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This is a truly wonderful site with well proportioned daily readings. No matter how many times we read the Word, there is always something new to learn. The daily discipline of reading OYB before embarking on each day's activities is indeed beneficial:)As for looking forward to the next 3 months readings, I will go further and state that I look forward to reading OYB for as long as it is written!
Blessings to Mike and all his readers. Stuart - Spain

Are there false prophets?

Two researchers from Arizona State University (D. L. Altheide and J. M. Johnson) infiltrated Billy Graham’s ministry and reported on advanced preparations made prior to a Phoenix Crusade visit in 1977 for seeding the audience with ringers rehearsed to come forward as a specific time to give witness and donations, “By the time Graham arrives in town and makes his altar call, an army of six thousand wait with instructions on when to come forth at varying intervals to create the impression of a spontaneous mass outpouring.” [D. L. Altheide and J. M. Johnson “Counting Souls” Pacific Sociological Review 20(1977) pp: 323-348. and Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” HarperCollins (1984) p: 117. (Another ASU professor)]

Then there’s the issue of his income – he suggests making very little ($200,000), but there’s no way to be sure since he’s never publicized his tax records (or of his employed sons) and many perks (like the full time nurse for his wife) clearly go unreported. Moreover, after Graham was embarrassed in 1977 when the Charlotte Observer discovered an undisclosed $23-million fund in Texas, apparently not mentioned in the accountings of the Minneapolis headquarters, his group never allowed direct access to records again.

In 1994, H.R. Haldeman‘s diaries revealed that Graham had taken part in conversations speaking of “Jewish domination of the media.” The allegations were so at odds with Graham’s public image that most did not believe his account, and Jewish groups paid little attention. Graham released a statement denying that he talked “publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms.” He said, “Those are not my words.”

In 2002, however, newly declassified “Richard Nixon tapes” confirmed remarks made by Graham to President Nixon three decades earlier. Captured on the tapes, Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media, calling it a “stranglehold” during a 1972 conversation with Nixon. “This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain,” said Graham, agreeing with Nixon’s comments about Jews and their influence in American life. Later, Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, including A.M. Rosenthal, saying they “swarm around me and are friendly to me.” But, he tells Nixon, “They don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.” These remarks were highly controversial to some Jewish leaders that characterized them as antisemitic, such as Abraham Foxman. [Wikipedia]

Joyce Meyers is the most popular woman evangelist, but how many does her ministry convert and baptize? Her ministry draws about $100 million per year (of which ten percent is “tithed” to show production works and she pockets the other $90 million in direct opposition to U.S. non-profit tax law) and her 10,000 square-foot home and $2 million car are but a few of her prized possessions. Meyers tends to brag about her poor education and her many books on emotional health never reference any textbook theories or publish any studies on the successful application of her ideas. She claims, “I am not poor, I am not miserable, and I am not a sinner” and maintains Faith Movement attitudes of accumulating wealth, “I want to live in the Promised Land during my life.” Friend Napoleon Hill likewise says, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement.” Myers also promotes the same lies of Benny Hinn, Copeland, Hagin, etc. that Christ died a sinner and went to Hell and God / The Holly Spirit saved Him from tormenting demonic powers.

Then, even David Koresh (Vernon Howell) was a man who seemed to know how to inspire hope. He seemed wholly committed to people in need. For example, he counseled prisoners and juvenile delinquents. He started a job placement center. He opened rest homes and homes for the retarded. He had a health clinic. He organized a vocational training center. He provided free legal aid. He founded a community center. He preached about God. He even memorized the Bible as a youth (with nothing more than a ninth-grade education), claimed to cast out demons, do miracles, and heal.

Jim Jones similarly started the nation’s first interracial church to which state welfare sent over a hundred children to live (all were unfortunately later sent to Jonestown and killed). Moreover, David Berg, Reverend Moon, Victor Wierwille, Lord Maitreya, and Charles Manson have all managed similar “good” deeds. How can one discern the true nature of a person? For one thing, all of these people (besides many megalomania claims to be divine sovereigns) seemed uninterested in producing independent, spirit-driven, viral (or geometrically successful) conversion agents, and their groups always hit “growth ceilings” common for man-lead churches (of course, there's never been an English church with geometric First century church growth past the founder's life time).

Earlier, escaped slave Frederick Douglass wrote about the nineteenth century American Christian church, “Between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest, possible difference--so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery.” In other words, he saw agents of great sin preaching against Satan (the very picture of the modern TV evangelist) – the very thing Christ said made one worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. Alas, we seem to always have more false prophets than real ones.

