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Truthinator Interview #7


Note to readers: This interview is particularly interesting to Truthinator’s Blog since we work at exposing the absurdity of aspects of the Seeker Friendly and Emergent Church concepts. This interviewee is a former Emergent. We hope you are edified by what you read. We must say however that the material contained in this or any other interview published here is not necessarily endorsed by Truthinator’s Blog or its employees or volunteers. Thanks and enjoy…

Note to readers #2: When I write Seeker/Emergent, I am not assuming them to be equal but instead I assume them to be related. I see the Seeker Movement to be the parent of the Emergent Movement. I see the Seeker Movement as opening the door for the devil and the Emergent movement to be the devil. I do not think the Seeker Movement is less evil just less overt.

Truthinator: Since you came from an Emergent Church background, please describe what attracted you to them and how long you stayed. Also, when did you become a Christian and did the Emergent Church have anything at all to do with exposing you to God’s truth (Gospel)?

Guest: The church I attended since I was a teenager was a Pentecostal church. They had increasingly become more and more charismatic. Biblical teaching was shallow. I had a huge hand, however, in my biblical illiteracy. I just took everything that was taught and said as the truth. I had no discernment. I started feeling disillusioned with church. There were things that just seemed so wrong but I couldn’t explain it. My husband and I were married for two years when we decided to go to Bible college at Prairie Bible college. It was there that what I found to be troublesome with my home church became clear. I started ‘asking questions’ and being critical of where I came from. I started examining everything. I discovered the weak theological background of where I came from. I discovered how unbiblical my church was. But then, I was wrong too. I started thinking in a postmodern mindset. I can’t exactly pinpoint how or where it came from, but I think it may have started before I went to college. At least the foundation for it was there already. I started dabbling in relativism. There were so many people around me who would nurture that sort of thing. It was fun. I felt so enlightened and so much more smart than the narrow minded fundies in the church. I felt at the time that I had a righteous indignation against the behind the times church filled with legalists (or so I thought that’s what they were). I became liberal in my religion and liberal in my politics. I would spew things about how theology is in flux, about how the gospel is saving lives and feeding hungry people, about how we have to take care of the poor or we are hypocrites. I showed deep disdain for the preaching of the Word, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I would cheer on Tony Campolo, Brian Mclaren and all those guys who seemed to ‘get it’ where no one else did. I think I was truly saved before this when I was 19 but my faith and knowledge was shallow. I had barely read the Bible for years, so I was easy pickings for emergent thought. In my senior year I took a class under an emergent professor called Integrative Seminar. I had no idea at the time that he had an agenda. I had no idea at the time that emergence was such an issue. I barely knew what it was at the time. But he got us to read all sorts of emergent books that really got stuck in my brain. I was oblivious to my ugly cynicism and disdain. I was truly a hypocrite. After I graduated, by God’s grace, I came to the bitter end of emergence. Disillusionment once again. There is an end to it, thank the Lord. No, I didn’t learn truth in the emergent movement. They have no idea what the gospel really is and their goal is to deconstruct the Bible. Many people who are in that movement don’t even realize they are emergent.

T: How long did you stay in the Emergent Church? What was instrumental in making you realize the need for leaving?

G: I think I was in that for about 4 or 5 years. I was attending an Alliance church that was dwindling in numbers. Emergence had infiltrated there and did a good job of rotting in from the inside. I just wasn’t finding what I truly needed at church anymore. I didn’t know what I needed (the preaching of the Word) but I had no desire to go to church anymore. I had hit rock bottom. I felt like I wasn’t saved and worse, I didn’t care.

T: What impact is the Seeker/Emergent concept having on Christianity in America & the world?

G: The seeker friendly/emergent movement is having a devastating effect on the church and society around it. It is filling churches with goats who hate God. It is discarding the true gospel and God’s Word. It is fostering tolerance and the coddling of sin within the church doors. It is creating a worldly institution under the guise of Christianity. Instead of the prophetic voice of the true church being called out into society, the voice being heard is one of tolerance and alliance with the world. It is hypocrisy being embraced by darkened minds. The emergent created, apostate church, is in league with the world. It is a direct affront to the Word of God. To God Himself. They have effectively taken Jesus and what He has done out of Christianity. True Christians will be forced underground in the west. It is already happening.

