Category Archives: Spirituality

Pentecostal Leaders in Scandinavia Urge Believers not to Listen to Conspiracy Theories and “YouTube Prophets”

It’s easy to laugh at all the insane conspiracy theories floating around right now, with people claiming that coronavirus vaccine will kill you, change your DNA or transform you into a satanist. But really, it’s nothing short of a catastrophic tragedy that millions of people seriously believe these kinds of things.

As Christians, we should be extra alarmed by the fact that evangelicals seem to be more prone to believing and spreading COVID conspiracy theories than others.

YouTube, TikTok and other Internet platforms have no lack of Christians claiming to “prophesy” that the vaccine will insert microchips or that nurses will try to kill you if you don’t want to get vaccinated.

Apparently, the fact that many Pentecostals got their Trump prophecies wrong has not kept Internet preachers from using prophecy to push their own agenda.

To combat this pandemic of misinformation, Christian leaders need to speak up. This is exactly what the superintendents of the Pentecostal churches in the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – decided to do last week. In a joint statement, they warned against conspiracy theories and YouTube prophets, telling their flock to listen to medical authorities and take the vaccine.

Continue reading Pentecostal Leaders in Scandinavia Urge Believers not to Listen to Conspiracy Theories and “YouTube Prophets”

The American Church Must Choose the Way of the Cross

by Ramone Romero.

It seems that now there is a kind of lull in the momentum of the church at large in America. For decades she has poured her efforts into achieving political power. It culminated in being raised to the mountaintop during the last four years, after electing a leader who promised power to the church, if only she would support him.

And support him she did, in spite of his obvious greed, unrepentant immorality, dragon-like words, and his demonization of others (particularly his mocking of the weak and the ‘least of these’ such as the poor, foreigners, and oppressed minorities). At first many may have had a pang of conscience, but rationalized it as necessary to bow down in order to achieve the goals they sought through political power.

They may have rationalized that he could be influenced and changed. That she could hold him accountable. But instead he remained the same, and the church had to bow down repeatedly as he demanded more and more support (and praise). Having sold her soul once was not enough. She had to sell it again and again. And having done that so many times, she found that she had put all of her hope in him. She made herself afraid with conspiracies and countless fears of what would happen if her immoral champion were not re-elected.

She taught support for him from her pulpits. She prayed for his will to be done. Her prophets prophesied his victory. She sanctified his place and his causes, such as the imprisonment and breaking apart of refugee families. She allied with enemies of Christ’s ways such as white supremacists.

When he stirred up undeniable violence, and her prophecies failed (even as she tried so hard to have faith in them and make them come true), she had to pause.

Now she is in a time of pausing, in a lull.

Now she is at a crossroads.

Continue reading The American Church Must Choose the Way of the Cross

Four Heartbreaking Stories of Christians Lost to the QAnon Cult

QAnon has been labelled one of the most dangerous conspiracy theories today. Through the power of the Internet, the antisemitic cult that accuses celebrities and liberal politicians of pedophilia and blood libel and claims that only Donald Trump can save the world from satanism, has grown exponentially and was a dominating force behind the terrorist attack against the US Capitol.

Originating from the anarchist site 4chan which is filled with porn and white supremacy, the cult uses a lot of religious language and imagery similar to Christianity to attract followers from churches. As many American Christians already were Trump supporters and open to conspiracy theories, thousands have fallen victim to the cult, becoming more loyal to the anonymous “prophet” called Q than they are to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are four testimonies from people close to Christians who have joined QAnon. Make sure to pray for them, and keep warning those around you for the danger of this cult!

“Please help me bring my husband back to reality”

A woman writes on Reddit:

All of this started about a month and a half ago when my husband began watching videos from a “prophet.” We are Christian and he has often watched things about prophets before, but I noticed a lot of the language seemed political which he usually doesn’t get into, and it also seemed a little paranoid.

Continue reading Four Heartbreaking Stories of Christians Lost to the QAnon Cult

It’s not Evangelicalism Anymore

300 years ago a movement of revival started within British and later American churches. This movement called the Church to return to the Gospel. It called the Church to share the message of Jesus with others and to follow Jesus more boldly. This movement was very diverse for its day. It affected most Christian denominations in the English-speaking world, and it touched many Christian communities. It was an international, interracial, intercultural, and interdenominational movement.

This movement promoted education, social reform, and inclusion in the Church. This movement was one of the main forces behind social justice movements for much of its history. Abolitionism, poverty-relief efforts, the Social Gospel, Labor Movement, Civil Rights Movement, and many other important causes were at least influenced by this movement.

The movement that I am talking about is Evangelicalism, but despite Evangelicalism having such a long and noble history, most don’t recognize it today – at least not in the United States. There are a number of factors that contributed to this:

First, Evangelicalism has always had a white supremacist wing. Even though Evangelicalism was indispensable in the abolitionist and civil rights movements, there was also always a segment that opposed those movements. On the one hand, you had John Wesley who argued strongly against slavery, but on the other you had Jonathan Edwards who owned slaves. There are still schisms in American churches over this exact issue. The Southern Baptist Convention is an example of an American Evangelical church founded on white supremacist principles. Continue reading It’s not Evangelicalism Anymore

Occupation and Covid: A Strange Christmas in Bethlehem

Guest blog by our friends at Churches for Middle East Peace, originally published here.

Bethlehem, considered the cradle of Christianity, is perhaps one of Earth’s most special places to embrace the Christmas spirit. Located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, it’s the “little town” where Jesus was born, and it attracts thousands of pilgrims at Christmas. 

Christians have flocked to Bethlehem for centuries to celebrate the Christmas season, and each year the city hosts approximately one million tourists. 