I am new to the word of God, I am being Baptized in a few weeks. I do not understand Deuteronomy 19:21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Are we not suposed to firgive all who sin against us so we to will be forgiven?

In response to Laura, after Christ came things changed. Yes, we do need to forgive always, but in Old Testament times that was not the case. Many things are new because of Christ coming and giving us a new covenant. May the Lord Bless You.

I think your blog on the one year Bible is outstanding. I enjoy the confident, yet humble way you share God's Word along with your insights. I've never read the comments section before, and I totally disagree with the criticism of Billy Graham. He is an outstanding representative of Jesus, and any antisemitic comments he made with Nixon are minor blemishes. I've participated in his meetings, and the "plants" in the audience are most likely the counselors who come forward at the time the respondents do to pray with them.
It is a challenge to keep up with the readings, but a very good discipline that I enjoy more with the relevant discussion you provide.

In regards to Jim and the false prophet information: I was astonished to learn this information about Billy Graham. I have always had to utmost respect and admiration for this man. I know that the information you have shared is documented and some of it could probably even be proven to be correct, but I would never speak of him as being a false prophet. Nor would I mention his name along with Jim Jones or David Karesh. Mr Jones, Karesh and Charles Manson were murders and cult leaders. They might of done some good for some people, but in the end they did Satan's deeds.

My thoughts are, that anyone who has any kind of power, money, or authority and is in the public eye, will always be under scrutiny by some. As we all know the WORLD is driven by money, greed and power. God's ways are not man's ways. In the end we will all be judged by God for our deeds and not man. Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to save those who have repented and accepted HIS forgiveness so that we don't have to face a final judgement.

I think I would much rather face HIS Judgement or rest in the assurance of HIS forgiveness than have my fate be decided upon my sinfull man.

I felt like I walked into a discussion which may of taken place previously and that the topic must of been false prophets. I didn't see anything about false prophets in todays readings or discussion.

I think we all ought to put the focus back on Jesus who this whole bible study and blog is about.

Have a blessed and wonderful day.

Dear LJ,

You can use a Ctrl-F to find the questions on "false prophets" in Mike's posting and then reread the corresponding Bible readings.

As for whether it is right to consider the conman techniques of Billy Graham (as well as his unowned antisemitic attitudes), Joyce Myers, Hinn, Copeland, and Hagin in the same breath as Koresh, Jones, etc... remember that ALL sin leads to death - there are not different levels of Hell based on the degree of one's sin. Moreover, I believe some of the greatest Christians I've ever known are repentant and reborn serial murders and child molesters doing life I've met through the local prison ministry as smaller sins without guilt are far worse (leading to death) than greater sins washed away by Christ's blood (leading to Heaven). And, flashing the name of Jesus does NOT guarantee getting out of jail.

Hebrews 6:4-5 – “FOR IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO WERE ONCE ENLIGHTENED, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, IF THEY SHALL FALL AWAY, TO RENEW THEM AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE.”

Luke 14:34-35 – Jesus said, “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out.”

1 Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”

Hebrews 10:26 - “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”

The source of false prophets, however, is not in bad leadership but specifically from the poor followership resulting from taking your common suggestion that we leave judgment to God. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to judge ourselves, each other, and even Him (do you not know that Satan is an angel of light?) as we are to test all things and hold on to only those things that are good (being of God). In the real world, corrupt leadership cannot survive in a moral society just as moral leadership cannot survive in a corrupt society. But, not arguing and simply accepting things as they come (as God's plan) is exactly how over 900 people calmly drank poison and then laid down in neat rows to die in Jonestown.

Finally, there is no more covered topic in the Bible than money. The New Testament contains 2084 verses dealing with the stewardship of and accountability for money and finances. This is more than is said about Heaven and Hell combined, five times more than prayer and faith combined, as well as almost ten times more than salvation. In addition, sixteen of Jesus’ thirty-eight parables deal with money. Obviously, the Bible has much to say about money management. Ironically, however, the average number of sermons per year about money annually is only around one. Some people may think money is an unfit subject for the pulpit because it isn't “spiritual,” but stewardship is a precious chance for us all to put “money” and “God” and “me” in the same sentence, where these words actually belong, without embarrassment or apology (except when some flimflam man is living the good life off of the donations and tax dollars of hard working Americans).



Well, I was glad to see Chuck Colson. I just read
A Life Redeemed.

His testimony is amazing! He reminds me of Paul in the Bible. So zealous.

Susan Girdner :)

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