T: What are the main positive and negative aspects of this movement?

G: It is difficult to find any positive aspects in the movement. To begin with, they were just asking questions. I suppose forcing myself to examine what I truly believed was a positive in it all. Also, learning the mindset and thinking of postmodernism is effective for how I approach emergents now. The negative aspects would take a whole book to write. But the big ones are a throwing out of God’s Word, dismissing Sola Scriptura. Denying the Penal Substitutionary Atonement. Denying total depravity. Preaching a different gospel (one of self-righteousness and ‘social justice’). Tolerance of sinful lifestyles. The utter hypocrisy of wearing the clothes of humility over the core of arrogance and pride. And I could go on and on and on.

T: If you had to guess, how well do you think the pastoral staff at your Emergent church know the Bible? Do you think they believed the Bible at all to be real, true, and authoritative?

G: My experience with emergence was mainly in my Bible college, not really in a church. There really isn’t an emergent church, per se, emergence has merely infiltrated denominations. My town is a Bible college town. It has about 12 churches. Most of them have turned basically emergent regardless of what they are called or what denomination they are. I call this town Emergentville. It’s everywhere. We did recently find 1 church here, however, that preaches the Word. Emergents deny the Bible is authoritative. Church goers here rely on Bible studies and books written by mystics and liberal Christians who deny Scripture. It is maddening.

T: What impact is the Seeker/Emergent concept having on youth? On Missions? On Church Planting?

G: The main channel that emergent teaching enters the church has been through the youth program. Emergent leaders and teachers are very appealing to youth. In fact, the grassroots of emergence was aimed specifically at youth. I also believe that much of emergent teaching has come out of the mission field, though I can’t exactly say that for sure. I would like to look into it more deeply sometime. I don’t think I really have any insight about it’s impact on church planting, but it seems like mega churches like Steven Furticks, Perry Noble’s and Rick Warren’s are all one central church that gets televised to multiple locations. So there is that extreme but I’ve also seen many churches spring up in old hotels and theatres that preach social justice and tolerance. It’s like I can smell them a mile away. They are hip and cool and have a huge influence on especially young people.  I guess I did have thoughts on the impact on church planting afterall.

T: What type of church do you currently belong to? How does it differ from the Emergent one?

G: I am presently attending an Independent Baptist church. It is amazing. They take the Word of God seriously and so far, they even seem Reformed. It is a 180 from the emergent churches I’ve been to.

T: Describe the process God used to draw you unto Himself.

G: I am still in awe of what He did. It’s incredible. I often say that God made the gospel come into sharp focus for me. I had reluctantly started listening to Wretched Radio at the encouragement of my husband. At first I was hostile. I would rant and rail against it. Then, I listened to Todd Friel’s sermon Are you really a Christian? Based on 1 John. I was a Christian before, but things became crystal clear. I finally understood the importance of repentance and faith. I finally understood what the real gospel was. It was a revolution in my life. The scattered puzzle pieces were put into their proper place. I began to seriously read the Bible and study it. That was the key. The Bible. I devoured it. I read it from beginning to end. I started cracking open the theology texts and hermeneutic texts from my Bible college days that I should have studied then. I started searching for theological sources. Reading, reading, reading. I had to consume it. I was so hungry. I learned about the essentials of the faith, the doctrines of grace, creeds and  confessions. I was so hungry. I needed His Word. I am now more equipped than ever to tell what is lie and what is true.

T: How long do you think the Seeker/Emergent concept will survive? If you believe it will eventually fail, what will be the source of its collapse?

G: This movement has been here ever since Genesis 3 where Satan asked “Did God really say…?” and it will unfortunately be around until Jesus comes and ends it.

T: Thanks for doing this interview. I believe people will benefit from the info you shared.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Truthinator Interviews: Interview #2


The Truthinator is beginning a series of interviews that will run throughout 2012. Every so often, we will post another interview with a person of depth & tenure. The goal is not to promote the person but to gain insight from the information they provide. The identities of the interviewees will remain secret so as not to distract from the information being shared.