A Sacred City for Three Religions

Bethlehem is the site of the Church of the Nativity, an underground cave where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus. A 14-pointed silver star beneath an altar that the emperor Constantine the Great and his mother Helena had built around the year 338 marks the spot, and the stone church is a key pilgrimage site for Christians and Muslims alike.

Continue reading Occupation and Covid: A Strange Christmas in Bethlehem

These 12 Church Leaders Prophesied that Trump Would Win the 2020 Election

“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and the message does not come to pass or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” – Deut. 18:22

No matter if you like it or not, Joe Biden won the US presidential election. This is very awkward for all the pastors and televangelists who claimed that God had told them that Trump would be reelected. Some of them even claimed that he would do so “by a landslide”.

This video includes false Trump prophecies by Pat Robertson, Paula White-Cain, Kris Vallotton, Mark Taylor, Kat Kerr, Marcus Rogers, Kevin Zadai, Greg Locke, Taribo West, Denise Goulet, Curt Landry, Jeremiah Johnson.

As of this writing, only Vallotton has apologized for his mistake – and even he took his apology down after many of his followers protested.

Of course, this raises the question: if these church leaders were wrong about this, what else are they wrong about? Most of them were not only predicting Trump’s victory, but hoping for it. Some of them described his presidency as “goodness” even as it included a complete disregard for refugees and people affected by climate change.

It’s time to reevaluate what kind of leaders we want to be influenced by.

Continue reading These 12 Church Leaders Prophesied that Trump Would Win the 2020 Election

True prophecy in an age of deception

A sermon by Bob Ekblad, originally published on his blog. You can listen to the audio version here.

Fear and anxiety abound in these days of global pandemic, a US presidential election, natural disasters related to climate change, and economic insecurity. People are searching for explanations, advice as to how to best prepare, spiritual direction, and prophetic counsel. There’s a vulnerability to deception, and false prophecy abounds, visible in declarations endorsing candidates, conspiracy theories like QAnon, and political promises and prognoses.

Jesus offers strong warnings to his disciples:

“See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many” (Mat 24:4-5)

These “many” who come in Jesus’ name who “mislead many” can include those who claim to be Christian prophets themselves—even a majority of them.

In a number of places in the Old Testament hundreds of “court” prophets stand with Israel’s King, over-and-against a lone prophet who speaks for God. Each king of Israel was anointed by a prophet and called Messiah/Christ (meaning “anointed”). God’s prophets brought words of challenge, direction and rebuke—unless they were co-opted, which has largely happened now in the USA.

Continue reading True prophecy in an age of deception

Evangelicals Need to Choose: Influence or Integrity?

“I believe the evangelical alignment with the Trump administration has advanced the kingdoms of men but not the kingdom of God. I worry it has damaged the culture and tarnished our witness for generations.”

This is what Timothy Dalrymple, President and CEO for Christianity Today, writes in a recent article. This conviction does not prevent him from trying to understand evangelical Trump supporters. In fact, he does a good job laying out the logic behind why they act as they do, describing them as the Church Regnant:

The Church Regnant sees the kingdom of God, the end toward which we strive, as a world in which men and women are free to follow their faith, life is held sacred from conception to death, families can raise their children in biblical truth, churches take the lead in charity, and government provides a stable order for the flourishing of meaningful enterprise. […]

The Church Regnant views the election starkly as a battle between good and evil. The vices of the president seem small when the virtue of the world hangs in the balance. Winning political power means protecting the Christian way of life and sowing seeds of truth and goodness into culture, and thus bringing God’s blessing upon the land. Losing political power means the culture spirals into deepening immorality and untruth, eroding the foundations of society and leading to greater suffering for all.

Continue reading Evangelicals Need to Choose: Influence or Integrity?

Evangelical Hypocrisy extends far beyond Jerry Falwell Jr.

I’m sad to say that I wasn’t surprised when I saw that Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns as the president of Liberty University after posting a sexual photo from his yacht on social media and allegedly having approved of an extramarital affair between his wife and a business partner (including watching from a corner while they were having sex).

The allegations concerning the bizarre sex games are disputed, but the photo alone gave Liberty University enough reason to question Falwell’s leadership, as the evangelical university has some very strict guidelines concerning sexuality, dress code and alcohol consumption (Falwell is holding a drink in the photo, writing in the caption “I promise it’s just black water in my glass”).

If a student at Liberty University had posted the same photo, the consequences would likely have been more than $9,000 in school fines and 900 hours of required service, and possible expulsion.

There’s one word that people keeps coming back to when describing this situation: hypocrisy. The very thing that Jesus warned his disciples against over and over again. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”, the Lord said. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Luke 12:1-2). Continue reading Evangelical Hypocrisy extends far beyond Jerry Falwell Jr.

The People that Brought Me to Jesus Betrayed Me

I was born into Christ’s family through a Charismatic church as a preacher’s kid and was deeply involved in churches of that type until my early 30s. Today, while grateful for the home the introduced me to the God of the universe, I can barely recognize her.

The people that brought me to Jesus betrayed me.

They exchanged the genuine gospel of love for the allure of success. At times, I am even ashamed of my heritage. What brought me joy and comfort became memories of disappointment, manipulation, and hypocrisy.

While not solely because of it, this predicament came full circle when I witnessed leaders I respected enthusiastically vote and support a candidate that was the antithesis of the Christ they taught me. Have I been deceived all along?

While there are no statistics on P&C (Pentecostal and Charismatic) support for Donald Trump, I would not be surprised if that number was north to the often quoted 81% of white evangelicals who voted for him in 2016. And as a diverse group as few in the US, the vote is not limited to whites only but probably cuts through a majority of Hispanics if not even African American P&C.

Continue reading The People that Brought Me to Jesus Betrayed Me