism. Many Christians were alarmed that such a call came from a person known to be a member of a Latter Day Saints (Mormon) congregation.  Some have spoken with Glen Beck and have come away convinced he understands and embraces the idea of atonement.  Well, given all the reactions this writer decided to listen to the speech and having done so have found it to be quite disturbing.  Yes, Glen Beck calls for an Awakening and a turning to God by acts of faith, hope, and Charity. He spent time pointing at the need for firm reliance on divine providence as written in founding father documents. However, his call for Awakening does not match the Biblical view of awakening or repentance. Let’s examine a bit closer what he stands for as indicated in his speech. You may want to take the time to view the speech for your self before you read the further commentary in this article. The speech can be found at: http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/45013/.

In listening the speech there were four concepts espoused by Glen Beck that do not correspond to Biblical principles or Biblical repentance.  Glen Beck did use some words that have an element of truth, but the truth he spoke simply served as a means of accepting the other content of his message as true.  There are four key message elements of his speech that are in direct contrast to Biblical repentance and awakening. 

The first element that is in contrast to Biblical repentance is that Glen Beck emphasized the importance of self-determination. He opened the speech with a comment “One man can change the world.” “It is you.”  He made frequent references to Moses and his staff.  He encouraged people over and over to “pick up the stick.” Meaning get involved in the efforts to alter the course of the nation. He used the metaphor even of Egypt and slavery to make his point. However, the slavery he refers to is not being involved in political action and having restrains to self-determination.  True, he does reference seeking God and acting in faith, hope, and charity. Yet, it is all for the building up of self.  He even alluded to his being a broken man and having made changes. Yet, he points to political actions to “set people free.” 

The second element that is in contrast to Biblical repentance is that while he hearkens to engaging in prayer and engaging in firm reliance on divine providence, he emphasizes the importance of “America.”  He clearly espouses the concept of America as a “special nation.”  He referred to the documents from the founding fathers of the country as being “American Scripture.”  He indicated that if “America” does not change the course it is on, then there will be no one to step in when the “world” is in trouble. In essence, he elevates “America” to a savior of the world status.  This is elevating the country of the United States to an unhealthy level and looking for human element to saving the world.  The perspective of the Christian faith is that nothing will be made right until Jesus returns and everything will continue to get worse.

Another disturbing element of Glen Beck’s speech was the frequent references to “looking within.” He made comments such as we need to “strengthen our spirits” and we need to explore “inner space.”  The need for such “inner exploration” is not part and parcel to the Christian concept of awakening and repentance but rather calls to finding what you are sure of and finding some form of spiritual guidance for inner strengthening.  And while it was not directly said, it suggests pointing to some inner element of “the divine.” For Glen Beck made constant references of to humility. He even declared God as King, yet he frequently focused on self effort.  Even his push for “faith, hope, and charity” really seem inclined to being found in looking within in and choices made.  Yes,  Glen Beck did proclaim that we need to look to God and look to love, yet the direction he pointed folks to look was within.

The last disturbing element of Glen Beck’s speech  is that  what he pointed to is everyone needs to know what they believe. He indicated that belief is important, he stated truth was important but only as elements of self.  In terms of truth, a person needs to be truthful and have no lies in your life.  He proclaimed  “truth shall set you free” but the determiner of truth is self and what you believe. He emphasized that what was important were the “universal principles” of the varied faiths, not absolute truth.  His embracing nebulous universal truths was highlighted even by his action as he called for a “Black Robe Brigade” of people of varied “faiths” that were standing for advocating political answers with a human moral base centered on universal principles.  This is not by any shape turning to submission to a Holy God and Jesus who is “THE WAY,” rather it is being actively involved and engaged in solutions of this world to change moral behavior and political focus. It is quite different that biblical awakening and repentance.

At the core, Biblical repentance is not turning to self or elevating self with the aim of some political world changing purpose. Biblical repentance is turning away from self-effort and following God’s ways. Yes, that involves loving God and others. Yes, it involves turning to Jesus as King.  But it is something that is not about elevation of self or society but simply doing what is right before God and turning away from that which is self.  The Bible is filled with evidence of what repentance looks like.  The story of the Prodigal son is one example.  It is a coming to an end of self and turning to God.  True repentance will result in a turning to Jesus.  The attitude seen in Biblical repentance is shown in James 4:6-9 (ESV) “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”   There really is stark contrast.  Look at Zacchaeus for a Biblical example of repentance. He was crooked, greedy man. He met Jesus and he changed his life to the point of even returning more than he stole.  He was called and he followed. Biblical repentance involves two actions, a turning from self and turning to God.  It is leaving the old way for a new.

