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KiwiChristian

Independent Fundamental Baptist
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KiwiChristian last won the day on December 8 2012

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About KiwiChristian

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  • Birthday 06/14/1972

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    Wellington NZ

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  1. There are two ways of looking at books, just as there are two ways of looking at music, movies or whatever. One is the carnal way: how did this book/movie/song please me? How much was I entertained by it? How much was my flesh gratified by it? How well was it written and how did this affect the way I enjoyed it? What was the style? What was the main theme? Etc. You may prefer to use a word other than carnal, but I use that because when it all boils down to it, you're analysing that book/movie/song or whatever from the standpoint of how much it entertained and gratified your flesh. The other is the spiritual way: did this book/movie/song glorify God? Did it edify my spirit? Did it make me think more about God, and the things of God, and how I should live? Did it present a solid Scriptural message, or was there mostly worldly language and activity with a little bit of Bible sprinkled on top to make it seem more "spiritual"? Did the characters behave in a God-honouring way (such as being respectful to their superiors, parents etc., keeping themselves pure, resisting temptation as far as possible), or did they walk after their own lusts and say that others should do likewise? Etc. Once upon a time, I only used to look at books, movies, TV shows, music and so on from the carnal standpoint. But since being born again, I am looking at them increasingly from a spiritual standpoint and starting to come to very different conclusions about them quite often. For example, I used to think a lot of TV shows were great. They were so funny, or so exciting, or just generally so entertaining, and I judged them by how much they gratified my flesh (and they gratified it a good deal). But now that the Lord has opened my eyes, I see the wickedness in them, the unholy lifestyles and ways of thinking being promoted, and now instead of craving them, I can barely stomach most of them. It's the same with rock and pop music. There was a time when I couldn't get enough of it, but now I see how spiritually toxic it is. I see how CCM, for all its "veneer of godliness", caters to the flesh every bit as much as secular rock does; it just throws enough of God in there so you can fool yourself into thinking you're being spiritual even while you sway your body to that sensual beat. I've read a lot of books in my life, many secular (including some of the classics), and a number that were Christian, or at least purported to be so. I still read a lot, although I tend to read more Christian non-fiction these days. But I have a number of Christian novels by different authors: Brock and Bodie Thoene, Jack Cavanaugh, Ellen Gunderson Traylor, Paul Hutchens, Terri Blackstock and Frank Peretti. I also had most of the "Left Behind" books at one stage, but sold them in part because their theology was a bit questionable and in part because they were big bulky hardbacks and I needed to free up some room (for more books, naturally). Paul Hutchens, as you might know, wrote the Sugar Creek Gang series of books. From a carnal standpoint, they tick boxes for being exciting (there is often quite a lot of danger for the boys) and funny at times. But I would rate them reasonably highly from a spiritual standpoint too. There's usually some good Biblical teaching in most of the books (although this seems to decrease as the series progresses). In some books, though not all, the Gospel is presented reasonably clearly. There is some strong preaching and teaching against assorted sins and social ills like alcoholism, gambling, racism and so on. The books can sometimes be very educational in general - nothing wrong with that. On the down side, the boys celebrate Halloween without seeming to be aware of its evil origins or caring that much, and a modern Bible version is used (although it's at least a fairly conservative translation). But on the whole, I think this is a reasonably safe series. Moreover, it depicts an America that is becoming an increasingly distant memory, although maybe that America still exists in parts of the heartland. The Thoenes are best known for their historical fiction, in particular the Zion Chronicles and Zion Covenant series (there is now also the new Zion Diaries series). They have also written series set in the USA (Shiloh Legacy) and Ireland (Galway Chronicles). From a carnal standpoint, you can't really fault these books. They're very well written and highly suspenseful. Educational too, quite often. From a spiritual standpoint however, they have some issues. For one thing, Roman Catholicism is treated very sympathetically (especially in the Galway Chronicles). There is no hint of it being a false religion. It is basically treated as just another Christian denomination. For another thing, there is some very graphic violence in most of the books. People get shot, stabbed, blown up and otherwise brutally murdered. Not very edifying. Then there is all the romance, some of which can get quite steamy (OK, the steamier bits generally involved couples who are married, but do we really need to be privy to their marital intimacy?). There's not much clear presentation of the Gospel. Moreover, some of the theology can get a little weird at times, e.g. in the latest Zion Diaries book there is a suggestion that maybe some of the saints who rose from the dead when Jesus died on the cross are still alive today. Bodie Thoene herself seems to have rather Pentecostal leanings. On her Facebook page recently, she was talking about praying in some Bethel church in California, and when I looked this church up, it was very radically charismatic. So for all that the Thoenes' books are a great read (you can't put them down!), there are some quite serious problems with them from a spiritual perspective. Jack Cavanaugh wrote the American Family Portrait series (8 books in that altogether) and has written other