If you are interested in being interviewed, please let us know via comment or email. All decisions made by the Truthinator’s Blog are final unless we change our minds… But seriously, please enjoy and learn from these. The truth is what we are interested in here.

So let’s begin. The opinions of the interviewees are not necessarily those of the Truthinator’s Blog or employees or volunteers of the same. Statements made are not to be considered as endorsements by Truthinator’s Blog. Thank you for your understanding.

First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer some questions. I hope the information you share will be valuable in helping others grow. I attract many believers with different perspectives and others who may not be believers but who respond because I have touched on a sensitive topic for them.

Truthinator: Please begin by giving us a few lines of biographical information.

Guest: Hold onto your socks. A little bit about me; I am thirty something and married with four lovely children. Yes, I am married to one beautiful wife. Am not American. Neither am I European. I grew up Anglican. Studied in a strict Roman Catholic High school. It was in this High school that I came to know the Lord. It was through a chance encounter with an evangelical Christian in this that the Holy Spirit convicted me of my lawless living. I had gone to church countless of times but for the first time I came to see the depravity of my soul, the sinfulness of my thoughts and the utter hopelessness of my situation before a Holy God. I heard the gospel of how God because of His great love for me sent Christ to die in my place and took my punishment on Himself on the cross. My hardened, stony heart broke and melted when I heard that only through repentance and faith in Christ I would have grace and forgiveness of my sin and Christ’s righteousness imputed on me. I thank God ever so much that He had mercy on me. I was a small twelve year old African lad in the heart of Africa and that message of “Grace to the humble” delighted my wretched soul. I am still a Christian years later and love the gospel of Jesus Christ, I affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five Solas, the Doctrines of Grace, Monergistic Regeneration, and the Redemptive Historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures. That is me in a nut shell and for the record I am not Emergent.

T: What do you think has changed most since you became a Christian? Why is this true?

G: The biggest change that occurred since I became a Christian was in me. And sure enough that change had nothing to do with me. God changed me. My priorities changed drastically. With God coming first, others second and me last. I guess this in turn influenced and formed the skeleton upon which my world view has been formed. When I catch myself being angry at some body, the question will then be am I glorifying God? Why am I angry at some one who was made in the image of God? Shouldn’t I treat them with grace and mercy when God showed mercy to me? The West Minster Shorter Catechism rightly asks the question ‘What is man’s primary purpose’? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. When at work, I try to work the best I can (as unto the Lord) so that my life, handiwork and practice glorify Him. No, I do not kneel (and Tebow) in the middle of the work place. Thanks for asking.

T. What do you think about the New Perspectives on Paul that is gaining popularity? Where will this type of thinking lead?

G: I think it is nonsense. Next question? Anything that tends to add to the gospel of grace takes us back to works righteousness and further away from God. However sincere the proponents are; they too can be sincerely wrong. Most of these “new interpretations” are just old heresies coming back in new garb. One word of advice is “flee”!!! The NPP may probably be more popular in the US than Europe and the rest of the world. America seems to be a fertile ground for anything aberrant (even prosperity gospel and Chrislam).

T: Do you think the evangelical church is in danger of reuniting with the Roman Catholic church?

G: Are they not already doing it? Well, in circles where there is a low view of the inspiration of scripture, there will always be a never ending appeal on the other side of the fence. Most evangelical churches no longer hold to the major tenants of the Christian faith any way. Justification by faith, the Trinity, Deity of Christ are not emphasised enough because most churches and mega churches feel these are issues that “divide”. An average Christian in many circles cannot even name the Ten Commandments and let alone most televangelists and pastors cannot explain what the differences are between Mormon, Jehovah’s witness and Christian faiths.

T: Do you see a selfishness in church people today that was not present 20 years ago? Christians often times engage in smear campaigns to defeat someone who disagrees with them instead of respectfully debating them. Why has this become the new normal?

G: This takes us back to the lack of interest in sound doctrine in many circles. Most Christians have a low view of God and his Word but a high view of man. It’s no wonder that it’s in the very same circles that churches keep “growing” by splitting up. Pragmatic unbiblical practices are employed and preferred to simple and faithful preaching of the Word. We see, in the past that the truth of the Gospel and sound doctrine was what was being fought for and defended. Most of the smear campaigns of our days are because of petty, divisive, selfish squabbles and by the time they bloom the rifts are public then usually the distinctions are irreparable and the damage to the name of Christ is shameful and repugnant.

