Tag Archives: joseph prince

Philemon 6: Harmonizing Two Opposing Viewpoints

One of my favorite verses has always been Philemon 6, which reads in the NIV, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Essentially, Paul is explaining that the more we share our faith, the more understanding we gain into our unique position in Christ.  I take this to mean that evangelism, doesn’t just strengthen the new convert, but also the one sharing their faith.

As powerful as this is, the KJV translation presents a different and somewhat opposing reading of the very same verse.  It states, That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” The KJV reverses the order and describes a different process at work; that as we acknowledge the realities of the finished work in our life, the more effective our faith will be.  For the believer, this directs our focus to the confession of who we are in Christ as a tool in seeing our faith manifest into the physical dimension.

So which is it? Do we share our faith in order to learn more about who we are in Christ?  Or do we speak the truth about who we are in him, in order to see our faith shine?  I say, “BOTH!”  Certainly, the more we share our faith, the more we will grow and learn.  And the more we confess the realities of the new covenant over our lives, the more we will begin to see those realities made manifest.  Instead of battling over which is true – do both and you’ll be blessed either way!

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The Shack Revisited

Since the release of my article, The Shack:  A Story of Freedom or Force?, I’ve received an almost constant stream of hate mail regarding the concerns that I expressed, not about the film itself nor even the book, but rather the beliefs of the author, which he himself expressed clearly in his new theologically driven book, Lies We Believe About God.  In this Young states, among other things, “Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!”

My article in response to such bold and blatant theological error, which has received significant traffic and support over the past few days, was criticized as being unfair to Mr. Young, judgmental, and offering unsubstantiated accusations.  Because I am simply unable to respond to each individual diatribe that I have received over the past few days, I felt it best to assemble my response and to clarify my position, in a single follow up post – which I felt is only appropriate to call, The Shack Revisited.

To begin with, let it be known that I have never met Mr. Young, though I am certain that we have nothing short of a long-list of mutual friends and acquaintances, including pastors, journalists, filmmakers, etc.  From all of these mutual relationships combined, not once have I ever heard anything but wonderful things about Young’s disposition, character, and personal integrity.  As a fellow author and filmmaker, I also have the utmost respect for his creativity and talent, which are beyond evident in The Shack.  In fact, I have nothing against the man. I simply don’t agree with his theology, especially that which is expressed in his new book.

Contrary to this generation’s thin-skinned opinion, disagreement doesn’t equal insult.  I’m absolutely certain that Mr. Young and I agree about many things regarding the nature of God and the gospel of grace, but I would ask, “Are a few commonalities reason enough to ignore the false doctrines that he also holds, such as Inclusionism and Christian Universalism?”  The Apostle Paul didn’t think so.  He and Peter had much in common, but this didn’t stop him in Galatians 2:11 from calling Peter out for his doctrinal drift and theological error.  In doing so, I’m not questioning Mr. Young’s salvation, nor the beauty of his book, rather his love affair with progressivist theology, which is as equally harmful, if not more so, than Peter’s unwillingness to let go of his legalistic tendencies and constant people pleasing.

I’ve been amazed this past week at countless Christians who have been presented with excerpt after excerpt of Mr. Young’s own words describing his adherence to spurious doctrines such as Inclusionism, “Open Hell” (if he believes Hell exists at all), and Universalism, only to look the other way or justify his beliefs as being taken out of context.  Ironically, these same individuals, I have found, are among the first in line to call out legalistic tendencies in mainstream authors as an aspersion against the gospel itself.  Yet, when the pendulum swings the other direction, into liberalism, progressivism, and at times, antinomianism, all remain silent.  The consensus seems to be that there is no evidence for Mr. Young’s doctrinal drift and that The Shack is only a work of fiction, but this just isn’t the case.

In fact, Mr. Young’s own co-writer of the Shack, Wayne Jacobsen, said in an article he penned himself for Lifestream.org that when he first received the manuscript from Mr. Young that “universalism was a significant component in the resolution of that story.”  Mr. Jacobsen, in reference to his objection to Mr. Young’s position on Universalism, states, “Paul hoped to convince me I was wrong and sent me his paper on universalism.  We spent some time discussing it, but in the end I felt it took too much linguistic gymnastics to bend Scripture to that conclusion.”  As the article continues, Mr. Jacobsen explains that Mr. Young agreed to allow him to remove the theme of Universalism from the Shack in order to make the story more palpable to the audience that needed it the most.  Although Mr. Jacobsen was successful in removing the overarching concept of Universalism from the story-line, he says nothing of removing this line of thinking from his co-author, Mr. Young.  In fact, if anything, Jacobsen only further reinforces my concerns, that Young is not simply an Inclusionist, but a Universalist as well.