Glen Beck offers ways to arrange the world and life to best accommodate desires. It is holding on own life in a way, it is far different from the self-surrender of scripture.  There is a verse passage in Ephesians that really sums up the difference between what Glen Beck is promoting and the Biblical view.

Ephesians 5:6-17 (ESV) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  

 This passage  exposes those  appear  to proclaim a turning to God yet really are elevating self.  The passage also commands to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.   For there is always really two ways, the way of God and the way of the world.  There is Godly sorrow and repentance that leads to salvation as those who lose their life will gain it. Then there is the way of the world, the works of flesh, the elevation of self that has no life and leads to death and destruction.  One is real, one is but illusion.  Glen Beck’s call is to that of illusion leading to death. There is no life there.

Christian Video: Derek meets a false prophet

Please take time to watch this video it speaks for itself.

Guest Commentary: Titus 1- What it teaches us about false shepherds

The following was sent to me by my brother Robert Blake:

Titus is written by Paul to a young pastor who is probably over seeing a new church.
Paul begins by laying out a structure of elders to watch over the church. He gives a clear list of characteristics these men are to have. They are to protect the church, keeping it in line with the truth.
What seems to have hit me with some interest is the second half of chapter one. Paul sets up the structure out of concern for the church, that it maintain its integrity to the truth. He goes on to explain there are false shepherds and lists their characteristics.
These characteristics will all be framed within context of truth, which is mentioned later in the chapter. The characteristics starting at vs. 10 are:

Rebellious– Indicates a person who knows the truth but decides to do the opposite. A question is if we are all rebellious as Paul indicates in other writings, how are these people different? I would say they do not have the Romans 7 struggle between right and wrong actions. They choose to go after wrong actions.

Empty Talkers– It is a ripe term, hypocritical nature is what it is pointing to. Telling people to do one thing, and they do the other. Yes, it is related to the first characteristic. But, I wonder if it is more than that? We are warned in scripture that people in the end times will want their ears tickled, words that will please over words of truth. That is also at the heart of the empty talker, providing words to keep people happy over keeping people on the path of truth.

Deceivers– It tells us that the false teachers are doing more than just wrongly teaching, they are purposefully teaching something and it is wrong. It means they know the truth but choose to teach the opposite. Related to the previous characteristic, keeping the flock happy means they choose a lie over truth, ultimately deception.

Of Circumcision– It means they are participate and are active in the church community, the body of believers. It is why Paul wants elders to protect the church.

Wrongly motivated– They are in it for their own benefit and gain, contrast with the elders who are not self-willed and genuinely care for others. They simply have something to gain and will do what it takes to get it.

Teach Traditions and Commands– Part of their strategy is to use things that appear to be good but are not the truth. The root of what they teach is earth bound appearance instead of genuine faith. Simply put, they will teach things that pull a person away from total reliance upon Jesus for salvation and upon our own actions to obtain it. It is a teaching that counts on our own ability to save ourselves through what we do or do not do. Goes on to say that these people are unbelieving. They do not trust in Christ. Stay away from any teacher who does not point people to Jesus and nothing else for salvation.

No Truth- It is the central component in all of the characteristics, but Paul mentions it specifically. They are unbelieving in the truth and turn away from it. Truth is not their guide.

It is a long list, but a clear litmus test for believers. We are to scrutinize teachers with both the list of positive characteristics and the warnings Paul identifies as signs of a false teacher. When they are applied,  things will be clear. Their are many other items in scripture that warn us about false teachers, this is just one passage that is full to the brim in practical application. Study it and apply it. Follow the recommendations by Paul, to rebuke and silence those who stray from the truth.
We live in a pluralistic age, we are taught to accept all things. Paul tells us to do otherwise, confront it for the benefit of the church so that no one is harmed.