I am amazed at people like George Whitefield and how he would challenge John Wesley theologically on doctrinal issues but still treat him respectfully. Or even Paul rebuking Peter for trying to treat the Jewish Christians differently from the Gentile believers. They showed it was about having a high view of God and low view of man. In that one sharpened another by pointing out any inherent dangers and misperceptions with love. This helps us remember that man can easily err and the one constant compass we have is Scripture to which we must often and always turn and from which we must build every root of doctrine.

T: What happened to Christians being different from the world? It seems today that statistically there is no difference between Christians and non Christians.

G: I didn’t know Christians should dress differently from pagans. Okay, I get what you mean. The behaviours of the visible church and invisible church are one concept I struggle to understand. In North Korea Christians live differently from Christians in Texas (the bible belt); in one place they may be invisible and in another they may be over shadowed by a supposedly Christian societal or corporate presence. It is sad that we have many false converts among true converts. I guess it would have been easier if we told God to separate the wheat from the tares (here and now) but in this life time the two groups will grow together until God’s appointed time when he separates them.   One thing that Jesus said that is quite encouraging is that His sheep will always listen to His voice; “I know them, and they follow me” Genuine converts usually are called by Him, saved by God and kept by him until the end.

T: What is the greatest challenge facing the true Body of Christ?

G: I don’t think I can point to the greatest challenge. The Great Commission still stands before us. Lack of interest in evangelism could be one challenge. There was a time when people made definite efforts to go and spread the gospel by launching missions and sending missionaries and contributing money and resources to the cause. These days this has been replaced with a vague term called “being missional”. I still haven’t come across any one who can define the terminology. On the other hand, a big challenges for the body of Christ is the apparent “insufficiency of scripture” and our endless search for the “new authentic” experience. When people have a low view of scripture, they ultimately show they have a low view of the Author. It is no surprise that we have a spectrum of Post modern Christians (and Emergents) to whom truth is relative to Charismaniacs who keep “hearing new revelations” from behind every door post and yearning for a more electrifying zing other than studying the Word.

T: What percentage of people that you encounter are truly saved vs. the percentage that are deceived?

G: I may never know. I used to be surprised many times when a “very strong” brother who was demon chasing, fire spitting and spoke in tongues with a Phd (Pull the heavens down) kind of charisma turned left and became apostate. I have grown since then and I am mature enough to realise now that only those who persist to the end really had a genuine faith. Speaking of which, I really wish I knew those who are not genuinely saved. I would plead with them to cry to God for mercy while they still had time.

T: What is happening in America? Is the Emergent Church concept a good thing or a death knell?

G: To understand America one has to begin with the Puritans. I love the strong Reformed and conservative building blocks that the Puritans had. Though they had their flaws here and there too, they are very far removed from the liberal tendencies of the Emergents of our day. The good points to take from any aberrant group or teaching or heresy is that they always make genuine followers go back to examine the difference between Orthodoxy and the new trend. The Emergent streams are growing real fast and have a broad appeal to today’s post modern youth. I do not think they will be “the” death knell. They could just be harbingers of worse beliefs to come. Probably there will be another stage of rank Apostasy like we have never seen before. Nevertheless, do not cease to pray for those involved in the Emergent, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s witness, Charismatic and (yup, even) Reformed faith streams. As long as Christ has not come back yet, there is still hope that one more soul will come to repentance and faith in Christ by God’s grace. I thank God that in my lifetime I came to hear of the gospel of Christ. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the father. My prayer is that many more sinners will come to Christ and get forgiveness for their sins. Soli Deo Gloria.

T: I thank you for taking the time to share this information with us. Blessings.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Truthinator Interviews: Just the Facts


The Truthinator is beginning a series of interviews that will run throughout 2012. Every so often, we will post another interview with a person of depth & tenure. The goal is not to promote the person but to gain insight from the information they provide. The identities of the interviewees will remain secret so as not to distract from the information being shared.