With that being said, I don’t believe the issue for the church is as much Mr. Young’s personal theology, as it is the obvious idolization of a fictional story by believers.  Hearing people speak about The Shack, one would think that Mr. Young has presented a clearer gospel than Jesus himself.  This is problematic for multiple reasons, but most importantly, it demonstrates the love lost in the heart of the church toward Christ and his word.  Like a desperate housewife bored with her first love, the church has revealed that it is on the prowl for a new gospel that is more exciting than the first.  This I intend to address further next week in a new post entitled, “Legalism or Progressivism:  Which is More Deadly to Faith?”

Until then, those who know me, should recognize that if the issues I’m describing where merely related to a movie, I would never take the time to present such a case, but in no way is this about a single author or a current film, but an evolving distrust for the church, the Bible, and ultimately for God.

“Who is wise?  He will realize these things.  Who is discerning?  He will understand them.  The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”

– Hosea 14:9

 

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Why America is in love with the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty.

In my book, Good God:  The One We Want To Believe In But Are Afraid To Embrace, I tackle one of the most widely held false notions about God – his sovereignty.

For some time the church has held to this idea that God is divinely controlling all things – the bad and the good – and that our lives are the result of his choice, will, and dominion.  Although this might sound spiritual, it’s actually a form of Gnostic teaching and rooted in pagan mythology.  The Gnostics believed that “god” was both light and dark; that is that he embodied both good and evil.  In fact, they taught that the father was “dark” and the son was “light” and that the son came to save us from the father.  This is why John writes in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”  This would have been revolutionary to the Gnostic people.  John proclaimed that the God of the true gospel is all light and that there is no darkness – no confusion, nothing hidden, no ill intention.  From his biblical understanding, in Christianity, we understand that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all one in the same – God in three persons.  Gnosticism taught their separate identities, much like the various deities that dwelt together on the Greek’s Mt Olympus.

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Today, this Gnostic teaching, has resurfaced in Western theology through the doctrine of extreme sovereignty.  I believe one of the reasons why sovereignty teaching (and hyper-Calvinism) is so attractive is because of its removal of personal responsibility on the life of the believer.  As Christians, many are frustrated today by the continual devaluation of personal responsibility in our society.  According to today’s world, crime is due to guns and not criminals, sexual perversion is due to nature and not sin, the list goes on and on.  So removed is the idea of personal responsibility that in several countries in Europe pedophiles actually received disability benefits.   But it’s important that we see that this loss of personal responsibility does not exist only in the world today – it’s also in the church.  Through the doctrine of sovereignty, adherents distance themselves from the power of their own decisions and behavior, by claiming things like God “has them in this season”, “is leading them through a desert time”, or “trying to teach them something”.  Cloaked in spiritual language, religious minded individuals unable to come to grip with their own depravity, cling to the idea that God is in control of the outcome of their lives, and hide from the reality that, outside of the impact of others’ freewill and the result of a fallen world, their lives are the summation of the choices they make.

This is the exact same belief system that Job was rebuked for in the last chapter of the book of Job.  Job, a man who faced massive amounts of suffering and loss, mistakenly thought that God was the source of his pain.  Job, overconfident in his own righteousness, was unable to see how his fear and pride (two of the biggest themes in the book of Job) affected his life.  He was also completely unaware of the existence of Satan.  Job saw all things (light and dark/good and evil) as existing in the Godhead and would rather blame God than himself, nature, or the enemy.  But in the end of the book, upon finally seeing God face-to-face, Job saw the error of his ways, repents and says, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’  My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

In reality, God’s goodness is displayed in the freedom to choose that he bestows upon his children.  Personal responsibility should actually empower us, not condemn us.  When we realize that God is not the cause of our pain, it frees us to draw near to him, rely on his grace, and seek his guidance in our life.  If the problems of life are God’s will for us, what hope do we have?  But if God is really “for me”, then I can stand firm, resist the enemy’s advances, and walk in victory.  This doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen, but if and when they do, I can rest in the knowledge that God is not the source of my pain.

Theology is simple, “If it’s good, it’s God. If it’s not, it’s not.”

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Introducing…..Living Grace!

I am very excited to introduce to you the brand new book, Living Grace, by New Nature Publications.  This book is a joint project put together by New Nature and 13 like minded authors, including, yours truly!  My chapter is titled, Unstoppable Grace, and parallel’s the lives of Jonah and Saul/Paul while looking at grace as a modern reformation/movement.  I really believe in the revelation that I shared in this book and I would highly recommend it for anyone who is part of the “Gospel Revolution”.

Here is a list of the authors and chapter titles:

Chapter   1 – Union by Benjamin Dunn.