Two Rivers

Two Rivers
by Timothy G. Blake

Curtain rises
On knees beseech
Take me to thy River
Flowing from the fountain
In your temple
Thy will be done
Father gifts assent
Vision unfolds

Mighty City
On a Center Hill
Holy
Majestic
River flowing
Ever widening
Flowing Swift
Sure

Around the bend
Widest Point
Large Crowd
Venders
Lights
Sign post
Take drink
Imbibe
Enter in
Soak
One by one
Water swarmed
The water sweet
Aloe to the soul
Water soothes
Cleanses
Pleasure beyond depth

Euphoria Explodes
Laughing
Singing
Dancing
Playing
The crowd chants
Everyone needs to get some
More! More!

River retrace
To the source
Outside the gates
One of great stature
Crowned with Little Horns

Through his bull horn speaks
Gives command
The Time has come
All loyalty require
Brand them

Creature of Lights
Many Men of Renown
Do his biding
Line of Humanity
One by one
Branded
Herded
Commanded

Yet there are others
Already branded
My sheep
Bullhorn speaks
Herd them all
Threshing floor

Lambs slaughtered
Blood flows
The Slain Lamb weeps
and wounds grow deep

The ever present servants of the Lamb
Attend to the lamb
Gathering tears till cups overflow
Then wash the killing field
With the cup of tears
Blood of the slain
Tears of the lamb
Gather together
Mighty river is formed

Flashback
Wide River berth
Laughter
Signing
Dancing
Mirth
Many caught unguarded
Strong undertow
Drags under
Dashed
Many lose bearing
Swept away to the rivers end
Where vultures gather

Yet some awake
and flee
Sounding Alarm

Vision fades
Mourn
Confusion
Dismay
Lion Roars
“FEAR NOT!”

Vision Unfolds
Center of city
Eyes beheld strange sight
Spigotted rock
And a pile of scrolls
The voice of the Lamb spoke
Remove thy shoes
This is Holy Ground

Fear and Amazement
Drop to bended knee
Take drink from the rock
Spigot turned
The Living water flowed
A Simple Chalice filled
Blood red
Mouth Alive
All taste at once
Suddenly
Peace and Joy
within
Newness
Life
No more thirst
Bubbling to overflow
From the pores flowed blood red
Anointed Bathed, Cleansed

The voice of the lamb spoke
Take eat a scroll
The word consumed
Bitter sweet
Transforming
Truth known in deepest parts
And a sudden glow, light within
The Lamb spoke
Go and Forget not!

Walking temples
Fountains within
Living water
Blood red flowing
Touching
Giving life

The Word firmly planted
Lighting the way
In the darkness
Of realms outside
Where snakes in darkness wait
Snares and traps
But no matter where the temples walk
Living water flows,
Blood red
And each step
The Light of the word shines
Seeding darkness with seeds of truth
Each walking temple a stream

Vision fades
Questions remain
Voice of the Lamb speaks
My son, two rivers you have seen.
The River of judgment
The River of Life.

More Lakeland Evaluation: The Commissioning

After my initial post on testing the fruits of Lakeland based on the categories of sin in 1 John 2:16, I have grown even more concerned. I of course ran into some Lakeland defenders who minimized and denied any of the sin categories could be operating because they were seeking after the power of God.  However, it is very Biblical that people can be tempted to sin seeking after God or God’s promises.  Two prime examples are Abraham who took matters into his own hand and sired Ishmael, the consequences of which we still see to this day.  We also have Jacob/Israel engaging in deception to gain the “birthright” from Isaac over Esau.  Again, this has long lasting consequences.  It comes down to a matter and test of faith and what kingdom we actually are pursuing , our own in the name of God, or God’s kingdom. 

            A stronger example is clearly found in Jesus forty day wilderness experience. First lets look at the text:

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

 4:1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 

4:2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 

4:3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 

4:4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” 

4:5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 

4:6″If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 

4:7Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” 

4:8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 

4:9″All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 

4:10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 

4:11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

 

Jesus was tempted in three ways. I have had described to me before in a sermon by one pastor or another that Jesus was tempted in each of the sin categories in 1 John 2:16.  The temptations, while within the “common temptations” of man, were specific to Jesus the Messiah. They ultimately were about temptations to establish his Messiah-ship by means of sin.  The temptation to turn stones into bread was a temptation to move in “power” and meet the “lust of the flesh” In other words; he was tempted to put his flesh over surrender to the will of the Father.