If you are interested in being interviewed, please let us know via comment or email. All decisions made by the Truthinator’s Blog are final unless we change our minds… But seriously, please enjoy and learn from these. The truth is what we are interested in here.

So let’s begin. The opinions of the interviewees are not necessarily those of the Truthinator’s Blog or employees or volunteers of the same. Statements made are not to be considered as endorsements by Truthinator’s Blog. Thank you for your understanding.

 

First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer some questions. I hope the information you share will be valuable in helping others grow. I attract many believers with different perspectives and others who may not be believers but who respond because I have touched on a sensitive topic for them.

Truthinator: Please begin by giving us a few lines of biographical information.  

Guest: I have a technical and business background and live in a major metropolitan city in the US. I have been a Christian for close to 30 years and have been doing discernment work on the internet for 5. I run a blog site and visit other sites regularly where I try to leave edifying comments from time to time.

T: What do you think has changed most in evangelical Christianity since you became a Christian? Why do you think this has happened?

 G: I think the change of greatest magnitude is the concern for peace & unity among church attenders and the general public to the detriment of truth and the willingness of people to compromise the truth in order to get there. I have seen and been told of situations where even traditionally strong churches have caved in to the notion that the most important thing to do is to achieve unity. Where does the Bible teach this? Nowhere. The most important thing is to honor God, submit to His truth, spread the Gospel, care for the truly needy, and be conformed to the image of Christ. When you subvert everything to the idol of “unity at any cost” you are no longer Biblical. I use the entire Bible as my proof text.

Why has this happened? Because people are no longer living in fear of God nor studying His word. America is a pagan nation. When God’s people are faithful to God, there will be unity of believers. That is the only time there will be unity.

T: Is the evangelical church in America on track according to the Bible? If so, what must it do to stay there. If not, what is its greatest failure and what will it take to get back on track?

G: Not on track. Christians must humble themselves and cry out to God in repentance. We need God’s mercy. I think there are signs that God is abandoning America. We have long since abandoned Him so we are suffering the just punishment for our actions.

Please bear with me for a minute. I have heard preachers stand before their congregations and tell them that America’s best days are still ahead of us. Are you kidding me? Read the survey results. Confessing Christians in America live lives that are statistically identical to folks who do not claim to know Christ as Savior. How could America’s best days be ahead of us? This is nonsense. Unless we repent, our nation could be only a few years away from bondage to another country or, worse yet, we could become like Europe and be spiritually dead with only a form of religious activity with no power or presence of God found.

T: What is “relevance” in light of the Bible’s teaching about the relationship of God’s people (the body of Christ) to the world. Is the modern day church getting it right by seeking to be like the world in order to reach it? How relevant to the world must one be to be effective in ministry? How relevant to God must one be to be effective in ministry?

G: I see relevance as being anything and everything that honors God and has His approval. I do not think the concept of relevance has anything to do with the preferences of man. Whether or not we are successful in ministry depends upon what God decides to do through your ministry. It has nothing to do with how appealing you are to worldly people. If you want nothing more than to be appealing to people, all you have to do is affirm them in their current state. This is not rocket science…  

T: What do you think about the Emergent Church and its impact on American youth? Where will the EC lead America? What does the impact of the EC do to those involved in missions? What impact will it likely have on the unreached people of the world?

G: I have not seen every EC type of church and/or service but I have seen many. Some are totally off the wall and in outer space while others are loud & proud but still preach from the Bible albeit from a man-centered perspective. A common element however is rebellion in my opinion. I see some rebellion in all of what I have studied. “We are more righteous because we are not traditional” is a common theme. This is nothing but neo-self righteousness. It is man rebelling against God repackaged.

There may be some groups who do not do this but I am afraid that most do. I am not trying to defend any type or sense of traditionalism. Much of it had its own problems. But, you cannot correct problems with the proper worship and honoring of God by detouring farther into man-centered philosophy. Puffing man up will never get you into God’s presence. It happened nowhere in scripture and it is forbidden in scripture.