Chapter   2 – Totally Forgiven, Totally United, Totally Filled by Ryan Rufus.

Chapter   3 – Guilt Free Living by Arther Meintjes.

Chapter   4 – The Grace Hating Spirit by RobRufus.

Chapter   5 – Grace and Leadership by Fini deGersigny.

Chapter   6 – Ministering in the Glory by Joshua Mills.

Chapter   7 – Dealing with the Demonic by Cornel Marais.

Chapter   8 – Grace and Finances by Andrew Wommack.

Chapter   9 – The Place of Grace in Balanced Preaching by Chad Mansbridge.

Chapter 10 – A Case for Divine Complacency by John Crowder.

Chapter 11 – The New Covenant in a Nutshell by Paul Hernandez.

Chapter 12 – New Covenant Motivation by Wayne Duncan.

Chapter 13 – Unstoppable Grace by Lucas Miles.

If you would like to order a copy, here is the link!  I would love to hear your thoughts.

http://www.oasnet.org/resources-store.cfm#ecwid:category=1466683&mode=product&product=10445086

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The Power of a Humble Heart

There is perhaps nothing more powerful than a humble heart.  Humility, the most misunderstood of all virtues, is the ability to accept and acknowledge God’s opinion and perspective in our lives.  This is where the power lies.  The moment I accept and embrace God’s perspective, I share in his strength and am able to flow in his plan.  This level of empowerment is often missed in our traditional understanding of humility.  Typically, when defining humility, most would only associate it with being lowly in spirit, but this is incomplete.  True humility, simply put, is being sensitive to God’s perspective in our lives.  This definition allows variety in our personality while keeping the emphasis on embracing God’s perspective.  Regarding this level of empowerment, Psalm 149:4 states,For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”  The surest way to victory is to embrace God’s perspective and that is that he “takes delight in his people”.  When we know God’s love for us, we are empowered to be truly humble. 

In this, when I know that I am loved, it becomes quite easy for me to admit fault, acknowledge weakness, and seek forgiveness from those around me.  This kind of humility seems may seem counterintuitive to our minds, but only in reaching this level of security in God’s love for us, can we ever really be free to be ourselves.  To admit fault, seems like such weakness, but in reality, it brings power.  In fact, humbling yourself to those around you, confessing your weaknesses, in actuality is the greatest sign of God’s power and personal confidence working in your life.  A truly great person, one who is fully established in who they are in Christ, should have no complaint in admitting their shortcomings, for regardless of their weaknesses; they know their position in Christ.  Additionally, they know Paul’s confession in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “for when I am weak, then I am strong”.  Like Paul, when we walk in true humility, we gain access to the power of God and begin the road to abundant victory in every area of our lives. 

Only a person insecure in their faith, unsure of how God feels about them, would struggle to demonstrate or show weakness.  This ignorance and insecurity causes them to overinflate their abilities, refuse to see their flaws, and make the false assumption that they are always right.  Like Adam and Eve in the garden, they desperately try to cover their shame with anything they can find.   Their self-worth is so low, that acknowledging one more fault, in their mind jeopardizes their personal value more than they are able to bear.  Therefore they stand firm in their positions and behavior, refusing to acknowledge that they are the ones to blame.  In actuality, all of us make mistakes, even the most spiritual of people.  In every situation and conflict, we all play a part.  Resolution comes by acknowledging this.  The sooner we acknowledge our weakness to those around us, the quicker we will begin to overcome our relational conflict.  Breakthrough is as close as our willingness to acknowledge our humanness.  (Please note, in Christ, we are complete in our spirit man.  In our spirit, we are righteous, holy, and perfected forever.   But in our minds and flesh, we are still being renewed day by day; none of us have fully arrived.  To only take the perspective of the spirit, will cause you to ignore areas of your mind that are still in need of renewal.  To only take the perspective of the mind, causes us to fail to notice our fullness in Christ.  So as far as God is concerned, we are blameless through Christ, but as far as our brothers and sisters are concerned, we must acknowledge our faults.)

As we further strive to maintain a life defined by humility, below are a few questions to consider.

1.)     When was the last time that I took even partial responsibility for another’s pain or an incident of relational conflict?

2.)    How often do I ask those around me how my behavior patterns affect their lives?  Would I be able to receive and deeply consider their answer if it was a negative response?

3.)    If humility is embracing God’s perspective, what am I doing in my daily life in order to gain this perspective? 

4.)    Make a list of 10 behavior patterns that you display (i.e. running late all the time, have trouble listening) and how these patterns might affect those around you. 

5.)    Make a list of as many promises as you can think of regarding God’s perspective towards you. 