            The second area of temptation was to cast himself off a high point   It clearly falls to temptation in the “lust of the eyes.” It was really a temptation about moving in power and bringing about bold miracle related to saving himself.   It was a temptation to “prove” that he was the Messiah and would feed the desire to be believed and to show off his great “power.” 

            The third area of temptation clearly falls into the pride of life.  Jesus was offered all power, to be head of all kingdoms, if only to submit to the will of Satan over the will of the Father.  Jesus readily pointed out the biblical defense for each temptation.   

            So having pointed this out, what is the point related to Lakeland.  Well, on June 23rd Mr. Bentley was commissioned by the Revival Alliance Network, led by C. Peter Wagner. Most of the said individuals are involved in what is known as the New Apostolic Reformation, the Third Wave, The River, or the Latter Rain movements.  It comes down to establishing a kingdom of the church that will never fail.  More details about the foundations of this movement can be found at http://www.deceptionbytes.com/StrongDelusion-theNAR and I encourage you to prayerfully read the article. So, Mr. Bentley was given a ceremony commissioning and ordaining him to a role in the government of the New Apostolic Church.  To me this comes off as a way members professing to be in the church have been tempted in the pride of life.  However, If I explain all my thinking on that matter I will detract from my main point. 

            The point is bringing this up, is I want to examine what C. Peter Wagner declared over Mr. Bentley. C. Peter Wagner said to Bentley on the platform: “This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley, your power will increase, your authority will increase, your favor will increase, your influence will increase, your revelation will increase.”…“I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future.”

Pray over these statements. Can you spot the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life?  If not yet, pray and read it again. 

            Well, let me point out what I see.  First of all the lust of the flesh, the promise of new supernatural strength and new life force are certainly promises that appeal to the flesh.  Also promised of increased power, authority, and revelation are flesh appealing to the flesh as well. And actually both promises also appeal to the lust of the eyes. The proclamation clearly includes promises of increase and more, that what as been exhibited so far has not been enough, more is needed.  

The pride of life is very clear and prominent in what was proclaimed over Mr. Bentley. The very mention of government being established, setting things in proper order, pouring out a higher level of discernment, and new relationships open gates to the future all speak to Mr. Bentley being commissioned as someone “special.” And if you even begin to have an understanding of foundational beliefs and doctrines at the center, it is even clearer. However, looking at the plain straight sentences the core of pride of life is very hard to ignore. If you doubt it, check out this blog article on George Barnov’s declarations over Mr. Bentley: http://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/george-banovs-blasphemous-prophecy-at-todd-bentleys-ordination/.

 

Now the reader may sit there and scoff and state, the declarations were from a man given authority by God, and if it is of God, then it is not sin.  Well, if in your heart that is how you read the declaration I ask you to stop and read it again and ask yourself what is missing and to humbly pray and ask God to show you what is missing. If you have done so once and still don’t have an awareness of what is missing, please pray and read it again. 

What I don’t see in the declaration is any mention what so ever of the Gospel.  No mention whatsoever about Jesus.  No fear of God. No humility. No service.  No surrender to Jesus.  Just a straight forward elevating of Mr. Bentley with promises of being strengthened and improved, being given more, and being elevated to a higher position. (Barnov later promises him Eastern Europe.) It is sad to see this happen. It is a serious matter facing the church as a whole.

And while serious, what is more important is to examine ourselves and see where we might be engaging in the lust of flesh, lust of eyes, or pride of life.  Even if you are aware of the deceptions at Lakeland and the Revival Alliance Network backing what is going on in Lakeland, still pride may not be far from the door. The enemy has simple objective which is to kill, steal, and destroy.

How do we battle the enemy? Above all we need to humbly submit before God. We each need to ask and pray for God to reveal where there is deception in our lives, be it from ourselves or others.  Then as sin is reveal in our lives and deception is exposed we need to repent.  We need to spend time daily seeking God in his word, not just reading favorite teachers.  We need to seek not our own kingdom or any multiple false kingdoms we can be tempted with, but seek first the Kingdom of God.  Seeking first the kingdom of God is about losing our life.  It at the very core comes down via the commands to love God with the entirety of our being (not what God can do to, for, or through us), and love our neighbor as ourselves.  And when total loving of God is evident, the Gospel will be center stage.