The EC will lead America astray. No doubt about it. So will New Calvinism if it follows the same rut as the EC. If they adopt most of the world’s philosophy, it won’t matter if they mouth the words of Calvin, Luther, Henry, et al. Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking so much about style of worship. Style is a symptom of an inward condition. No regard for God’s holiness will manifest itself in a certain style of behavior just like having a high regard for God’s holiness will manifest itself in a certain style of behavior.

Missions will be led astray as well by the EC’s influence if missionaries adopt its philosophy. Encouraging stuff, no? Unfortunately, I fear that everything I am saying is the absolute truth or I wouldn’t be saying it.

The impact upon the lost is the most horrifying reality of all. Much of the EC is not even sure if there is a concept called “lost”. With this mindset, missions become nothing more than life enhancement programs. Feeding the hungry is a great and noble work but the eternal ramifications of giving folks the gospel cannot be ignored.

T: Do you think the church in America is in danger of reuniting with Roman Catholicism? Why or why not?

G: I think the church in America has already reunited with RC. Not officially but we have adopted many troublesome characteristics similar to the RC church. We pronounce who is and is not in the faith based upon our denominational or non-denominational preferences for one thing. This is not done in scripture. The only outward indication given in scripture that a person is saved is the evidence of their changed life.

We also are adept at adding to and modifying the Bible as desired by the current culture. We “legislate from the bench” so to speak. This is found nowhere is scripture. Bear with me for a moment and I will try to give an example.

It is popular today to reach out to those who are of different faiths in an ecumenical way in order to accomplish feel-good works. The idea of “finding something we CAN agree on and ignoring what we do not agree on” is big. It is almost as if we view ourselves as deal brokers instead of as representing God. We were never asked to do this in scripture. I’m not saying we are to be unkind or even isolationist in our attitude toward other faiths but what we believe (Christianity) is not only different from other faiths, it is exclusive. There is no wiggle room in the Bible for making unbelief equal to belief on any level.

Continue to follow me. I am not saying that to work on joint projects with other faiths means that we believe they are also valid in God’s sight for eternity but I am saying that when we do decide to “agree to disagree” about vital elements of Christianity, we are dishonoring God. We cannot win the lost by patting them on the back and giving them an implied endorsement. The truth must be told to them if we are to impact them for God’s kingdom. The truth divides. Division is looked upon as the worst cardinal sin of our day by post-modern people. Division is avoided at any or all cost. In order to remove the possibility of division, we must also remove the transmission of the truth. Making inroads in ecumenical ways removes elements of the truth. When you try to become ecumenical with people who are farther and farther away from the core truth of scripture, you have to remove more and more truth to get there! Stop the madness. God is sovereign, we are not. Let’s do what He told us to do and stop trying to slide people into the kingdom through a side door that does not really exist.    

T: Is it beneficial for people like James McDonald to host gatherings such as the Elephant Room where people of very different perspectives laugh, chum it up, and simply ‘agree to disagree’? Does this have the danger of giving a stamp of approval to some people with really bad theological beliefs? Why or why not?

G: I fear that James McDonald, as well-meaning as I am sure he is, has done some harm to America with the Elephant Room stuff. The reason I say this is that the people around the table represented some major-league divergent perspectives. Some of what was discussed was questionable at best. To “agree to disagree” and leave it at that is the same thing as proclaiming to the nation that everything discussed is perfectly fine even though we do not share the same points of view. I do not believe McDonald intended to do this but I am afraid this was the result. 

T: Many people in America claim to be Christian yet reports from Barna and others reveal there is statistically no difference between the way “Christians” behave as compared to nonChristians. What does this reveal about America?

G: I obviously do not make many “friends” by telling the truth. The current way to operate effectively in the church is the same as the way people operate in the world. Schmoozing has taken the place of sincerity. Deal-making and heavy-handed manipulation has replaced respectful discourse and collaboration. Bringing up this subject gets one ridiculed and abandoned. In far too many ways, the church in America is no different than the world. The Barna and FOTF study results prove it! Folks, this is not about music preferences. People in the church act no differently than anyone else in the world in far too many cases. This is not a good sign. America’s best days are ahead? I think not.

The only hope for America is the same as the only hope Israel had in scripture. We must repent and trust God. We have to be extricated from the throne. God is sovereign, we are not.

Truthinator: Let me take the time to thank you for answering these questions.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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