6.)    Return to these questions often.

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The Goodness of God

A couple people have asked me to post this teaching recently. Here is a message I taught to the students at Bethel College last year during one of their chapel services. Here are all 3 parts.



For more teachings from Lucas Miles, please visit www.oasnet.org, and click on “podcasts”.

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North American Grace Conference is Coming!

The wait is over for Jesus-loving-radical grace-believing Christians in North America.  After years of building anticipation for a large scale grace gathering from believers all over the US and Canada – it is finally here.  The first annual North American Grace Conference will be held in South Bend, Indiana at Southgate Church, October 12th-14th, 2011.  This event will be sponsored by various grace ministries across the country and will feature messages from some of the most influential grace teachers on the continient.  The event website will be live in the next several weeks and registration will begin soon thereafter.  Already people from 7 or 8 countries have given their commitment to travel to be part of this event.  Begin making plans now to take part of this monumental event – it is going to be powerful.

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Grace is catching on in Kenya!

Below is an email that I received from a pastor in our network this week from Kenya.  I asked his permission to share this with others as I think it is a huge testimony to the power of grace (Jesus) in a person’s life.  

  Blessings.

Lucas

_________________________

Hello Pastor Lucas,

I’m amazed how the Lord has continued to minister to me concerning the message of the Grace. 
To be honest, I never understood why you people dismissed preaching about the LAW. It was my first time to hear something like that since I got saved. In fact I didn’t want to discuss about it because I had already concluded you were wrong.

But down the road, it’s getting more clear with new revelations concerning the LAW. I was reasoning a lone why Christ had to come if  at all the law was effective.
We see Jesus saying that I did not come to destroy the law, but to strengthen it. This means it was weak and it needed the LAW maker to advance it into another level.

I can see the people of that time pinning down others using the LAW, instead of helping them up. I can see the LAW helping Pharisees in fault finding Jesus himself without it helping them to know, He’s the LAW maker.

I can see the pharisees questioning Jesus over the Sabbath day without them knowing He’s the Lord of the Sabbath. I discovered the Sabbath day was only an envelop carrying the message of REST. And because they were not interested in the message of REST in the envelop, instead interested in the envelop itself, then use it to pin down others.

Now, Christ comes down to tear the envelop, throw it away and says I’m the LORD OF SABBATH (rest). Meaning we no longer need a day to offer us with REST. He confirms this in Heb: 4.3…..where he chooses another day, saying TODAY IF YOU HEAR  my voice harden not your heart to enter his REST. Meaning every day we need his REST.

Again I see the same  Jesus calling those that labor and are heavy ladenned to come to him that they may have REST in Mathew.

I see him promoting those who believe in him to be above the LAW but under the Grace.
I then see the working of the Grace when the woman got in the very act of adultery, who according to the LAW,  she was supposed to be stoned, but the GRACE saved her.

Jesus told them to throw the first stone if they had no sin.

Here, I see the LAW showing the sins of others, while the Grace revealing our own sins which can lead us to repentance. I see the LAW thirsting to kill, while the GRACE striving to save.

To this point plus many other cases in the Bible, I can see the deep revelation God gave the founder of this ministry concerning the GRACE. I can see the power of the grace.

May God bless you, because it’s through your affords to come to Africa that I got this message.

I preached this message in the church again when one member asked me concerning the Seventh Day.  It was an opportunity to explain to the church why you specialize in the message of the GRACE.

God bless you.   

PZ

WANT TO HELP OASNET SHARE THE MESSAGE OF GRACE WITH OTHERS?  BECOME A PARTNER TODAY!

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Oasis Mexico Mission Trip 2008 Photos

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OasNet: 40 at $40

OasNet wants you!  We are in the process of finishing up the OasNet partnership materials, complete with the promotional video (www.oasnet.net).  These packets should be out still in early 2008.  The first phase is to find 40 additional people to partner at $40 per month with the Oasis Network For Churches.  OasNet, as it’s called, exists to resource and equip local church planters and pastors with teaching, resources, and materials to help them carry out their call to reach the world with the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ.  Additionally, OasNet is a network of churches who believe that they can accomplish more together than separate.  Currently Oasis is already impacting pastors and churches in 3 continents and over 7 countries with the message of God’s love and grace. If you are currently part of an Oasis church or have been blessed by the ministries on this site or some of our affliates…I would ask you to consider partnering with us.  You can give any amount to OasNet, but we are specifically seeking out 40 people at $40 per month.  If you are willing to be one of the 40, please email me at Lucas@oasiscf.com or leave me a comment on this post.  Thanks in advance for your consideration and help!  GOOD NEWS to the WORLD, that’s our goal.

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