mostly historical fiction. Generally pretty well done. Offhand I can't remember enough about them to critique them Biblically. I know I really enjoyed reading them, but that doesn't necessarily make them sound. Ellen Gunderson Traylor writes (or used to - not sure if she's still going) Biblical fiction, that is fictional novels involving Biblical characters and Biblical settings. Some of her books cover people like Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Ruth, John, Mary Magdalene and one or two others. Now, from a carnal standpoint, these books are all great reads. But from a spiritual standpoint, I believe they are quite dangerous, because they introduce a lot of ideas that are not in the Bible, and if you're not careful, they could adversely influence your theology. There's a bit of sensual romance in there as well. So I really can't recommend them nowadays. Frank Peretti is best known for his novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Are they great reads? Absolutely! Very exciting. But are they spiritually good? Hmm. Peretti's theology is pretty Pentecostal/Charismatic in nature. There's a lot of stuff in his books (particularly regarding the precise nature and organisation of angels and demons) that's not actually in the Bible. Still, they do kind of help make you aware of the very real dangers of the New Age, and the fact that there is a spiritual war going on all the time. Another book he wrote was Prophet. That was quite well done, but again, leaned in a Pentecostal sort of direction. I've also read The Oath and The Visitation by him, which frankly I didn't enjoy much even from a carnal standpoint. These are basically "Christian horror" novels, with a heavy emphasis on the supernatural, but very little Bible (from what I can recall). I haven't actually read anything by Terri Blackstock yet, but I've bought a couple of her books on my Kindle. Christian fiction that I can recommend wholeheartedly from a spiritual standpoint is anything written by the Castleberrys (see Castleberry Farm Press). Their Courtship Series, Farm Mystery Series and assorted one-off books are all excellent, very Biblical and use the King James Bible too. Mind you, there's the odd thing to fault even in these (for example, one book promotes Focus on the Family a little bit). But all in all, you can't go too far wrong with them, so if you want some good Biblically sound Christian fiction without an overabundance of worldliness, you'll struggle to find much better than the Castleberrys' stuff, although of course John Bunyan's classics The Pilgrim's Progress and The Holy War are also excellent in this respect.
  2. Think he might have got banned now, so he probably won't.
  3. I just listened to this hard-hitting sermon by Jason Cooley about paganism and patriotism: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=7713194376 Southern people will particularly enjoy the second half of this sermon in which he talks about The Battle Hymn of the Republic and how it's not a Christian song at all but was war propaganda. Although a "Yankee" (I think Cooley is a Minnesota native), he declares that the South was right, that Lincoln had slaves, that only the slaves in the South were freed by his Emancipation Proclamation but slaves in the North were not, and that the reason Lincoln is so beloved today is because he had a good propaganda machine. He also says that no part of the United States has had more Christian revivals than the South. So I think he would definitely agree with the sentiments of many on this thread! Enjoy!
  4. True enough! I have now found that sermon I referred to in my previous post. It's by John Weaver and is called "The South Must Rise Again". He has a lot of material in SermonAudio, including some other stuff about the South and Civil War. It's quite eye-opening (although I don't necessarily agree that the South should rise again and start another civil war). The basic view of the Civil War that you get in the northern States is that the South wanted the right to keep slaves and mainly seceded for that, so the North, led by "Honest Abe", had to fight them to free the slaves and keep the United States as "one nation under God". This is also pretty much how Hollywood paints it, I think. The negative view of the South prevails in a lot of TV shows. How are southerners generally portrayed in many TV shows and movies? Very often, as bigoted and somewhat crazy rednecks with a Bible in one hand and a KKK hood in the other. And let's not forget backward and probably inbred. But should we really be surprised that liberal, anti-God Hollywood portrays the largely Christian and conservative South in this way? Not that the South is perfect by any means. There was some pretty bad racism there in the middle of last century, and the Jim Crow laws weren't exactly its proudest moment. I have an aunt (related by marriage) from Alabama who is very anti-black. So the South has its sin issues like everywhere else. But in general it probably is more Christian than much of the rest of America and the history of the secession and Civil War is clearly nowhere near as black and white as many Americans (and folks like me who have lived there) are led to believe.
  5. Hollywood, too, adores Lincoln (witness the recent movie they made about him). When Hollywood loves someone, that's all the more reason to be suspicious of them. As a New Zealander, I'm fairly neutral when it comes to who was "right" in the North-South conflict. But I did live in the United States for a couple of years in the 1980s, in Bethesda Maryland, right on the Mason-Dixon Line pretty much. Visited many Civil War battlefields while there, including Manassas and Gettysburg. Maryland of course was a northern state, while nearby Virginia was a southern one. Basically while there, I was taught "North good, South bad", so Lincoln was extolled as a pretty great guy. I am therefore finding this alternative view of him quite interesting. About a month ago I heard part of a sermon (I forget who by) where it was said that the South was quite Christian and Bible-oriented while the North was pretty liberal, and that then as now, the North tended to mock the South for that. The speaker reckoned that was part of a reason for the conflict - not something I'd ever heard before either.
