This weekend, Dad, brother, and I went to see our friends Frances and Alan in NC. Alan is an EPC pastor and Frances has been my mom's friend since they were 15 and 16. Dad and Alan studied at Columbia Cemetery together, and I played with their daughters when I was young.
Yesterday, we went to their church to hear Alan preach. Before that, I went to their adult Sunday School. It was interesting because they were studying a book by Joyce Meyer. Now, she doesn't bother me like she does others because she's a woman preacher. Coming from the PCUSA and changing to EPC, both denoms are egalitarian. I'm egalitarian. I see Paul's instructions to Timothy as situational because there are other women who worked alongside Paul, one Priscilla I'm certain was a preacher. But were they ordained? I don't know. There were at least women prophets. That's preaching God's word specifically. So, Joyce being a woman doesn't bother me.
Her prosperity Gospel, however, does bother me. She's not as blatant as Joel Osteen, and she does use Scripture, unlike Joel Osteen, but it's still health and wealth just the same and it's not the Gospel. This specific book was called "Power Thoughts." Again, she did use Scripture, but mostly we're looking to ourselves to change our thoughts, not the Lord. I'm looking to my own magical powers and not God's grace to improve my life if it even needs improving. But the discussion did override the fluff. We did assert, I at least asserted, that we can't change our own thoughts. God has to do it. Though I do agree, that we must learn to be more content. However, we have no free will apart from what God gives us, and he has to take control of us. Frances and Alan are aware of Joyce's flaws, but a good church discussion can override it much like that one church I attened where they studied the Shack and mentioned everything that was wrong with it, i.e., the whole book. They said, if we have to study a prosperity preacher, we'll pick this one. But as I'm still working on being tractful, I kept my mouth shut. For me, that's fine, but if I study topical lessons on character and attitudes, I prefer James MacDonald's "Lord, Change My Attitude" study or Beth Moore's series on the Fruits of the Spirit. Much more scriptural and much more aware that we don't have free will, although most people don't realize that and I myself didn't realize that until this summer.
Alan's sermon was excellent. It was based on Matthew 12, the passage where Jesus heals people and the Pharisees call him Beelzebub. Jesus says they blasphemed the Holy Spirit, the one unforgivable sin. He explained that if we are truly saved, then our fruit will show it. He gave an example of Mel Gibson. He called himself a Christian, but in recent years he can't control his temper, had a baby out of wedlock, and again, uses foul language, racist language, and his fruit does not show that he is a Christian. If we are Christians, we won't be perfect, but we'll seek the Lord every day and not resist his control. We certainly won't take his miracles and credit them to Satan like the Pharisees did.
After church we ate at a Barbecue place. Rib Country. Yum-yum. We of course discussed the PCUSA. If anyone has blasphemed the Holy Spirit, they have. Frances and Alan recalled the time they had some kind of conference, I can't remember the name, but it was in the 80s or 90s. They made God into a woman, Sophia, and changed the trinity into woman parts: the Mother, the Womb, and the Seed. And instead of communion, because they wanted to get away from blood, they used milk and honey instead. Yeah, I'll say that's blaspheming the Holy Spirit. You reject God as he revealed himself in Scripture, and reject Christ's sacrifice and think you can get to heaven on your own terms. Without blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Yeah, the PCUSA has been apostate a long time. Now, it's apostate and belligerent about it. I'm glad God took me out of it for the time being. I still pray deeply for my home church and the elect who stay in who have not bowed the knee to Baal. People on both sides have a hard battle ahead.
But I still had a wonderful relaxing weeking and hope the rest of the year is not so relaxing and that my homework picks up and that I find volunteer work during the day. I also need to call the folks who taught Sunday school and children's church for me and get back my books. I also hope my computer can leave the shop tomorrow so I don't have to use my dad's slow computer.