  6. I don't think so. It's not beyond the realms of possibility I guess. I'd be more than happy to say hello if we did know each other (or even just had a passing acquaintance), but I'm fairly sure we don't. Maybe you've come across someone with a similar user name to mine or something? Some great posts in this thread, by the way! Thankfully I don't think I've had any direct experience with evil spiritual forces (an abhorrence of the occult was instilled in me from a young age and I've always steered clear of it), although I've encountered a handful of people who I'm pretty sure were demon-possessed. One was a seriously scary lady who had creepy visions of ladies in white around her bed and heard voices of dead relatives speaking to her, and who also liked to hang out in cemeteries. She had a very domineering kind of personality. I think her mother must have been into the occult a bit, because she talked about weird things that happened at her mother's house (like one room having a bad smell for no apparent reason, or pictures mysteriously moving on the walls and suchlike). That was over 13 years ago and I have long since got her out of my life. But apart from maybe reading about it in Christian books or reading the odd "real-life ghost story" on another forum, that's about the closest I've come to serious spiritual darkness, and it was plenty close enough!
  7. It is largely thanks to Lighthouse Trails that I have learned about the dangers of contemplative prayer and spiritual formation. In particular, Ray Yungen's book A Time of Departing, which they publish, is a real eye-opener. Roger Oakland also covers contemplative prayer and mysticism in Faith Undone, although that's more about the emerging church (but mysticism is pretty prevalent in that). In addition to those books, there are also many articles published regularly about these subjects and others. I am convinced beyond any doubt that no born-again child of God should have anything to do with contemplative prayer or spiritual formation. These practices should be avoided every bit as much as witchcraft, Ouija boards, astrology, necromancy and other such abominations. They do not bring you closer to God, but rather bring you into the realm of devils. The Bible commands us not to learn the way of the heathen or try to worship God in the same manner that pagans do. Many of the most prominent proponents of contemplative prayer have developed New Age worldviews over the course of time. That is the fruit of messing around with such a spiritually dangerous practice. It has become a trap for many already, and I fear that many more, even in independent Baptist circles, will be ensnared by it. Let those with ears to hear please heed the warning and stay away from this stuff! And if you're involved in it, please repent and get out of it before it traps you completely in deep spiritual bondage!
  8. Occultism has been greatly popularised by Hollywood, and of course the Harry Potter books have done their part to entice people into it. A lot of people buy into the idea that it's "just harmless fun" and don't understand the real spiritual dangers involved with it. However, the lost can't discern things spiritually. Christians should be able to have a better understanding of the dangers. Yet many Christians are being enticed into the occult without even realising it. They're getting involved in things like contemplative prayer, "Christian" yoga and suchlike. Contemplative prayer is just Hindu/Buddhist mysticism with another name. They think these things will get them "closer to God", but in reality such activities are exposing them to demonic spirits. Mysticism will likely be the main glue of ecumenism in the future, and I believe that contemplative prayer is a much greater occultic danger, for the Christian church at least, than better-known practices like fortune-telling or Ouija boards (although those should certainly be avoided like the plague!).
  9. We're fairly used to earthquakes in this part of the world, so generally don't get too uptight if a little one occurs (although no matter how accustomed you are to them, they're never very nice). However, yesterday's earthquake was the most serious that Wellington has experienced for quite some time. Apart from its size, another problem was that it was pretty shallow. I have lived in this city for all but two years of my life, and have experienced many earthquakes, but I cannot recall one that shook quite as violently as that one yesterday, and I certainly can't remember one that caused such extensive damage in the downtown area. In fact, pretty much the whole central city is closed down today. Trains are not running either. This is mainly a precautionary measure however to allow safety inspections to be carried out. But I cannot remember any earthquakes that I've personally lived through where that's happened. I'm rather fortunate that the house I'm in is built on solid rock. As a result, it was pretty much unscathed by yesterday's big shake. Hardly anything fell down apart from a couple of little booklets that were rather precariously positioned anyway. The downtown area on the other hand is mostly built on reclaimed land which is quite soft and sandlike. Some of that actually slipped back into the sea yesterday, and the worst damage was downtown. They are continuing to feel aftershocks on a regular basis, but I'm not feeling anything other than the very worst ones. So you see, it's absolutely true what the Lord says about the wise man building his house upon the rock and the foolish man building his house upon the sand!
  10. New Zealand is nicknamed the "Shaky Isles" because of its fairly regular earthquakes. You probably know about the devastating Christchurch earthquake in February 2011. Well right now it the turn of the capital, Wellington (where I live) to get a good shaking. About 3 1/2 hours ago we had a quite severe earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. It was part of a "swarm" of tremors that began on Friday morning (NZ time) with a 5.7 shake. Ten hours before the big one, there was another measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale. They're all centred in pretty much the same spot. There have also been a number of smaller earthquakes, most of which have not been felt, and a couple of medium-sized ones that were only felt momentarily. The 6.5 earthquake did some damage in downtown Wellington, with some broken glass and masonry, things falling off shelves and suchlike. The airport was closed for a while, and there were some isolated power outages. However, there have been no injuries or deaths that I know of. This is an ongoing situation. Usually with earthquakes, you get one big one followed by smaller aftershocks. But this sequence is following an extremely unusual pattern, so there's just no way of knowing whether that 6.5 shake was the worst one or whether there could be an even bigger one in store! The epicentre of these earthquakes is continuing to generate tremors almost constantly. Scary times!
  11. Well, when I was going, they had a morning service (10 or 11 am - I forget which) and an evening one (6 pm) on Sundays. I think I mostly went to the evening one. I don't recall them having a Sunday school, but that's not to say they didn't, just that I don't remember it. However it might depend on the individual corps (they tend to call their churches "corps" - their terminology has a lot of military language). They do teach that one is saved by grace through faith, so Biblically orthodox in that respect. But because of the work they do, they probably did veer a bit towards a "social gospel". They also seemed to be a bit on the charismatic side (though without the wild spiritual extremes) and both men and women could preach. What seemed to qualify you to preach in the Sallies (or Salvos, as my Aussie cousins might say) was how senior an officer you were, but gender didn't matter. I think Catherine Booth (wife of William Booth who founded the Salvation Army) was a bit of a feminist, so that probably goes all the way back to her.
  12. At the Salvation Army church that I attended for a little while in the 1990s, people used to let their kids run around all through the service. So you'd be trying to listen to the sermon and there would be half a dozen kids or more chasing each other around the building. They weren't all that quiet about it either, as you can imagine. I found that REALLY annoying. The parents seldom if ever did anything about it either. It's a wonder anybody learned anything with that going on!
  13. I'm reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird at the moment. If you've read it or seen the movie, then you'll know that one of its major themes is racism and prejudice in the Deep South (and specifically Alabama). Anyway, in a chapter I read today, the narrator and her older brother (both children in the book) are taken to a "Negro church" by their black housekeeper. When they first arrive at the church, they are confronted by another black woman who tells them that white children shouldn't be coming to a black church (though she actually calls it a n****r church - that word seems to be used as much by black people in the book as by whites!). This woman is soon put in her place by other members of the congregation, who say she's a troublemaker and "haughty in her ways". In the midst of numerous instances of white people showing racial prejudice, here we see a black woman exhibiting bigotry towards people of another race. This brought two things to my mind: firstly, racial prejudice is really the result of a haughty spirit. A haughty person thinks they're better than others for various reasons which can include skin colour. Pride is thus at the root of racism ultimately. But what this episode also shows clearly (whether Harper Lee intended it to or not) is that racial prejudice and bigotry are certainly not just white people's problems, but human problems. Ultimately, they are sin problems. Anyone of any skin colour, nationality, religious persuasion or whatever can exhibit this type of behaviour. Looking down on other people or groups of people for whatever reason is part of the sinful human nature that we all have. It is one of the many different ways that we display our sinfulness. Unfortunately, the meanings of prejudice and bigotry have been all twisted up in this wicked world of ours, so that if you express any kind of opposition to homosexuality, or Islam, or illegal immigration, or any other social or moral problem, you're labelled a "bigot". It doesn't matter how humbly or graciously you might express your view, if it's against the orthodoxy of the liberal elite, you're "prejudiced" and "bigoted" and not fit for polite society. Nor does it matter that you are opposing CHOSEN BEHAVIOURS (especially in the case of homosexuality) and MORAL CHOICES that have nothing to do with inherent attributes like skin colour. Sometimes though, it is possible to be bigoted even if your views may be basically right. What I mean by that is it's possible to have a haughty attitude towards homosexuals, Muslims or whoever even if your opinions of them may be Biblically correct. In other words, you can take the right position but have a wrong spirit in doing so. We must always remember to speak the truth in love and not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think - be ever humble and avoid an attitude of superiority.
  14. Recently, while getting rid of some CDs by Robbie Williams (who blasphemes the Lord Jesus Christ in at least a couple of his songs and generally promotes immorality and so on in his music), I came across the following quite telling comments in the liner notes of his Greatest Hits CD: So Williams is another "medium", I reckon. A decade or so ago, I used to really like that song. Even thought it was sort of Christian in some ways. Well, not any more, that's for sure!

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